From left- John Jacobs Sr., Bill Sarns, Skip Boston, and Elmer Millenbach, probably at a Detroit Ice Yacht Club banquet, c early 1950s.

Throw Back Thursday: 1954 Northwest

1954 marked the first time that the DN class competed in the Northwest and Skip Boston won that inaugural DN title. It was also a year that competitors completed the regatta despite tough conditions that ranged from no wind, 40 mph wind,followed by single digit temperatures.
The regatta was scheduled for Pewaukee on January 15-71, 1954. The regatta's opening day was a wash because the wind never materialized. On Saturday, "high winds, blowing snow, and poor visibility hampered racing...but good ice and 40 mph winds prevailed," according to the Wisconsin State Journal. [40 miles per hour winds, really?-ed.]

On Sunday, it was too cold to race. Interesting to note that the regatta rules allowed for the competition to resume on the following weekend which it did.

See all Northwest results here.

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.

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.

Sail Sarnia

From the Sarnia Journal in Ontario Canada.
" Wish you were here: History buff releases 2,500 Sarnia postcard collection
Ice boating on Sarnia Bay was a popular pastime during the first half of the 20th century. Though it has died out locally, a number of ice yachting clubs continue to operating in parts of Canada and the northern U.S.
Dave Burwell Collection, Sarnia Historical Society"

  • E Skeeter: Jay Yaeso

  • E Skeeter: Dan Clapp

  • B Skeeter: Mark Hancik

  • B Skeeter: Fritz Buttons

  • DN Class

  • DN Class:Spouses Julie Richards & Dick Wollam draw 1 & 2 for the start.

  • Renegade: Mike Derusha

  • Renegades

  • Stern Steerer: TAKU Erich Schloemer

  • Stern Steerer: TWIN BEDS Peter McCormick
Throw Back Thursday: 5 Fleets of at the 2010 Northwest

Let's throw it back to 2010 Northwest regatta sailed on Lake Winnebago in Oshkosh. This was the first Northwest that photographer Gretchen Dorian attended. It was a challenge to pick two photos from each fleet because there were so many good ones to choose from. The 3 day regatta was typical because we waited for wind for a day and half and had to set up two separate courses on Sunday in order to get the required number of races completed. See all Northwest results here.

1939 Cover Girls

Archie Call sends along this bold 1939 Saturday Evening Post magazine Cover, titled "Iceboats Racing" painted by the artist Ski Weld. You can purchase a print by clicking here.

Triple Crown Winner Steve Orlebeke in Peter Harken's Skeeter on Lake Monona, January 2016.


Wisconsin doesn't usually come to mind when the talk turns to the highest levels of sailing. But interspersed between our cow pastures, corn fields, and beer brewers,(and cheese, don't forget the cheese)Peter and Olaf Harken have created a company that has changed sailing history. Tip of the Helmet to Carol Miller for sharing this article on Facebook.
"Harken, Inc. has been interchangeable with sailing at any level, but the Pewaukee-based company's breakthrough came on one of sailing's biggest stages: the Olympics. In 1967, Peter Harken built sailing training dinghy boats for colleges and also focused on using plastic for a boat's hardware." Continue reading.

TBT: Kreider Edition

During the 1994 Northwest, Ken showed up to the lake on Sunday morning sporting his now famous pink tuxedo. Ken won the Northwest E Skeeter title that season.
Ran across this photograph a few days ago and it's too cool not to post. It's the 4LIYC's Ken Kreider in his rear seat Skeeter POON sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s. The background looks like Lake Kegonsa near Madison, WI. Back in those days, Ken was a very competitive Skeeter sailor who loved high wind sailing and his weight gave him an advantage on light air days. Ken won the ISA championship in 1988.

Pat Heppert sent along a note about POON: "...this is the boat that I sailed from about 2002 to 2014. When Ken got out of the Skeeters [he] sold everything to Dave Travis in Chicago, I then bought the POON IV hull and springboard from Dave Travis. I remember grinding off all the pink within about the first week of owning it because I just couldn’t even stand looking at it. Great memories. The boat is now owned by a recreational sailor in lower Michigan, who seems to be happy with it."

