Fun is fun, no matter the size

Published on January 8th, 2024

Unlike sailboats which can sink or struggle to bring us home, iceboats can always provide some degree of enjoyment. And they need not be big as Charlie Silfvenius offers in this report:

Some of us may be limited in our lifestyles, ie by not having storage room, or a car/truck big enough to haul our toys, or the size of our bank accounts. But when it comes to ice fun, you don’t have to, “Go big or go home!”

Whenever I could borrow my dad’s book, Ice Boating by S. Calhoun Smith, I was drawn to these little guys. This looked about the right size for me, a ten year old at the time. My dad was too busy building his rig, (see post First Ride) so I never mentioned the Icebird to him as a project.

However, being an aficionado of the unusual, this small craft was always in the back of my mind. Somewhere along the line I acquired a crude set of plans and in my adulthood built the “Ironing Board” as my wife used to call it. I can’t say that it had many long distant voyages, but it was always an attraction when set up.

Obviously, I took some leeway with the design, but it would still scoot around the ice fairly well. The size was agreeable to just chucking it into the van, and the weight such that my wife or young children could easily haul it to the ice. It only took 10 minutes to set up and the fun began. It provided the wonderful experience of, “first ride” to all who asked although maybe not the adrenaline rush of bigger boats.

A few years later, while freezing myself on Moosehead Lake with beautiful black ice and temperatures that never made it above zero degrees, that’s Fahrenheit for clarification, I met a fellow DNer who came up from New Jersey with his mother and……her Icebird. Although this was a while back, I believe there is still an active class of these that when ice happens, they gather.

As we all know, the definition of a race is “two boats on the same lake”. Naturally if I had one and another one showed up here in the lakes region of New Hampshire, I’m sure we would sail up next to one another and…………? I might need to check my parts stock and piece together one of these for poops and giggles. Maybe even try for the Hardway record as the smallest craft.

Fun is fun, no matter what the size. Think ice.

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