"The Harder You Sheet The Faster You Go"

Read this interview with three generations of the Melges family, Buddy, Harry III, and Harry the IV on Scuttlebutt.
"So tactics are out the window…
Buddy Melges: Speed, that’s what it’s all about now. Last time the Kiwis had it in the bag then the USA learnt how to foil upwind and through manouvers… Maybe my age has got me hooked on tactics and things like that which are more exciting from my point of view. I think the doers like the tactics but the folks up the shore, they’re all about, ‘Whoo, look at it go!’ It’s a bit like iceboating where we do six 10-mile races a day.
So is the new AC product closer to iceboating?
Buddy Melges: Sure, in iceboating the old talk was the harder you sheet the faster you go. A lot is the same. Upwind that’s true and downwind it’s true too. You go round the windward mark and usually you double your speed within 100m. The AC cats look much the same deal."
Read more.


Buddy Melges Power at the 2015 Inlands on Geneva Lake

Powering Through The Doldrums

Here are a few iceboating related items to get us through the quiet times of August. New England Ice Yacht Association's Commodore T has posted the second part of his "Knots Per Dollar" story here which ends with him being fired "from a perfectly good job."
NOAA posted this link about learning how to report ice conditions that looks interesting. "Ships operating in areas with ice are expected to report conditions as part of standard weather reporting procedures. This lesson is aimed at those tasked with this responsibility, be they official or informal observers. The lesson begins with background information on ice, addressing such topics as where it is found, how it develops, and how to observe and report it."
And finally, here's a photo that St. Petersburg (as in Russia, not Florida!) iceboater Dmitriy Elets posted in the S-8 Class Iceyacht Facebook page to get us all thinking ice around the world.

TBT: The Wednesday Edition - Ray Ruge on Orange Lake

Here's the second video that Maine iceboater, Bill Bucholz came across in the archives of the Cohasset, MA Historical Society Francis Hagerty collection during his search to learn more about a Ray Ruge built Skeeter he is restoring. The two minute video features Ray in his Skeeter along with stern steerers and even a South Bay Scooter.Background on Ray Ruge here.

On Fourth Lake: The Social History of Lake Mendota

UPDATE: 8-19-2015: Don Sanford writes, "...I'm overwhelmed. Thanks to each of you who made a pledge to On Fourth Lake. You raised $7,093.00. The next project--get this off to the printer. I will keep you posted."
Imagine your are on a leisurely boat ride winding along the shore of Madison's Lake Mendota listening to stories of the people connected to each property as you cruise past. Long time 4LIYC member and Nite Commodore, Don Sanford, has spent the last few years collecting and writing those stories. Don has launched a Kickstarter campaign "in response to many who've asked how they can help support this first-ever book about Lake Mendota." Learn more here.The pages that I've seen, the ones relating to iceboating, are fantastic. Last month, the 4LIYC board of directors voted to donate $300 towards the book.

TB Tuesday: 1991 Northwest Regatta Photos and Video

Time for some thrilling runner to runner Skeeter racing action for today's Throw Back Tuesday. This sequence of five photos from the 1991 Northwest regatta on Geneva Lake in Fontana, WI is a 15 second slice of time as the Skeeters rounded the weather mark. This rounding can also be seen on the video from the regatta at the 12:55 mark. The video is a long one and worth your attention, featuring Renegades, DNs, and Stern Steerers going through their paces.


Winners for that year:
  • A Stern Steerer: Buddy Melges
  • C Stern Steerer: Jeff Seeboth
  • D Stern Steerer: Norbert Salzieder
  • E Skeeter: Hans Melges
  • E Skeeter Free For All: Bill Mattison
  • B Skeeter: George Beukama
  • DN: Lou Loenneke
  • Renegade: Roger Derusha

On Fourth Lake: The Social History of Lake Mendota

UPDATE: 8-18-2015: Don Sanford writes, "...I'm overwhelmed. Thanks to each of you who made a pledge to On Fourth Lake. You raised $7,093.00. The next project--get this off to the printer. I will keep you posted."
Imagine your are on a leisurely boat ride winding along the shore of Madison's Lake Mendota listening to stories of the people connected to each property as you cruise past. Long time 4LIYC member and Nite Commodore, Don Sanford, has spent the last few years collecting and writing those stories. Don has launched a Kickstarter campaign "in response to many who've asked how they can help support this first-ever book about Lake Mendota." Learn more here.The pages that I've seen, the ones relating to iceboating, are fantastic. Last month, the 4LIYC board of directors voted to donate $300 towards the book.