  • ".. he navigated gale-force storms and survived sub-zero temperatures in an exposed cockpit.."

  • Feydor Konyukhov in Greenland in 2012
Ice at 20k Feet

Russian explorer Feydor Konyukhov set a new world record for circumnavigating the globe alone in a hot air balloon on Saturday, July 23. Read more about his feat here. You may be asking yourself how a Russian guy in a balloon ties in with iceboating. Feydor is a classic explorer who has spent his life attempting to set records on extreme expeditions. A few years ago, Feydor wanted to conquer Antarctica by being the first person to sail across it using a hybrid iceboat/land sailing yacht. His marine architects based in the UK met with Bill Mattison to get some expert input from the 4LIYC's master iceboat builder. A boat was built but unfortunately, the record was never attempted. (The photos posted above are from an attempt made to sail the boat in Greenland back in 2012.) A working wind powered land and ice vehicle designed to be operated where the elevation changes proved to be impossible - so far!

Chicago to Mackinac

Congratulations to EQUATION for their Section One win. See all the results here.

It's that time of summer already when some of our iceboaters compete in the the famed Chicago to Mackinac race. Here's a list of ice sailors who are competing. If your name isn't on the list, please shoot me an email and it will be added. Track the race here.
BANDIT: Mackinac Cup Division, Farr 40. Arvid Eiseland & Joe Kessler (Arrows, Palmer Skeeter cruisers), Chris Berger DN US5166.
CHAYA DOIN: Cruising 2 Section, Jeanneau 409. Marcy Grunert DN
DENALI: Turbo Division, Nelson Marek 68. Owned by Rick Hennig (DEUCE) of the Cabbage Patch with crew including Dave Elsmo DN US5486, and Todd Knopp (DEUCE).
EQUATION: Mackinac Cup Division, Santa Cruz 70. Crew of Ron Sherry DN US44, Griffin Sherry DN US4, Chris Clark DN US4789.
EVOLUTION: Mackinac Cup Division, Santa Cruz 70. Crew of Pete Orlebeke DN US5501, Steve Orlebeke Skeeter HONEYBUCKET & DN US4926.
TEMERITY: Chicago-Mackinac Division, Tarten 10. Pat Fitzgerald DN US4203.

School's Out For The Summer

Via the Facebook page of 1D Sails, kids in Poland are thinking ice at summer camp.

A Real Circus at the Mattisons

The Mary B group paid a visit to 4LIYC Skeeter guru Bill and Mauretta Mattison this week. Peter Fauerbach documented the evening in this video. Here's a great peek into Bill's basement workshop.

  • Jackson Harbor
Looking Back East

Early iceboaters sailing near Washington Island which is 7 miles northeast of the tip of Door Peninsula in Door County, Wisconsin. Tip of the Helmet: Chris Berger

  • Ben Lampert's 4 Runner Skeeter at the 1947 Northwest
TBT: 1947 Northwest: The Boom Years Begin

After a 5 year hiatus because of World War 2, the first post-war Northwest was held at Oshkosh in 1947. 4LIYC's FRITZ (with new owners, the Lunder brothers and Carl Bernard at the helm) won the A stern steerer trophy. Ed Rollberg, who would go on to bring the Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant to the midwest a few years later, won the E Skeeter title. Iceboaters who served in WW2 came back with new ideas about boat building, particularly the great Elmer Millenbach. More about Elmer next time.
Shortly before the 1947 Northwest, Eastern iceboater, Ray Ruge, wrote an in depth article in Yachting Magazine about the state of iceboating in North America. Read it here.
All Northwest Regatta records are posted here.

Baikal Ice Sailing Week Book

Spend some time on Lake Baikal with Czech photographer Pavlína Marečková's book filled with stunning images..

Jim Kimberly's Skeeter PHANTOM. Photo from the Carl Bernard scrapbook collection. This photo is actually from the 1948 Northwest on Lake Winnebago because Carl didn't attend the 1942 Northwest.

