I am interested in building the Gambit - I bought a set of plans in 2004. Are there any Gambits in the White Bear Lake area? I'd like to see one or talk to a local builder. Thx.


Gambit from DN5451

We built four Gambits last year. The hull weighs 80lbs . Ican lift it into the back of a truck by my self. You wont do that with an arrow or nite.If you use ash for the plank and build it like a new dn there will be great performance not like the old stiff Sitka planks. The mast can be aluminum it is 19 feet tall and can be found laying behind the boat barn. The sail is as big as the arrow but the boat is half the weight. Gambit will go in the light wind You will have to push the arrow and nite home. The spring board makes for a very soft ride so the steering chock won't be bangin hard. My thirteen year old daughter can handle the tiller and sheet while I sit as ballast can't do that in a dn. I had taken my 350 lbs brother for his first ride and I weigh 200 the boat did not even care. As far as resale value you won't want to sell it. Our local arrow guys sailed the gambit and are ready to start building. Yes I have a racing dN that out performs these two seaters but there is nothing better for cruising and taking people for rides than the gambit. check out YouTube a gambit ice boat on wawasee. The two guys in the video had never sailed any boat soft or hard water before this

Why a Gambit ?

Everyone has their reasons and opinions, but I really feel that the Gambit is a rather dated design with poor performance compared to some of the more popular designs. They seemed to be popular out east about 10-15 years ago, but not many around here.

The performance of a MODERN DN with composite mast, insert runners and properly tuned is absolutely amazing (and that's coming from a skeeter pilot). The modern DN has outstanding upwind performance, and none of the hiking tendencies of the pre-composite mast days. In light to moderate winds, the DN's will now out perform Nites without question. If you are after a boat that can take a passenger on an occasional basis, many people have built removable side cars, but they are best accompanied by a stiffer plank. A used, middle-of-the-pack race package is still cheaper than paying for all brand new materials and parts for a Gambit.

If you are looking for something bigger than a DN, then the Nite is the way to go. With the downturn in the economy and some loss of interest, it seems like the inventory of used boats has never been higher, and the prices have been relatively low. Nites are fast, more comfortable than DN, and unbelievably durable (has unfortunately been proven many times so far this year!!!!!!!)

From an investment point of view, building a Gambit from scratch will have the worst resale value. Building a DN, buying a used DN, or buying a used Nite will be a much better investment.

Over the years, the Gambits that I have seen on the ice have similar performance to the aluminum masted, stiff planked DN's of years past. They hike a lot, don't go upwind that great, limited top end. Almost like the Arrow Jet.

I don't want to discourage you from your dream, because we all have reasons for what our "dream" boat is, and these are only my opinions. Persue your dreams. Always available to talk iceboats. If you are in the White Bear area, maybe check out the wide variety of boats currently on Bald Eagle.

Pat Heppert - six one two, two eight two, three zero nine eight.