Please select your home edition
Edition
Wildwind 2016 728x90

When 'winterizing' means going sailing!

by Glenn McCarthy/Sail-World Cruising on 13 Nov 2013
Ice boats lining up .. .
When the weather gets too cold in the northern hemisphere many winterize their boats, others (the lucky ones) head for warmer climes, but there's another category of sailors that just start to get excited as the world ices in - it's the ice boaters. Here we tell of the Renegades of Lake Michigan, and of the people who sail in them.

The Renegade is bit smaller than the more common Skeeter, it's design performed well and commonly can go as fast as a Skeeter. The boat was designed by Elmer Millenbach of Detroit in 1947 at 21' long, 8' wide, and mast 16' tall.

These boats include a springboard. This is a sprit out the bow of the hull that the front runner is attached to. When a gust occurs, the power from the sail transfers downward pressure. For boats without a springboard, commonly the boat will heel over bringing one blade of the runner off the ice to burn off the pressure. While you might presume this makes a boat faster, it actually slows it down. So the springboard absorbs some of that downward pressure keeping all three blades on the ice until that new power can be transferred into forward speed and the springboard eases back up. Just a little cool piece of technology...

Most Renegades are steered by foot pedals, so both hands are free to trim the sail. Others do have a tiller that comes from the front runner.

Ice boat sailor and Sailing Judge Chuck Kotovic of Emerald Yacht-Ship explained that many great liquid water sailors kept their edge during the winter by sailing their ice boats.

As these boats are raced, 'Two racing rules that are different from soft water sailing are:

Upwind boats always have rights over downwind boats regardless of port/starboard.
Downwind, the windward boat has rights over the leeward boat.

These come from mainly safety issues due to the maneuverability and visibility. A full set of the Ice Boat Right of Way Rules are found on the www.iceboat.org website.

Ice Boats have rules about conditions in order to sail, they won't start sailing when the air temperature is 0-10 degrees or lower or when the wind speed is above 25 mph. Think about it, what the heck is the windchill when wind is whistling by you at 70 mph without a windshield?

It's not an expensive sport either. A quick check for pre-owned prices on the internet found boats from $1,000 - $6,500 ready to go and at the upper end $8,000 - $10,500 including lots of spare parts and a matching trailer.

For safety's sake, Ice Boaters wear warm winter clothing that can handle exposure to high wind speeds, goggles, spiked shoes to push off with, helmet (motorcycle type), an inflatable life jacket and 2 ice picks.

What are those last two items for? A few times each winter someone will sail into open holes in ice into the freezing water. You need to be able to pull yourself back up onto firm ice. While tests are performed on ice for thickness, water springs and birds can keep water moving in spots which makes ice thinner in those area. You can't test the thickness of a whole lake.

Fascinated? Well the only disadvantage is that you need a lot of frozen water, and that's hard to come by in Australia and New Zealand. Nevertheless, for more information and more stories - go to the http://www.iceboat.org/renegade/!International_Renegade_Ice_Yacht_Association.

Harken AUS HL Snatch Block 660x82Sail Port Stephens 2017 660x82Sail Exchange 660x82 1

Related Articles

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie tracking southwards today, bringing rain
Heavy rain and flooding is expected as Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie moves south-east. Heavy rain and flooding is expected as Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie moves south-east. A Flood Watch has been issued for coastal catchments between Gladstone in Queensland and Bellingen in northern New South Wales. The Flood Watch extends inland to parts of the Central Highlands and Coalfields, Central West, Maranoa and Warrego, Darling Downs and Granite Belt forecast districts...
Posted today at 10:19 am
Ayr, Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays to meet Cyclone Debbie
Having intensified to a Cat4 TC now, Debbie is expected to hit during the course of Monday night and into Tuesday mornin Having intensified to a Cat3 TC now and Cat4 when it will make landfall, Debbie is expected to hit during the course of Monday night and into Tuesday morning (0400hrs). Thus far, there have been police enforced evacuations around Ayr, as it is expected that this will be the biggest event since the all-powerful TC5 Yasi hit back in 2011. There are also reports of residents refusing to leave
Posted on 26 Mar
X-Yachts advisory board announces ambitious strategy plan
X-Yachts now has three unique and different ranges. All three lines will be further developed and refined. Catering for a complete cross section of sailors prioritising Superb Sailing Pleasure, X-Yachts now has three unique and different ranges. All three lines will be further developed and refined.
Posted on 24 Mar
South African sailors rescued off WA coast
Three South African sailors have been winched to safety in the remote Indian Ocean Three South African sailors have been winched to safety in the remote Indian Ocean, after their mast broke on the way to New Zealand. The stricken yacht was 1300km off the Australian mainland's most south westerly point. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) says the men had been sailing from South Africa to New Zealand
Posted on 19 Mar
Securely moored to the quay, or cast adrift?
With boating, you have to cast the lines off in order to go and get into it. With boating, you have to cast the lines off in order to go and get into it. However, when it comes to your insurer, you kind of expect that they’re going to be as bound to you as the standing rigging is to the mast, the ring frames to the hull, or the engine mounts to the runners, and the propellers to the shafts, skegs and cutlass bearings. Whom would you rather be insured with?
Posted on 15 Mar
Clipper Race crew safety brief
Founder and Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has prepared the following safety update for all Clipper 2017-18 Race crew Ocean yacht racing has its risks. But by far the best way to minimise those risks is a culture of safety and constant vigilance amongst all ocean yachtsmen, including Clipper Race Crews. Staying safe must be a paranoia.
Posted on 14 Mar
Lisa Blair crosses Cape Horn on 50th day of Antarctic circumnavigation
Day 49 was marked with Lisa's first sighting of land - the snow capped mountains of Chile - since departing Albany Sydney-based sailor and adventurer Lisa Blair 32, has today reached 50 days at sea and successfully crossed Cape Horn in her attempt to be the first woman in history to circumnavigate Antarctica solo and unassisted.
Posted on 13 Mar
Thirteenth Blog from on board Perie Banou II
Well I am anchored off Jamestown Saint Helena. Good place to be. So it is. Jon is at St Helena in the Atlantic - British ilse after some of the French ones he has been to. He's off seeing the island and catching up with his friends from the little Swarbrick, Liberdade. As usual, full of beans and living life, remembering heaps and always factual, given how much he reads on board. Yet another great tale, so dive right in...
Posted on 9 Mar
Twelfth Blog from on board Perie Banou II
Jon's steady progress sees him arrives in St Helena in the South Atlantic I am on the ocean as I type. By the time you read I should be tied to a mooring Jamestown, British island of Saint Helena, South Atlantic. Since last writing it has been mild. Wind behind pushing me. My mainsail - always 1 reef & wee jib. Progress good and comfortable. One can get squalls, often more to the west than where I am. Night time squalls.
Posted on 2 Mar
Immortal
Take your mind back to a Russell Mulcahy film from 1986 called, Highlander. Take your mind back to a Russell Mulcahy film from 1986 called, Highlander. The former music video producer’s first feature film was a cult star before going on to become a wee bit immortal, as per its main characters. The principal thrust of it all was a gathering of immortal souls, and in the end, there could be only one.
Posted on 28 Feb