Sailor of the Week: Dec. 30 - Jan. 5
Are you experiencing those winter sailing blues yet? Can’t wait for the spring season to get back out on the water? It’s January, and for those sailors who live in cold, icy parts of the country with very little escape time, this can be a rough time of year. Ron Sherry of Clinton Township, Mich. has a suggestion on how to get your sailing fix this the winter.
Ron is a world renowned iceboating sailor, and is currently a number one ranked DN Iceboat skipper in the world, as listed by the International DN Ice Yacht Racing Association (IDNIYRA). He has four world DN titles (2005, 2002, 1989 and 1988), one Renegade World Championship (1997), one DN Junior World Championship (1979), and nine DN North American wins on his iceboating resume. The renegade iceboat can reach speeds north of 120 mph. It is larger and faster than the DN iceboat. The DN is the lighter, more popular craft.
Ron has been racing iceboats for 25 years. It all started at the age of nine, when Ron learned how sail on ice from his father Lorne, a three-time Renegade class world champion. His father would build iceboats in his garage, and now Ron has taken over that practice. Ron and Lorne competed at the 1984 Olympic Trials as a team in the Tornado fleet.
Although Ron owns his own Thistle (won Thistle Nationals in 1992 with Dave Dellenbaugh) and does his share of competitive on-the-water offshore racing during the summer, he’d pass it up to go iceboating. “Iceboating is a great winter alternative for sailors,” said Ron. “It will help you sharpen your skills in technique and tuning.”
Along with being an outstanding DN iceboat racer, Ron has coached, mentored, and introduced thousands of sailors to iceboat sailing all over the world. “My favorite thing to do is to give someone their first iceboating experience.” Ron does his share iceboating promotion to get more sailors involved in the sport, especially at the youth level. “I like to write articles and instructional guides on iceboating. It’s important for me to make myself available to introduce the sport to youth sailors.” Ron spends a lot of time setting up iceboat demos at summer youth sailing events and schools. “We’ve introduced the Ice Opti class to youth sailors, which is practical because the kids can use their existing Opti masts, booms, sails, and sprits, with small modifications.”
Racing on the ice, as opposed to the water, has a number of different dynamics to the sport. “It is so much easier to communicate with other sailors and the race officials on the ice. Safety is always an issue too. We need to scout the ice carefully for cracks and potential problem areas, and won’t go out on lakes we don’t know.” Ron added that iceboating’s popularity is growing in the Midwest, especially Minnesota. He is looking forward to the DN Iceboating World Championships later this month in Wisconsin and hosted by the North American Western Region.
Ron is a member of three yacht clubs in Michigan including the Crescent Sail Yacht Club, Bayview Yacht Club, and is the new sailing director for the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club. Ron added, “I look forward to sharing the love of the sport I have with others. I want to give back by hiring good trainers and coaches, and build-up the junior sailing programs at the club.”
Learn more about the sport by visiting the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club site at http://www.iceboat.org.