With a little help from my friends…

Published on November 10th, 2022

When the cost in time and money to participate in sailing exceeds the pleasurable benefit, people seek alternative activities. For iceboaters, they find benefit everywhere as explained by Jay Whitehair, Vice Commodore of New England Ice Yacht Association:


Many years ago I brought a 1940(ish) Meade 22’ skeeter home from the NEIYA swap meet. It was in rough shape, and on arrival home, my wife immediately discovered me struggling to hide it in her garage. I was swiftly informed that I have a habit of ‘impulse purchasing’ when it comes to old boats.

I assured her on the spot that I knew exactly what I was doing, and that as long as I admitted that I have a problem dragging boats home, I’m well on the road to recovery. “12 steps… one day at a time. I’m healing,” and the skeeter was quickly rerouted to the barn.

Short story spoiler alert: I truly don’t have any prior knowledge about these large boats. They’re a bit intimidating, require help to move about, and there is no instruction manual in the glove box to help sort out the details. So what’s the good news here? It’s the depth of the NEIYA’s member experience.

It seems whenever I ask anybody a question, I don’t just get an answer but rather I hear myriad of options. Parts are often offered on the spot. Advice is rampant. Motivation is unavoidable! Apparently at this point, I’ve run out of excuses not to have Chilly Willy (formerly Skat) on the ice for 2023 and I owe a ton of thanks to all my advisors and mentors for that.

It’s palpable now. Momentum is clearly building for the Vintage Returns 2023 event. We’ve heard from many sailors that they are planning to revisit the hard waters of Lake Winnipesaukee after a long hiatus. By all appearances this is turning out to be the seasonal event not-to-miss.

I hope to see you and your family there, where extra help and hands are waiting to assist you, for sharing rides, keeping warm by an on-ice fire pit, eating good pot luck food…. and of course, enjoying good company.

Help dig out the old boats! Offer assistance and encouragement to newcomers and others in need. Get them to the ice and we can all help from there… this is the year Vintage Returns! You’ll never fly if you don’t try….

The annual clinic is a GREAT place to have your questions answered, meet the gang, and become hopelessly addicted to the fastest sailing on the planet. All sailors welcome. No experience necessary.

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