Welcome to iceboat.org

The Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club is one of the most active iceboat clubs in North America.
We’ve been building and racing iceboats for over 100 years in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

Get Started Iceboating

Ice Is Never 100% Safe.

Our ice reports are strictly for iceboat racers.
Recreational iceboaters, kite boarders, cross country skiers,
and ice fishermen should not rely on our ice reports.
We have safety equipment. Do you?

Learn AboutSailing Safe

Buy or Sell Your Iceboat

One of the best pages in North America to buy or sell iceboats and their parts. There’s also a complete list of vendors who will supply iceboats, sails, and their components.

Classifieds

Common Questions:

How can I get started?
How fast can they go?
How much do they cost?
Is it safe?

FAQ

Regatta Watch

Information about the ISA, NIYA, WSSA, Nite, and DN regattas.

Regatta Dates

Iceboat Classes

Learn about Skeeters, DNs, Stern Steerers, Renegades, Nites, and Ice Optimists.

An Explanation of Iceboat Classes

The Rules.

The purpose of iceboat racing rules is to prevent collisions.

The Racing Rules

Ice Yacht Clubs

The best way to learn about iceboating and make life long friendships is to join a local club.

Contact Us To Find a Club in Your Area

Why We Sail.

“If all our ice were glass, slightly wet, and all our air reasonably steady with lifters just where needed, sailing would be perfect. Sometimes we do find this, and it is worth waiting years to have. Meanwhile we must accept the more ordinary ice conditions, ordinary weather and wind, and gracefully accept snow, sometimes for weeks. Our ideal comes from time to time, the Great Maker gives only so much of the very best.”
Charles H. Johnson.

Contact Us

Iceboating for Kids

Ice Optimists were created specifically as a youth trainer, designed to be easily built using commonly available materials, and to keep costs to a minimum.

Learn More

Welcome to iceboat.org, the website of the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. Summer is our off season here when we catch up on iceboat history, building, and sharing anything related to the sport. We hope to see you on the ice next December!

It’s Apparent

As we watch the America’s Cup in Bermuda,  ice and land sailors instinctively understand the forces that allow the AC boats to reach speeds of over 40 knots because apparent wind is also what makes ice and land yachts sail much faster than a  “traditional” sailboat. This video is the best visual explanation of apparent wind I’ve ever seen.

Artemis Racing Team Manager and tactician Iain Percy explains the concept of apparent wind, and how it allows America’s Cup Class yachts to travel at 3 times the wind speed. In basic terms, speed = more speed. Watch and learn

Iceboater Bill Bentsen Inducted in to NSHOF

Bill Bentsen, Bill Allen, Buddy Melges – Soling gold medalists at Kiel, Germany

A big congratulations are in order for Bill Bentsen who sails with the Skeeter Ice Boat Club..  Jane Pegel writes:

I learned this morning (June 19)  that in September Bill Bentsen will be inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame.

  • Bill is a member of the Skeeter Ice Boat Club and the Lake Geneva Yacht Club.
  • Bill is a former Northwest champion in the DN class.
  • Bill served as DN class secretary in the 1960’s.
  • Bill owned and sailed the class A stern steerer, TAKU and subsequently transferred ownership to Erich Schloemer.
  • He won an Olympic gold medal in the Soling class and a bronze medal in the Flying Dutchman class.
    He previously was awarded the Beppie Croce Trophy for his service to what is now called World Sailing. (previously IYRU and ISAF)
  • Bill successfully raced C, E, and A class scows at the Lake Geneva Yacht Club.

Every Picture Tells a Story

From the Herb Krogman collection

This photo was published in the Wisconsin State Journal on January 18, 1952 as part of the Northwest Regatta coverage. The WSJ caption read, “Among the Madison entrants in the regatta is John Bluel in his Class E boat, the ‘Shadow’. The picture shows Bluel about to be pushed by his crewmen, left to right, Vic Hustad, Peter Barrett, Phil Town, and Herb Krogman. Bluel is in the cockpit.”

What makes this picture worth delving into is the presence of Peter Barrett who would go on to win national sailing championships, medal in the Olympics, design sailboats, and achieve a dizzying array of other accomplishments . He was inducted in to the National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2012.