Bootleg

Too interesting not to share, this photo was posted by Brian Champine on the 4LIYC Facebook page.

TB Tuesday: 1952- Northwest & Hearst Regattas

Back in February while I was on the road, Peter Fauerbach sent along these images he found on the Wisconsin State Historical Society website and they're too good not to share. Two are from the 1952 Northwest Regatta sailed on Lake Monona against the city skyline of Madison. In the photo of Elmer Millenbach in Renegade III, of special significance to Peter, is the Fauerbach Brewery in the background. In the second Northwest photo, we can see the Skeeter with the sail number IOU, Pewaukee's Bill Perrigo. The Hearst photo shows the May-bid, an Oshkosh stern-steerer capsized on Lake Monona. These photos were taken by local photographer Arthur Vinje.


Millions saved!

Iceboating: You Can't Afford NOT to Do It!

Via the New England Ice Yachting Association, Commodore T's take on how the cost of iceboating compares with other types of sail boats. "Lots of talk about sailing speed lately. No question soft-water boats are going faster and faster–foils, wings, lighter structures, and endless design innovations are getting normal boats up to some impressive speeds. And impressive budgets. Which got me thinking about the price of speed. Where is the value? Lloyd Roberts touched on this subject in the phenomenal book “THINK ICE!” and I’d like to elaborate a little…. Read on, this is brilliant."

Flirt

Via Jay Davis: "Today we set up our C Stern Steerer, Flirt II at the Jerry Dyhrkopp Iowa Great Lakes Annual Antique and Classic Boat show. The show was held at Historic Arnolds Park located on West Lake Okoboji in Iowa. The photo was taken from the roof of the Fun House in the amusement park. We had a great time answering questions about iceboating and showing off the boat."
Below is Flirt II in her natural habitat.

Flirt II | C 22 | Stern Steerer | Jay Davis


Photo by Catherine E. Firmbach.
Poster from the 2015 DN World Championship featuring Jan Gougeon US1183 and Meade Gourgeon US882.

Jan & Meade Gougeon: Hall of Famers

The National Sailing Hall of Fame today announced their 2015 inductees. It's gratifying to see that the NSHOF has honored two revered iceboaters, DN sailors, brothers, and founders of Gougeon Brothers Epoxy , Meade and Jan Gougeon are among this year's chosen inductees.
Jan: "He dominated the DN ice boat fleet from 1971 to 2000, winning eleven national championships and four Worlds....Jane Pegel, who has sailed DNs beyond her 80th year, recalls the 1989 DN Worlds in Burlington, Vermont, when Jan broke his mast during a practice day. “He traveled in a small car,” Jane says. “He had no parts or repair kit with him. So we all gave him some `Gouge’ (West System), and he sat up all night in his room fixing the mast with tongue depressors. He said he worked stark naked so he wouldn’t have to wash his clothes. He got the mast fixed, and finished second in the Worlds that year.” Continue reading.
Meade: "In 1966, Jack Knights wrote this about Race 1 of Yachting magazine’s One-of-a-Kind regatta: “Meade Gougeon’s trimaran had pruned weight, aerodynamic drag, and hull resistance to a degree that it was slipping through the water, sails always close-hauled, tacking upwind and down like an ice boat while all others were becalmed. The A Scow took 3:55:20 to complete the eight mile course. Gougeon was home in 51 minutes less. It was enough to write a new chapter in the history of sail.” Continue reading.

