Weather and ice conditions almost perfect for ice boating

It has not been a great winter for ice boating, but Wednesday provided great conditions for the sport that was once popular across the Island.

Three boaters were on the ice in the Charlottetown harbour carving turns and catching the wind for rides that can top 80 km/h.  The shoreline around Victoria Park and the range light provided beautiful backdrops for the boats. There are only about 20 boaters still participating in the sport on P.E.I.

According to Wikipedi, “an ice boat is a boat or purpose-built framework similar in functional design to a sail boat, but fitted with skis or runners (skates) and designed to run over ice instead of through water.”

In the late 1800s and early 1900s there were two different kinds of ice boats used in P.E.I. – racing ice boats and transportation ice boats. Racing or sailing boats were used for racing across the ice, mostly on the Hillsborough River in Charlottetown. They had sails and looked like modern ice boats.

Transportation ice boats were used for getting to the mainland and they looked like row boats. If there were a bad storm, the men would flip the ice boat over and take shelter under it until the storm passed. When regular ferry service began to the mainland these ice boats were no longer needed.


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