The unofficial hard-water season kick-off

Published on December 18th, 2019

The Great Western Challenge iceboat regatta started years ago as an informal scratch racing regatta and over the years has become the unofficial hard-water season kick-off.

Held on the first weekend of December, on the best ice in the Western Region, it has grown into a major event over the years. Despite a postponement this season due to snow, it sill lived up to the hype: it was a challenge, it was western, and it was GREAT.

While the postponement took a bite out of the fleet size, 49 DN iceboaters gathered in two fleets on Puckaway Lake in Princeton, WI. The first day saw fast and furious racing as the breeze was up and the course was short; ripping around the course at speeds in the 40-50 knot range favored an instinct-driven, gut-level approach. Light air and shifty conditions on the second day required a more cerebral mindset. Always good to sail in a variety of conditions.

Tim Dixon took the top spot in the Silver Fleet with Bill Bucholz from Maine taking second spot and Warren Nethercoate from Nova Scotia rounding out the podium in third. In the Gold Fleet Ron Sherry won a tie-breaker with T. Thieler from RI to take first. Chris Berger sailed a good series to take third spot.

Recruiting a volunteer army to run races this time of year in Miami is one thing, but how about gathering a crew without the balmy weather and umbrella bevies? Props to the race committee, scorekeepers, ice scouts, and the iceboating community for getting the season underway.

Complete results: http://dniceboat.org/idniyra/2019westernchallenge.html

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