TBT: 1942 Northwest: WW2 Years Begin

The 1942 Northwest was sailed in Menominee, Michigan just 6 weeks after the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor and would be the last one sailed until 1947. Neenah Ice Yacht Club's Jim Kimberly won the E Skeeter title in PHANTOM II. There was no entry in the A fleet that year. The "queen of the ice lanes", FRITZ, stayed on her home ice that season. (Read more about FRITZ coming out of "exile" here.) In fact no 4LIYC skippers competed in the Northwest that year. Here's a Capital Times article detailing the winners of the regatta.
All Northwest Regatta records are posted here.

TBT: 1938 Northwest: Oshkosh to Madison

The photo above is the starting point and inspiration for this week's edition of Northwest Regatta Throw-Back-Thursday. That's Skeeter Ice Boat Club's Harry Melges (you may have heard of his son, Buddy) in front of H.V. Fitzcharles of Chicago on Lake Mendota. The Northwest was supposed to have started on Saturday, January 15 at Oshkosh but a heavy snow storm forced a postponment. The local newspaper wrote in a way all too familiar for those who enjoy this sport, "Oshkosh lost another regatta through an uncompromising Weather Man who has played a 'dirty trick' on the city and and particularly its iceboaters."
Two weeks later, the regatta relocated to Lake Mendota. Harry Melges did win a trophy that year, but not in the E Skeeter. He sailed the Lake Geneva A stern steerer, KOL-MASTER, to victory. The Wisconsin State Journal reported that there was a controversy about "ships sailing out of their class". You can that article here. All Northwest Regatta records are posted here.

DN North America

The DN class released a new version of their website. See it here. The longest day of the year is behind us and it's time to just start thinking about ice.

Asking the Important Questions

Chicago blogger, Glenn McCarthy (Live Your Dream; Sail Lake Michigan), asked his readers to come up with questions for an America's Cup press conference held last week. Nite skipper Brett Larson asked the most important question of the event. Glenn writes, "One of my regular readers, Brett Larson, asked me to ask, 'Have any of the skippers sailed an iceboat?'" Find out the answer here on Glenn's blog.

  • FRITZ in 2005

  • Madison's iceboating history is all around if you know where to look. The FRITZ is still remembered at the former Bernard Boathouse on Gorham St. on Lake Mendota.
TBT: The 1934 Northwest Regatta - Meet FRITZ

In the mid 1930s, stern steerers were still the only class that sailed in the Northwest. The 1934 Northwest A class title was captured by the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club FRITZ, a boat built by Frank Tetzlaff, owned by Fritz Jungbluth, and piloted that year by Carl Bernard. The boat would go on to win the Northwest A Stern Steerer title for a total of 7 times. There's enough history about this boat for a book to be written. Here are some articles about that regatta and links to some history. Apologies for not having the time this morning to write a more deserving in depth report on this boat.

  • Don Sanford brought in his amphi-iceboat for seasonal touch ups! He has a sweet runabout which he restored several years ago at the Willy Street Boat Shop.

  • Our 25 yr old compressor blew a gasket. Wayne took it apart and we took pictures to secure new parts. It amazes us how many boats the compressor has helped us to either build or renovate.

  • Goeff and Scott Goetz are extending his number eight bulk head so he can fit into the boat better. They're using an oscillating tool which really helps to speed the job up. His boat was really over built and they're stripping out all excess weight.

  • Wayne has had a hard time getting his sail up the track. Come to find out his shiv was worn out. He is in the process of installing a new nylotron shiv.

Nordhaus Boatworks

The guys were busy with several projects last night at Jim Nordhaus' boat shop. Thanks for the report, Jim!

Book 'Em

If you are hunting for the perfect bookshelves, consider repurposing an old DN like this guy did for his cottage in Russia. Lifted from the Facebook page of Виктор Ехменин (translates to Victor Ehmenin)

TBT: Mid Century Moderns

We'll take a break from the Northwest today and feature a photo of some Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club members sent by Bill & Mauretta Mattison's daughter, Lynn Raley. We believe these are L to R Johnny Bluel, Pa Bluel, Herb Krogman, Dave Rosten, Bill Mattison. Jerry Simon found out from Mauretta Mattison that "the house in the background is John Bluel Sr. located at the corner of Evergreen and Willard, very close to Yahara Park where we used to sail out of. Jack Ripp grew up a short block away. Mauretta said they drove by and Bill remembered John built a Renegade in the attic. It was likely sailed by John Sr. and later given to Jim as John built another Renegade and a Skeeter. I think it was named "Snow Shoe" with sail #97. John Jr. Renegade "Shadow" was #103. John Sr. skeeter "Phantom" M 135."

