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by Dave Farmer - Tum Tum, Washington - USA

With January looking a bit slow for cabinet work, John graciously offered to build me an enclosed landsailing trailer to store and transport all the toys to the desert when required, trailer construction being another of his many varied talents. So I've been spending my weekends journeying over to the Flathead to offer my limited assistance, or chasing ice if conditions hold promise. Between sessions on the trailer project, John's been doing the final tuning on his new mini skeeter iceboat, and has been hot to get it onto the ice.

We hit Canyon Ferry a week ago, hoping to replicate our stellar outing there in mid December, finding mostly intermittent zephyrs that only John, with his World Champion sailing skills and fresh hardware, could tap. This weekend was scheduled to complete the trailer to make way for impending cabinetry projects. So when we discover early Saturday afternoon that she's finished enough to pull out of the shop, we check the wind in Somers Bay, ten minutes north of Lakeside. It's on, and we're off!

So, day two for the new design. Finally in a breeze! Maybe ten out of the northwest, more than enough to power up this solid, lightweight platform, with it's refined rig, and precise steering. We trade off fifteen or twenty minute rides, exchanging big grins with command, enthusiastically sharing discoveries on how she handles. Which is amazing! Well planted, not sketchy, willing to calmly fly a runner in the bigger puffs, and set it down smoothly to accelerate away.




We photograph and video each other, taking note of how she rides, is the plank flexing enough, how's the rig look fully sheeted in with the new mast placement? It's an orgy of glee, a new toy for us, a new design for John that's looking fully realized, and a bonus day on the ice that neither of us expected.

A small boat, eminently suited to this small ice, light air, fast solo rigging, do it now icesailing that's netted John nearly twenty days under sail early in this unpredictable season. He's offering plans, and even frame sets, with the home builder in mind, hoping a class might develop with folks for whom this eclectic sport might be attractive. I'm in line, despite having two other iceboats/landsailers. This machine holds special magic, that John's distilled from his decades of experience building and skippering these magnificent craft.

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