CAMDEN — Need some fresh air and exercise after a long winter and a longer pandemic? If you are like David Gelinas of Molyneaux Road, that is not a problem.

He built a skating rink in his front yard.

Neighborhood kids enjoy skating on the rink on Molyneaux Road in Camden. Photo courtesy of David Gelinas

Gelinas has been doing this for years. He was known as the “Rink-Meister” in other towns where he has lived. He moved to Camden with his wife Rae-Ann and his son, Noah, about six years ago.

He works on the water as a harbor pilot aboard the Dirigo. When foreign cargo ships need to enter Penobscot Bay, it is his job to steam out to meet them, board their ship and take over navigation into local waters as they head to Searsport, Bucksport or Bar Harbor. The job requires crazy hours, sometimes getting him up at 3 a.m.

In his spare time, he likes to stay active and play hockey. You can see the goal nets on his rink.

Clearing the ice on Molyneaux Road in Camden. Photo courtesy of David Gelinas

His son, now 10, has been on skates since he was about four years old, and neighborhood kids are learning to skate on the Gelinas family rink.

It is not easy work putting one in. The key is getting the brackets that will hold the rink together in the ground at just the right time. Too frozen, and they are not getting in. Too warm, and they will not hold. The rink itself must be measured out perfectly using tricky geometry. Gelinas warns that eyeballing it will not create a true rectangle. The dimensions of the current rink are 64 feet by 28.

He said he would generally put something like this in the back and he knows it is quite visible on a Camden Street, but it was the only stretch of yard he had that was flat enough.

A family on Molyneaux Road in Camden has created their own skating rink in their front yard. Pictured are, from left, Noah Gelinas, Rae-Ann Gelinas, Andrew Laidlaw, and David Gelinas. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

Once the brackets are in, the boards are put in place to frame it and a liner, which has to be purchased new each year for the most part, can be put down. He said the key is you need to have a stretch of cold days in the long-range forecast. Eventually, he fills the rink in with water from a garden hose, and notes that’s not a short process.

Once it is frozen, it is game on!

He has done this before in other places, most notably building a rink for the Castine Elementary School where his daughter from a previous marriage attended classes.

He trained for his work on the water at Maine Maritime Academy. He learned his love of boats visiting his grandparents on the Connecticut shore growing up.

Gelinas noted how much he respected and admired Capt. Gilbert Hall, who was a longtime Penobscot Bay Pilot and who passed the torch on to Gelinas when retiring.

A picture of the skating rink in Camden by night, courtesy of David Gelinas.

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