Photos & Reports

  • Current Season

    Photos and reports from the current iceboat season.

2016-2017 Season:

  • DN Regattas
  • Northwest Regatta
  • International Skeeter Association and Renegade Championship

Boat Walk

..There'll Be Days Like This..

All the ingredients were ready, a sheet of solid ice and a sunny day, but the weather forecasters were right today and not enough breeze filled in for racing. Fritz and Meta Simon had their Ice Optimists out for some training in anticipation of next weekend's Ice Optimist North American regatta. Commodore Ken Norton fired up the grill and served brats for lunch.

However, it was a perfect day for new Skeeter sailor, Dave Elsmo, to set up his front seater for the first time and have the benefit of Paul Krueger and Ken Whitehorse share Skeeter tuning tips. About 1pm 3 Skeeters and 3 Renegades caught some wind and were able to sail around.
Rain in the forecast for Monday and Tuesday will change the surfaces of our lakes. The great Zamboni is firing up.

Charlie Miller's Slides

Thank you Jerry Simon for editing and sharing Charlie's slides with us. Thank you Carole Miller for giving them to Jerry. Charlie started racing stern steerers on Lake Winnebago in Oshkosh when he was 14. He was lucky enough to make a career out of his love for sailing. He ran the Pewaukee North Sails loft and remained involved in iceboating throughout his life. Thank you, Charlie Miller. Click here to view this as a slide show.

Charlie Miller in his Nite

Meeting Update

The club extends a big thank you to all who attended last night's meeting and Charlie Miller slide show. It was standing room only and we were honored to have some long time members there including Dave & Nancy Nelson, Bill & Mauretta Mattison, and Jack Ripp. Carole Miller attended with her family and provided much of the commentary on the slides which covered the MARY B years, the America's Cup years in Perth, Australia, and ice sailing in the 1970s and 80s. Another highlight was hearing ice reports from area iceboaters including George Gerhardt who gave an Oshkosh report (snow covered) and John Hayashi who gave a Green Lake report (open). Of course Dave "Admiral" Nelson gave the first report about his home lake, Kegonsa (snow covered.) Thank you Jerry Simon for coming up with the slide show idea and executing it, to our long time members, our out of town guests, and to Angelo's who kept us all well fed and watered.

Radio Waves

UPDATE: If you missed the radio interview, it lives on the internet. Click here to listen.
Via 4LIYC Nite sailor, Don Sanford: "Fourth Lake Fans--If you happen to be listening to Wisconsin Public Radio this Friday morning, December 16 , 2016 and think you're hearing me--you are. Nope, I have not come down the chimney and parked myself in your kitchen. I'll be on Wisconsin Life talking about ice and ice harvesting. Listen to Wisconsin Life at 6:45 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. CST during Morning Edition. If you're not in Wisconsin, listen online at The story will also be on the Wisconsin Life website at:"

TBT: Oshkosh 1927

Go to the five minute mark in this Youtube video for some vintage footage of stern steerers sailing on Lake Winnebago. (The first five minutes show people shoveling snow in Oshkosh, something many of us here in the Midwest will be all too familiar with over the next two days.)Tip of the Helmet: Jay Davis

First Ice in French Alps

The only iceboater in France (that I know of) checks in with his annual report from the Comte region. Serge had some beautiful ice but no wind on Monday, December 12.

Cover Photo by Gretchen Dorian

Runner Tracks: Jane Pegel Interview

The latest edition of Runner Tracks, the newsletter of DN North America, has been published on the DN website. This issue has one of the best articles that I've had the privilege to be involved with, an interview by Susie Pegel with her mother, Jane. See it here.

Bill Mattison sailing in HONEYBUCKET

Оглядываясь назад в прошлое/Throw Back Thursday: American Illustrated

"Frank Trost, Perrigo’s neighbor, describes a poetical a ride on his "Tuscarora": - Iceboat comes alive, he begins to talk to you. I was on Lake Delavan. Gusts crosswind reached 80 km/h.... It seemed to fly through the air; only the wind howled in the wires and whistled - people standing on the bank told us that the boat roared like a jet plane.."
NOVEMBER 1960: "One of Madison's wintertime claims to fame - iceboating- will be read by thousands of Russians in the next few weeks." This magazine was published as part of a cultural exchange program with Russia during the Soviet era and features some excellent photography of Skeeters and the MARY B stern steerer.
A friend in Russia, Natali Burdukovskaya, took the time to translate the article. Natali brings a unique understanding to the translation because she is a member of ice sailing regatta race committees and is the scorer for regattas, including the Lake Baikal regatta. Thank you Natali! Here's a pdf of the original article along with the translation and a clipping from the Wisconsin State Journal about the article that ran in 1960.

