Iceboating Social Research

A small group of business school grad students chose to examine the iceboating world as part of a market research project last winter. Here are the results of that research. Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond; they were thrilled with the feedback;.

Question 1 – Are you Male or Female

Are you male or female?
Category Percentage Frequency
Male 96.3% 52
Female 3.7% 2
Total 100.0% 54

Interpretation: The vast majority of the market is almost exclusively made up of men. The proportion of women can almost be seen as an outlier as it represents such a small portion of the respondents.
Question 2 – What is your age?

What is your age?
Category Percentage Frequency
17 or younger 0.0% 0
18-20 1.9% 1
21-29 0.0% 0
30-39 1.9% 1
40-49 13.0% 7
50-59 37.0% 20
60 or older 46.3% 25
Total 100.0% 54

Interpretation: The survey reveals that the bulk of the results are found in age groups 40 years and older. Additionally the vast majority of the market (83.3%) is made up of respondents aged from 50 years old and above.
Question 3 – In what city do you live?

Interpretation: Most of the survey respondents are based out of the USA mostly around the Great Lakes area as well as around the northern part of the East Coast. A few respondents come from different region of Canada such as the province of Quebec, Nova Scotia and Alberta.
Question 4 – What is your approximate average household income?

What is your approximate average household income?
Category Percentage Frequency
$0-$24,999 4.0% 2
$25,000-$49,999 18.0% 9
$50,000-$74,999 24.0% 12
$75,000-$99,999 16.0% 8
$100,000-$124,999 18.0% 9
$125,000-$149,999 10.0% 5
$150,000-$174,999 2.0% 1
$175,000-$199,999 0.0% 0
$200,000 and up 8.0% 4
Total 100.0% 50

Interpretation: The major parts of our sample respondents are making a yearly average income of $25,000 to $125,000. There is also a small portion or the market currently making $200,000 and above which is revealed on the graph by a small skew on the right.
Question 5 – How long have you been practicing Ice Boating?

How long have you been practicing Ice Boating?
Category Percentage Frequency
Less than a year 3.7% 2
1-2 Years 1.9% 1
2-3 Years 1.9% 1
3-4 Years 1.9% 1
4-5 Years 5.6% 3
5+ Years 85.2% 46
Total 100.0% 54

Interpretation: Most of the survey respondents are experienced and as per the results above only 14.8% of them have less than 5 years of experience.
Question 6 – How often do you go ice boating per year on average?

How often do you go ice boating per year on average?
Category Percentage Frequency
1-5 Times 29.6% 16
6-10 Times 18.5% 10
10-15 Times 29.6% 16
15-20 Times 14.8% 8
More than 20 Times 7.4% 4
Total 100.0% 54

Interpretation: The number of times association members go ice boating per year is pretty scared but is mostly between 1-15 times per year. After 15 times per year the greater the number of times, the bigger the decline is.
Question 7 – Do you participate in ice boat races or competitions?

Do you participate in ice boat races or competitions?
Category Percentage Frequency
Yes 53.7% 29
No 46.3% 25
Total 100.0% 54

Interpretation: The data above reveals that slightly more than half of association members participate in competitions.
Question 8 – Which race did you participate in and where was it held?

Interpretation: Most of the races are located in the same area where the majority of the clubs are. The maim location for race are Minnesota, Wisconsin, New-York and Maine.
Question 9 – Do you currently own an ice boat?

Do you currently own an ice boat
Category Percentage Frequency
Yes 100.0% 54
No 0.0% 0
Total 100.0% 54

Interpretation: All of the survey respondents currently own an ice boat. That question was used as a qualifier for questions 10, 11 and 12 and does not provide much meaningful data.
Question 10 – What type of boat do you currently own?

What type of boat do you currently own?
Category Percentage Frequency
DN Ice Boats 45.3% 34
Nite 10.7% 8
Renegade 4.0% 3
Skeeter 33.3% 25
Skimmer 6.7% 5
Total 100.0% 75

Interpretation: The data above reveals that the two most popular classes of boat are the DN and the skeeter class. The other classes combined represent only 21.4% of the market.
Question 11 – How much did you pay for your ice boat?

How much did you pay for your ice boat?
Category Percentage Frequency
less than $1,000 25.0% 13
$1,000-$2,499 19.2% 10
$2,500-$4,999 30.8% 16
$5,000-$7,499 11.5% 6
$7,500-$9,999 5.8% 3
$10,000 and up 7.7% 4
Total 100.0% 52

Interpretation: The data above shows that the majority of people usually pay anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. Only a smaller portion of the market (25% of the results) paid above $5,000 for the boat they currently own. The data reveals that the most common price paid for an ice boat goes anywhere from $2,500 to $4,999.
Question 12 – How much do you spend per year on parts and improvements on average?