Top photo: The bridge in Mikolajki, Poland.
Bottom photo by Gretchen Dorian from the 2011 DN Gold Cup.

Only In Poland

Only in Poland would a bridge be built with architecture inspired by a DN! As seen on Tomasz Zakrzewski's P55 Facebook page: " Mikolajki's new bridge pylon was inspired by DN rig says City Major Piotr Jakubowski in his interview. Local sailors won DN Worlds three times: Tomasz Zakrzewski (2012, 2013) and Wladyslaw Stefanowicz (1990). Mikolajki Sailing Club's wall of fame has also photos of other Wolds and Europeans medalists: Lukasz Zakrzewski and Robert Graczyk . Fleet rich in youth DN and Ice Opti sailors from Mikolajki supported by parents, sailing club and authorities will soon take over. If they are successful I see plenty of other DN architectural inspirations. Good luck."

1923 Free For All Champion Northwest Regatta

TBT: 1923 Northwest, WW 1, and 5" Guns

You may wonder what iceboating and WW1 Naval guns have to do with each other but there's always a way to connect iceboating to anything. (Ask me about Abraham Lincoln and iceboating sometime -Ed.) MISS WISCONSIN won the Northwest Free For All in 1922 and 1923.
In 1918, Madison's most famous iceboat builder, William Bernard, accepted a commission from the Steinle Turret Lathe Machine Company and built the most expensive iceboat of his career. MISS WISCONSIN cost $1,000, an amazing sum considering that Bernard’s most expensive boat to date had cost $400. Taking her maiden voyage in high winds, the Wisconsin State Journal reported that she broke “all speed laws of Lake Mendota” and picked up an ice fisherman as she swept by him. The man was not severely injured and recovered shortly after his harrowing ride. William Bernard’s son Carl, a young teenager at the time, recalled that there was “no finer ice boat ever built.” George Steinle's company manufactured 5” guns for the U. S. Navy.

5"/51 cal, possibly on USS Texas

Jim Hadley sails his DN on Lake Monona at the 2016 North American championship. Photo by Joe Stanton.

May Runner Tracks

Hooray hooray, the it's almost the end of May and that means the big end-of-season Runner Tracks issue has hit the news stand. Lot's to read including regatta reports, results, and a look back at a survey the DN class did in 1987. Click here to receive your own personal copy of this online magazine.

TBT: The 1915 Northwest Regatta

Ice yachtsmen of the midwest united in 1913 to organize the Northwest regatta to determine which club had the fastest stern-steerers. Read more about their efforts and the first Northwest which was sailed in Menominee, Michigan.

Two years later, the Northwest regatta came to Madison for the first time and was sailed on Lake Monona. The Milwaukee boat DEBUTANTE III won the A class, beating local hero Emil Fauerbach's PRINCESS III. Madison's most famous iceboat builder of the time, William Bernard, won the B fleet. Interesting to note that there was a C class champion back then but the C class NIYA records that I have start in 1926.
Madison historian, Frank Custer, wrote an absolutely fascinating story about this regatta filled with the kinds of details that iceboaters love to read, like the fact that the DEBUTANTE III was the first boat to use aluminum runners. Custer's article is a must read, check it out here.

