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July 29, 2014

Always Famous

Peter rolls up his Skeeter sail at the 2005 ISA on Geneva Lake.
Photo by David Travis

Congratulations to Olaf and Peter Harken on their induction into the National Sailing Hall of Fame (NSHOF) today. From Peter's NSOF biograpy: "While he was struggling with the math involved with engineering at University of Wisconsin at Madison, Peter Harken had a part part-time job at Gilson Medical Electronics. The rule at Gilson was designers had to build their own prototypes, so as a draftsman, Harken had gotten friendly with the machine shop. One night, some plastic ball bearings he had found to solve a problem in a refrigerated environment rolled off the bench onto the floor. “I was amazed at how high they bounced,” he recalls. “The less mass, the further things accelerate – that’s what pulleys do on a boat, stop and start all the time.” The standard blocks at the time were brass, sometimes with brass ball bearings that were heavy and sluggish. Harken had upgraded to stainless bearings for the blocks he had been making for his E-Scow and ice boat. They were were soon replaced by blocks with lighter, more lively plastic bearings, and that day yachting hardware took a giant leap forward. Harken had learned engineering wasn’t all math: 'Sometimes it’s just bloody common sense.'" Continue reading.
Read Nite skipper Olaf's biography here.
Olaf Harken stops by to visit with Bill Mattison at the 2011 Northwest Regatta on Lake Mendota.

July 17, 2014

Throw Back Thursday UPDATE:
Oshkosh 1934-Skippers Identified

Oshkosh stern-steerer skipper Marv Luck shared a newspaper clipping that lists the identities of the skippers, the most famous being John Buckstaff. Stay tuned for another one of Marv's old photos that I'll post for next week's TBT.
Click on the photo for a closer look.

When stern-steerers ruled the ice (they still do-there's nothing bigger!). Click on the photo for a higher res look at these Oshkosh sailors on Lake Winnebago. I don't recall who gave me this. If anyone looks familiar, drop me a line.

July 7, 2014

Updated: Throw Back Thursday:
Flying High in 1973

UPDATE: Here's the story behind this photo. A couple of guys got into trouble when they sailed their stern-steerer (formerly owned by Bill Hansen) into open water in Lake Monona near the Yahara River outlet, an area where no experienced ice sailor would have dared to sail and proving the point once again that the entire lake is never safe. One of the sailors was part of the helicopter crew that pulled the boat out of the drink. Read the story here.
Tip of the helmet: Don Sanfo
I have no explanation for this slide taken by Mike Hunt other than it's from January 1973. That's the Madison police watching a stern steerer fly away over Lake Mendota.

June 19, 2014

Speaking of Buddy...

Photo by Chris Johns
Gloria and Buddy Melges at the 2007 Northwest

Slide from the Carl Bernard Collection
Gloria and Buddy on the runner plank of the Skeeter, Mickey Finn, Bill Perrigo with his son Will, sometime in the 1950s. Buddy's father, Harry, won the Skeeter class in Mickey Finn in 1936, the first time the Skeeters competed in the Northwest. Buddy went on to win the Northwest Skeeter title 9 times.

Sailing legend Buddy Melges reflects on Wisconsin roots

By Ben Stanley
Lake Geneva News

"The man has enyclopedic knowledge of sailing. But it goes deeper than that. He’s not spewing empty technical jargon, and he didn’t learn it from a book. He has his own language to describe the complex and abstract geometry of sailing. Angles, boat mechanics, design and physics. He’s condensing a Bachelor of Science degree into a 10 minute conversation before lunch. He’s brimming with enthusiasm for a hobby he’s had since five years before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor." Continue reading.

Throw Back Thursday:
Buddy Melges @ 2007 Northwest

Buddy Melges crosses the finish line first at the 2007 NIYA
Photo by Chris Johns

It was only seven years ago when the Northwest Regatta was sailed on Green Bay in Menominee, Michigan and Buddy Melges took top honors in the Skeeter class. Here's the 2007 Northwest Regatta page with results and photos.

June 12, 2014

Throw Back Thursday:
Charles Lindbergh Learned About Speed on Lake Mendota's Ice

Charles Lindbergh with his motorized ice boat on Lake Mendota in 1921

Aviator Charles Lindbergh, who made history by being the first to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1927, lived in Madison in 1921 and briefly attended the University of Wisconsin. According to this Milwaukee Journal article from May 17, 1927 Lindbergh built his first air propelled vehicle, "an ice boat run by a motor cycle engine geared to an airplane propeller. In it, Lindbergh sailed over frozen Lake Mendota in 1921. The craft was wrecked in a collision of one of "Capt." William Bernard's iceboats, but damages were collected from the students who skippered Bernard's boats."
There's another important Lindbergh connection with ice boating. He was a cousin of Joe Lodge (Lindbergh's mother was a Lodge), who along with Archie Arrol and Norman Jarrait, designed the DN ice boat.
I would guess that Lindbergh was well familiar with ice boating before he came here in 1921. He was a misfit on campus but perhaps felt more at ease on Lake Mendota with the ice boaters.

