Iceboating: A Little History and Perspective

Published on January 12th, 2014

Racing iceboats requires flexibility. Finding suitable ice may require significant driving. In bad weather. Case in point: 2014 North American DN Championship. Here are some details from their Notice of Race:

– The primary site is the entire North American Western Region.
– Tentative site information provided on January 14 at 9:00 pm EST.
– Confirmed site information provided on January 16 at 9:00 pm EST.
– Registration and Opening Ceremony on January 18.
– Racing on January 19-25.

And that’s just Plan A.

The following is provided by Kent Baker, Vice Commodore of the International DN Ice Yacht Racing Association, who shares this missive on the history of the DN North American champs which celebrates its 60th birthday this year! Enjoy…

Some of us have been fortunate enough to get some tiller-time in this season. The Great Western Challenge was again a success, despite light air. And for the third year in a row, the Central Lakes Regional Championships were held between Christmas and New Years.

In retrospect, there was something special about our venue for the Centrals in Anchor Bay, Michigan. Located in the northwest corner of Lake St. Clair, we were unintentionally (and most of us unknowingly) sailing on hallowed DN grounds. This was the place where the first DN’s gathered in February of 1953 for a regatta. Following that regatta, Bill Sarns and Clifford Cartright began drafting up the constitution that led to the first DN regatta in February, 1954.

Fortunately there are a few things of permanence. The original regatta hosting club, North Star Sail Club became our Saturday night social spot this year (coincidentally) thanks to Jon Russel (US 5527) who is a member there. Chip Cartright (US 118), grandson of Clifford Cartright, participated in his first regatta in years. The Sarns and Boston names and gear are still prominent on competitive boats today.

Our class is changing. The times can be challenging, but the boats are better than ever. We are anxiously looking for young blood, but we enjoy seeing our old friends at each regatta. After 60 years, one thing is clear: We are amongst the few sailors in the world who are lucky enough to partake in one of the most incredible regatta experiences ever.

– Thrilling chases and dog fights.
– Camaraderie and Competition.
– The fastest speeds and large fleets.
– New friends and old pals.
– Travel locations at times of the season where no sane person would ever go.

If any of those things don’t appeal to you, you are probably at home reading this on your couch. And we are sorry you couldn’t join us. For the rest of you: Welcome, Sail Fast, Be Safe, and have a great regatta!

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