Staying true to our tradition of recognizing the first boat on the ice, we present Canadian DN sailor Paul Chamberland. Yesterday, he powered two DNs through the woods to get to Owlseye Lake near his hometown in Alberta, Canada. Paul reported that the lake is 5.5″ maximum depth, making it the perfect early season lake.
Ice sailors from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, and New York gathered at the Wisconsin Iceboat Swap Meet in Green Lake, WI, on Sunday, October 22, 2023. Meanwhile, 4,000 miles away in Sweden, Norwegian DN sailor Kai Linde had the 2023-2024 season’s first iceboat ride in the world. Who will be first in North America? New York DNer Paul Chamberland, who came for the Swap Meet, will try for that milestone when he visits family in Alberta, Canada, in a few weeks. Paul is optimistic about the upcoming week of ice-making temperatures and hopes to find some sailable ice.
The Green Lake Ice Yacht Club delivered perfect fall weather for the event and organized the raffle, a tradition started by the Skeeter Iceboat Club’s Jane Pegel.
Of course, this being iceboating, a trailer situation presented some problem-solving opportunities right off the bat for new DN Junior Sailing Secretary Sam Bartel. Speaking of Jane Pegel, she generously donated her trailer to the DN Junior program a few years ago. Sam collected the trailer from Madison on Saturday night, but unfortunately, the axle broke on his way to Green Lake near Beaver Dam. As we know, trailers can always be unpredictable. Daniel Hearn, Dale Gordon, Dash, and I swung by Don Anderson’s to borrow a flatbed trailer and rescued the DN trailer on the way home from the Swap Meet with an assist from trailer specialist DNer Matt Meyer.
Thanks to the Green Lake Ice Yacht Club for a fantastic Swap Meet with perfect conditions.
The good news: Lake Monona froze over on December 19, 2022. The cold temperatures will likely keep it locked, unlike past years when the lake tended to go through freeze-and-thaw cycles.
The let’s wait-and-see news: The National Weather Service is keeping an eye on a system for Thursday and Friday. Maybe the 50 mph winds will push the snow to one side of the lake!
Ice Safety Review
From the NOAA Forecast Discussion
LONG TERM…(Issued 341 AM CST Mon Dec 19 2022)
Sustained winds of 30 to 35 mph, with gusts of 40 to 50 mph are currently expected, with the strongest winds near the Lake Michigan shoreline. With these winds coinciding with the time period of snowfall, am growing more concerned for whiteout conditions and very dangerous travel. Thus, will need to keep an eye on the potential need for any blizzard headlines.
As far as I can tell, John Eisenlohr threw the opening ball today, close to his home, for the 2022-2023 ice sailing season. John and a friend rigged up their Mini-Skeeters on Smith Lake near Kalispell, Montana.
Via the Mini-Skeeter Facebook Page:
So begins the season. Pretty good ice in some spots with some 2” drifts in others. I got a few one way runs right on the edge of sailing. At any rate it was a nice 20 degree sunny day to be outside.
Canadians, start your engines! DNer Mike Madge inaugurated the ice sailing season in North America on Whitefish Lake near Thunder Bay, Ontario, which often has the longest ice sailing seasons in the world. Video here.