TB Tuesday: Saturday Evening Post Goes Iceboating

In 1960, the Saturday Evening Post published this expansive article by columnist Ralph Knight. It covered all the basics of this sport (including the hyperbole). Knight gave some lively accounts from regattas he attended attended in the Midwest and East.
Winters Wildest Sport by Ralph Knight
"Iceboaters have trouble with the weather than most other people. They want ice, and they don't want snow. When a blizzard comes, they want an unseasonable thaw or a warm rain to melt the snow fast, but not to melt the ice...They want wind, but not big wind, and they certainly decry "no wind"...some Easterners drove out to a regatta near Chicago, that windy city; for two days, not a breathe of air blew and everybody went home." Continue reading.

Early Skeeter Video

In his search to learn more about a Ray Ruge built Skeeter he is restoring, Maine iceboater Bill Buchholz has inadvertently discovered some historic 16mm film in the archives of the Cohasset, MA Historical Society Francis Hagerty collection. The footage centers around the Fox Lake, Illinois Skeeters of the early 1940s. It's possible that the films are from the 1941 and 1942 International Skeeter Association regattas. Considering the ISA was first sailed in 1940, these are very early films that show the early development of the Skeeter class. Some things to look for in the video below:

  • The winners of the 1941 and 1942 ISA regattas from Fox Lake, Harry Salmon and JD Graff (the first JD!)
  • The A class stern steerer, Ferdinand the Bull, then owned and sailed by C.S. Jacobs of Detroit, MI
  • A really cool ice car that would make a fine RC vehicle.
  • Some very early DNs
  • Ted Mead, designer and builder of the famous Mead iceboats, many of which are on the ice today.
  • ISA trophies (with kittens!?)

TBT: Chain Reaction

Hard to believe it's been almost 20 years since Chain Reaction, an action film starring Keanu Reeves and Morgan Freeman, was released. The movie is notable to iceboaters for some of the winter background scenes filmed on Geneva Lake in Williams Bay, WI. The full movie is on You Tube and I've grabbed some screen shots. Steve Schalk provides some background: "The blue Skeeter in the first two shots is a Bill Boehmke single seat boat owned by Joel Bikowski, who bought it from Bob Mereness. It was one of four round hull boats built around 1959. Sparky Lundberg (109) is in front Captain Carl Bergersen sailing the Skeeter he bought from Fritz Button (228) in several of the shots.That is the first Bob Pegel design B Skeeter Sparky that built. The filming was done during the 1995-1996 season. The white boat is an old Skeeter maybe a Kummerline or a Palmer. I remember being out on a Wednesday setting a windward mark with the ATV and wondering if our races would mess with the shots they were taking. Watching the helicopter with the camera fly sideways ahead of the chase helicopter was much more impressive than what you see in the movie." Also interesting to note that some of the scenes were shot in the Wisconsin capitol building here in Madison.

TBT: The Strange Tale of the Ice Soar

It's been well over ten years since 4LIYC Renegader Greg Whitehorse wrote the world's best iceboating ghost story. The Strange Tale of the Ice Soar originally appeared in the 4LIYC newsletter, the Blade Runner, which Greg wrote pretty much by himself. "Buy a friend a cold dipper and I'll tell you the tale of the 'Ice Soar'."....

Ice Boating Barnegat Bay

Posted by Peter Slack on Tuesday, January 6, 2009

TBT: Iceboating the Rock Video-JET & Barnagat Bay

The Russian music video, posted below, brought to mind another music video from JET, an Austrialian band that were together from 2001 - 2011. Back when I originally posted the video, Henry Bossett emailed to let us know that the video's producer, Peter Slack, is part of a local E-Scow family from Barnegat Bay.

Iceboating: The Musical

Bill Buchholz posted this wonderful video out of Russia on the Chickawaukee Ice Boat Club site and it's a must-share. Gull Lake IYC's Pete Sarelis did a little investigating and figured out the song is "One Way Ticket to the Blues" originally performed by Neil Sedaka. (Neil's version here, but sadly, no iceboats.)

