“Winning the Iceboat World Championships in a Borrowed Boat”

“Winning the Iceboat World Championships in a Borrowed Boat”

Photo: Catherine Firmbach

Written by: Michał Burczyński

This was my tenth time in the Gold Cup in the USA. The trails were blazed and everything was supposed to go as planned. But then a series of unfortunate events occurred that severely affected my starting plans. The whole thing seemed improbable.

We (the Polish team) had a few days head start in sending our iceboats to the USA, in case of any unforeseen problems. Our equipment got held up at the Paris airport. Our appeals to the shipping company went unheard. And just when things were looking up, our bad luck continued, as the plane which was supposed to bring our gear three days before the start of the Championships, failed to take off because of a malfunction. Continue reading.

“Simon Says.  The Consultants Weekend”

“Simon Says. The Consultants Weekend”


Daniel Hearn addresses sitka spruce and  the C Skeeter steering system with a little help from friends. 

Previous: “Frosting For Frozen Fun”
When Your Plank Needs Work
A Weak Moment

Stopped by McCormick Lumber over my lunch hour Friday to pick up the one additional Sitka board I needed for the two 20 foot chines on the port side of the hull. I was greeted in the parking lot by the Global CEO of the conglomerate, Andy McCormick, who was returning from a high-powered business lunch. He was still sucking Diet Coke through the straw in the Hardee’s cup. I considered Andy a friend, but witnessing that he’s destroying our oceans still using straws, I may have to reconsider. He escorted me to the yard, probably concerned that I would slap as many boards as I could on top of the Swagger Wagon and tear off without paying. I asked him if he could close the overhead door as I searched for the fastest board, as I was a little cold. He asked me if I always wore my wife’s skirt on Fridays?

Saturday morning, thinking my neighbors probably wouldn’t appreciate the sweet howl of my planner in the driveway at 6:30 a.m., I made my way to my office to get the job done in our storage area. Since I don’t have a garage, I’ve sort of commandeered the space. It’s become an ice sailing junkyard; rather appropriate, as the room also harbors our building’s dumpsters. They don’t stink too bad(ly), and it’s a short throw for getting rid of the sawdust. Bonus. I’m probably supposed to put the $10-per-board-foot waste in a bag before depositing it in the non-recyclable dumpster, but we contract with a private service. They’ll pick up anything, unlike the City of Madison that will leave my carts stranded at the curb like a blind date with a nice personality, if they see one leaf poking out of the lid. With the first job of the day complete, back home for breakfast.

Next stop, Nordhaus Boatwerks. Arranged to meet up with Jim to compare different steering systems. After discussing pros and cons, I decided to go with a Renegade style system, but with a wheel (which is not allowed in the Renegade) and extra purchase achieved by attaching blocks to the steering post flanges and dead-ending the lines that go to the steering wheel sprocket back into a bulkhead. Maybe using Spectra rather than cable. I kinda sounds like I know what I’m talking about, right? Well, truth be told, before my remedial session with Professor Nordhaus, I was as clueless and a redneck in a woman’s studies class.
I was also rather uncertain about how I would ultimately attach the decking to the sideboards, so on my way back from church Sunday I gave Jerry Simon a call. It was 10:25 a.m. I was hoping he might be able to stop by my shop in the next week or so. He said, “I can be there by 11:00.” All Jerry needs is an app, and he could be like Uber. Before the eleventh bell faded, the doorbell chimed in and there he was in his well-worn sailing cap, jeans and work boot style shoes. Cheerful as always. I suspect Jerry is on Lombardi time—”if you’re on time, you’re late.” But he probably backed it off a bit for me, seeing as how it was Sunday, and all. And Palm Sunday, no less. Those services go on forever. No need to document with a watch. Every kid squirming in the pew is evidence enough. Of course Jerry didn’t come empty handed. He came bearing gifts of tools. A pneumatic staple gun in a plastic box with every component and staple size precisely labeled. He provided a detailed tutorial that would rival any YouTube sensation, and then showed me how I would put it to work for no-bubble decking and proper scarf joints.

