Keep it simple, stupid

Published on March 10th, 2022

Sailing enthusiasts are experts at making the sport complicated and technical, increasing costs and commitment to excel. This trend has impacted participation, but there still are loopholes in the culture.

Meet the Lockley Skimmer 45, and while this iceboat is dismissed by the cool kids on the playground, the LS-45 remains a simple no-nonsense thrilling way to sail on the ice. John Ziermann is a Skimmer devotee and shares these points of interest:

• They DO NOT float – $20 will get you a 500lb+ fishing magnet just in case.
• Over 5,000 sold, so used ones are available.
• You can buy one today from the factory.
• Great learning tool for iceboating – simple hand and foot controls.
• Billy Joel bought one from the late, great ice boater Bob Reeves (a sales rep for Lockley on Long Island).
• Trailer not needed. Parts are small enough to transport in or on top of your vehicle.
• No need to buy a single runner for $950, sail $1140, mast $1400. A set of three runners can be had for under $50.
• You don’t need 2X2 miles of ice. Just a quarter to a half mile is perfect. No need to wait for big ice.
• Little ponds freeze sooner, stay frozen longer, and with bad weather heal faster.
• Runner alignment is easy with an alignment adapter plate. Alignment is accomplished for different sized skippers on the ice. No need for an expensive dial indicator, laser, or jig to align your runners.
• Sail with a LS-45 365 days a year, either on ice or land (wind permitting).
• Sets up in 20 minutes. Simple tools needed for assembly.
• Low maintenance. No exotic materials used in its construction.
• A single can of spray paint covers the LS-45 with some paint left over. Be creative with multiple colors.
• Multiple sail sizes. 45sqft or 50.6sqft available. Make your own sail with luff sleeve construction.
• Foot steering allows two hands for the mainsheet.
• Parts missing, no problem. Use 4mm cables for shrouds, hardware store fasteners, runners are 1/4 or 3/8 inch plate steel. Runner sharpener plans available. Set of three runners can be made for under $50.
• Body friendly upright seating with comfy suspended sling made out of any material.
• Easy to modify and innovate.
• Experienced ice sailors have downsized to LS-45s or have added a LS-45 to their fleet of ice boats just for the fun of it. Easy to bring your iceboat and a LS-45 for a newbie to try.
• Thrifty sailors own LS-45s
• There are times when LS-45s are sailing when no one else can.
• Easy to store – all pieces are less than 8′ long.

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