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Back on Ice n Snow 2012 :-)

Have to bring this post back to the fore-front AGAIN. This is where my head, body and spirit are right now :-) Latest entry is 12MAR12 at the bottom of this post. Finally added some videos of myself at the end. Slush and light winds did NOT help, butt ...
In December I brought the mast bases up to the "country", which is the term we use for the chalet up north. Obviously also brought the masts, boom and sails. Typically use 6-oh and 8-oh and bring the 7-oh just in case. The boards are there from the last winter windsurf season.

Temps were a bit high (just below freezing) and there was about 2 to 3 inches of snow on the frozen lake. We were worried that there would be NO snow for Xmas and no ice on the lake. We lucked out on both counts. Because there was snow and it was sticky due to the temperature, neither board seemed to do well. And on top of it all, there seemed to be NO wind :-(

After I finished putting the mastbases on the two(2) winter windsurf "sleds", I went and checked out the wind again. It was supposed to be 15 kph and reach 25 later. Well, it felt like it was closer to 10 kph from the west. Oh well, let's rig the MS-2 8-oh which is a powerful sail and has 2 cams to hold shape. Tried the snow sled on the snow and went no-where - due to sticky snow and lack of wind. Tried it on the track of ice someone cleared and it went. Not too fast, but much better than the snow...

Okay then , let's try the ice sled - what, with an 8-oh cambered sail ??
If the ice was colder, less snow on the lake and the wind stronger, there is NO way I would put the 8-oh on the ice sled. In this case it went and was speedy a couple of times.

The whole affair was just enough to tease me - and perhaps make me the laughing stock of the lake. Oh yeah, i already am that - so, who cares? :-)

In other words good start to the season !!!
Now, let's hope for some better winds and cooler temperatures...
In the forecast -- winds are up when temps are still close to freezing and colder when there are no winds ...

Here are some pics from earlier posts - forgot to take pics on this first outing ...

Tried again on Wednesday the 28th on the lake - cooler temps, a bit more wind - not steady , butt lots more snow $%^&*( Excellent work-out, but not too much success. Does NOT mean it is time to give up - just wait for better conditions OR make my own track on the lake :-)

Again on Monday 2nd of January. Put the Gaastra 7-oh. Winds were a little better, but not steady enough. Once again temps were too close to freezing. Was absolutely sweating. In deep snow at these temperatures, snow gathers at the front of the snow sled. Perhaps that is why Langis Caron's sled is made of slats !! In other words the ice sled did not work on the ice and the snow sled went, butt not good enough on either $%^&*() Let's hope temps are better back home and ice forms on the rivers.

In the comments "Peconic Puffin" suggests some action photos and/or videos of the ice sled. Will see what i can do :-)

People take ice windsurfing really seriously - especially in Europe -  check these kits in the making !!

I will write more on the subject when I have a few good runs under my belt from the 2012 season ...

Early January brought my "stuff" down from the chalets. As usual forgot something - my boom was under the bed - am not about to use my carbon boom on the ice %^&*( Since people are on the ice and kiting near West Island, i went and got the boom and some other stuff on the 24th - yesterday. Tonight I went to the local river to see what all that rain and freezing had done. There was water around the bridge, butt the sides were solid. Took the ice sled and used it like a skateboard :-) Near the middle of the river, my boots went through the snow into about 3 inches of water. There are usually layers of ice and water on rivers and lakes - so, no worries !!! There was still a smile on my face and it would have been bright enough for a good sail !!!

FINALLY - today on the 29th of January I took a run on the local river. Tested the ice in the morning and it was "acceptable" - did not go in the water nor break top ice. Winds were around 20 to 40 kph from the SW. I had difficulty setting up the Simmer 3 camber 6-oh sail since it has been so long since i have. The helmet and goggles are a blessing. Should have brought the harness. It has been too long and as such my forearms got tired. Went for about an hour and ran into a watery section. Okay, enough for one day then ... All in all it was a very good session - even if short - gave it an 8 out of 10. Need someone to take pics now. Would also love to do this WITH the kiters at AAO / Vaudreuils/ Hudson on Lac de deux Montagnes ...