6-16: UPDATE: The Milwaukee Journal story doesn't tell the whole story of the day Lindbergh's motorized ice boat tangled with a Bernard stern steerer.

Continue reading.

From the book, "Lindbergh's Badger Days" by Anne Vandenburgh: "That winter, Duley and Plummer started a project in Dudley's basement to convert an iceboat from wind to mechanical power. Soon, however, Plummer's newly discovered fascination with dating caused him to lose interest. Lindbergh stepped in to help finish the boat, using the engine from his motorcycle and a discarded airplane propeller. Lindbergh often spent entire days working on the iceboat rather than going to class. Dudley's mother would give him lunch.

When they were ready to test the boat, Lindbergh had Reynold's Transfer haul it to Lake Mendota. There he tied it to a tree and went home. Sometime that night, it was rammed by another iceboat. When Lindbergh went to get the boat the next morning, he found it smeared with yellow paint. Lindbergh decided to look for a yellow iceboat with a damaged prow.

Again, a description by Delos Dudley:
Late in the day, he reached the docks of the Bernard Boat Livery, this outfit catered to the University students. In the small group of rental iceboats, he quickly spotted one painted bright yellow, and that boat had a chunk of wood missing from the prow. Lindbergh showed the damage to Mr. Bernard, who had been unaware of the damage done to the front end of his boat. He readily gave Lindbergh his record books, which showed the boat had been rented to a student living at one of the fraternities on Langdon Street. Lindbergh confronted the young man the next day, and without argument, the fellow made restitution to Lindbergh and Bernard.
When the iceboat project ended, the engine was restored to Lindbergh's motorcycle.

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June 5, 2014

Throw Back Thursday: Summer Time is Shop Time

Photos by Bob Clements-Dave Rosten left, Bill Mattison, right
Quite a few 4LIYC Skeeters came out of the basement shops of Bill Mattison and Dave Rosten in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Bill Mattison

Dave Rosten and Bill look over a planer in Bill's garage in Monona.
Getting it done.
May 22, 2014

The Ultimate Throw Back Thursday

You can't get any more "thrown back" than the 17th century and this week's TBT features Dutch painter, Hendrick Avercamp, "master of the ice scene", famous for his portrayal of winter life in the Netherlands. The Dutch are the "grandfathers" of ice boating because they were the first on record to convert their softwater boats to the ice. Several of Avercamps works portray the beautiful Dutch style ice boats which they still sail today.

May 6, 2014

A Season Off and On the Ice

Iceboat documentary FINAL CUT from Anthony Van Witsen on Vimeo.

May 4, 2014

4LIYC Awards Party

Greg Simon is officially inducted into the 4LIYC Honor Roll
We had a nice turn out at the 4LIYC Awards party last night considering that in mid March, we didn't even know if we'd have a season. Luckily we were able to spend two weekends on Lake Monona for our club championships. Thanks to everyone who helped organize the banquet and attended.
DN Trophies: Frankie Hearn Best DN Regatta Finish, Junior Championship, and Junior Service Award, Dawn Hearn, and Daniel Hearn,
Saturday Series, Championship first place

Renegade Class: George Gerhardt third place, Tim McCormick second place and William McCormick race winner, Doug Kolner, Saturday series first place and overall first place.

April 22, 2014

Spring Runner Tracks Magazine

The season end edition of the DN Association's newsletter, Runner Tracks, is online. Great articles and photos about everything in the DN universe. See it all here.

April 9, 2014

Conclusion: Desert Streams

Arrived home Sunday night from the 2014 NABSA Blokart North American Championships held on the playa near Primm, Nevada. Congratulations to Scott Young for his win in the Performance fleet.

Here's one of Scott's videos from the last day of racing.

More Videos from Scott Young
NABSA 2014 Ivanpah last day racing Part 2

NABSA Pre Race 3-29-14 Part 3

NABSA 2014 Awards Dinner Party!

NABSA 2014 Ivanpah Pre Race Speed Tuneup!

Jim Nordhaus, first place Production Class
Our own 4LIYC ice boaters did well in the regatta. Kyle Metzloff battled with Scott Young every race and placed second in the Performance fleet. 4LIYC Renegade and DN sailor, Jim Nordhaus won the Production Class. Geoff Sobering and Wayne Schmeidlen also did well in their divisions.

Dave talks with the Production fleet before the start of the "dial up", a rolling start.
Loretta Rehe and I had a marvelous time helping with the regatta and getting to know the Blokart people which was easy to do because they have the same adventerous spirits as ice boaters. Blokarter Dave T., who took a break from competing this year, helped to make our jobs go smoothly with his knowledge of procedures and sailors to watch. We were able to score 34 official races along with a couple of scrub races. The transition from standing on ice to desert wasn't difficult but the high desert playa did present its own unique challenges such as being colder than I had expected.

