Living life by the wind: Belle River man hits the lake with his ice boat for first time in decades

·1 min read
Christopher Cole with the hand-crafted, DN-class ice boat he ordered 25 years ago. (Darrin Di Carlo/CBC - image credit)
Christopher Cole with the hand-crafted, DN-class ice boat he ordered 25 years ago. (Darrin Di Carlo/CBC - image credit)

Christopher Cole picked the perfect day to get his ice boat back out on the lake.

Conditions were ideal on Sunday, when Cole took his DN-class wooden ice boat out on the lake for the first time in decades, with a north wind and ice that was smooth as glass.

"You live your life by the wind when you do this kind of a thing," Cole told CBC News. "And the conditions ...that's what inspired me to get out.

"I can't not do it, right?" he said. "You don't know if this will be here for a day, for a week."

Cole has had the boat for a quarter of a century. It was built by hand in Kingston, and while it saw quite a bit of use after Cole got it, the boat has been in storage for the last 20 years.

"Everybody's been sort of quite surprised and shocked to see it," Cole said. "I've been hearing that they can hear me on the ice, because the blades make this really kind of cracky sound."

"They can hear me sort of coming and going."

And rest assured: the boat is fast.

Darrin Di Carlo/CBC
Darrin Di Carlo/CBC

"This ice boat will go about three times faster than the wind," he said. "So if the wind is, let's say, 20 miles per hour, I can go 60 on this."

"It's almost like zero friction with with the blades," Cole said. "You really do have to be careful, though, because you are going very fast."

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