It's winter. It's cold. If you still want to sail what do you do? Just like fisherman who drill a hole in the ice and sit for hours for the love of it, dedicated sailing leads those who still want to sail in winter to one thing:
According to an older article from Red Bull, "Sailors race without a seat belt, protective panel, or brakes. Not that they care much"
“You never know with this sport,” says Ron Sherry, a five-time world ice sailing champ and genial Detroit native who journeyed over for another shot at the title. “There are many things that can stop it from working. Too much wind, too little wind, too much snow, too much ice, not enough ice… but when it’s right, there’s nothing like it. It’s absolutely the most fun you can have with your clothes on.”
Want to know about the history? Check Wikipedia. Want to know about the psychology of it all? Stick around because these "blade runners" are one crazy bunch. One reason they do it? Adrenaline. (view more photos on our Ice Sailing Pinterest Board)
“When you’re flying almost silently over the ice, all alone, you feel a deep sense of happiness,” explains Austrian Niklas Müller-Hartburg. “And it’s a battle: a battle with yourself, with nature, with your opponents. And it’s not that cold. Adrenaline makes sure of that.”
There is a certain something about going speeds up to 80 mph on single-seater boats only 12 feet long. Wanna take a ride? You won't be joined by a crowd, nor will there be prizes, still interested?
“No spectators, no sponsors, and no prize money in our sport,” says Müller-Hartburg. “And that’s just fine. This is a sport for freaks, for idealists. Not for showoffs.”
If you are there is typically a few hanging about any long stretch of lake that freezes over nicely in the winter.
The Fastest Wind-Propelled Sport
A bold claim from a veteran ice boater from NJ Neis Lybeck who enjoys ice boating along the Navesink river. The narrowness of the river certainly adds a lot of interest to the sport.
Recent years it has been harder to consistently get the ice boat out. The overall warmer trends certainly pay a toll and, "In terms of ice boating conditions, Vermont, upstate New York, and a lot of the places out west are better venues." Does this deter them at all? No way.
Expensive Sport Just for the Young? Think Again
Think this is an expensive sport just for the young? That's because you haven't met Leonard Lang. He is 88 years old and owns an ice boat he made for $10. It is certainly adventurous to be cross country skiing at 88 but ice sailing takes it to a whole new level.
He gets a huge smile on his face when he tells the story of how he got this boat. Many moons ago, his wife gave him a $10 dollar budget to make the ice boat. That may not seem like a lot today, and it did not seem like a lot back then either, he laughs.
So if you are missing sailing during the winter take another look at ice sailing. This is one way to catch serious wind even when the snow is flying and the thermometer is going the wrong direction.