Scott Young, Kyle Metzloff, and Wayne Schmeidlin

Dave explains the course to the skippers of the Production fleet before their "dial up" start.

March 30, 2014

Skyline Sailing

Where ever I travel, ice boaters tell me that sailing in Madison is high on their list. There isn't a more impressive urban setting for an ice boat race course. John Winegarden was kind enough to share his photos from the weekend sailing on Lake Monona.

March 29, 2014

Spring Sailing Continues

The DNs and Renegades were able to race on Lake Monona on Saturday on what looks to be pretty decent ice. Tim Stanton was there and took some more excellent photos from his RC helicopter.

March 23, 2014

Sunday's 4LIYC Sailing

Photo: Nick Burger from Facebook
With a low temperature last night of 12F, the ice was harder and the day showed a lot of promise. Unfortunately, there was much less wind than Saturday. Winds were extremely shifty all day with areas of the lake that had no wind at all. At one point, we noticed two smoke stacks on either side of the isthmus where the smoke was laying in opposite directions. The Renegades tried one race and Greg Whitehorse rounded in front at the first leeward mark rounding which was notable because even Greg will admit that light air is not his optimum condition. Paul McMillan and I watched him head up the lake only to take two 360 degree turns. The steering assembly in the boat failed and he was thankful that it didn't happen at the NIYA on the day with 36 mph gusts. That left George Gerhardt to make the time limit on the second lap which he missed by two minutes. Saturday's winners in the Renegade class include Doug Kolner who won two, George Gerhardt, and Jerry Simon.
The DNs were another story. We had a great crowd of racers and light air specialists. The DNs were able to get 4 club races in and continued to stay out and scrub race. Winners included Steve Orlebeke who won two, Jim Gluek, and Mark Isabelle who brought his 4 year old daughter out to watch her dad win the last race. Frankie Hearn continues to show sailing smarts in light air with two 4th place finishes (beating his dad). Jim Gluek introduced one of his fellow Melges sailors, Matt, to DN racing this weekend. Matt was all smiles for two days and managed a third place finish in one race today in the light shifty wind.

March 22, 2014


Photo Credit: Tim Stanton
Great Renegade and DN racing on Lake Monona against the beautiful skyline of Madison, Wisconsin. Hard ice with 10-15 mph winds. See you there tomorrow when the flag drops at 10 AM.

It's Simon in the 4th race.

March 16, 2014

Northwest Completed

Congratulations to all who made the effort to compete in the 101st Northwest Ice Yacht Association regatta on Green Lake. A HUGE thank you to the Green Lake Ice Yacht Club for hosting. It takes a lot of volunteers to make it look so easy. Congratulations to A Stern Steerer winner Erik Sawyer, B Stern Steerer winner Marv Luck, C Stern Steerer winner Mike Peters, D Stern Steerer winner John Davis, E Skeeter winner Jay Yaeso, B Skeeter winner Steve Schalk, and DN winner Peter Orlebeke. A special shout out to the 4LIYC team of Renegaders who placed well at the regatta including winning Renegader Greg Simon, Don Anderson second place, and Doug Kolner third. Provisional results here. People are sending in some nice photos and I will post them up tomorrow. Photo: Tim Brydan

March 13, 2014

Henry Bosset's Hudson River Photos

The Slipper designed by LF Herreschoff
Via Jane Pegel: Henry Bossett drove to the Hudson River the last two weekends to photograph the stern steerers. "A lot of history...including a L.F.Herreschoff design named "Slipper" that had many innovative feature's as one would expect." See the whole set here.

March 10, 2014

Video Previews

Tony Van Witsen is working on a video about iceboating at the 4-Lakes Club. He's posted a couple of "works in progress" segments:

Daniel Hearn and Jori Lenon interviewed about the DN North American Regatta.

Peter Lundt and Geoff Sobering talking about shop work and the Nordhaus Boatwerks.

March 6, 2014

DN Worlds and European Championships

The Worlds were completed (report and results) and the European Championship has started in Haapsalu Estonia (first day report).
A always, Deb Whitehorse is posting outstanding up-to-the-minute reports on the IDNIYRA NA FaceBook page. Gareth Rowland (K-11) is posting to the British Icesailing FB Group. Patrik Stenberg posted some nice photos on the DN Sweden FB page. James "T" Theiler is also posting about his experience on the NEIYA site.
[Sorry for all the FaceBook links... that just seems to be where people are posting things these days...]

February 21, 2014

Runner Tracks Online Magazine

February issue of Runner Tracks, the newsletter of the DN class, is available online.

