February 23

Two-seat wooden ice yacht revived, rigged in Monmouth

Museum volunteers resurrect 1-ton ice boat with a 25-foot mast and 28-foot beam built in the late 19th or early 20th century.

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

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click image to enlarge

ICE RACER: Lloyd McCabe stands next to the ice boat that was re-assembled on the second floor of the carriage house at the Monmouth Museum. With a mast 25 feet high, McCabe and other volunteers worked for several months to put the craft together after being in storage 35 years.

Staff photo by Andy Molloy

click image to enlarge

FULL SAILS: Larry Buggia adjusts the mast on the ice boat that was re-assembled on the second floor of the carriage house at the Monmouth Museum. Buggia and other members of the Museum volunteered their time to build the sled that was constructed and raced on Cobbossee Lake in the early 20th Century.

Staff photo by Andy Molloy

The Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club, which was founded in the 1960s, puts up regular postings on the club’s website.

The club’s home ice is Lake Chickawaukie in Rockport, but members also sail on Damariscotta Lake, Lake Megunticook and Plymouth Pond.

Roberts said the current sailing season has been on hold waiting for ice. The boats don’t sail on snow. They need the same gleaming surface that supports figure skaters and hockey players.

While waiting for the precious ice, Roberts and a handful of club members are working to design a better ice boat. “The real hardcore thinks and does ice boating year-round,” he said. “Build in the summer and sail in the winter.”

Roberts said a prototype has been sailed a few times. “It’s a crossbreed between a Sunfish and a DN ice boat.”

Monmouth Museum’s ice boat, Roberts said, is typical of those made in the late 19th century to about 1930, with a jib and a gaffe-rigged mainsail. “There are a few of those around today,” Roberts said.

Most people today sail a DN class boat, named after the Detroit News-sponsored contest in 1937 to design a single-seater ice boat that could be carried on top of a car and work well.

Today, that’s the principal ice-racing vehicle, Roberts said. “It’s small, convenient, easy to take apart and can be built in a home workshop.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631 badams@centralmaine.com Twitter: @betadams

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