  • A Class champion: DEBUTANTE III, D. Van Dyke, K. Doemel, M. Mackie
  • B Class champion: VALIENT, W. P. Bernard, H. Nelson
  • Free For All champion: DEBUTANTE III, D. Van Dyke, K. Doemel, M. Mackie
Friday, January 22, 1915 Wisconsin State Journal
Milwaukee Owned Ice Yacht Wins SQUARE PEOPLE'S Cup On Lake Monona
The free-for-all race for the Square People's trophy for ice boats of all classes, which is always a feature of the Northwestern Ice Yachting association regatta was won this morning by DEBUTANTE III, skippered by its owner, Douglas Van Dyke of Milwaukee. The race went 15 miles and the beautiful Van Dyke craft covered the distance in 59 minutes and 5 seconds. Considering the light breeze and the snow, this is considered fair time.
Nine minutes after DEBUTANTE III crossed the tape, PRINCESS III owned by Emil Fauerbach finished. Followed in their respective order were OLD CRAFT of Menominee, PRINCESS II, and TOOT TOOT, the last two being seconds apart.
DEBUTANTE II, the sister boat of the winner, struck a stake and was disqualified. FLIT, FREAK, and VALIANT withdrew. The final races for trophies in the B and C classes were run off late this afternoon.

Arlyn LaFortune

Visitation at Thielen Funeral Home in Marinette, WI on Friday, May 20th from 1-3pm.
It's with great sadness that we say goodbye to another skipper in our iceboating family, Arlyn LaFortune. Fellow Renegader Jerry Simon remembers Arlyn:
"Air Conditioned" was always in the thick of hot competition in the Renegade Regattas. He showed great sportsmanship while on and off the course. He enjoyed resailing the race over a cocktail and cigarette. While sailing in tight quarters you knew he always chose the right option, safety first. In 1986 Aryln won the Northwest Regatta. If Aryln was nearby on the course you knew you were near the leaders.
One funny story - back in 2007, we were on the interstate on our way to Toledo for the Renegade Championship. Somewhere around Gary, Indian with two Renegades in tow in very heavy semi truck traffic, we see and old car barely pulled off the road with smoke coming from the hood. There was some old fart out alongside the car with his door open and 70 mile per hour traffic passing within feet of him. Recognizing the car and Aryln, we stopped to help. Aryln didn't seem concerned about his safety but was upset that he didn't have enough bottled water to put in the overheated radiator. We were able to get him to a service garage in town and arrange for a tow. His major concern was that he would miss being the Chief Judge for the Renegade Regatta.
His heart was on ice most of the time."

  • Charlie helped with Race Committee when he retired from sailing. Here he is at the 2002 Northwest on Lake Kegonsa with Mary Jane Schalk and Dave Lallier.
Charlie Miller: One of the Greats

Charlie Miller passed on last Sunday, May 8th. Iceboaters have lost a best friend, good competitor, kind gentleman, and valuable historical resource. Charlie grew up on Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin sailing with stern steerer legends and his knowledge of the sport and the people was encyclopedic.
Visitation will take place on Saturday, May 14 from 1 - 3 PM at St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jefferson, Wisconsin with the service to follow at 3 PM. Click here for map.More information here.
If you have any memories of Charlie you'd like to share, please send an email or give a call.

CHARLES “CHARLIE” F. MILLER age 82 of Jefferson passed away at the Rainbow Hospice Inpatient Center in Johnson Creek on Sunday May 8, 2016.
Charlie was born to Frederick and Johanna (Pilian) Miller on February 23, 1934 in Oshkosh. He started ice-boat sailing at the age of 14 and his love for all types of sailing continued for the rest of his life.
Charlie enlisted and served in the Naval Reserves from 1952-1954, he then served in the United States Air Force as an Aviation Cadet from 1954-1955. In the Air Force he was a 1st Lieutenant and specialized as a Radar Intercept Officer on the Northrup F89J-Scorpian Interceptor, serving until his honorable discharge in August of 1960.
He graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison in 1962 with his degree in Fine Arts. While there, he was involved with the Hoofers Sailing Club, and the UW Intercollegiate Sailing Team.
Some highlights from his sailing career include winning the 1962 US Mallory National Championship, finishing runner up in the 1962 US Singled-Handed Sailing Championship as well as the FINN Pre-Olympic Regatta in 1967. As long as there was a breeze, Charlie was sailing whether it was on ice, water, or in the desert.
Charlie’s love of sailing led him to become the manager and major partner of North Sails, Inc of Pewaukee. While at North Sails he designed the first computerized sail cutting machine, and in 1994 started Inland Sails, before retiring in 2000. Charlie was an active member and past commodore of the Pewaukee Yacht Club, the Inland Lake Yachting Association, Bilge Pullers, and the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club.
Charlie will be dearly missed by his wife of 27 years, Carole Miller of Jefferson; Daughters Debbie (Scott) Buth of Helenville, Dawn (Paul) Scarce of Oak Creek and, Denise (Jim) Reser of Columbus; Grandchildren Billy and Greg Buth, Amanda Blehovde, and Nichole and Crystal Sweda; Sister Karla (Ron) Grabner of Oshkosh; Niece Karlene (Chris) Leitch and their children Anika and Audrik, and Nephew Ronnie (Cheryl) Grabner and their children Chelsea, Mindy, and Zachary.
He is preceded in death by his parents and Sister Rosemary Streicher.
Services will held on Saturday May 14, 2016 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Jefferson with a visitation from 1 to 3 pm, followed by a 3 pm memorial service with Rev. David Zandt officiating. Military honors will follow the service outside of the church.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Charlie’s memory to the Pewaukee Lake Sailing School, P.O. Box 457, Pewaukee, WI 53072 or to Rainbow Hospice, 147 Rockwell Street, Jefferson, WI 53549.
Schneider- Michaelis Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements Visit to leave a condolence or light a candle in his memory.