February 13, 2014

Let Loose the "Dogs of Ice"

TJ Sherry, Frankie Hearn, and Griffin Sherry goofing around at the 2013 DN Centrals
Sailing Magazine

ICE DOGS by Heather Steinberger
"A love of hardwater sailing instilled by their fathers has brought these teens together in friendship and competition.
For most sailors, the sport is most enjoyable when the weather is at its finest...For a select group of enthusiast, however, sailing means something very different. It means plunging temperatures and bitter winds. It means jaw dropping speeds and split second tacks and jibes. It means dropping everything and hitting the road at a moment's notice, even if perfect conditions are two states away."
Here is normally where you would hit the link to "continue reading." The rest of this article is available by picking up the February issue Sailing Magazine. You can also download their app to your Ipad and purchase this issue. It's a wonderfully written two page article with great photos about our present and future stars of the sport .

February 12, 2014

Lithuanian Junior Championship

A beautiful video from the Elektrini Lithuanian Ice Yacht Championship for juniors in DNs, Ice-Optis, and Blokarts. Look at that ice.

February 9, 2014

Ice Sailing Hits the Big Apple

Skeeter skipper Jordan Glaser sends along this YouTube video of an ice boat cruising past the skyline of New York City on Jamaica Bay, Queens.
"I sail my F31 trimaran nearby in the summer.Tell the Skeeter fleet not to worry...although, the competition appears very willing... no one will have to travel to New York City for the ISAs".

Northwest Regatta News

Looks like Eloise will get to keep the NIYA Free For All trophy (first awarded in 1913) won by her dad, JD, in 2013 for a little while longer. The Northwest Ice Yacht Association regatta has been postponed until February 21-23, 2014. Check back on Sunday, February 16, for the next update.

February 8, 2014

Blue Day

Jay Yaeso and Ken Norton stopped by to help Bob Kau set up his new Skeeter hull today. Now that Bob's Skeeter looks to be ready for ice, maybe the ice will come back-somewhere!

February 7, 2014

Vintage Ice Sailing Clips

Click on this link to You Tube to see a series of 18 very short videos of European, USSR, Polish, Estonian, and German ice boating championships that span the years between 1936 and 1968. (Just let the video keep running and they will automatically load.) Take a look at the radical wing masts they were experimenting with back in 1965. We could also consider reviving the tradition of throwing the winner up in the air [or maybe not].
Tip of the Helmet: Gretchen Dorian

February 4, 2014

"Counting Stars"

Well edited video from Dan Clapp. Great to see the orange Skeeter having fun on the ice at the Eastern ISA.

February 3, 2014

EISA Drone

Photographer Jeff Smith shot some photos at the Eastern ISA with his new drone helicopter. See them here.

Sail Racing ISA Pictures

Jay Yaeso makin' wake
All photos credit Sail Racing/Jan Söderström

As we prepare for the ISA regatta called on for Lake Champlain this coming weekend, it's a great time to share these photos from Sweden's Sail Racing. Their photographer, Jan Söderström shot thousands of photos at the 2013 ISA regatta sailed on Lake Kegonsa for an ad campaign that was to have been released in the fall of 2013. But due to a very warm autumn and winter in Europe, Sail Racing has decided to wait with the Skeeter story until next season, autumn 2014. They also filmed quite a bit of video which will be released next season as well.

February 2, 2014

Eastern ISA Awards

C Skeeter Winners
Regatta Chairman: Jordan Glazer, 3rd place: Robert Queisser (right), 2nd Place: Bob Crum (not shown), 1st Place: James Lamb (left)

B Skeeter Winners:
Left to right 3rd: Keith Kennedy, 2nd: George Neyssen, 1st: Mark Hancik, RC: Jordan Glaser

A Skeeter Winners
L to R RC: Jordan Glaser, 3rd: Tony Bosco, 2nd: Chris Davidson, 1st: Dan Clapp

February 1, 2014

Eastern ISA Day 1

Photo Credit: Jeff Brown
Yankees on the line today at the Eastern ISA on Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, New York. Day one standings posted here. Via Skeeter skipper Jordan Glaser, "Three races were run for A, B, & C Skeeter classes today. The day started out with little wind and ultimately blew nice & hard as the day progressed. There was plenty of hard, smooth snow after enjoying Brooklyn Bagels for breakfast, the DN boys set up there own course and ran the Eastern DNs. Of course, Dan Clapp was in top form and ran away with the A skeeter races today. Chris Davison, Tony Bosco & Jordan Glaser enjoyed duking it out for the other positions. Mark Hancik finally emerged in 1st after today's B skeeter Yankee races. Boy wonder James Lamb (from the New England Ice Yacht Club) took all the C Skeeter races. I'd like to see him match up against Gus Stauber (Rush) from Michigan. Attendees were from Indiana, Sodus Bay, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Red Bank, Lake Hopatkong, Greenpoint & Lake Ronkonkoma. Jeff Smith took a bunch of pics with his new drone (Watch out Craig Wilson!). We'll get Jeff to send you some."

