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Author Topic: Northern Michigan ice sailing fun! Houghton Lake March 16, 17 & 18, 2018  (Read 324 times)
RANDY ROGOSKI
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Posts: 77


Racing neck and neck with George Reis, March '07


« on: March 15, 2018, 06:58:47 PM »

Snow on top of hard ice, healed drain holes, bright spring sun, pleasant temperatures, low humidity — spring sailing at its finest.

Sounds like ideal conditions for a launch site party, the kind of day where many are content the sailing not interfere too much with fun at the grill.

“Conditions look good for sailing Houghton Lake this coming weekend. It’s reported to have about 16” of ice, the old drain holes all appear to have healed up, there is about 1” of somewhat stiff snow covering most of the lake. With the sunshine and above freezing daytime temps both days it should soften up.
The wind is forecast to be 5-10 mph both days. The launch site we’ll be using is the DNR site on old 27 just north of M-55. Hope a bunch of you show up! (emphasis provided),”
said Bob Gray, DN US 65, Grand Traverse IYC at 5:10 pm March 15.

“Just got back (from Houghton Lake), hard black ice, relatively smooth , under 90% 1 inch snow, somewhat (like Styrofoam), but boats would sail nicely.” This remark was reported Wednesday evening by Skip Stauber of GTIYC, who sails the yellow bubble-boat Skeeter named Rush.

Sunshine is in the forecast Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There is now 12 hours of day light, the sun will soften the snow and vaporize it, even if the temperature is below freezing during the day.

Overnight low temperature forecast at Houghton Lake is low 20s.

The temperature high for those days will push or exceed 40 degrees. Daytime humidity should fluctuate around 50 percent. Low humidity keeps melting ice firm; it sublimates directly to water vapor. The benefit of snow cover is that it insolates the ice from the sun’s ultraviolet energy, reflecting it rather than absorbing it. The sun weakens black ice as it drills pin holes, a process known as honeycombing.

Our local ice contact at Houghton Lake provided a general description similar to Bob Gray’s summary of Houghton Lake’s ice. This ice scout, a newspaper reporter and ice fisherman, shared his first hand observations with me made from the DNR launch on the eastern side of the lake, where there is plenty of ice at the launch. That launch is on the way to Roscommon County airport from Prudenville. Gray did not say he was at our usual west launch, but with the overnight low temperatures lately, I concur that that is the place to launch

Bob Gray is a retired military aviator then airline captain who also likely consults an aviation weather web site. The aviation site I surf forecasts wind maximums of 6 mph Saturday, and 8 mph Sunday.

My view is safe ice, ready access, and beautiful spring weather make a gamble on the wind a good bet.

Randy Rogoski, DN US 4192,
A past Central Region rear commodore
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RANDY ROGOSKI
Class Member
*
Posts: 77


Racing neck and neck with George Reis, March '07


« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2018, 08:19:46 AM »

Houghton Lake got 4 inches of snow last night! 

Snow and wind trashed Houghton. It’s 2-3” of Styrofoam snow with some drifts to 7”. Higgins lake is worse. Elk Lake which has a little less snow but won’t be sailable this weekend (March 17 & 18).

Hope for a little rain and warm, sunny days and we might get lucky next weekend.

From the ever vigilant GTIYC ice scouts.
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