tried ice sailing two years ago up on Lake Simcoe on a 4.5 sail during
a snow storm with white-outs, again
last spring in light winds on Kempenfelt Bay in Barrie and subsequently
having read a number of articles on the activity, I made a board and
After quite a number
of trips to Frenchman's Bay in Pickering and numerous modifications,
I became aware of some shortcomings of my design which I continued to
on to broaden its performance in different conditions (i.e. snow covered
ice and various ice conditions). Eventually, I decided
to buy a board which Charles
Chepregi had been improving over
a 10 year period - the Snowfer - a board that can go on ice or snow,
or even snow covered ice, with speed and control.
It was not long
before I met others who also sailed on the ice at their favorite spots,
and those who traveled for better conditions, as in the summer when
a stream of vehicles
laden down with boards, booms, etc. head up to Lake Simcoe on a good
or to Lake Erie on a southwester...yes I drive one
of those vehicles. But in ice sailing, a good day can be had in four
to eight knots of wind and it just gets better when its 15 - 20 knots.
Average sail size ranges from
4.0 to 5.5.
I've sailed with
Charles , the Snowfer's inventor, several times and I just have to get
lay-down gives wired - how does he do them so smoothly? He reminds me
that it just takes practice and
it's really not that difficult - Where
have I heard that before and from whom?
To Jackson's Point,
on February 17 and 18, racers
came from across Ontario and
down into the States from as far away as Wisconsin and Rhode Island.
On Saturday, the
17th, the winds were a little light, skies overcast, temperature hovered
at -7 degrees and the forecast called snow in the afternoon. The winds
picked up and after race numbers were handed
out, the course set up and skippers meeting held, the practicing started
exposing some very talented
sailors, speeding their boards across the lake in some very light winds.
It is common to go three to four times faster than the wind speed in
good conditions. The current speed record is in excess
of 50 mph, so proper attire is a
must for safety. Everyone I spoke
to wore elbow pads, knee pads, a good helmet and a life jacket that
cushions falls to the chest and
back (it also does an amazing job
of keeping your upper body warm). The rest of the attire was to the
individuals' liking - snowboard
pants, ski jackets, insulated gloves and boots - for comfort, ease of
movement and warmth.
What a collection
of boards and sails as 30 sailors waited anxiously for the flag to drop
for the start. Once the flag dropped and all were off the starting line
heading for the first mark, I was reminded of the Mammoth Marathon,
except that after a couple of
pumps of the sail, these boards sped up and maintained speed because
of the minimal drag of
the ice compared to water.
Sunday morning racing continued with a dramatic change in conditions.
The temperature was -17 celsius, wind speed 30 kilometers and building
and wind chill - BRRR! Sailors rigged 5.0s and before lunch were down-
sizing to 4.0 and smaller.
Overall race results were as follows: Kevin Stittle of
Orangeville placed first, Russ Dewar of Pickering came in second, and
Dale Cantera of Orangeville finished third overall. There were five
divisions but all raced at the same time, trophies and prizes were awarded
in all classes.
Lunch was supplied by Charles at noon and the afternoon was spent checking
our speed with a radar gun and honing our skills.
Ice sailing starts when many of us finish windsurfing. It finishes
when many of us start windsurfing. It uses much of the same equipment
(particularly the high wind equipment which is never used enough during
the windsurfing season). It is far easier to learn than windsurfing
if you have
never tried the summer sport. About this time of the year,
many of us start getting in shape
for the upcoming windsurfing season by frequenting the gym or working
out more often. Just
think, you'd never have to work
at getting in shape for windsurfing
- you'd always be in shape for windsurfing - you'd always be in shape
if you ice sailed. It's the natural winter sport, so join us on the
ice from November to April.