How much do you spend per year on parts and improvements on average?
Category Percentage Frequency
0-$500 68.9% 31
$500-$1,000 17.8% 8
$1,000-$1,500 4.4% 2
$1,500-$2,000 4.4% 2
$2,000+ 4.4% 2
Total 100.0% 45

Interpretation: Most ice boaters spend less than $500 in parts and improvement per year. A significant amount of respondents are spending $500 to $1,000. A small portion of the market (13.2% only) spends more $1,000 per year.
Question 13 – What features do you look for in an ice boat?

What features do you look for in an ice boat?
Category Percentage Frequency
Quality 42.3% 22
Performance/Speed 63.5% 33
Price 32.7% 17
Easy Transportation 17.3% 9
Comfort 23.1% 12
Total 52

Interpretation: For the data above it is important to take note that the participants were allowed to pick more than one choice therefore the percentage column will not add up to 100%. The data above reveals that most participants (63.5%) look for performance and speed. Other critical factors that are important to consider are quality and price.
Question 14 – Are you looking at purchasing an ice boat in the next 2 years?

Are you looking at purchasing an ice boat in the next 2 years?
Category Percentage Frequency
Yes 20.8% 11
No 79.2% 42
Total 100.0% 53

Interpretation: The data reveals that the majority (79.2%) are currently not looking at buying a boat in the next 2 years.
Question 15 – How much would you be willing to pay for your next boat?

How much would you be willing to pay for your next boat?
Category Percentage Frequency
Less than a $1,000 27.3% 3
$1,000-$2,499 45.5% 5
$2,500-$4,999 27.3% 3
Total 100.0% 11

Interpretation: The data above reveals how much the participants that answered yes at question 14 are willing to pay for their next ice boat. The data reveals that respondents are not expecting to pay more than $5,000 and are likely (45.5%) to be purchasing a boat in the $1,000 – $2,500 range.
Question 16 – Which type of boat are you looking at purchasing and why?

Which type of boat are you looking at purchasing and why?
Category Percentage Frequency
DN Ice Boats 55.6% 5
Other 44.4% 4
Total 100.0% 9

Interpretation: The data reveals that the participants willing to purchase a boat in the next 2 years are mostly looking at buying DN type boats. The other category data is made of up of people willing t buy DIY boats, 2 place boats, Ice Optimists, as well as people who weren’t sure what they were looking for. None of these participants were looking at buying skeeters.

Guertin’s Iceboat Repairs

Denis Guertin is fortunate to have his iceboats stored at his summer place on Lac St. Francois in Quebec. So while everyone else is out sailing and water skiing, Denis is working hard in the basement to repair the damage from Pushaw Lake. We were a big fleet on the first excursion down the lake after its “recovery” from a wet-out. We all agree there might have been a whiff of ice-narcosis in the air as we reflect back on how fast we flew into unknown territory. Indeed, there were the remains of the pressure ridge from the week before which was still a few days from full recovery. As Denis moved into the lead position he gave us all a front row seat for disaster. One moment he was the envy of all, the next he was at the center of a pile of iceboat parts. We all rounded up, Wolfie stopping just as his runner dropped into yet another hole.

But Denis is nothing if not resourceful. We managed to re-fasten the stud plates, tape the loose plywood around the cockpit, and tip-toe back through the swiss cheese to solid ice. The rest of that week on Pushaw now sets the bar for grade 10 ice.

So he’s patched up all the damage, and while he was at it added wedges under the stud plates to level out the plank. Planks which are not level when sailing do funny things to runner alignment when they bend.

He did a nice job of cleaning up the gouges caused by the stud plate screws as they ripped out. He wasn’t rigged with whisker stays that day, so the question is what would have happened if he was. Would he have pulled through the hole, or would there have been more damage?

Anybody else doing anything interesting with iceboats this off-season?

Ice Verse Monday

This is the last poem from the archives of the CIBC newsletters. They will all be at soon. But don’t let it stop here: place visions of ice up there in your breen and let the words flow from fingers to screen.

Speaking of fingers, here in Finland where even sailing in summer produces cold fingers, they have a trick for pumping warm blood down there. Standing with arms by your side, wrists bent ninety degrees so the palms face down and the fingers slightly bent, shrug your shoulders repeatedly.

It’s January now; winter in Maine
And most us are out on the ice again.
This obsession of sailing the hard is in place,
So off we go every Saturday morning to race.

And racing’s a hoot, nothing finer all year.
Not candy nor fishing nor women or beer.
The faster we go the funner the scene,
And if you’re reading this now then you know what I mean.

But be careful my friend, there’s always thin ice.
Check your steering gear well and your parking brake twice.
Wear your picks and your helmet and don’t go alone.
Have some rope and a suit and a charged up cell phone.

Good judgment for all, and watch out for each other
We’re Family out there, and this guy is your brother.
But mistakes have been made, it scary for sure.
Our best heads up behavior is the one cure.