The Real Old School - Dutch Style

Lose yourself in this captivating film from 1940 featuring the world's orginal iceboats from Holland. This video has everything, dogs, skating kids, and beautiful black ice.


As seen on the 4LIYC Facebook page, Byron Tetzlaff sets up MISFIRE for the first time. Bill Hanson notes, "This boat was originally built as a copy of the A boat FRITZ by Carl Bernard. My family owned it since 1970 until when I bought my first renegade in early '80s. I named the boat MISFIRE because it did not have a name." Byron aquired the bost from the Tad Gedko family. Tad grew up on Lake Monona and collected old iceboats,their pieces, and parts for many years. In this video, "Byron demonstrates his single-handed system for loading his stern-steerer iceboat onto the trailer."


Looks like Mike Madge was the first sailor in North America to pull the sheet rope on the 2016-2017 ice sailing season on White Fish Lake near Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. Watch a short video from the day here.

Palmer On The Prairie

Iceboats can turn up in the most unlikely places. This vintage Palmer Skeeter has been on display for at least 60 years at Pioneer Village Museum in Minden, Nebraska. The boat was originally owned by the museum's founder, Harold Warp.

The plaque reads "The ice boat is a single passenger ice boat made by the Palmer Boat Company of Fontana, Wisconsin, This was one of the first small single passenger ice boats made, with the steering runner out in front. Prior to this the steering runner was back of the open platform, with the runner plank in front of the rider's platform, that normally carried several people. It has a 20 foot mast, Wamsetta cotton sail with wood battens. It is 18 feet long and the runner plank has a 12 foot span. The ice boat cost $500.00 new in 1935 and the Palmer Company, who specialized in making sail boats, discontinued ice boats in 1938. This Palmer was owned by Harold Warp."
The museum's director says that, "To the best of my knowledge it was never sailed in Nebraska, Mr. Warp did use it on the lakes in Illinois. He donated it to the museum in the 1950's."

Throw Back Thursday: Ice Quilting

Back in the late 1970s, the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club challenged members to create quilt squares that were then assembled into a quilt and raffled off at the banquet. Marie Whitehorse won the quilt and it is now in possession of her son, Ken. Iceboating is a very creative sport. CORRECTION: There were two quilts made back in those days. Ken Whitehorse has one. Barb and Don Sanford won the second quilt. Photos shown above are of their quilt.

Black Ice Friday: Mad Men Edition

Enjoy this 28 minute slice of life from the 1960s iceboating scene filmed in 8mm by 4LIYC member, Bob Clements. YouTube apparently doesn't allow viewers to tag people like they used to, so I'll continue to add captions when possible. Many appearances by Paul Krueger, Bill Mattison (in his own lawn mowing scene!), Dave Rosten, and Sparky Lundberg. Interesting to see footage from what looks to be a Northwest banquet at the 10 minute mark. Thank you, Bob Clements!

Where It's Winter

While we've "enjoyed" an unusually warm November here in the Midwest, old man winter has made an early appearance on the other side of the world, camping out in northern Europe and Russia. This story came across the Facebook feed this morning about Kai Linde, an ice sailor in Norway. Read it here. Run it through Google translate for the English experience or just enjoy the stunning scenery of ice sailing near Valnesfjord, Norway.


Pat Heppert sends along more iceboating ephemera, this time from the 1990 Hammacher-Schlemmer Christmas catalog. Hammacher-Schlemmer is a high-end gift catalog for that person that has everything, "offering the best, the only, and the unexpected for 168 years." Does anyone know who the builder was that contracted to build DNs with HS? Let us know!
Of course I searched their website to learn if they were selling new Skeeter front seaters. Didn't find any of those, but take a look at this, The Buffalo Icecycle.

Here's video of the Buffalo Icecycle in action where it appears that perfectly zambonied ice is a requirement for a decent ride.

Dry Land Skeeter Training

Mark Isabell and Jim Gluek set up their Skeeters for some secret testing today in an undisclosed location near Pewaukee. Mark says they are "getting ready for the REAL season to begin."

Better Iceboating Through Chemistry?

A video about shoe technology has been getting some attention on Facebook. "Arctic Grip sole technology that grips slick wet ice, as well as thermochromatic lugs, which sense when the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and change color in cold conditions. One of the greatest attributes of Vibram’s Arctic Grip is its durability and ability to maintain performance despite miles of wear." Read more about it on Vibram's website. The technology looks promising. From a race committee perspective, boots that grip the ice would be a big improvement over mountain climbing ice spikes that scratch and rip up the ATV seats and are a general pain to deal with. Saucony is offering the technology in a running shoe (pictured above). Would be interesting to find out how well the shoes would perform for iceboat racers.