Peter Barrett was well known for “his willingness to share his go-fast secrets with his nearest competitors, even during the Olympic trials,” a trait he had in common with 4LIYC Skeeter sailor, Bill Mattison. In the book she wrote about her father, Lynn Mattison Raley shared a story involving Peter and Bill.

Bill was quick to help or teach a fellow sailor as well. In the early 1960s, his good friend, Peter Barrett, was preparing for his Olympic campaign in the Finn class sailboat. At the Olympics, competitors received a rought-cut wood mast that they had to custom shape for their individual weight. Using skills gained form the years of building iceboat masts, Bill showed Peter how to shape his mast so that it would be just right. Barrett competed in the 1962 games and earned the silver medal in the 1964 games. [In 1968, Peter won Olympic Gold in the Star Class crewing with Lowell North-Deb.]

HONEYBUCKET Evolution

Steve Orelebeke sails in HONEYBUCKET XIV, the last Skeeter built by Bill Mattison. Steve has won several major regattas sailing HONEYBUCKET XIV.

The Korean War introduced you to the real ‘Honey Bucket Wagons’. You always said, ‘You can never come out spelling like a rose.'”
Lynn Mattison Raley about her father, Bill Mattison.

When Jerry Simon and I were looking through the Krogman scrapbook photos, the subject of Bill Mattison’s Renegades and Skeeters came up. I’ve always wondered if Bill ever had an iceboat with plain old HONEYBUCKET on the side, without a Roman numeral next to the name. (As far as I can ascertain, there has never been a HONEYBUCKET. Jerry Simon agreed that Bill went from SNAPSHOT to HONEYBUCKET II.)
Bill’s daughter, Lynn Mattison Raley, explains the lineage best in a wonderful book she put together about her dad.

“Bill was now really hooked on iceboats and started building his first one-design iceboat, a Renegade. Unfortunately, during the winter of 1949, a fire swept through his family’s home. Damage was confined to the basement, destroying Bill’s new iceboat. Undaunted, he built another. Two years later, SNAPSHOT, named in honor of the family business, Star Photo Service, was on the ice ready for her first race. That boat also met with an unfortunate end. While waiting for his first race to begin, the [stern-steerer] FRITZ came around the leeward mark of the racecourse, spinning out of control right into Bill’s new boat, turning the beautiful SNAPSHOT into a pile of firewood. Then came the Korean War and service with the army. Iceboating would have to wait for Uncle Sam.

After the war, Bill finished his third Renegade. SNAPSHOT’S first race was on Lake Monona. “We had 60 boats on the starting line and I finished that regatta in the top 10,” Bill said. Speed, they say, is a narcotic. You can never get enough. So it was with Bill and iceboats. In 1954, he build his first class E Skeeter, HONEYBUCKET. The rest, as they say, is history. His boats set the standard for the evolution of the Skeeter class. He continually refined and improved his designs, eventually producing 14 HONEYBUCKETS before he retired from the sport in 2008.”

1952 Northwest: Plank Riders

Plank riders providing ballast old school style on the MARY B at the 1952 Northwest regatta on Lake Monona. Photo from Herb Krogman collection.

A Surprise in the Mail: Part 4

Here’s a sight you won’t see these days at a regatta, guys riding Stern Steerer planks during a race. The MARY B was originally built with a basket big enough for a skipper and jib trimmer. In a big blow, ballast was needed and there was only one spot for extra crew to ride – the plank. Eventually, two more baskets were added to the MARY B so that the crew would have a more comfortable and safer ride. The two guys pictured on the plank helped Carl Bernard sail the MARY B to win the Northwest that year in 1952.

More 1952 Northwest Regatta Photos

Harry Melges at the 1952 Northwest on Lake Monona.

A Surprise in the Mail: Part 3

Renegader Jerry Simon had a look through the scrapbook that I recently received and spent a few enjoyable hours identifying boats and putting the photos in context. We’ve concluded that the scrapbook did indeed belong to Herb Krogman who sailed Renegades and Skeeters with the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club in the 1950s. There are quite a few pictures from the 1952 Northwest which was sailed on Lake Monona. History records that Bill “Curley” Perrigo won the Skeeter title that year in THUNDERJET. The 1950s were a time of rapid technological development in the Skeeter class and a transition from Skeeter to what would become the Renegade class.

