Congratulations to Four Lakes Ice Yacht members for taking on the dirt at last week’s 2023 Blokart land sailing North American championship at Ivanpah, Nevada.
Land sailing has become a popular way to wrap up (or extend!) the ice sailing season. In recent years, the list of ice sailors making the pilgrimage to Ivanpah for the NALSA or Blokart regattas has been increasing.
In the Performance Superweight division, Jim Nordhaus took first place, Geoff Sobering placed third, and Brad Wagner placed 5th. Jim also took first place overall. Lars Barber took 4th in Performance Middle Weight, and Wayne Schmeidlin took 4th in Performance Heavy Weight. Wayne’s grandson, the veteran junior sailor Aiden Schmeidlin, won the Performance Light Weight division.
The surprise of the regatta was Wayne’s grandson and Aiden’s younger brother, Alex, racing for the first time, winning the Production Lightweight division against some seasoned sailors. Alex was a natural and was at ease even in some big wind. We hope to get Aiden and Alex to learn how their land sailing skills transfer to the ice next season.
Nina Fleming and I were co-PROs. It was our second regatta of the season after working the 2023 DN World Championship on Lake Kegonsa. The cold weather made this event feel more like ice sailing, though we generally don’t have to worry about 75 mph wind gusts on Lake Kegonsa as we did for the day racing was postponed at the Blokart regatta.
The expanding cross-pollination between land and ice sailing benefits both communities and helps to grow both sports.
Congratulations to several of our 4LIYC members for their podium finishes at the 2022 Blokart North American Championship sailed at Ivanpah, Nevada.
From left, Wayne Schmiedlin 2nd Performance Heavy, Aiden Schmiedlin 1st Performance Light (6 overall), Gary Nordhaus 2nd Production Light, Jim Nordhaus 2nd Performance Super (2nd overall), Geoff Sobering 1st Performance Super (1st overall), Lars Barber 2nd Performance Middle, and Brad Wagner 3rd Performance Super (5th overall.)
Even after several years working Race Committee for the North American Blokart Association at the cathedral of land sailing in Ivanpah, Nevada, I find more similarities than differences between ice sailing and land sailing.
I assumed that, unlike ice sailors, dirt sailors had an unlimited supply of venues for sailing. It turns out that land sailors have to monitor surface conditions almost as closely as ice checkers. Dirt just aint dirt, and not all playas are sailable. Just like we search for black ice, they hunt for smooth playas.
Ice sailors dread shell ice while dirt sailors pay attention to rain showers, leaving a bumpy, rutted surface. If a playa dries too quickly, the surface can “cup,” resulting in a rough track. The week before the Blokart NAs, a substantial rain had fallen at Ivanpah, changing the dry lake into an actual wet lake. The surface dried out at the optimal rate, and the rain Zambonied the lumps and bumps, leaving an excellent racing track.
During sturgeon spearing season, fishing clubs plot Lake Winnebago with wooden stakes for vehicle control, but these go away. On some playas, wooden claim stakes are popping up placed by speculators hoping to strike it big in lithium mining.
Ivanpah is unique because the Bureau of Land Management has specifically designated it as an area for “wind sailing.” If you ever get the chance to attend a land sailing regatta at Ivanpah, you won’t regret the experience.
The recent warm weather melted the snow on Lake Mendota this week. 4LIYC members Jim Nordhaus, Don Sanford, and Grant Frautschi took advantage of the marginal conditions before the slush became too deep and the landings deteriorated. See more photos here.
Glue parties have been popular within our Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club for many years. (No – not THAT kind of glue party!) Lars Barber’s Nite mast was the guest of honor last night at the Nordhaus Boatwerks. Fast drying epoxy is the life blood of iceboats and many hands and clamps make for quick mast building.
The summer building and dust making season is in full swing over at the Nordhaus Boatworks. 4LIYC Nite sailors Lars Barber and Brad Wagner are almost to the gluing stage on their Nite masts. Jim Nordhaus shared these photos on the 4LIYC Facebook page.