Getting ready for the 2017 DN Iceboat Worlds

Kingston, ON, Canada / CKWS TV

Kingston – This isn’t your average winter activity.  Known as the “hard water” sailing sport – iceboat racers are getting ready for the 2017 worlds.  The competition is just a few weeks away.  John Curtis is one of four Kingston sailors who will be skimming the ice.   The former Olympian has only been gliding for 4-seasons but is hooked on the thrill and challenge of the sport.

John Curtis/Iceboat Racer
“I think one of the most exciting things about it is you can’t see the wind on the water. In the summer you can look at different colours of contrasts of the waves and so on and in ice boating you can’t do that so you have to pick up on all kinds of other cues. It’s a little bit like sailing blind.”

Colin Duncan will also be competing at this year’s worlds.  With 5-years experience under his thermal wear, Duncan says dressing for the elements is a must.

Colin Duncan/Iceboat Racer
“Long underwear is the key and I wear really, really, thick woolen socks and that’s the tricky part keeping the feet warm. The wind chill factor cause of the speed we’re going it’s crazy cold during the race fortunately the races only last about 10 minutes.”

And speaking of speed – racers can hit up to 100-kilometres per hour.  The sport attracts competitors of all ages – from as young as 18 years old to 70.  All boats are handmade and are equipped with blades, known as runners, that help them race along the ice.

Nikki Jhutti
“Kingston is no stranger to iceboat racing. Back in 2015 it hosted the North American Championships and the worlds.”

The North American Championships ended up being cancelled because of a snow storm.
Weather plays a major role in the sport. Conditions have to be just right. That’s why the destination for the 2017 DN Iceboat World’s hasn’t been revealed.  Competitors will learn the location 3 days before the event.

John Curtis/Iceboat Racer
“If we had you know blizzard conditions or too much snow on the ice we simply couldn’t host it so they have to call it very last minute cause as you know weather’s something that is not always easy to predict.”

This year’s world championships are expected to bring out more than a hundred racers from all over Canada, US and even Europe.  Nikki Jhutti, CKWS News Kingston.

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