Contact 4LIYC

Welcome to, the web site of the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club. We are one of the most active ice boat clubs in North America and have been building and racing ice boats for over 100 years.

4LIYC on Facebook



Dec 5-7, 2014

Dec 13-14, 2014
DN Forum

Jan 3-4, 2015
DN Forum

Jan 9-11, 2015

(DNs, Renegades, Skeeters, Stern Steerers)
Jan 16-18, 2015

Jan 24-31, 2015
Primary Site: East, Mountain, & Canada
DN Forum


Stern Steerers

March 1-6, 2015
DN Europe


Lake Baikal, Siberia, Russia


DN Western Challenge
December 6-8, 2013
Completed. Won by US 44 Ron Sherry in Gold, US 5486 Dave Elsmo Silver.

2013 DN Central Regionals
Dec 28-29, 2013
Completed. Won by US 4 Griffin Sherry in Gold, US 4974 Stan Jones in Silver.

DN North American Championship
January 19-25, 2014
Gold won by Ron Sherry US44. Silver won by Hal Bowman US1277.

DN Gold Cup & European Championship
Sailed March 1-8, 2014
in Happsalu, Estonia
Gold fleet won by
Karol Jablonski P36

(Stern Steerers, DNs, Renegades, & Skeeters)
Sailed March 14-16
Photos and results

Sailed March 15-16

DN Central Regionals
Sailed March 15-16
Won by Julie Richards DN 4868

Stern Steerers
Sailed March 22-23 for Green Lake


Lake Access Permits

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

Locations include:

Warner Park Mendota County Park

Tonyawatha Tr. Park
Olin Park

Goodland Park

Lake Access Permit Brochure in pdf

Purchase Lake Access Permit Online

Web Cams

Canyon Ferry, Montana

Clear Lake, Iowa

Geneva Lake,
Williams Bay, WI

Geneva Lake, Gordy's Boat Sales, Fontana, WI
Look for webcam link upper right corner

Geneva Lake, Eleven Gables Inn, Lake Geneva, WI

Geneva Lake, downtown looking into the bay.

Lake Mendota,
Madison, WI
(UW Soils)

Lake Mendota,
Madison, WI
from somewhere on UW Campus

Lake Mendota,
Madison, WI UW AOSS North Facing Camera

Lake Mendota at the UW Union

Lake Mendota,
Madison, WI 3 UW AOSS Rooftop Cameras

Mallets Bay,
Lake Champlain, VT

Maumee Bay, Toledo, OH

Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota

Westport, NY
Lake Champlain

Great Lakes MODIS
Not a webcam but daily views of the Midwest from space

Click for Madison, Wisconsin Forecast


Link to map

100% SAFE.

Our ice reports are geared towards 4LIYC members who race ice boats with the club. All others including recreational ice boaters, kite boarders, cross country skiers, and ice fishermen should not rely on these ice reports. We have safety equipment.
Do you?



November 5

November 19

December 3
Elect Fleet Captains. Vote on ISA & NIYA Agenda Items

December 17

SKIP December 31

January 7
Honor Roll Nominations

January 21
Deadline for
By-Law or Racing Rules Amendment Submission

February 4

February 18
Business Meeting

March 11

March 25

Glass Nickel Pizza
2916 Atwood Ave
Madison, WI
Time: 6:30 PM alternate Weds.

We meet downstairs and all are welcome.

4LIYC By Laws & Racing Rules

By-Laws & Racing Rules

In pdf

Right of Way Rules Graphic

(Download Adobe Acrobat free.)

4LIYC Club Race Results & Points












National Ice Boat Authority

Constitution and Rules


4LIYC Picnic: October 5

September 17, 2014

Hogs on Ice

Via Renegader Tim McCormick. Built in the 1940s from Popular Mechanic plans, it's an iceboat powered by a 1918 V-twin air cooled Harley Davidson engine. "Looks like a tank with runners!"

