Ice Safety

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Bob Gray:
   Recently several of us were sailing on what we thought was a safe lake. While scouting the lake a couple of the guys went thru the ice. An attempt to rescue them by the remaining sailors was impossible due to the thinnest of the ice. The water wasn't deep so the sailors were able to sit on their boats. The local authorities were called in, but due to some inexperience, it took them over an hour to rescue our sailors.  Thank goodness it was about 40 degrees out. To make a very long story short, we all need to come up with a better way to rescue our own. Several of us are trying to design a club type rescue craft. Here is our specs:  1) It must be compact enough to easily carry in a short bed truck. 2) It must spread out the load of two adults enough to support them on very thin ice. 3) It must have enough flotation to float two adults. 4) It must be easy to assemble. 5) It has to be easy to use. 6) You must be able to move it easily and quickly. 7) It would be nice if it isn't too expensive.
   If the day wasn't as warm as it was we would have had a tragic result. Early and late season ice is very unperdictable and we must be prepared. Our guys are very close to a design and after it's built and tested, we'll make our design availble. I feel very strongly that other clubs need to try to come up with other designs  and then we'll come up with the best solution.


Having sailed in Central Ill for anumber of years we had numerous issues with poor ice.  Initially we used very successfully a wooden extension ladder.  This worked very well on clean ice as you can slide it a long way.  After one mishap where the local authorities were called we designed a craft similar to an Opti dingy with alot of rocker so it could be moved easily over most any surface as well as allowing it to get back on the ice with outside assistance (rope).  we added a couple of short wodded runners full length that allowed it to track behind a DN.  Though we never had to use it in a rescue we tried it out and were satisfied that it would work.  The key is to always have it available where you are sailing.


Bob Gray:
    What we are working on is basically a pair of wind surfer type boards that could be towed out seperately behind a DN or connected together with a couple of  runner planks and turned into a catermaran type craft and kick pushed over very thin ice for quite a distance.

One of the members of the New England Ice Yacht Association has and brings to regattas an old modified Windsurfer brand sailboard. This was one of the very early windsurfers which has enough volume to support two people and is stable in the water. Mounted along the sides are hand rails that aid in getting on the board. The deck of the board is free of all windsurfing hardware no center board, straps, maststep etc and no skeg on the bottom. On the bow is mounted two clips like you might use on peg board in the shop to hold tools. In those clips are two ping pong paddles. On the butt end of the paddles are nails so you can paddle thru water and then spike onto the ice. There is also a rope but cannot remember the details of how it is fastened exactly maybe someone can fill in some of the other details.

Bob Gray:
  I hate to beat a dead horse, but just one more thing.  Last night a friend called an gave us the solution to our problem. His idea complies with all the requirements I mentioned earlier and it's so simple; automotive inner tubes or the type of tubes you tow behind boats. Thas all folks!


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