Ice boater needs mother nature's help

Charlie Spacek
Leonard Lang with his $10 ice boat.

When you think of boating on our Finger Lakes waters, you seldom think of ice boat sailing. That is unless your name is Leonard Lang of East Bluff Drive, on Keuka Lake, who at 88, (yes, that’s right 88) loves his homemade ice boat and the thrills of sailing it on Keuka Lake.

Leonard, who was in the Navy in World War II (Thank You!) has had a passion for boats and the water to say the least.

He gets a huge smile on his face when he tells the story of how he got this boat. Many moons ago, his wife gave him a $10 dollar budget to make the ice boat. That may not seem like a lot today, and it did not seem like a lot back then either, he laughs.

It seems that Leonard’s luck got better when it came to procuring items for the boat’s completion. Around the time his ice boat was being drawn up, a sailboat was wrecked down the lake a bit. Now, that was sad about the wrecked sailboat, but Leonard knew some of the parts could be saved to make his ice boat. He gathered a sail, a mast and other items to complete his “winter ride,” from the damaged sailboat.

After the completion of construction and a trial run, the ice boat was officially ready.

Leonard has enjoyed this boat for years, and can not stop telling about the many adventures he has had with his pride and joy. Leonard’s relatives love to go out on the ice boat when conditions are right.

And that brings us to another problem to conquer! Mother nature. Leonard says that this season, with all of the cold and snow, conditions on Keuka Lake are perfect. At least the ice is great, but he needs a great windy day to make the ice boat sail down the lake. The ice boat can reach high speeds if the wind is just right — and wearing a helmet and goggles are a must.

So, if you happen to be traveling down either side of Keuka Lake and see a bright red ice boat with peals of laughter coming from it, don’t worry, it is just 88-year-old Leonard Lang enjoying his $10 investment. And if you can stop him, he might give you a ride.

Do you have something in your life you want to invest time in, go ahead. It may just give you a life time of enjoyment!

Sportsmen and women if you get a chance, take a youngster hunting or fishing!