Eastern ISA Called ON for Champlain

February 1-2, 2014
Launch: Gilbert Brook Marina
715 Lake Shore Road, West Chazy, NY Link to Map
Lodging: Holiday Inn Express, Plattsburgh Link to Map
UPDATE 2: 5:30 PM Dan Clapp talk in Champlain Room at Plattsburgh Holiday Inn Saturday night followed by-
Banquet: 7:30PM Green House Butcher Block Restaurant 15 Booth Dr, Plattsburgh, NY 12901 Link to Map

Setting Up for the Eastern ISA

Photographer Jeff Brown sent a couple of snaps from the Eastern ISA on Lake Champlain and reports there are 8 B Skeeters, 4 A Skeeters, and 2 C Skeeters.

1968 Russian Championship

Via WSSA Secretary/Treasurer Andy Gratton alerts us to this really interesting Youtube video: "Matt Critchley found this video. Wing-sails on stern steerers, all they need is a bubble canopy. I don't even see any wires on these boats. Everyone should see these boats." See it here.

January 21, 2014

Green Skeeter on Green

Nice to see Jay Yaeso caught a ride on Green Lake before the snow came. His video is posted here.

January 13, 2014


Bob Kau's Skeeter build in in paint. "Dis Is Da Other One".

December 29, 2013

Centrals Complete: Updating From the Road Edition

We are heading out of Detroit right now trying to find the Packer game on the radio but it's hard to find in Lions territory. Congratulations to Team Madison's Frankie Hearn for his third place finish in the Silver Fleet. Dad Daniel didn't too bad himself with a 9th in the Gold. Results here.

December 26, 2013

Sail Italy

Click here for video
Last weekend, the Bavarian DN Championship was sailed in Italy on Lake Reschensee, about 3 hours from Munich, Germany amidst some spectacular scenery. See more photos and a report here. See results here.

December 17, 2013

Yes and Yes

SIBC's Jane Pegel sends along this Peanuts cartoon that another SIBC member, Jeff Brassel, shared with her. Something about it reminds them of ice boating! See the whole panel here.

December 15, 2013

Canopy On

Bob Kau's Skeeter hull build continues.

December 9, 2013

First Renegade On the Ice

Rich Eckstein sailed the south end of Lake Winnebago on Sunday, December 8 in his Renegade before the snow fell.

Throwing Snow

Here's Rich sailing the 2011 Renegade championship on Lake Mendota.

First on Madison Ice

Ice Optimist sailors Meta and Fritz Simon had the honor of being the first to sail on a Madison area lake Saturday when Mom, Hope and Dad, Greg took them to Lake Wingra. Unfortunately, the Hollywood ice is now covered with "nuisance snow" but we still have Lake Monona and Mendota in reserve. The club will be looking at the lakes later this week.

November 22, 2013

First Runners On the Ice In North America

DNer Mike Madge writes he had great skating and sailing today near Thunder Bay, Ontario on Whitefish Lake, about 30 minutes out of town.

November 15, 2013

Ensimmäinen! (First!)

Photo Credit: Gareth Rowland K11
The first ice sailing regatta of the season is underway in Finland, on Pallasjärvi.

That’s More Like It

From the files of What Goes On at the Spaight Street Syndicate: "Dude, I’m doing all the work while you’re standing there drinking Pepsi and grinning like a dumb a$$." She’s adorable, she sails, she sands and she’s smart. Recent UW grad and new Epic employee, Anna Boatman, preparing one of the development boats at the Spaight Street Syndicate last night, with Eric Tobias. Yeah, she’s real, and no lie, “Boatman” is her name. Suggestion: When some dude asks you to marry him just say, “well, maybe I’ll think about it, but let’s get something straight right now—you’re the one changing your name!”

November 8, 2013


Bob Kau reports that the deck is on his latest Skeeter hull and he'll soon be ready for carbon and paint.

November 6, 2013

Spaight Street Syndicate: Development Night

From the Spaight Street Syndicate last night on the Development Program: "Recent UW grad, and former UW Sailing Team member, Eric Tobias, continuing his education with Cockpit Repair 101."

"4-year old future Ice Opti skipper, Oliver Barnett, demonstrating proper safety equipment for wet sanding. Oliver shared his Halloween candy with the shop. He’s welcome anytime!"

November 20, 2013

Inside America's Cup
with Harken Engineers & Members of Team Oracle USA Ben Biddick and Matt Schmidt

Photo Credit: Jori Lenon
Harken engineers Matt Schmidt left, and Ben Biddick share their experience as members of America's Cup Team Oracle USA at a special presentation sponsored by the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club
Two weeks ago, 4LIYC Commodore Don Anderson mentioned during our club meeting that we should replay some America's Cup footage at our next meeting. Two weeks later, not only did we watch some video, we also had the pleasure of hearing Ben Biddick and Matt Schmidt share their experiences from inside the Oracle compound, from the chase boats, and from on (and in!) Oracle.

4LIYC club members Wes Wilcox and Daniel Hearn helped make the event possible and Daniel made his office available to handle the crowd of nearly 100 interested sailors.