05FEB2012 - Originally planned to go on Saturday. Ironically ALL the family plans from Saturday went to Sunday. Winds were to be 40 - 60 kph from WSW late in the afternoon !! Brought the 6-oh, 7-oh AND the 8-oh just in case ... Test on the river in the morning showed there was snow with a crust of ice and the snow sled would be the best option.  Winds were light when I arrived and actually stayed light and i was glad i brought and rigged the 8-oh free-race MS-2 sail. There was a winter carnival at Ste-Rose on the other side of the river and bridge . so, there were plenty of observers :-) Since winds stayed light and was on the snow, i decided to try the harness .. I had to leave the coat open - need a waist harness that fits over the coat ! I fell once while hooked in - that would NOT be pleasant on ice ... It felt MUCH better when hooked in , butt had to move the lines back more than 10 cm. Managed to do a straight down-winder by accident, so, maybe jibing is not such an impossibility after all. Gave the session a resounding 9 out of 10 - lost points cuz winds got lighter and dropped - rest was the best ... {Still trying to get someone to come and take action shots and/or video ^&*(). Can't get my movie maker son to do it.. Teenage boys are sooo lazy :-) }

The next day I looked at purchasing a used $50 large/L Dakine waist harness, butt it did NOT fit. Managed to make the seat harness fit over the thin coat after some wrangling :-) Will try this next time !!

11FEB2012 - another 9 outta 10 session on the local river ! Winds were light - around 10 knots from the NE {checked the weather maps - was actually more like 8 knots !!}. It was difficult to find a place. The Rosemere side had wind blocked by the island and bridge, the Ste-Rose site had all kinds of stuff about due to the winter carnival AND there seemed to be wind blockage as well... Was about to give up when I remembered Parc Charbaneau. NOT a good place for summer windsurfing due to the yucky waters, butt in winter I should be able to rig right beside the water. Was about to go when a fellow came and asked about the sled - home made patent ? :-) Discovered that areas with altering materials and really big ice bumps were not so easy and did fall once when going from an icy section to a snowy section. Went for about an hour and was off the ice before 9h00. Was cold today and winds were already dropping. Forgot to put two(2) pairs of socks and my right hand was a little cold as well. Did not use the harness since i was not planning to go for long AND not sure of the surface. Still managed a 9 outta 10 !!
Oh yeah - was obviously on the snow sled with my freerace sail, the MS-2 8-oh ..
After some deliberation, I decided to move the harness lines back to 65 cm for the 8-oh and i moved the mast base up about 5 cm , which ironically seems to coincide with the ice board mast base positioning...

12FEB2012 - tried to go out SUN afternoon, butt was not nearly as good a session $%^&* Went to the river on the Rosemere side and rigged the 8-oh since winds were up n down. The sail was the right choice, butt the adjustment of the mast foot was NOT a good one AND the seat harness would not go over my coat $%^&* With the mast foot where it was, I had to use sail steering in order for the tail not to swing around. Will definitely move the mast foot back up - perhaps i should keep the wrench in the tool bag ?? Have some pliers for emergencies, but no wrenches. Gave this session a mere 6 outta 10 %T^U*IOP In desperation I tried the ice sled on the crusty snow, but it just does not go - and for the record, I had moved the foot UP and now I moved it BACK... Am now actually considering adding fins to the skis on my snow version. Perhaps I will be able to remove the centre ski and save some weight...

Found a really interesting business article on "The Case of Winter Windsurfing"
There is mention of Freeskates, Hiberna boards, Velliluge and Snowfers. Some obvious names are Jeff Brown of the USofA (maine or Vermont I believe) , Marcel Bradette of Quebec City, Quebec, Canada and Charles Chepregi  of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

"Experts say that winter windsurfers innovate mainly to fulfill their own and their 
fellow sportsmen needs. Most of them are enthusiasts of the sport and as there is not 
much of commercial product manufactured currently and also in the past, they take on 
the innovation process and try to solve problems associated with the equipment and 
make improvements themselves. The needs mainly concern reaching higher speeds and 
the control and manoeuvring of the board. They also do it for fun cause they enjoy the 
process. Also gaining reputation is important for those that take part in competitions and 
try to reach new speed records. "

These are the fins I made with what was laying about - if the next snow session doesn't work, the board is going flat with these babies at the back :-)

This is a video of a sled with skis, but with a "cooler" platform. Same principles...

This one just sold on e-bay for about $230 - "old" Freeskate. I have only used the ice version of my two(2) boards once or twice. Thus this board would need to be a little LE$$ money. However, if there is a market for this, perhaps i should start converting skateboards and selling them on e-bay ?? Obviously I am NOT as equipped as the fellow from the Netherlands in the video further up in this post !!!