More outstanding footage from the folks at Waterlust filmed during their visit to Lake Baikal in Siberia last April. If anyone ever asks you how iceboat racing works, show them this minute and half video. Bookmark it on your phone!

Twin Spin Thursday: Hardware - Harken's Innovations

Pat Heppert shared two vintage catalogs that his father had saved from the Milwaukee firms of Joys Brothers and Kuemmerlein Marine.
Joys Brother Catalog
Kuemmerlein Marine Catalog
Both catalogs feature iceboats and their components, including metal blocks which were prone to jamming, which was particularly not desirable in iceboat sailing. (During a late 1950s regatta, a Skeeter, sailed by Chris Smith of Chris Craft fame, collided with my dad's Skeeter because Chris Smith's sheet rope jammed in the blocks.)
A few years after these catalogs were published, Peter Harken innovated the use of plastic ball bearings in hardware. Read more about that history on the Harken website, "Necessity is the Mother of Invention".
Sailboat Hardware Before 1967: An Exercise in Friction Jammed blocks, kicked travelers, and grease to lubricate the steel ball bearings. Before 1967, that was sailing hardware—agricultural, heavy, hard to use, and a pain to maintain.
Sailboat Hardware After 1967: An Era of Innovation Like many good ideas, Peter Harken's decision to use plastic instead of steel ball bearings in his boat hardware was born of necessity. Little did he realize his invention would change the face of sailing."

THUNDERJET in Thunderbay

Mike Madge up in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada and a friend are restoring a Skeeter that migrated north from Pewaukee and has some serious history behind it. THUNDERJET was the Mead Skeeter that took legendary iceboater, Bill Perrigo, first over the finish line at many regattas. Greg Whitehorse wrote a stirring story about THUNDERJET and Bill Perrigo in one of the club's Blade Runner newsletters. Read it here.

FIRST! Первый

As seen on the Facebook page of Valentin Titarenko, what looks to be the first runners on the ice of the season! These DNs are set up near the Bratsk Hydroelectric Dam in Russia.

Jim Gluek, Ken Whitehorse, and Bill Mattison in front of Ken's A Class Skeeter. Note Dick Lichtfeld's collector car Delorean in the background.

A Perfect Day: 4LIYC Picnic & Iceboat Show

The fall weather could not have been more perfect for Saturday's iceboat show and 4LIYC picnic. With 11 12! iceboats on display from multiple classes, it well may have been the biggest off-the-ice gathering of iceboats in history. There were so many highlights of the day. First of all, the thanks yous. Thanks to Peter Fauerbach and Dick Lichtfeld for organizing this amazing event in just a few short weeks. Incredible! Thanks to the volunteers who took the time from their busy schedules to bring and set up boats. To Commodore Ken Norton, Vice Commodore Greg Whitehorse, and Renegader George Gerhardt for manning the grill. We went through 70 brats in an hour and a half and had to send out for more! Thanks to Peter Lundt for bringing the ham, a tradition that the late Jim Payton started over 30 years ago. Thanks to Dick Lichtfeld for cooking up a batch of award winning chili. Thanks to MaryAnn Lichtfeld for ordering the beautiful cake decorated with MISS MADISON. Thanks to Corey Anderson for bringing his tricked out Airstream camper with the big screen so that we could watch the UW Badgers win over Iowa. Other Wisconsin iceboat clubs were well represented. Oshkosh iceboaters were represented by Mike Kroll, Bobby Eckstein, and Marv Luck. (Thanks, Marv, for the copies of the scrapbook.) Other ice yacht club members there were Skeeter Ice Boat Club's Susie Pegel (who reminds us that the SIBC Swap Meet is next Sunday), Green Lake's Joe Norton and Maureen Bohleber, Oshkosh IYC Mike and Janet Peters (thanks for the yellow duckie), Carol Miller and Jim Gluek from Pewaukee IYC, and John Davis from Iowa. The beautiful weather brought out many past champions including Bill and Mauretta Mattison. Facebook is filled with great photos from the day. It's a privilege to be a member of this community of iceboaters.
UPDATE: A camera was found at the picnic. Please email to me and I'll help get it back to you.
ACE OF SPADES Stern Steerer, Mike Peters
BLACK PANTHER Vintage Skeeter, Don Anderson
COLD DRAFT Renegade, Peter Fauerbach
COLD PLAY Renegade, Ken Norton
CRAWFISH Vintage Skeeter, Dick Lichtfeld
DN Class, Peter Fauerbach
MARY B Stern Steerer, Iceboat Foundation
MENACE Stern Steerer, Richard Ela
MISS MADISON Stern Steerer, Richard Lichtfeld
NITE Class, Ken Johnson
ICE OPTIMIST Class, Thor Rosten
WARRIOR Skeeter Class, Ken Whitehorse

Twin Spin Thursday: Rise of the Skeeters

Regatta paperwork for the upcoming season provides this week's inspiration for Twin Spin Thursday, a visual comparison of Skeeter development into the 21st century. Notice of Race dccuments for the International Skeeter Association (ISA) and Northwest Regatta have been posted along with updated Sailing Instructions, Northwest By Laws, and ISA Rules.