As we walked in the door, guests were greeted with Daniel's newest DN hull and a sign instructing them to "follow the Cups to the Cup", a trail of Harken plastic cups that led us to the upstairs conference room.

Wes Wilcox introduced Ben and Matt. They worked with the hydraulics of Oracle and spoke about the challenges of designing the system and staying focused on the goal of winning the America's Cup.

Photo Credit: Jori Lenon

I had planned to take notes but ended up devoting my full attention to the presentation. Some of the things they talked about:

The hydraulics were revised during the months leading up to the regatta and made in Pewaukee at Harken.

A hydraulics engineer was always on one of the chase boats during practice and the regatta ready to jump on the boat and into action if necessary. Some great stories about when it was necessary.

Like ice boat runners need to be sharpened after a day on the ice, the foils had to be wet sanded every night.

Boat weight (including sailors) was super critical and was carefully watched to the last gram.

Their personal video from when they were on the chase boats was spectacular especially one where Oracle tacks and is seemingly headed full steam right towards them and the chase boat bears away in the nick of time. (As someone who stands around on ice boat race courses, it was oddly familiar.)

There was a detailed discussion of the changes made on the boat to improve speed.

Wish you all could have been there!

November 4, 2013

SIBC Swap Meet

Jane Pegel at her familar raffle and information station
The sunny fall weather at Sunday's Skeeter Ice Boat Club swap meet was made to order and hopefully a harbinger of good weather to come for ice boating for this coming season. As always, it was a great time to catch up with ice boaters from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan.

Some of the 4LIYC crew

The day brought out quite a few classic cars including this Packard.

October 15, 2013

History In A Box

For two generations, the McCormick family has been racing stern steerers, DNs, and Renegades with the Four Lakes Ice Yacht club. While going though some old boxes, Renegader Peter McCormick found two vintage 4LIYC trophies. Following is the history of the silver one pictured above.

See more.

The trophy is engraved as such:
"Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club,
Class B,
Madison, Wisconsin
February 7-11, 1922
Won by Arctic
Owner: William P. Bernard
Skipper: Wm. Van Kuelen"
The dates on this cup match the time period of a five day winter carnival sponsored by Madison’s Chamber of Commerce and the University of Wisconsin that was held on both Lakes Monona and Mendota. Besides ice boat racing, there were skating races, horse racing on the ice, skate sail racing, curling, a snow fight for scouts, ski jumping, and a dog derby.
This was the only instance where Arctic sailed as a Class B stern steerer. The Capital Times reported on February 14, 1922 that Arctic was indeed the winner of the Class B “Week of Winter Sports” championship. In all other newspaper accounts, the Arctic, built by William Bernard of Madison, sailed as an A Class stern steerer.
Later during that same season, Bernard sold the Arctic to E.C. Waller, a Chicago businessman.
From the Wisconsin State Journal, February 26, 1922: "The Arctic, for several seasons without a peer in Madison Class A races was sold to E. C. Waller, a wealthy Chicago real estate man, who sponsored the races, and has competed in its last race under Madison colors on Madison lakes. In Saturday morning’s event, the Arctic trimmed the Hubbard Carpenter boat, reputed to be the fastest craft on Geneva Lake, and immediately Waller began negotiations with Bernard for its purchase.
Waller is an interesting sportsman. Two weeks ago he transported a huge 1000 lb. ice boat, the Genevieve, to Madison to enter in the races held in connection with the winter sport carnival. When it proved too heavy to compete with the lighter Bernard crafts, he straightaway decided to buy the fastest Madison boat he could purchase. Accordingly, he obtained the Valiant II from Bernard for $400 (that’s about $5,500 today). Saturday he could not bear to see such a speedy craft as the Arctic go back to Madison since he is not satisfied until he wins from everybody. He now has a boat which will show his rudder to most of them.”
Waller’s investment paid off when Arctic won A Class trophy at the Northwest Ice Yachting Association regatta sailed on Geneva Lake in March of 1922 with her Madison skipper, Wm. Van Kuelen at the helm.

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Fall Runner Tracks

The Fall 2013 edition of the IDNIYRA publication, Runner Tracks, is posted. John Dennis talks DNs and Skeeters and see the latest international ranking list.
Flipbook version
pdf version which is searchable for names in ranking list

Lorne Sherry

Lorne Sherry 1929-2013
Link to obituary
Ice boating lost another legend, Detroit Ice Yacht Club Renegader Lorne Sherry who passed on Wednesday, October 9, 2013. Lorne called the Renegade, "the gentlemen's boat." Sailing in Stardust, Lorne won the International Renegade Ice Yacht championship in 1972, 1973, and 1984. He won the Renegade title in the Northwest Ice Yachting Association regatta in 1987 and 2001.
Sunday, October 13, 2013
2-9 PM
AH Peters Funeral Home
20705 Mack Avenue 
Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236 
Link to Map
Link to Obituary
Below are segments of an interview with three generations of Sherry ice boaters, Lorne, son Ron, and grandson, Griffin.