SAT 18FEB2012 - It has been fairly warm lately - like as high as 5 degrees Celsius !! When I went to load the van, I found the plastic cap that goes into the top of the ferrule in the snow behind the van - what luck . I've been wanting to get a waist harness and auventfou had an epic XL used for $25. Went to see it, butt there was NO way it was going to fit. Tried a newer one, butt it was almost $200 !!! Was about to forget about it, but mentioned the Dakine seat that is almost a waist harness - the XT. Yes, René had one used in the back - tried it and bought it for $40 WITH the bar !!! New ones are about $140 with the bar !!! (Saw the horrible remains of a car accident that me realize how important it is to appreciate, life, wife, family, health et al.) When I got to the local river, there was some water on the ice at the side, butt in general pretty icy with some rough snow patches and lite winds about 10 mph out of the WSW. This meant time for the ice board and no more than the 7-oh. Gave the session a 9.5 outta 10 !! What was missing in order for it have been perfect ? There was some rough crisp patches from snow mobiles and i kept going all the way into the wind shadows. With this harness, it is also time to shorten the lines. Believe this is the harness that Helmut purchased last summer !!! The wife says this board needs to be patented. Domenic always says the same thing !! The ice version could sell in parts of the States and the snow version further north. There still needs to be a version that works in deep snow. Was supposed to call my son to come n take pics, butt he went to bed so late :-( that i decided to forget about it for this time - would LOVE to get someone with a digital movie camera and youtube it. Also, still cannot wait to go to the kiting area :-) During this session I discovered why Marcel has a metal grill near the back of the board. The anti-skid tape is fine to start. When there is water or warmth, ice begins to build up and eventually it is just a sheet of ice near the back of the board - this needs to be re-enforced with steel grill or ???

SUN 19FEB2012 - lighter winds today and sunny. Do I dare ? YES, i did - ran the ice board with the free-race MS-2 8-oh sail in 8 to 10 mph winds !! Again a 9.5 outta 10 - again due to rough ice in the centre and this time fore-arm fatigue. I need to start doing weight exercises on the forearms. It was funtastic - once again Jerry the teenager is too tired !!! Will hafta find someone else to take the photos. Mr. Ed from work did not take the bait when i asked him :-(

People have considered me crazy for some of the things I do and the risks I take. I have met "YVENTE" and he is insane. He informed me that he sails Lake Champlain all year round. Here is an example of his "insanity".
Does his board say GOYA or 666 :-)

Here is another one where Yvan takes a break on a floating block of ice !!

He also does windski on a sled similiar to mine, but as a MUCH better windsurfer, he is able to tack and jibe on ice !!!

SUN 26FEB2012 - weather was warm all week , water spots in the river and wife's birthday. Check ice in the morning and okay with about 4 inches snow on crust. GOOD to GO with the snow version. Man was I bummed in the first 10 minutes. Kept going upwind. OK, time to play. Was able to get the MS-2 8-oh and snow virgin going with either leaning the sail forward {like turning} OR putting back foot on the mast foot and front foot out front. Both were kinda uncomfortable, butt both pointed out that the mast foot needed to be moved forward. Gave it a 7 outta 10 - only cuz i still managed to have fun. Good thing Dom could not come to film or take pictures. Ironically I had been measuring the windsurf boards and discovered the balance point was back of the mast track by about 6 inches. Well, the mast foot on the snow virgin is about 6 inches up from the balance point. Thus moved the mast foot up about 12 cm before I start trying to put fins on. The board needs to feel balanced first. The current placement is close to where the mast foot originally was !!!
Actually just double checked - the original placement was 10 cm back from where i just moved it from. Therefore, if this does not work, next one is 22 cm back !!!

THURS 01MAR0212 - snow storm and about 5 to 10 cm fresh powder. Left work early to miss some traffic. Winds were more than usual and brought the 7-oh and 8-oh, butt ended up rigging the 7-oh. Started out great and went back to get the harness I forgot. Fell when i hit a snow bank and wind was cut once in a while. Still an 8 outta 10. Steering was a little better, but makes me wonder why i changed the original design - will need to go over my notes. In any case, I am ready to try it on bigger "waters" now ie bare it to the public. It will only get better now :-) May remove the centre ski to make it lighter and quicker - as i said, it is going to approach the original design !!!
I also see why Marcel of Quebec split his board up -- had some snow pile up on the board today...

