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John Austin's Icester Project:

John is in the process of finishing up Icester #40. He chose to do away with the curve of the deck and trunk, shown in the plans... he prefered using flat sections. This simplified construction for him. He used a wire feed welder to experiment with a tubular metal mast (exaust pipe stock), metal boom, a custom steering unit, and other parts. I thinik that John did a wonderful job.

"Thinking ice" on a sunny day!


Imaginative use of a bicycle steering head for the front steering. John welded two plates to the head, and through bolted them to the springboard.

A wishbone boom, with a welded-on "hanger". This coincides with a similar bracket welded to the mast, from which it hangs. This is all John's design, as the plans show a wooden rig, with a horizontal sprit. His wishbone will allow the sail to set in a better airfoil, as it won't be interfered with by the sprit. John wrapped his spars with electrical tape, effectivily "vinyl coating" them!

The plans do specify a steering head for the pedal steering, and this is a fine adaptation of that suggestion. I see a welded cross piece to make a good surface for winter boots.

Two more views of John's boat. Although it looked to me, at first, as though John mounted the mast without a universal joint, he has a bolt welded to the underside of the mast, which is inserted through a hole in a metal deck plate. He feels this will give the mast enough "play", while sailing. Since the rear stays of an iceboat are mounted to the crossplank, and the crossplank is flexible, this is necessary. I look forward to the first tests, winter 00/01.