October 1, 2013

Thrilling Speeds...smooth...

Monitor flying across Lake Mendota in 1955
One more post on the subject of foiling boats on Lake Mendota-4LIYC member and Nite Commodore Don Sanford was kind enough to share with us an excerpt from his upcoming book, On Fourth Lake, the Social History of Lake Mendota.
Flying Boats?
PDF version

c. 2013 Donald P. Sanford
" This year’s America’s Cup was the first time most armchair sailors had seen a sailboat go faster than the wind. But for a handful Madison iceboaters including Bill Mattison and Jack Ripp it was deja-vu. They’d seen it all before--one day in August, 1955 when the Monitor flew across Lake Mendota.

In the mid-1930s, Gordon Baker raced E Scows with the Mendota Yacht Club in Madison. Gordon was a great sailor because he really knew something about wind power. That’s because the family business, Baker Manufacturing in Evansville, WI, was one of the country’s foremost manufacturers of windmills. Gordon began experimenting with hydrofoils in the 1940s and launched his first prototype hydrofoil, a sailboat, in 1950 at the University Boathouse on Lake Mendota. Based on its success, Baker Manufacturing soon introduced a hydrofoil kit for powerboats in 1953. Once installed, a 14-foot boat with a 10-horsepower motor could reach speeds of 35 miles per hour.

With some funding from the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research, Baker continued to perfect the designs on his hydrofoil next sailboat, the Monitor. On August 25, 1955, Baker and his colleague Robert Johnston climbed aboard Monitor and headed for the open water of Lake Mendota off Picnic Point. As the boat’s speed increased, Monitor’s hull lifted onto a set of three ladder-shaped hydrofoils. With her high-aspect sails, Monitor literally flew across Lake Mendota at 25 knots (28.7 mph), setting a new speed record for a sailboat of any kind. Footage of the event was shown on ABC-TV’s John Daly and the News and photos of the boat were featured in Sports Illustrated and Life magazines later that year. A year later, Monitor set another record on Mendota, reaching 30.4 knots (35 mph), or twice the speed of the wind.

You can see drawings of Monitor as well as photos and short film clips of Monitor sailing on Lake Mendota here."
One of these boats sold at an auction in May of 2012 in Wilmar, MN.

September 26, 2013

America's Cup, Foils, and the USS Missouri

Diane and Paul McMillan, Commodore Don Anderson, and Bill Mattison.
One of the highlights of yesterday including the win by Oracle for the America's Cup, was being able to watch the race with Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club retired Skeeter champion, Bill Mattison. Bill was part of the shore team on three America's Cup campaigns, the 1987 Heart of America, the successful 1992 America 3, and the 1995 first all women's team, Mighty Mary.
One of Bill's favorite memories happened at 2 AM in the morning while he was making some modifications to one of the boats. He noticed two men standing at the fence and invited them to take a closer look at the boat, even letting them climb on while warning them it was slippery because of the dew. The men were appreciative of Bill's gesture which was in stark contrast to the secrecy practiced by other teams.
One of the men wanted to repay Bill's kindness and asked if he would be interested in seeing his boat. Bill asked him what boat that might be and that he'd be tied up for a week. The man turned out to be the Commander of the USS Missouri, the "last battleship built by the United States and was the site of the surrender of the Empire of Japan which ended World War II."
Bill agreed and the next week, was met by the most beautiful longboat he'd ever seen and rowed out to the battleship. He was given a personal tour by the Commander of "every nook and cranny" of the ship.
Bill noticed a lathe aboard the ship, identical to one that he had in his own shop. He had been trying to find the instruction manual for the lathe for a while and the Commander gave him one of the ship's extra manuals.
Bill mentioned his time in the service during the Korean War and that the Missouri had given cover once during a battle for his unit. The Commander found the log from that day and showed it to Bill.
Another interesting story involves the AC boat foils that give them such tremendous speed. Renegader Paul Macmillan and Bill both remember seeing an experimental boat with foils on Lake Mendota in the 1950s. I was able to track down an article about it. In 1947, the firm engineering staff of the Baker Company in Evansville, WI had done some research on hydrofoils and tested the boat out on Lake Mendota.
Click here to read the article from November 26, 1959.

August 8, 2013

Da One Too

Bob Kau's front seater Skeeter build is coming along. Here's it is next to last year's model.

September 25, 2013

AC Race 19

Jay Yaeso up on his Skeeter foil at the Northwest in 2010
Photo Credit: Gretchen Dorian

A group club members will gather at Buffalo Wild Wings in Monona today, Wednesday, September 24 to watch the deciding final race of the America's Cup. But keep an eye on the weather in San Francisco because there might be too much wind for racing. See you at 3 PM!

