Fun For The Faithful
This time of year, when both the weather and the Fat Lady are warming up, it’s only the faithful who show up for possible ice sailing. What looked to be a questionable weekend turned out to be loads of fun. On Saturday morning, the ice had firmed up nicely, but there didn’t appear to be a lot of wind, as our launch area was on the protected shore. Undeterred, as the rest of the faithful had what we’ll call a casual setup pace, I pushed off to check things out. Once clear of the point, Chaos, my Renegade, hooked up immediately. For about the next hour, I explored the entire lake, never seeing any ice to be concerned about. By about 11:00 or so, the rest of the fleet made their way out to the .9 mile course set up by our esteemed Treasurer and Saturday PRO, Jerry Simon, assisted by the Goddess of All Things Ice Sailing, Deb Whitehorse. It became apparent that racing might be a challenge at this point. And since we were now conveniently located on the Springer’s side of the lake, we decided the wise call would be to head to lunch. We summoned our Ice Uber, a red Bombardier with license DX 4967, driven by Jerry, who promptly delivered us to our destination. Delicious lunches were had by all. And one beer, but not by an iceboat pilot.
Shortly after 1:00, we decided it was time to give it a go. By the time the first flag dropped, the ice had softened up quite a lot with the increasing temperatures. The Renegades went off on port and the DNs went off on starboard. The first lap was great for everybody, but then the combination of slushier surface and lighter wind turned the remainder of the race into a pushing contest. The former runner and the former triathlete, both with bad knees, continued their battle until realizing the RC had taken down the bottom mark. The sailor who prefers a supplemental push at the start and the one who had some work done on his ticker, were much smarter than the over-the-hill athletes. They retired after the first lap chuckling to themselves watching two knuckleheads try to sail in slush without enough wind. Chris Berger in his DN was able to keep her going for three laps, so he was our one race overall winner.
Hoping the forecasted afternoon wind would arrive, we made our way back to the pits, some with motorized assistance. After an hour or so of visiting in the pits, the breeze did indeed fill in. The surface was slushy in spots, but we now had enough velocity to blast right through. The DNs ventured back out, along with Greg McCormick and me in our Renegades. We had a wonderful afternoon just sailing around. Once it started to drizzle, we decided it was time to call it a day.
When I pulled up to the ice Sunday, it was already a great day. It warmed my heart to see my friend, Tim McCormick, on the ice setting up his Renegade. Tim has been fighting a more important battle, so I was thrilled to see him. And joining the optimism for the day, were Kenny and Pk setting up their A-Class Skeeters, with the newly MacGyvered DN Western Region ATV stationed nearby. As the morning progressed, many guests arrived with Nites and DNs. It was wonderful to meet so many new people who share our passion. Also joining was a couple who came all the way from the Twin Cities just to check out ice sailing. They’ve been following the action on our website, so with an open weekend available, Greta and Handan (sorry, doc, if I just sent your name to the ER) to see if they could get a ride. After a tour of the various boats and a spin on the motorized kick sled, they took turns driving my Renegade assisted with the new boat-pusher Kenny made for the WR-ATV. With the coach just astern, “left-right-sheet in-sheet out” were the only instructions needed. They both did great and also took turns in Tim Mower’s DN. Hope they’ll join us again!
By mid-afternoon, the breeze had filled in nicely. With the, now, pretty slushy conditions and wise age of our A-Skeeter pilots, they elected to do flying starts for their races. We’d wind them up with the WR-ATV; they’d get themselves in close formation and pass through the line together to start each race. It worked great and PK and Kenny had a ball. At least until PK’s mast dropped near the top mark. You’ll have to get those “dets” from him on that. The Renegades ripped off four races, each won by a McCormick. And the DNs also notched four, with Matt Meyer setting the pace.
Back in the pits, it was a group effort to get everything off the ice using the aluminum ramps to protect the ice. Andy McCormick showed up at that time. It was either a meeting of the Irish Republican Army–Madison Chapter, or a discussion about the Northwest. Maybe both.
Launch at Amundson. DO NOT DRIVE ON THE ICE. Trailers can be pushed on. Please be courteous and drop your trailer and move your vehicle so that others can use the ramp. First race at 10 AM.
Four Lakes Club sailing is on for this weekend for Lake Kegonsa. Ice checkers inspected Monona, Mendota and Kegonsa. Kegonsa had the fewest patches of shallow, slushy snow, particularly toward the north side of the lake. Plenty of thickness. Surface rated a “6.” Spotty ruts left from refrozen ice fishermen tracks. Little fishing activity of the lake Friday. Amundsen launch currently fairly solid. Some water collecting at the front and left side. Best launch spot on the left side (west) of ramp. Aluminum ramps will be set up to preserve the launch for the possibility of the Northwest Regatta next Fri. – Sat.
Wind forecast light until around noon. May be perfect opportunity to set up in the morning and enjoy a pre-racing lunch at Springers. Good breeze on Sunday.
The fat lady may be warming up her vocal chords, so don’t miss it this weekend!
There was no racing today but some beam reaching. We had ice and relatively warm temperatures, but the racing breeze was absent. Bill Mattison used to say, “there’s much to be learned” on days like these. It was a good to day to set up your boat for the first time and make sure everything was working.
Sunday’s Schedule: 4LIYC Holiday Series for Sunday, January 1, 2023. Flag drops at 10 AM. Plus the infamous Bloody Mary 10-lapper.
12-31-2022: Racing is called on. Waiting for wind.
The 4LIYC Tune-Up (for Saturday) and Holiday series (for Sunday) have been tentatively called on for December 31, 2022, and January 1, 2023, on Lake Kegonsa. Ice checkers will scout and sail Kegonsa on Saturday morning. We’ll confirm by 11 AM.
We received reports that Kegonsa is a consistent 7″ and is a solid sheet. We saw ATVs crossing the lake today and a few fish houses. The ice did not wet out because the snow was dry and powdery. Temperatures were relatively cold today, in the 30s.
The first race will start on Saturday, December 31, 2022, at 1 PM on Lake Kegonsa. Push trailers on the ice. DO NOT DRIVE ON THE ICE!
Ice checkers found 7″ of ice on Lake Monona on the west side,, but some open areas in the middle of the lake made Kegonsa a better choice. Mendota has 3″ of ice.
4LIYC Tune-Up & Holiday Series
December 31, 2022 and January 1, 2023
First Race: 1 PM, Saturday, December 2022
Sunday Start: 10 AM
Please be courteous to all who use the landing: Do not drive on the ice. Roll trailers on. Drop your trailer and park.
Don’t block the landing.
Skeeters, Renegades, and Nites gathered on Friday for what possibly was the last day of racing on Lake Monona. Saturday’s record 1.2″ of rain, high winds, and forecasted warm temperatures may have put an end to the season here, but we’ll check to make sure of that.
Ken Whitehorse and Paul Krueger raced nine times in close match racing style. Ken told me, “Paul wanted to go for a record-breaking ten races, but I was the voice of reason and said we have to get the boats home.” Thanks Ken and Paul for getting us out there on Thursday and Friday .Always a pleasure to see the familiar red Renegade #11, with Mike Ripp at the helm, back on Lake Monona.
Taking advantage of our proximity to downtown Madison, Scott hauled us in the ATV trailer to the shore. We clambered up the sea wall, walked across the street, and had iceboaters lunch.
Lake Monona has been perfect for us this season, generating more interest in our sport and reintroducing Madisonians to the reality that we’ve been sailing these hard waters since the 1870s.