SUN 04MAR2012 - is the season drawing to an end ?? The road signs warn the trucks that the defrost season starts tomorrow on the 5th of March !! Yesterday was crazy weather with winds hitting over 80 kph gusts. It was warm, melting and later snow squalls. Today it was cooler -5 Celsius and less wind {under 20 kph from WNW } Went to Vaudreuils because I wanted to see what it was all about. There were two(2) kite schools and I was lucky to get a parking spot. Chatted with a fellow who was a windsurfer and he informed me winds were better further out. Rigged the MS-2 8-oh and tried the snow sled. I am NOT used to going for such long runs. Did a sudden spinout and fell banging my head - good thing for the helmet. The snow sled is okay, butt not perfect yet... Since it was crusty, tried the ice sled, This was MUCH better. Gave the session a resounding 9 outta 10 just cuz the weather was so great and it was fun chatting !! When I got back, i checked the mast base on the snow version and it was loose. Removed the ski and fixed the mast base to the board. Good thing I had to do that cuz the mast base itself needed tightening. OK, all set for next session ?? Non, i am going to put the fins in the back to stop the spin outs ... Took some pictures of the scene and did not realize until afterwards that the camera was set to B&W/black n white :-) kinda looks spaceage - on the moon. the 2nd one was aito-adjusted using photoshop - something i rarely do !!

SAT 10MAR2012 - checked the local river and it is finished !!
Too many soft spots and can hear sounds :-( of ice and water working ...
Also winds are light today and this weekend not much wind :-(
So, i added fins to my snow version - to stop the spinout !!! Since this will probably be my sled of choice until ice melts from local rivers. And this may be sooner than later !!! Quick test with fins in the backyard and it did seem to stick better (less sliding) and cut through ice without bending.
May remove centre ski, butt leave it for now - one change at a time...

SUN 11MAR2012 - another warm day - guessing around plus 5 Celcius. Winds were light out of the West between 10 and 18 mph and we measured around 20 kph. Dom and his 9 year old son Vinnie came out to check the action. Used the ice sled with the MS-2 8-oh. Due to slushy conditions and light winds, no harness was required. Gloves stayed tucked into the jacket and water splashing up luckily did not soak me too much. Dom n Vinnie were soaked :-( Dom took some pics and videos that i will post. Too bad it was not a better day for that, but it is a first :-) At least even I will get to see my style or lack thereof :-)

Here's some pics and then I will try to inject a video:

As I wrote in the video descriptions: Ice sailboarding at Vaudreuils,Québec in spring conditions with WNW winds at about 10 knots, close to shore filming - even lighter winds - just wanna get a video out

THURS 15MAR2012 - last Sunday should have been the last day. Temps were in double digits Celsius since and some rain as well. I have already given up on the snow sailboarder. The only hope was the ice at Vaudreuils !! It was colder last night - around freezing and winds were ENE over 12 knots. However, since I grew up beside Lake Simcoe, I should have known to put the BIG boots on right away. Oh well, two wet feet later ... The ice was more of a slush with obvious soft spots BUT there were about six kiters zipping back n fro. So, rigged the MS-2 8-oh again with the ice sled. If it was real ice - it would be tooo fast. Fell at a good speed when i hit a soft spot hooked in and went head over heels. After that I learned to put more weight on the back foot and soft spots started to just be like a bump in Montreal roads - okay, NOT that bad :-) Practiced the tacks that seem to only go 3/4 and almost got a longboard gybe twice. Was warm , so, took off the harness and gloves. After about an hour was about to go when I thought Isaw Nat's SUV pull in. So, I gave her a quick demo and hit some larger soft spots that almost stopped - at least gradually. It was a pain getting on the ice and sank further each time back. As usual the sail is a pain down and up the stairs - which this time had to be at the private residence just north of the "car park". Definitely rate this session a resounding 9 outta 10 and was surely the last - sorry, to call you shirley...

Now it is time to put the ice and snow sailboards away and get the longboard and rest of it down :-)
As the wifey says - there is NO last time :-)
There is always another :-)

My buddy, Helmut is getting anxious to go to Cape Hatteras in mid-May.
It was my idea, but he has more money and more holidays - next year for me !!!!


  1. I've never seen a hard water windsurfing set up like those ski-boards. It would be great to see some action photos and/or video of you getting wind time on them!

    1. Try mounting you're sail on a plastic toboggan. I've done it putting a 1/4 in plywood sheet in the bottom of the toboggan with 2 2/4s crosswise for bracing. Mi mount the sail in the fwd 2/4. This rig works good on packed or hard snow.


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