More photos from the magazine spread that featured EVA III.

Hard Water - A Waterlust Film about Ice Sailing

From the good folks at Waterlust, video from their visit to Baikal Ice Sailing Week last April.

Back Home Again In Indiana

Rick Lemberg and Bob Fanning just picked up their latest acquisition, a classic rear seat A Skeeter, here in Madison today. The Skeeter, built by 4LIYC member Bob Kau and then owned by Gary Whitehorse is on its way to to a good and fast home on Lake Wawasee in Indiana. As they loaded the trailer, the temperature kept dropping - a good sign for the upcoming season.

Combustion vs Wind

This stern steerer iceboat vs motorcycle photo above from 1912 has been posted on many web sites. Iceboats were the fastest vehicles on the planet until the advent of motor vehicles (and perhaps some trains).

Iceboat vs motorcycle brings to mind the classic 1935 newsreel shot on Lake St. Clair of a Chevy racing another stern steerer. Watch it here.
UPDATE: The stern steerer racing the 1935 Chevy on Lake St. Clair is intriguing because it is similar to a Monotype, designed in 1932 by Erik von Holst of Estonia. I ran across a similar boat in YACHTING MAGAZINE identified as a "German 20 Square Meter while researching something else. I don't know the publication date but it's from an article written by Frederik Gardiner, author of Wings on Ice.

"Harken, Slingshot and the Sailing Speed Record"

"Our favorite, if not our most frustrating sport, is iceboating: a combination of race-car driving and sailing." - Olaf Harken. 'In an excerpt from his recently published memoir Fun Times in Boats, Blocks & Business, Harken Inc. co-founder Olaf Harken recalls the time his company helped try to break the world sailing speed record.' Continue reading, from SAIL magazine.
Tip of the Helmet: Loretta Rehe

Runner Tracks Magazine

The September issue of the online magazine of the International DN Ice Yacht Racing Associattion has been delivered to a virtual mailbox near you. See it here. Took that shot of 4LIYC DNer Dave Elsmo sailing on Lake Kegonsa last season from Jeff Russell's Cub plane.

Dancing Skates: Now Translated

UPDATE: Via Bill Buchholz: "..the [Monotype] class is still very active in Europe under the auspices of the International Monotype XV Ice Yacht Racing Association: Monotype-XV iceyacht. You never know, some one in this country might become smitten with the boat and actually build one! Can you imagine?"
Ed.: Yes, I can imagine because Bill was the first person to build one here in North America! I know that this vintage German newsreel about ice sailing has been posted here before but I'm not sure if I've ever seen it with English subtitles. Anyways, it never gets old.

  • Samorezov Victor Konstantinovich (1919-1993) "Buyeristy" 1959

  • Murniyek Laimdot Petrovich (1922-2011) "Buyery" 1956

  • Ozol Janums Augustovich (1929-2014) "Before the Start " 1963

  • Nisskii Grigorii Georgievich (1903-1987) "Pestovo" 1953
Like: Russian Impressionist Iceboat Paintings

Above are a few Russian impressionist paintings are from a Facebook post by Dmitry Romashov who tagged some of his fellow iceboating countrymen. These exquisite paintings, created by several artists, are beautifully rendered canvases that capture the light, ice, movement, and color familiar to all iceboaters around the world.

Say DA to Baikal!

Via New England Ice Yacht Association Commodore T:
"Anyone Want To Go To Siberia??? It may be more possible than you think! The Baikal Sailing Week is coming up fast (March 18-25, 2017) and is surely one of the more unique DN regattas anywhere in the world. It will be held this spring following the European Champs. I’ve heard amazing tales from this one, stories from both on the ice and off. The photos and videos look amazing. Lake Baikal is a fascinating body of water, even more so when you put a bunch of iceboats on it! Continue reading.

Sailing Siberia


Ice boating in Russia extends the thrill of high-speed sailing into the hard-water months.
By Patrick Rynne
"At over 5,000 feet deep, Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world and the largest by volume, holding approximately 20 percent of Earth’s unfrozen fresh water, more than all the Great Lakes combined. The lake formed from a rift valley in the heart of Siberia 25 million years ago. Because of its isolation, life in Lake Baikal has evolved in amazing ways. Nearly 80 percent of the lake’s species are not found anywhere else on the planet, and perhaps that includes the hard-water sailors who travel great distances to race on the magical surface for Baikal Sailing Week." Continue reading.