My consultants weekend wouldn’t have been complete without a call to the Heppert Hot Line. All along I’ve thought it was a Call Center in Kingston, but I’m beginning to think the guy on the other end sounds more Minnesotan, than Jamaican. “How in the heck do I get a six foot level to touch three bulk heads on the sides of a curved boat,” I asked. “You don’t,” the guy said, “that’s only by the top rear spine. “Oh,” I replied sheepishly, thinking that maybe I had already sanded a little too much off the small section I had started with. Oh well, may have to shim out that one bulk head some to maintain the smooth curve. He went on to explain something about the flat spine transitioning into compound curves. “Ah…what,” I thought? But for the record, I never took any women’s studies classes.
(Photos below of steering in Meade restoration project at Nordhaus Boatwerks. My C-Skeeter steering will be similar).

Jane Wiswell Pegel Hall of Champions Dedication Ceremony

Jane Wiswell Pegel Hall of Champions Dedication Ceremony

Jane Wiswell Pegel Hall of Champions Dedication Ceremony

Via the Lake Geneva Yacht Club:

On the 16th day of February 2019, Jane Wiswell Pegel was recognized for her service from 2011 through 2018 as Chief Judge of the Lake Geneva Yacht Club and for her decades of work on our behalf in Race Management as Senior Judge, Principal Race Officer, Regatta Chair, and Race Committee Member.

To honor Jane Wiswell Pegel, LGYC will be hosting a dedication ceremony on May 4th at 5:00 pm. Come show your support for her longtime dedication to the Lake Geneva Yacht Club. Light appetizers will be served. This event is open to all.

The Details:
What: Jane Wiswell Pegel Dedication Ceremony
When: May 4th – 5:00 PM
Where: Lake Geneva Yacht Club

 

LIFE on Ice

LIFE on Ice

William “Curly” Perrigo and son.  Photo: George Silk

LIFE Ice Sailing Photos
As winter still tries to hang on here in the Midwest, take a look at this collection of photos from the great LIFE magazine photographer George Silk. He shot the famous 1962 LIFE cover shot (Excitement on the Ice) of Green Lake’s Joe Norton in his DN. The photo collection appears to be the out takes of Silk’s ice sailing work. Silk was a superb photographer and  may have been one of the first to strap a camera to the top of an iceboat mast. If you recognize any of these ice sailors, please email and let us know!
More LIFE magazines featuring ice sailing:
16 January 1939
23 March 1942

Tip of the Helmet to LifeSail Community Sailing Foundation Founder and Director Matt Schmidt in Marina Del Ray, California. Matt is coordinating an Ice Optimist build “implementing Reach, US Sailing’s STEM Program and Environmental Education Initiative aligned to National Education Standards, offering character and life-skill building activities to under-served and at-risk kids year round.” LifeSail’s Ice Optimist build is a great story, stay tuned for more on that.

“Frosting For Frozen Fun”

“Frosting For Frozen Fun”


Daniel Hearn brings home the second most important part of any iceboating program, the trailer and sees the C Skeeter hull emerge from the parts and pieces.

Frosting For Frozen Fun

When I eat birthday cake (never with ice cream, but I love ice cream…I know, weird) my fork surgically targets the cake part first, leaving mostly frosting for a super sweet, sugar-filled finish. Flower? Corner piece? Ah…yeah…both, please.

It was all frosting at the Spaight Street Syndicate last weekend. Picked up my new C-Skeeter hauler in lower Michigan Saturday morning. Great little trailer company willing to sell direct to consumers and build custom quite economically. On the way there, dropped off a DN mast for repair with Bob Rast. Going to a newbie I assisted getting into a good entry level program. Welcome to the fleet, Vince! Had dinner with my oldest daughter in Chicago and spent the night at her place. I did eat meat on Friday during Lent. Since the Lord can walk on water, he’s certainly an ice boater, so I’m counting on him cutting me some slack.

On Sunday, I got to start dry fitting pieces. It’s been pretty much all cake since I started—planning, ordering, cutting, gluing, carboning, bending, sweeping, swearing, apologizing (to my wife for the excess dust; I don’t think she hears me cussing like a longshoreman). But all of a sudden ,“poof,” it looks like a boat! Frosting for frozen fun is good for my psyche.

Damn, I’m one board short! There I go again with my potty mouth. I’ll have to pay a visit to Andy at McCormick Lumber this week. He’s an Irishman…he won’t mind my language.

Previous: When Your Plank Needs Work
A Weak Moment

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