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January 24, 2014

Ice Yacht Regatta moved to Cumberland Bay

PLATTSBURGH — The North American Championship Ice Yacht Regatta has moved to Cumberland Bay for supreme ice.

Race officials announced Thursday that races will be held today and Saturday, starting at about 10 a.m. each day.

Parking is available at the city lots at the end of Dock Street.

Eben Whitcomb, from Connecticut, helped coordinate the final site and race specifics.

The group tested ice at Monty’s Bay in Chazy on Thursday but then discovered new, shiny-clear ice formed on Cumberland Bay.

The smoother Lake Champlain ice will be fresh, minus any snowfall or bumps from prior freeze-thaw cycles, Whitcomb explained.

The ice surface is key to iceboat speed.

The group of iceboat racers moved into the region Wednesday after the regatta, originally set to take place in Peru, Ill., was canceled due to snow.

They had then prepared to race in Montreal, but snowfall thwarted that location, too.

About 50 iceboats have registered for the event in Plattsburgh, Whitcomb said.

A skipper’s meeting and opening ceremonies were held early Thursday at race headquarters in the Holiday Inn.

The slender, sail-tendered boats are interesting to watch as they float 60 to 70 miles per hour across the frozen lake.

Narrow skates with squared edges carry the kite-shaped frames along the frozen lake.

Frigid, sub-zero temperatures have developed some nice ice on Lake Champlain this winter.

The last major ice-yachting competition held in Plattsburgh was in 2003.

Email Kim Smith Dedam:kdedam@pressrepublican.com

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