1952 Northwest: O ME – O MY

O’ME – O’MY Skeeter Ice Boat Club sailor Chuck Edwards at the 1952 Northwest on Lake Monona, Madison, WI

A Surprise in the Mail: Part 2

I’ve been going through the scrapbook that recently arrived in the mail and finding photos that are in need of stories to go with them. We are lucky to have iceboaters who are willing to take time to share what they remember. Jane Pegel is one of them. I sent her this photo and she wrote back with the following information:

O’ME O’MY was Chuck Edwards. An absolutely outstanding sailor and a very nice guy. Chuck’s family had a home on the north shore of Geneva Lake and Chuck successfully raced C scows beginning in the 1930’s.
Buddy [Melges]  told me last winter that Chuck Edwards was the first person to realize that weight of the C scow was important.
In Skeeter Ice Boat Club records, I found Chuck —
1939, Season standings 5th
1940, winner of the Nye Trophy
1950, Season standings, 2nd.

Chuck and his wife lived in a gorgeous house on Lac LaBelle in Oconomowoc, close to the dam. When I was sailing in regattas at LaBelle I would stop in to chat with Chuck. Chuck’s son, George, had a rumble seat C Skeeter with a Nite mast and sail. The last time I saw Chuck and his wife was at Cuppy Goes’ funeral. Cuppy also was a C scow champion, actually had a fast sail that had originally been Chuck Edwards’ sail. Cuppy was born in December, 1917. I imagine Chuck Edwards was close in age to Cuppy.

 

 

A Surprise in the Mail

Bill Mattison’s Renegade, SNAPSHOT.

A package recently arrived here at iceboat.org containing an old scrapbook filled with newspaper clippings and black and white photos of the Madison iceboating scene from the late 1940s through 1950s. Herb Krogman may have assembled this historic scrapbook and Renegader Jerry Simon has volunteered to look through it to help confirm my suspicions.(By the way, if you sent this to me, please send send me an email so that I can thank you!)
In the meantime, here are a few photos for now. I’ll continue to scan and post more in the coming weeks.

Classic view of Skeeters racing on Lake Monona.

What a fleet of Renegades!

A Note from the Mattisons

A message from Bill and Mauretta Mattison:

Thanks to the iceboat and sailboat groups for their support of Bill in conjunction with his induction in the Madison Sports Hall of Fame.
Bill really appreciated the support, from e-mails, phone calls and personal contact. He really hopes this broke “the ice” for his beloved sport(s).

2 Minute Mast

Fascinating time lapse video of Hungarian DNer Peter Hamrak conjuring up a DN mast.

Regatta Dates 2018

Wisconsin Iceboat Hotline
608-204-9876

  • DN Western Challenge
  • DN Western Regional
  • DN North Americans
    Jan 21-27, 2018
  • DN Worlds & Europeans
    February 25-March 3, 2018
  • Northwest
  • ISA & Renegade Championship
  • Nite Nationals
  • DN & Ice Opti Junior Worlds
  • February 5-8, 2018
  • Baikal Ice Sailing Week, Siberia

Subscribe

Enter your email address to subscribe to iceboat.org and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 21 other subscribers

4LIYC Meeting Dates

2016-2017

    • November 9
    • November 23
      Elections
    • December 7
      Elect Fleet Captains. Vote on ISA & NIYA Agenda Items
    • December 21
    • January 4
      Honor Roll Nominations
    • January 18
      Deadline for
      By-Law or Racing Rules Amendment Submission
    • February 1
    • February 15
      Business Meeting
    • March 1
    • March 15

Location:
Angelo’s
5801 Monona Drive
Monona, WI
Time: 6:30 PM alternate Weds.
We meet downstairs and all are welcome.

YOU ARE SKIPPER NUMBER

TO ROUND THE MARK SINCE NOVEMBER 1999.



Lake Access Permits

A year-round permit required for designated launch sites in the City of Madison and Dane County Parks. Locations include:

  • Lake Mendota
    Warner Park
    Mendota County Park
  • Lake Monona
    Tonyawatha Tr.
    Olin Park
  • Lake Waubesa
    Goodland Park

Purchase Lake Access Permit Online.

Search

%d bloggers like this: