Baikal Day 4 Update

An Ice Optimist digs in on Lake Baikal. Photo: Igor Bassearab

A few short messages and photos from Mike were waiting in the in-box this morning. Looks like he’s starting the journey back home.
Update: I’m not sure if he’s heading back. Stay tuned for more updates.

Postponed. Gusts to 17m/s. No racing. The Baikal Beast is roaring. Way too much wind.

Baikal Day 3 PM Update

DN sailing on Lake Baikal. Photo: Igor Bassearab

Mike Bloom wrote this tonight. The sailing conditions are tough but are inconsequential compared to the challenges he will be facing trying to get back to his home ice on Minnetonka. Good luck, Mike. We are pulling for you.

Very tiring day. And frustrating.


The course is 60-80% covered with Styrofoam snow drifts. Many drifts are taller than a runner.


Today we saw nuclear winds, massive wind shifts and super light wind, all in the first race. After today’s first race was completed and scored the race committee threw it out. They said conditions were unfair.


We then sat or slept for the next 3 hours waiting for the wind to reappear.


Racing resumed about 4:30 pm. The race was completed and score. Polish sailor Marek Stefaniuk P107 won the race. The race was like riding a hobby horse. Between the puffs and the sticky drifts the boats were very jumpy. Tons and tons of sheeting in and out. Never could get into a groove.


We sailed a third race that was not without drama. We started about 5:15. First lap had nice steady breeze. Second lap it started to die. Second time down wind saw lots of the leaders out of their boats. Between the light air and big big drifts jibing was impossible. Third lap was very light upwind and down. Again, most everyone was out of boat at some point. Many sailors retired. As I got to finish the scorers we’re waking away. I was told race was abandoned. They said the leader didn’t make time limit. But tonight results were magically posted… with mistakes.


We sailed in as the sun set, which happens here at about 7. It then promptly turned dark. Very frustrating to take boat apart in the dark. We could have used the headlights on the Probe’s suburban to shine some light on the pits.


Huge winds with nuclear puffs are forecasted starting tonight into tomorrow. Virtually everyone took down their masts, tied them to their hulls and anchored boat to ice.


Many sailors are heading home early. There is much concern about European countries closing boarders. Seems like the affects of the norovirus has finally hit Baikal.


Not sure what I’m going to do. Delta has already told me my flight to Mpls has been cancelled. I rebooked on Air France but now they too say my flights have been cancelled. If any of you big wigs have a private jet, please let me know. I would like to get home at some point.


Time for bed. Think ice.
Mike Bloom

Baikal Day 3 Report

DNs line up to start a race on Lake Baikal. Photo: Igor Bassearab


After a couple of days of wind famine, the feast arrived on Baikal. Mike Bloom sent a photo a few hours ago with a short message that the racing was delayed because the wind was blowing 10 meters per second (22 mph). The situation turned around and they were able to race today. See video below. More: Baikal Ice Yacht Racing Facebook page.




Baikal Day 2 Report from Mike Bloom

Minnetonka DNer Mike Bloom on Lake Baikal.                                                             Photo: Sophia Marc-Martin

Bottom line: no sailing today.

After being served lunch in the pits, the fleet was instructed to assemble a few miles down the lake on the other side of a huge rock island. Once there, a silver qualifier was attempted but black flagged due to an expired time limit on the 3rd Lap. Next it was the OptI fleet’s turn to be blacked flagged when nobody made it to the weather mark.


No Gold fleet races were attempted. We can’t sail till the Silver qualifier takes place.


Finally, at about 5 pm we were excused for the day. And yes, no sooner were we told to go home then the wind came up. Since the sun doesn’t set till nearly seven Chris Berger convinced Peter Hamrak, a Russian named Sergei, and Mike Bloom to sail multiple hot laps back near the pits.


The ice on Baikal is less than ideal. I’d rate the ice a 6. The lake is full of snow drifts that are deep and hard. It takes some great steering and lot of luck to navigate the course. Hopefully, our evening session will serve us well tomorrow, when the wind is predicted to reappear.


It’s been another long day. Time for a shower and some shut eye.

Mike Bloom  US321

Beautiful Baikal

Photo: Igor Bassearab

Over on the other side of the world, the annual Lake Baikal Ice Yachting week began today.  Three “locals” are there, Chicago’s Chris Berger & Marcy Grunert, and Minnetonka DNer Mike Bloom who sent report below. Follow along on the Baikal Ice Yacht Racing Facebook page.

First day.
Nice breeze when I got up. Having traveled through 13 times zone my body is so confused from jet lag I don’t know what time it is. So today, getting to ice very early was easy. A few folks came down to empty the shipping containers so we could all set up.

The amount of gear in the containers was impressive. 35 hulls, masts, planks, sails and runners take up a ton of shoreline. Here’s a picture when we were about 1/2 way done.  The best part was watching the sailors get to the ice. It looked like Christmas morning as the sailors all picked out their gear. Opening ceremony was at 11. Then wind died. We’ll try again tomorrow. Should be wind tomorrow.