TBT: The Mary B and Pink Pink

In last week's TBT photo posted below, we see young Spike Boston holding a trophy with the rest of the NIYA regatta winners. Spike had a mini-Skeeter, Pink Pink, built by his father, Howard Boston of Mt. Clemens, MI. 4LIYC's Carl Bernard is also in the photo holding the trophies he won sailing O.T. Havey's Class A stern steerer, the Mary B
This week's TBT features two photos, one of the Boston mini Skeeter, Pink Pink, sitting next to the Mary B at an early 1950s regatta in Michigan; and another photo taken at that same regatta with Carl Bernard, O.T. Havey, and the namesake of the Mary B, Mrs. Mary B. Havey, enjoying a ride on the boat.

New Ice Optimist Secretary & Website Pages

The Ice Optimist (iceboating for kids) section of this website has been updated. In other Ice Optimist news, Ron Rosten has stepped forward to volunteer to head up the North American Ice Optimist program. Ron also serves as Secretary of the International Renegade Association and is an active Renegade class sailor with the 4LIYC.

TBT: 1952 Northwest Regatta

Another favorite vintage photo from the archives with Carl Bernard's handwriting carefully noting each trophy winner. The Northwest was sailed on Lake Monona that year, with the launch site being practically under the shadow of Wisconsin's state capitol building. Here are a couple of newspaper articles with more names and information from the Wisconsin State Journal and the Capital Times. Times change and newspapers no longer provide the extensive coverage they once used to for this sport leaving it up to us to write the stories.

The Essence of Iceboat Racing Captured in 29 Minutes

This video was worth the six month wait and worth your time. Thank you, Rejean Lemay of Kingston, Ontario. He shares his thoughts about spending three days on the ice with us at the DN Worlds:
"The DN ice boaters are nomads chasing the elusive perfect ice and wind conditions for their craft. They will travel long distances at a moment’s notice to meet venues that are dictated by sometime ephemeral ice and weather conditions to practice and compete in their winter sports....Over the past months, I compiled and edited the material to produce this video which I trust will rekindle the vibes and spirit of the Kingston DN championship in those who participated and volunteered as well as to contributing to making the sport known to a larger audience. In passing I also wanted to highlight Kingston as an attractive and welcoming venue for such events.
As an amateur videographer with limited technical means, I certainly was not fully prepared for snapping pictures and taping videos in the whipping wind and bitter cold offered by the vast expense of frozen Lake Ontario. I certainly did not expect the long waits in between races that were taken in stride by the participants which were the prelude to quick bursts of racing activities that left me little time and opportunities to collect video footage of quality. Video tracking of specific often distanced and fast moving ice boats with extended camera zoom was problematic as my weighed tripods and I could not always hold still in the wind sweeping the large expense of frozen water. So, I apologize for some of the shaking in the video that could not be corrected in post-production.
My extremities got cold from standing in the open and my fingers painfully frozen from operating the cameras bare hand even for short periods. I believe my metabolism slowed down from exposure, which was a good thing considering the number of hours I spent quite a distance off shore. Nonetheless, I was warmed by the convivial atmosphere enveloping the on-ice event. My experience was probably akin to that experienced by the race officials and volunteers who were instrumental in making the Kingston regatta not only possible but also the success it was.
The Video was Produced in HD - For best viewing, select 1080pHD and Full Screen modes from your player’s settings. Put on your headphones and enjoy."

What did I just get myself into? Oh, I mean, welcome to the latest version of iceboat.org! This newly designed site has features that will make your browsing experience better on mobile phones and tablets.

Consistency

The home page has all of the same information as the previous version but in a leaner and cleaner version. The page design is two columns rather than three. Starting from the top of the page in the right column, you will find:

  • Regatta Dates: Just click on the header and all will be revealed.
  • National Iceboat Authority information.
  • Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club By Laws, Racing Rules, Meeting Dates, and an archive of club race results.
  • A complete list of iceboat clubs and facebook pages.
  • The website visitor counter which is almost at TWO MILLION!
  • A list of webcams so that you might catch a glimpse of some sailing.
  • Information about Lake Access Permits for Dane County.
  • Link to the merchandise page.
  • The Google search box.

Please email to me if there's a favorite page or link that's gone missing. All of the main pages are redesigned and I'll be updating the rest of the site during the summer.

Previous posts from the 2014-2015 season here.