Congratulations to Tomek Zakrzewski P55 for winning the Gold Fleet of the 2023 IDNIYRA European Championship sailed on Lake Kertuojai, Lithuania. Tomek won the tiebreak with IDNIYRA European Commodore Mikhel Kosk C45, who placed second. Robert Gracyk P31 was third.
Joonas Kiisler C53 took first in Silver, and Timo Lehmuskallio L103 took first in Bronze. Congratulations to all who participated and hung tough under challenging conditions.
1973: Ain Vilde, Estonia
49 years later, 2022: Robert Graczyk, Poland
In 1937, the Detroit News newspaper asked for volunteers to attend a workshop to create an easy-to-build, easily transported, and inexpensive iceboat, which came to be known as the DN. The DN’s popularity grew, and sailors organized a class and sanctioned the first North American championship in 1953, won by Jack Moran of Michigan.
The comparatively small boat found its way to Europe. The “Johnny Appleseed” of European DN sailing, Holland’s Wim Van Aker, traveled the continent, giving DNs to aspiring ice sailors with the instruction, “do something with these.” And did they ever.
North American and European class officers, including Wim Van Aker, Bill Connell, and Art Teutsch, organized the first world DN championship for the 1973 season. They set it up so that the World Championship alternates between Europe and North America. Michigan’s Lake St. Clair was the primary site, but, as can happen in this sport, the lack of ice conditions on Lake St. Clair forced a move.
DN sailors from America, Estonia, Poland, Germany, Switzerland, and Holland made their way to Gull Lake, Michigan. After dealing with less-than-ideal sticky snow conditions and several days without wind, the race committee and 41 competitors hung tough and finally completed the regatta. There are familiar names on the 1973 results list, with a few still racing. Estonian Ain Vilde won the first Worlds in a tight battle by two points over Gull Lake local Randy Johnson.
2023 also marks the 70th anniversary of the North American championship. Tim Woodhouse of Michigan won the 1973 North American Championship, held a few weeks earlier than the World championship.
The IDNIYRA will celebrate these anniversaries at the DN World and North American championships regattas in 2023. Western Region Commodore Chris Berger and the committee are in the planning stages to bring you a great regatta and commemorate 50 years of international competition. It’s time to start thinking ice!
Congratulations to Robert Graczyk P31 for his win today in Norway at the IDNIYRA World Championship. Congratulations to all the competitors. The regatta began in Sweden but snow forced a site change to Norway.
The European Championship starts tomorrow.
2022 WORLDS RESULTS
The Polish Championships start tomorrow, Saturday, 20 February, in Krynica Morska near Gdansk. This two-day event will be very competitive and have a Gold Cup-like atmosphere. The Poles take up about one-third of the list of 30 sailors with an international IDNIYRA ranking of 10 or less. If you’d like to follow along, check out these sites:
Polish DN Class Website
Now is an excellent time to review Robert Gracyk’s P31 short video on runner sharpening techniques from Lake Pepin in Minnesota in 2013.
Meet Aniela Gracyk of Poland. She’s an accomplished Ice Optimist sailor who is following in the runner tracks of her father, Robert Gracyk P31. This coming winter could be the perfect opportunity to introduce your kids to ice sailing. Ice Optimists are specifically designed for junior sailors. Buy a used one or you could easily build an Ice Optimist as a family project. Learn more about the Ice Optimist and ice sailing for kids here.
Video filmed and edited by Tomek Zakrzewsk P55.