Here is a first try at a dead mans steering: http://groups.msn.com/ICEFLYERPictureForum/shoebox.msnw
After thinking about all sorts of fairly complicated contraptions, here is the first dead mans steering I made. It is simply a spring from the base of the pedal to the steering control arm. From the pictures, you can see that when the pedal is put all the way forward, the spring is longer and when the pedal is back, the spring is shorter. The "gain" of the spring tension can be adjusted by sliding the spring attachement on the control bar.
It puts a constant pull on the steering to one side which is a down side but on the possitive side, it is very simple and you dont need to mess with hooking things to your body, ect or have ropes and bungie cords running to different places. I also like that I dont have to change anything going from the ice boat to land sailing versions. Springs wear out which is another negative.
We pushed the boat around in a parking lot and with a 11 year old 100 pounder in the boat, it did have a bias to pull to one side. However, even with no pilot in place, it did not have enough spring force to jam the steering completely over to one side. But if the steering did make it over to one side, it would stay there. It probbaly needs a higher tension spring than was used in the first proto. The pedals were not uncomfortable with the bias to one side but we also probably needed more tension.
Hopefully it will get some testing this summer landsailing. One main thing is to make sure the change does not create more problems than it corrects.
Note: its not clear that there is a significant problem with this in the first place and the Ice Flyer is probably no worse than Ice Boats in general. However, in order to feel "safe" about keeping up the ice flyer web site and plans, I think something on this needs to be on the web site identifying a potential safety risk and proposing some sort of solution "at your own risk".