For those of you unfamiliar with ice boating (or more formally, ice yachting), a quick 411... Ice yachting is the sport of sailing and racing iceboats. An iceboat looks and operates like a sailboat, but with a trio of blades or runners positioned in a triangle like the three wheels of a tricycle and designed to traverse ice rather than cruise through water. Just like sailboats, iceboats depend on wind: more wind translates to faster sailing, both in water and on ice. The difference is that on the ice, boats experience less friction and less resistance and travel in a more pure direction (primarily just forward, rather than forward along with up and down and side to side) than they do in water. On a windy day, iceboats can travel up to 60 or 70 MPH.
|She's a beauty, isn't she?|
The iceboat - which belongs to my dad's best friend, Chuck - usually "goes in" in January, which means the four Ferri always miss out on the opportunity to ride during our holiday visits. This year, however, an early freeze meant the iceboat went in a few weeks earlier than usual and my boys finally got to cross ice boating off their Wisconsin Bucket List.
|Tom and Chuck|
|Chuck and Will|
The wind didn't exactly cooperate - steady wind makes for the best rides, and on that day it came only in gusts - but both Tom and Will had the opportunity to ride with Chuck behind the wheel. My dad estimated that Will's ride went the fastest at 30 or 35 MPH, which Will proclaimed "terrifying". (I would agree with Will's description; those speeds feel incredibly fast when you're hunkered down in the iceboat's tiny body with the bitter wind whipping you in the face.) Both he and Tom had a blast though, and I'm so grateful to my dad and Chuck for making sure my boys could have this unique and cool experience.