September 9, 2014

4LIYC Meeting Schedule

First meeting of the 2014-2015 season is on Wednesday, November 5 downstairs at Glass Nickel Pizza on Atwood Avenue in Madison. Remember, our start time is now 6:30.
Meeting dates are in the right column of this front page.

September 4, 2014

There's An App For That

As seen on Kickstarter, the Digitsole is an interactive insole that heats your feet and tracks your distance and calories using your smartphone. A product like this would definitely be on the wish list of many ice boat sailors.
Tip of the Helmet: Geoff Sobering

August 28, 2014

This is Ray Ruge

Out in Maine, an vintage Skeeter with some Buddy Melges provenance has been restored this summer. In his post, Chickawaukee ice boater Bill Buchholz wrote, "the boat was designed by Ray Ruge, about whom we’d like to know more."
It's difficult for me to write about him because there's so much to say. He was an Eastern iceboat sailor, builder, and designer who wrote exceptional articles for sailing magazines about the sport. His papers and research are archived in museums. He was a contemporary and friend of one of the 4LIYC's most celebrated members, Carl Bernard (who won a ton of regatta titles in the 1930s-50s.) During WW2, he even lived in Madison and sailed with the club for a season. Carl Bernard's scrapbooks are filled with letters and photos from Ray, including the above magazine advertisement.
Bill is sharing some of Ray's ice boating articles on the Chickawaukee site and will post more. Read the first from December 1939 here. If Ray Ruge were around today, he would have the best ice boating website on the internet.

August 24, 2014

4LIYC Picnic News

The annual Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club Fall picnic is scheduled for Sunday, October 5. 4LIYC Renegader Don Anderson will be hosting this year's picnic at his Tin Condo on Lake Mendota. Please join us for this kick off to the season event! No Packer game that Sunday because they play on the previous Thursday.
4LIYC Fall Picnic
Date: Sunday, October 5, 2014
Time: 12:00 Noon
Place: The Anderson's Tin Condo on Lake Mendota
Lake Mendota Historic Boathouses
Lake Street and Captain Bill's restaurant in Middleton, WI
Map to Captain Bill's
What to bring: Club will provide ham and beverages.
Bring a dish to pass, lawn chairs
It's the green boathouse near the middle. You'll see us.

August 23, 2014

NIYA Commodore at 3 Years Old

Mikey likes it
Ace of Spades stern Steerer skipper and Northwest Ice Yachting Association Commodore, Mike Peters, "came across my very favorite picture of me, about 3 years old on my Dad's class A stern steer MAYBID, now TAKU."Flash forward to 2006. "Here's another photo taken about 2006 with TAKU and her skipper, Erich Schloemer. It took about 50 years to get back on my Dad's boat to sail and win."

August 19, 2014

Skeeter Ice Boat Club Swap Meet Slated for Nov 2!

Skeeter Ice Boat Club 29th Annual Swap Meet
Sunday, November 2, 2014
9:00 to noon - followed by a raffle
Lucke's Cantina
220 N. Elkhorn Rd. (WI Hwy 67), Williams Bay, WI.
For more info, email
Download flyer
This is the day to swap, buy, and sell new and used iceboats and equipment. There is no charge for participating.

Boat builders & hardware manufacturers will display new products. Breakfast and/or lunch will be available at Lucke's.
Display area: Items for sale can be set up on the black top parking area at Lucke's. Please do not park your cars in the display area.
Parking: Please do not park or set up your displays adjacent to neighboring businesses. A short distance to the north there is a municipal parking lot located at the intersection of Elkhorn Rd. and Stark St. (on the north side of Stark St., opposite Burrough's Floor Coverings).