But we as a group have a service to do.
Sure we wanna have fun but there’s more to it too.
Like children and wives, careers not to mention.
Our health and our safety or retirement pension
These things really come first,, iceboating’s just fluff
Beware obsession and know when enough is enough.

Life is sweet and is long, so cherish each day.
Happy households are key, the stuff of which we’re made.
Moderate wisely and then sail with your brain
Cause iceboating is not supposed to bring pain.

Dave Wilkins, 2002

Poems to think ice

When T says that winter is in the air, he has no idea how close to the truth he is. Here in Finland we haven’t seen 70 more than once, 50’s at night, and water temps in the low sixties. I went for a morning dip today and feel like my core temp dropped. We have lit yet another fire in our little woodstove.

For those of you in more balmy climes, here’s a little something to tinkle the crystals:


Remember when our sails were straining.
Laying flat, these necks were craning.
Racing, cruising, speed trial, training.
The days are long, our ice is waning.
Air is warm or foggy, often raining.
We’ve had our fun, there’s no complaining.

David Wilkins 3-2003

POETRY MONDAY. Memorized One Yet?

60 Proof

Regattas are fun and touring’s real nice.
But some of us think there’s more fun on ice.
How fast can we go? Someone exclaimed.
No, no, just stop at 60 you fiend.

Rattle and rumble, a DN can fly.
This must be 40 with a gleam in the eye.
Faster and faster, so it’s all just a blur.
At 50 man, she’s starting to purr.

Bear off in the puff and strain on the sheet
Now Ron Sherry’s got someone to beat.
At 60, OK now we’re movin some quick.
Oh damn, this ice had better be thick.

70, ahum, has it ever been done?
Will this rig stay together? Is this really so fun?
White knuckles, palpitations, adrenaline rush.
Snow drifts, a shoreline, lumpy hard slush.

Roaring of runners and well bended mast.
Straining so hard to complete the task.
I don’t know if I can get much quicker.
Oh heck, sheet some more cause I need the sticker.

Quit now? No way, I’m no fool.
Cause ego’s in charge, I’m out of control
These boats really are fast and I am the best.
Here’s the proof from the GPS in my vest.

David Wilkins 1-2003

CIBC Poem of the Week


There was rumored big ice, extending for miles.
Sebago’s set up, the first time in a while.
An expedition ensued to sort out the facts.
Iceboats were loaded and lashed to the racks.

They drove and they steered, like migrating geese
Converged as a group on the shore wearing fleece.
Traveling miles finding ice, what’s the reason?
Cause cold spells like this don’t come every season.

It was smooth, shiny, dark, and more like an otter.
This black pane of glass, surely must be water.
Closer inspection found a crystalline glare,
With clear, feathery branches and tiny bubbles of air.

With perfect reflection, an inverted tree line.
Clouds at their feet, the sun up it did shine.
The distant horizon, it too formed a slick plate.
Unloaded the iceboats; no one would wait.

Ice tales such as this have rarely been told.
Elders have said, but now they are old.
The winters are warmer, the seasons too short
Iceboats stay in lofts, the heck with this sport.

Now blades, spars and sails were merely implored.
To fashion the craft for this lake to explore.
Missing this day would be an error no doubt.
Ice pilots were chafing at their sheets to head out.

The air began stirring and soon had filled in.
The boats were assembled, the sailors willing.
Runners now cutting imperceivable grooves.
Sails billowed full and the boats they did move.

Away they now flew toward the sky in the east.
Lusting and hungry approaching the feast.
For no hell bent flake had yet soiled the sheet.
This great film a virgin, the deflowering sweet.

David Wilkins 2-2003

Poem of the Week

Without intending to un-joint summerlovers, we observed to passing of the summer solstice yesterday and the longest day of the year. It can only mean that now the days are getting shorter. In spite of all the fun to come these warm days, you ARE on an iceboating site so please forgive our excitement over the turning of the solar page and the countdown to ice.

With that in mind, here’s another gem from Larry Hardman:


This chill December day
The Maine Boys
Come out to play.
Stalk onto the ice with toys
Of their own making,
Bone shaking.
Needled coffins
Steel bladed,
For risky.

The wind and the boys are
frisky, speed their whisky.

The blow
Chill factors at fifty below.
Fire on the skin.


Makes cellophane sounds
As they make the rounds.


Out from under
Racing blades
Echos off my hill
And fades,
And their metallic roars still
The breathy voices of the

On the inky gloss below,
glowing fins
Graze the orange pins,
Circle lazily between,
Cluster, sit and preen,
Climb and fall again for the

But, down there, I know,
Witnin steel reverberations
Taught wood, wire,sinews
Nothing seems slow.

Adreneline and wine, the
surface streaking past,
Giant howl of air,
Grind-rattle of runner glide,
Perilous bend of mast,
Plank jump,
Finish line slide
as rooster tails grow.

Tucked in their needles thin,
Maine boys grin
Their delight,
Living best in flight


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