4LIYC Racing Update: Snow Means No Go

Tim McCormick R385 and cousin, Peter McCormick R309 racing Renegade iceboats on Lake Kegonsa, March 5, 2023. Photo: Ethan Brodsky

Heavy, wet snow has fallen on all lakes around Madison. There will be no club racing for March 11 – 12, 2023. However, this post is an excellent opportunity to share more photos from Ethan Brodsky.

 

4LIYC Racing Report: Fun For the Faithful

Ken Whitehorse’s Class A Skeeter WARRIOR. Photo: Ethan Brodsky

4LIYC Racing Scores

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.
Daniel Hearn

A Race to Remember: Race 3 of the DN North American Championship by Chad Atkins

Pat Heppert flags Chad Atkins on Day 1 of the 2023 DN North American Championship sailed on Lake Kegonsa in Madison, WI. Photo by Cathy Firmbach

Chad Atkins and his travel partner, Chris Gordon, are east coast based but keep their DN and Renegade programs in Madison taking advantage of a good season so far. Chad placed 10th in the 2023 DN World Championship and 2nd in the North American Championship sailed on Lake Kegonsa last week. They look forward to pulling their Renegades out of the trailer for some 4LIYC racing or the Northwest.
2023 DN North American Results

A RACE TO REMEMBER
By Chad Atkins
Hello from a very mild Rhode Island. As a winter transplant, a few weekends a year, joining the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club was a no-brainer. I have to give a huge shout-out to Daniel Hearn, who, behind the scenes, went above and beyond with fellow C Skeeter tuning partner and PRO Pat Heppert for going to equal lengths to get both the 2023 DN Gold Cup and North Americans in on Lake Kegonsa. Renegader Ron Rosten was also out helping and moving start lines daily! Don’t forget Deb Whitehorse and the other 4LIYC members that made this 50th-anniversary event such a blast. Thank you all.

 

Once the Gold Cup was complete, many of our European friends decided to head for home, and more than a few North American regatta registrants. Friday’s one race in each fleet (Gold and Silver) was all worth it! Blowing up deep semi-sticky drifts in solid pressure was a race to be remembered!!

Keith Schwark plows through a snow drift on Day 2, in the final race of the 2023 DN North American Championship. Photo by Cathy Firmbach.

It also reinforced a point that our good friend Jost Kolb from Germany expressed that, as a class, we need to see these events through to the end. He talked about a Russian competitor that travels about five days each way in Europe to attend these continental championships and how throwing in the towel or leaving the event because of a forecast isn’t good for our class or why we all do it and love the sport so much.

 

What a day Friday was!!! Thursday night’s snowfall was pleasantly light and fluffy and at the lower end of the forecast. We woke up to trees and branches dancing and the temperature reasonably steady from night to day. It looked promising to complete the North American championship. The day before, the wind died, and we ran out of sunlight.

 

Those who stayed arrived at Springer’s launch to find limited visibility from pulsing whiteout conditions and low-level haze on the lake. Chris Berger and Jost Kolb both took a few laps and determined with Pat that the surface of the course was sailable and we should hang tough for an hour or two to let visibility improve.

 

Around 10:30 AM, Pat decided we would try and start the Gold fleet first. Ron Sherry and Paul Goodwin gave a short safety speed chat about dealing with breeze and snow. Then it was time to get our thoughts, emotions, and breathing in order – this was happening! The breeze was still up, and runners were the easiest choice of equipment with Ronny’s Composite Concepts 440c Bullnote Plates and Slipper Front.

 

When I considered buying those runners, Ron said, “You will thank me when you need them, even if it’s five years from now.” Thanks, Ron, for all three Slipper runners the day before as well; it’s why we have plates.

 

The big question was, what were the drifts doing in texture and size? Can I stay lit with a speed sail, a soft top batten, or keep the power with a full sail? It was a mix with Matt Struble running an ABSS and, I believe, the rest of us running Power Gold or FO1. Matt doesn’t really count since he could beat most of us strapped to some 2×4’s powered by a napkin! He’s a great guy, a natural sailor, and a polished competitor; great to have him back this year!

 

Most of us took a rip up and down, and it would be some physical, exciting sailing with an emphasis on semi-clear goggles. Another snow line came through with some very solid pressure that left us all attending our boats and not letting our sails beat themselves to death.

 

Then the “dry slot” appeared, as Deb refers to it. Pat called Gold fleet to the line. The flag is up, GO! With just a few quick steps, the sail eased, boat hiking as we jumped on the plank and stepped into the boat. We were off, tied by a string, a seesaw back and forth battle plowing and blowing through drifts with a few clear spots to gain speed up the course.

 

At the top, the right side had overstood by less, with US4, young Griffin Sherry, leading as he came off the one block he earned the day before. I was close behind and could sense Jost close behind with the left side boats blazing in under the darling mark (so glad to have these for races like this) and hunting us down. Now for the first turn into a steady line of oncoming traffic from the left. Griffin found his line, and I had to stay a bit higher to avoid a few boats.

 

By the time the snow cleared, we were just bouncing and hiking downwind, and it was all I could do not to start hooting and hollering. That is until a quick glance to leeward showed that Griffin had slid back in my window looking slower and mast straight; he looked ok. And POW, a huge drift exploded all over me! I wiped my goggles, and nothing happened.

 

Oh boy, all that snow on my face had made its way under and inside my goggles, leaving me with enough visibility to see the pits of the leeward mark. With compromised visibility, I was glad to have a thinned-out fleet as I cleared out enough frozen snow to see properly before another drift, hike, butt, and shoulders back to steady things out.

 

Another solid vein of pressure sent us into a gybe to the bottom mark, and around we all went. Quickly after rounding, this US44 guy (Ron Sherry) appeared to leeward, absolutely ripping, deep breath going fine, and by the time I looked over my left, another boat with red numbers reading US183 (Matt Struble) had just tacked, so off to starboard we went.

Damn, I was way overstood and bouncing off and through drifts. Reaching down had no advantage like it would on cleaner ice. Another few laps of the same exciting non-stop action, the North American championship was complete!

 

PRO Pat Heppert ran a last Silver fleet race on top of that, making it three races in each fleet before the dry slot closed and more weather came in. A great way to end a memorable week. Congratulations to Matt Struble for his Gold Cup and North American win and the entire fleet for sticking it out and having the confidence to make it happen. There’s plenty more racing left in the season if Mother Nature allows it.
Chad Atkins

Kegonsa From a Yellow Super Cub

DNs wait for wind on Lake Kegonsa, January 7, 2023. Photo: Jeff Russell.

It was iceboat central here in Four Lakes on January 7 – 8, 2023. The DN Western Region championship and the 4LIYC each had a course on Lake Kegonsa. Saturday’s lack of wind may not have been ideal for ice sailing, but it was a perfect day for landing a Super Cub. Renegader Jeff Russell stopped by to say hello to the DNs and then hopped over to join his fellow Renegaders at Springer’s.

 

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