August 7, 2014

Our Summer Vacations V2

Evolution-Survival of the Fastest
Via another ice boater who sailed the Bayview to Mac and Chicago to Mac race in July, Skeeter & DN sailor Steve Orlebeke: "Kudos to Rick and the crew of Denali, they sailed great but hey, give the Evolution some love! We placed 2nd in class and second overall in the Bayview Mac. Then the EVO went on to win section 1 in the Chicago Mac and finished 8th overall (beating ALL of the turbo division boats too). We have been awarded the Clark-DeRoy trophy for the best combined corrected time score for both races as well."

August 6, 2014

Our Summer Vacations

The hat fits
From the Department of Catching Up:
The big news in ice boating circles is that Rick Hennig and crew on Denali won the Turbo division of the Chicago to Mackinac race!

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 16, 2014

Ice Boaters Sail Chicago to Mackinac

Denali, straight out of the Cabbage Patch
Another summer milestone, the Chicago to Mackinac race, is approaching which also means we are getting closer to ice time. Counting from today, there are only 142 days until the DN Western Challenge fun regatta in Minnesota. Meanwhile, the ice boaters are in summer mode as they race from Chicago to Mackinac Island this weekend. Let me know if you are sailing it so that your name can be added.
Link to race tracking.

Matt Critchley

Denali (Nelson Marek 68)
Owned by stern-steerer skipper Rick Hennig, crewed by DNer Dave Elsmo, stern-steerer sailor Todd Knop, and DNer Eric Tobias.

Equation (STP Farr 65)
Crewed by Michigan DNers Ron Sherry (at the helm), Michael Rehe, and Chris Clark.

Evolution (Santa Cruz 70)
DNer Pete Orlebeke, Opti sailor Cole Orlebeke, DN & Skeeter sailor Steve Orlebeke

Fast Tango
(North American 40)
DNer Griffin Sherry

Andy Gratton
Lou Lonnecke

Touch of Grey
Larry Schell
Gary Allie
Terry Adams

UPDATE: SIBC's Jane Pegel emails with news of some other accomplishments by ice boaters on the softwater.
"[4LIYC Renegader] Greg Simon’s two kids are having an outstanding summer racing their Optimists. His daughter placed 2nd overall here at Geneva, Fritz was 10th. They then went to the Great Lakes champ at Sheboygan and placed well there. Greg mentioned something about the kids getting into ice opti racing. That would surely give a boost to ice optis. You may recall that Dave Kickhafer’s son raced his ice opti at Kegonsa in 2013. The boy is also doing well in a soft water Opti.
J.D. placed 3rd in the A Scow Nationals at Minnetonka last month and won one race.
Mark Christensen ["the Doctor"] won the ILYA class MC Invitational held at Okoboji last weekend. Several DN sailors were aboard E Scows racing the ILYA Invitational here [on Geneva Lake] last weekend."

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.

Hide this content.

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.

January 13, 2014

ICEBOATs Volume 1

ICEBOATs volume l by g r e t c h e n d o r i a n |

Gretchen Dorian's book, ICEBOATs volume 1 has hit the press. "A Photographic Introduction to the various iceboats that Gretchen Dorian has photographed throughout the Great Lakes, Montana and on Lake Baikal, Siberia." Click here for more information.

October 18, 2013

A Great Opportunity

DNs on Lake Kegonsa at the 2013 DN Western Lakes Regional Regatta
"Potential DN'rs, (Please pass along to others that may be interested) Winter is around the corner, and that means ice boating season is upon us. For those that are interested in doing some sailing, but don't have the time, money or some other barrier to putting a program together, we have a great opportunity for you this season. Active DN'rs, spearheaded by Daniel Hearn, are putting together a few DN programs and Ice Optimist with some equipment that was donated to him (for this purpose), along with some of his own and others extra equipment. If you are interested in being actively involved in assisting putting together one of these development programs, it would be available for your use at various local and travel events this winter. We are going to begin assembling these programs later this month. Please let me know if you are interested in participating in this program. You won't regret it!"
Thanks, Mike 4LIYC DN Fleet Captain
email: mike.s.barnett AT