winter project

Andre Cloutier

Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.
While ordering materials for another project, it occured to me that the 90sq ft of sail on a 16/30 was kind of wimpy. Behold the new project! Terminal velocity to be determined. They really knew how to have fun in 1896, before helmets and safety gear were invented. Nothing beats hours in an archive...


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It's actually quite do-able. For a big stern-steerer, you'll need access to some large hunks of high-quality wood and a blacksmith who can build you custom fittings cheap.


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a couple of parachutes for the sail and a chandlery would come in handy as well. I think the boom is longer than the entire boat in your diagram.. would have had some turning radius. imagine going over the high side in a gust....:eek:
not to mention the problems you'd have trailering it.
I like it Todd.Lets build a fleet.On my budget planks and nails and a bedsheet.
I may need one this year what with early winter.

now that was really kool. So how much of that mainsail could you get in your loft? I'll bet 100 years later the window for optimum conditions is comparatively small.
Let's just say that it would be a rather difficult sailmaking project. Perhaps an opportunity to make a really good "polytarp" sail.....(get a big hunk of polytarp, spread it carefully on the ground in the back yard, then build a sail from real fabric on top of it and finally, throw away the polytarp).

They finished restoring a stern-steerer that's about that size here in town a year or two ago. Like the boat in the article, they had to host "glue parties" when laminating some of those big pieces. There was simply too much area to cover with glue and too many clamps to then be snugged-up in a short time and they called in all their friends in the local iceboating club to help mix epoxy, brush or roll it on and then clamp it. There are enough big old boats around here that they have regattas. Most of our boats aren't really classics though as they have been upgraded to more modern rigs. On one hand, it seems a shame to modernize a 100 year-old boat. On the other hand, many of them have simply been continually upgraded over the years as new technology emerged and have basically been in use for the entire century.

Most of the true classic stern steerers, restored to original condition can be found on the Hudson River, sailing with the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club. They have some beauties, including the restored 50' "Jack Frost".
Conceptual problem here.Since this thing is too big to carry through the bush,would it work scaled down?Why not?
Certainly, although small stern-steerers generally have wider bodies to maintain decent cockpit room for the sailors and this is usually done by switching from the big central spar to something like these boats have. Looks like 12'-14' long is about the lower limit, size-wise for the old-time boats. Modern bow-steerers can get quite a bit smaller. We had a Skimmer 45 for a while, which was a crude metal tubing frame about 7' long with a sling for a seat and it was a blast. We sold it when we got our bigger two-seater, but it was a lot of fun.

A smallish, old-style stern-steerer would be a fun project and though it wouldn't be as fast and responsive as the DN's and other modern boats, it would be pretty classy and still plenty of fun to use. Some of the boats in this size range even used lateen sails about the size of typical canoe lateens.

These are from the 1938 book "Wings on the Ice"


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Would you happen to have the formula used to calculate the CLR of these ice boats?
Would the boats work on hard pack snow with a ski instead of a skate? High speeds would not be a goal.

Louis Michaud
Rimouski, Quebec
Now...(being a Florida boy)...I've never seen an iceboat, but it looks as though a guy use use three 12' canoes in place of the runners and.....