Ice, Boats and Saint Paul

Hopefully this isn't to redundant, I scanned posts back a year...

I am very interested in boating, almost bought a Slicer this morning... Anyway, With the cost of some boats starting in the 1000's what's a new boater to do. The money isn't really the problem but I don't want to over buy if it's only a few times a season which brings me to my first question. Now that Saint Paul, MN has snow and little ice is the season over before it started?

I am an experience furniture maker and novice welder with a substantial supply of tools and what I believe to be full plans to a DN60.

Am I better off buying cheap and fixing? build new? How bad are 2 seater's, I'd like company or a fast solo sail with maybe a sand bag.

I'd like to stop by a local sail and talk shop, pick up some advice....I'm not trying to beg onto a boat, but the observation will really help me if I build or buy as I don't know how to inspect an ice boat.

I'm a respectable dingy sailer so I assume the helm isn't too different but I think a broach hurts more. I'll need advice about the hazards and if it helps, I'm also an scuba diver that dives under ice so I can get boats back. :)

Thank you for the time.

Go the the next DN regatta,

Go the the next DN regatta, look around, maybe bum a boat if the winds are light, then ask around about buying a used cruiser DN.

After a season or two with a cruiser DN you'll know if you want to go racer DN, two seater, or skiing.

Slicer Blues

While I must admit that a SLICER may be slightly better than no boat, I wouldn't touch one with a 10 foot gin pole. I used a friend's way back when I was learning how to sail and knew nothing. We decided that the Slicer was designed by a person who had never made boats. For starters, they are minimalistic, nothing wrong with that, but that rack of ugly metal doesn't have "life" like a wooden, fiberglass or carbon fiber boat material so it's "dumb". Sail power is minimal yet crashing is more likely due to it's instability. You get no life, no feel and no soul. It's rough as hell and would obviously sink if you go in the drink. Having a FLOATING boat can save your life (don't ask me how I know that to be true!). I'd save up and start with nothing less than a good DN or Nite.

This sport is all about the adrenaline rush that comes from flying with the wind, becoming a part of your elegant "bird". All about ice shards exploding from steel, wind tearing past your face, and the feel of a lively sliver of wood or fiberglass that is the only barrier between you and that immense sheet of frozen awe and terror. That is Priceless.

Will on White Bear


Ditto and nicely put, Will. After maybe 6000 miles of "Iceflying", I'm generally not much conscious of the boat at all. I'm kept busy with the wind, the surface, the beauty, and of course the ride. And there's always that little thrill about the chance of breaking through. Land sailing is fun but not thrilling.


Cool! I was wondering about

Cool! I was wondering about a steel 'plank'.

Thanks everyone.

I'll most likely shop for a DN and come out and have a look around next time something posts.

Getting into iceboats

Hi Steven,

I bought a DN two years ago without ever even taking a ride. No regrets.

We live in probably the best iceboating corridor in the world. Last year we sailed last year from Thanksgiving till April 1, every weekend but two or three if I recall. The key is you have to be willing to travel a little bit. Snowfall can vary a lot just a couple of hours from here.

As far as prices, it is generally accepted that it is cheaper to buy a used boat than it is to build one. Beater wood masted DN's are $1000, nicer cruisers are $2000 typically with ally masts, a race boat with a carbon mast start at $3500 these days. If you can't drop $1000 for a basic DN, then look into used kites and skates/snowboards for your fix.

The class is growing and very few boats were for sale this year. So your investment is safe. If it is "not the money" I recommend getting the best boat you can afford because it will be more reliable.

They are fairly easy to sail up to 12 kts. Beyond that and a lot depends on your courage and equipment.


Just show up

Nobody buys their first boat thinking it's "their boat for life." So don't worry. Read the archived stories at for lots of building tips on the DN. It's a fun boat to build and sail, and it has very real re-sale value.

Follow this blog to find out where we're setting up, and then show up to see how it all works. Sure we're having snow today, but many, MANY lakes are not frozen. We move around all the time, and sail ALL winter.

As for two-seat boats -- that's a personal thing. I have a two-seat Nite as well, but I very, very rarely carry a second person. Just don't like it. Stop into White Bear Boat Works and talk to Jason Brown. He sells new and used Nites, and he's full of information. Good guy to know.


Scott - 5298

If you have the ability to build a DN - Make real nice with Scott as he built one of the nicest DN's out there, from scratch, and is a real wizard at building. Porkchop

Swiss Team

Bonjour, Porkchop. Je voile comme une cushion.



Bonjour Miseur Browner, Je voidrai vous E-mail Address as the last one I have for you is not Tres Bien. Porkchop