Yesterday we took a trip under the ice of Lake Charlevoix, so it was very fitting that this morning Rick shared a photo from the other side of the ice on Lake Charlevoix! Our recent warm spell has cleared the snow and smoothed the ice on many lakes in Michigan, and that has brought ice boaters out in force.
There are some peculiarities to ice boating (ice yachting) which are not seen with “soft water” sailing. First, most iceboats carry a single individual (so the need for crew is removed), however two or more person boats do exist. Second, because of the speeds involved (iceboats in general can travel 5-10x wind speed), ice sailors wear protective gear, including helmets. Third, iceboats do not require standard ramps for launching. And lastly, an intimate knowledge of ice conditions and lake topography is essential for a safer experience (although ice boating cannot be made 100% “safe”).
The iceboating season can’t start until snow-free hard ice is established on the lakes, usually after Christmas.
Here’s one of our favorite iceboating videos: Ice boat vs Chevy on Lake St. Clair!