Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ice sailing on Sprague Lake WA.

It's Sunday. Wind predicted. Lake might even be frozen. Up early, light the fire. Cross the meadow and fire up the stove in the shop. Begin gathering up the scattered pieces that turn the little Fed landsailer into an iceboat. Remember how to fit it all together. Sharpen and align the blades. Strap her onto the trailer, and head west.

It's an hour and a quarter drive across the sensuous rolling hills of the Palouse, to Sprague Lake. The farmland is blanketed in white, with occasional bursts of brilliant sunshine bringing out the diamonds.

I roll in at 2 pm, there's an inch and a half of cold, dry powder atop 4 inches of smooth, hard ice. Wind out of the NE, 8 mph, running straight down the lake. Rig the boat, suit up, and I'm soon cruising around at 35 mph, carving great arcs on the pristine surface. Not a soul around, the last of the ice fishermen pulling off as I arrived.
An occasional break to make an adjustment to the machine, or add a layer. Both of us finally get fully tuned, and I zip around til I run out of daylight. 42 mph max for the afternoon. De rig under a full moon and headlamp, and motor home contentedly, with that smile I'm so fond of. Season on!

Written by Dave Farmer of Spokane WA. USA. 12/10/2010 

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