September 18, 2013

Firing Up for the Season

Ice boaters have been watching the America's Cup with interest. Wisconsin Stern Steerers Association Secretary, Andy Gratton writes, "We're watching the AC and all the excitement that goes along. The best part is the realization that the AC boats are really just stern steerers on foils, though I haven't seen one spin yet."
[Well almost-see picture below-Ed.]
Meanwhile in other areas of ice boating country, someone dropped this anonymous note on my doorstep. "A note from Green Lake Ice yacht Club-Lots of activity here. We will have three brand new Nites, several more used Nites, an additional Renegade, a new/old classic stern steerer to name a few. We have a bunch of new sailors, and some old salts back!!! We will be starting our building/repairing/tuning/sharpening nights the first week of October and of course all ice boaters are welcome! The biggest news is the return of Dave Norton (old is FAST) to ice boating sailing his Nite(the Quack)! The party scene at all regattas will see a big increase, and the launch area will be a bit more fun to say the least! Green Lake Rocks!!!"

September 7, 2013

4LIYC Commodore Scouts AC in SF

"That boat only does 46 knots?"
Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club Commodore Don Anderson is in San Francisco today for the America's Cup competition looking to recruit some new Renegade sailors.

July 31, 2013

Slingshots & Sail Rockets

Sail Rocket, it must be the orange color.
SIBC DNer Jane Pegel passed along a video about Sail Rocket 2's (soft water) speed sailing record of 65.45 knots set in November of 2012. Of course, ice boaters have been involved in fast soft water sailing for many years. Back in 1978, the Gougeon brothers built Slingshot, a multihull to compete in the speed trials in Weymouth, England. From the West Systems website, "Slingshot was 60' × 4.5' hull beam × 42' BOA and weighed in at 1,800 lb plus a crew of four. She could sail in both a proa configuration and a trimaran configuration. She recorded the second fastest speed 1979 at Weymouth behind the famous Crossbow I which recorded a speed of 31.8 knots—blistering fast in 1979. Jan reports that later that year in Florida they posted an unofficial speed of 40 knots. Racing the ditch in Texas City, Texas in 1980 with a crew of Jan, Mike Zutek, Ron Sherry, and Olaf and Peter Harken, they posted a speed of 38 knots. But alas, during a storm Slingshot came loose from her mooring and was dashed against the rocks and lost forever. All that remains of her is a section of the bow hanging in the Gougeon boatshop." Read more about Slingshot in the archives of Sports Illustrated.

July 21, 2013

A Couple of Bills, 203 Clamps, Some Gougeon....

Clamp and glue a Skeeter hull and look who turns up Skeeter guys, Bill Mattison, who has built a few himself, and Bill Dale.

Bob and Jay working on Bob's new Skeeter hull.
July 17, 2013

Digital Runner Tracks

One of my day jobs is serving as the Executive Secretary for the International DN Ice Yacht Racing Association as the editor of the yearbook and their newsletter, Runner Tracks. In an effort to keep the dues reasonable for the members, the newsletter has gone to an online magazine format which for me was a great opportunity to be able to use color photography to help tell the story of ice boating.
Take a look at the first online edition here.

July 15, 2013

Skeeter Time

4LIYC Skeeter skipper Bob Kau, who is thinking ice while building a front-seater Skeeter hull this summer, writes, "Got her ready for sides. Biggest problem in the right corner of the picture."

July 8, 2013

Summer Skeeter

Via the 4LIYC Facebook page, here's Bob Kau and Jay Yaeso working on a "top secret mission".

April 7, 2014

Rich Crucet

Photo: David Frost Detail from a "family portrait" from the 2014 DN North Americans. From left, Hal Bowman, Rich Crucet, Kent Baker, and Mark Christensen.
The ice boating community is mourning the loss of Long Island sailor, Rich Crucet, who passed away unexpectedly last Friday night.
Via Jordan Glaser, "Rich Crucet was Commodore of the Lake Ronkonkoma Ice Yacht Club. He was a great guy who would always find some ice during the week so that we could sneak out and sail DNs. He was a great boat builder and ran a workshop for the Long Island sailors on Wednesday night. He loaned out one of his "hot" DNs to me on a regular basis so that both my son Jake & I could participate in various regattas, such as the Long Island Championships on Mecox Bay, LI and the Lloyd Young Regatta on Bantam Lake, CT. Rich's trailer was always open to us all for his famous "blowtorch hot dogs." His death is a monstrous loss for the Long Island ice boating scene. I'm glad that he did get to break his record and sail 28 times this past season. I'm sure that he will find sailable ice in heaven."
Read Paul Goodwin's tribute here.
New England Ice Yacht Association post here.

April 20, 2014

Iceboats in British Newsreel Archives

The U.K. newsreel company British Pathé, has uploaded its entire 100-year collection of historic films in high resolution to YouTube. The first film that caught my eye was this footage shot on Fox Lake in Illinois. 42 Skeeters lined up for the ISA championship that year which was won by Elmer Millenbach. ISA records indicate Elmer first won the ISA in Renegade II in 1948. If you'd like to see more, click on these search results of ice yachting and ice sailing.