November 2, 2022
David Janzen and the boat in front of the barn/workshop in Dunnville
With files from Deb Whitehorse, iceboat.org.
Iceboating has attracted dreamers and creators since some guy in Holland first thought about attaching iron skates to a canal boat back in the 1600s. This past summer, David Janzen of Dunnville, Ontario, achieved his dream of building the biggest iceboat in the world.
An iceboat that big needs big ice, and in the winter of 2023, Janzen plans on trailering it to Thunder Bay, ON to learn how she sails.
“This isn’t just low budget; this is NO budget,” Janzen quips relating how he salvaged a number of spent 8-person rowing shells to build the hull and fabricated the 53’ spar out of abandoned shorter spars. The next step is sails and Janzen is currently in conversation with Bay Sails in Hamilton to get that solved.
From the bow
Online info tells us that the current Guinness record holder is Icicle. “Icicle was built for John Aspinwall Roosevelt for racing on the Hudson River, New York state in 1869. It was 21 metres (68 ft 11 in) long and carried 99 square metres (1,070 sq ft) of canvas. The yacht is still, over 140 years later, recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as a world record. John A. Roosevelt (Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Uncle) was the first Commodore of the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club (1885) at Poughkeepsie, NY. His ice yacht, “Icicle”, required a railway flat car to transport.
By comparison, Janzen’s baby is 70’ long with a 37’ plank. Fortunately, it can be collapsed to 35’ for transport and Janzen is currently building a box trailer to accommodate it.
Janzen began his sailing aboard a plywood Thunderbird 26 in Port Dover, so he knows homemade. Since then he has had a hobby DN and other iceboats. His anticipation is that this new endeavour will be able to pass the 100mph barrier. In the past, speeds have been assessed with radar, but GPS accuracy means it will need to be genuine speed to make Guinness. Stay tuned.