If you’re the kind of adrenalin-junkie who sees an annual winter sports insurance policy as a challenge to cram as many thrill-seeking activities as you can during the season, then you’ll need to try the high-octane, high-speed sport of ice sailing.
The name is pretty self explanatory, ice sailing is sailing in a boat which has been specially adapted to run over the icy surface of lakes and rivers on thin steel blades. With speeds that can reach a staggering 220km per hour, this is definitely not for the feint-hearted.
The History of Ice Sailing
While the cutting edge materials which make up today’s ice sail boats may make you believe this is a new sport, like snowboarding, its origins actually date back to 2000BC in Scandinavia. Of course the sport has moved on a bit since then, but adapting boats to move on frozen surfaces has been a popular pastime throughout the seventeenth century in Europe and later in North America.
While in Europe its practice waned after the Second World War, in North America it has continued to be a popular winter sport (especially along the East Coast) with many classes of boats and regular races taking place.
What You Need to Know
As with any style of sailing, there are a wide variety of boats to choose from in varying sizes but one of the best for those new to the sport is the one or two-man 12-foot DN with a single sail. With a cockpit for one, an experienced guide can balance on the back of the T-shaped hull with a wooden plank lifting the boat above the ice. Metal blades are fitted at each end of the T-bar and there is also a third blade at the front. The ice sail works in the same way as a normal sailboat, catching the wind to propel the vessel, and anyone familiar with sailing will pick up the basics easily.
Crash helmets are a necessary piece of equipment, as a sharp, unexpected wind can flip the vessel, as are warm, protective clothing and gloves (ski clothing is ideal).
Where to Go
The good news is that ice sailing is growing in popularity again across Europe with countries including Germany, Austria, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Finland, and even Britain (given the right weather conditions) all offering the sport. But if you really want to go to the home of ice sailing then you are best off heading to the East Coast of America or Canada. The sport is hugely popular in New York State (where they sail on the frozen Hudson River) and Vermont where you can catch the wind on the frozen Lake Champlain.
Of course, like any good adrenalin-pumping winter sport, ice sailing does carry some risk of accidents so be sure to take out winter sports insurance before you set off.
A good winter sports insurance policy will not only cover you for damage to yourself but damage to equipment as well. Some policies will even compensate for inclement weather which keeps you off the ice. Good insurance will give you peace of mind, so you can concentrate on whizzing across frozen lakes with the wind in your hair and no troubles on your mind.
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of InsureMore, an award-winning team of specialists in global single trip, annual, family, business and winter sports insurance. Besides offering great deals on travel insurance, Patrick also collects and shares the best free travel competitions to help his clients get the most out of their holidays.