Son of 'Throw Back Thursday': Looking Back at the Northwest Regattas

The off season is the best time for this website to catch up on posting iceboating history. Jane Pegel recently sent a magazine page from 1951 (click here to see it) about the Northwest which motivated me to chose that historic regatta as the focus of TBT. Next week, we'll start at the beginning.
The 1951 Northwest was sailed on Gull Lake in Michigan. The Mary B won the A stern steerer division. That was the third year in a row she won the Northwest and she would go on to win in 1952 and 1953.
The newspaper accounts are full of interesting details, such as the Mary B costing $24,000 to build. (Right click on the newspaper articles to open them in a new tab if you'd like to take a closer look at them.)

  • Class A:Mary B, O.T.Havey, Owner; Carl Bernard, Skipper.
  • Class B: Miss Jane II, Dan Coffey Jr., Einar Brink
  • Class C: Susan Jo, Lambert, Stroshine, Dick Heumueller
  • Class D: Rosemary II, Don Ward
  • Free For All: Renegade, Skeeter E Class, Elmer Millenbach Detroit, Mi.
  • Free For All 2nd Place: Cyclone, Howard L. Boston
  • Class E Skeeter: Cyclone 7th, Howard L. Boston

North Sails Interview: Chad Atkins on the new DN sail development

You just finished sailing the DN North Americans. What conditions did you encounter at this event and how prepared for them were you?
The NA's were held in Madison, WI the last week of February on a nice sized plate that had been resurfaced by some rain, wind and warmth just prior to the event. This left a reasonably flat and slightly textured surface that was somewhat soft and would go away quick in bright sunshine but would stay hard under cloud cover and wind. We had sunshine and very light winds that we couldn't do much with the first few days followed by full on-hold on breeze for a couple days and ending with a light to moderate last day. Continue reading.

Iceboat The Broads!

England isn't the first place that comes to mind when talking about ice sailing but there's a museum in Stalham, England (in Norfolk, on the Broads) with an old stern steerer on permanent exhibit. DN European Secretary Chris Williams, his wife Jenny, and I had a look at it yesterday. The other exhibits focus on the historical boating culture of the area and is definitely worth a visit if you get to England. Tip of the helmet to New England DNer Oliver Moore for emailing a photo of this boat a few months ago. Never thought I'd actually get to see it!

Looking Cool!

Watch this cleverly edited video from from Scott Valentine and the guys from the Lake Ronkonkoma Ice Boat And Yacht Club who made the long drive to Madison for the DN North American championship in February. Watch it here.
Tip of the Helmet: Commodore T on the NEIYA website.

  • Rescue me

  • Bridge of sighs
Another Desert Adventure

Some 4LIYC members including Kyle Metzloff, Jim Nordhaus, and Geoff Sobering along with myself just returned from the land sailing Blokart North American and World Championships at the sometimes not-so-dry lake bed on the California and Nevada border. During the DN North Americans in February on Lake Monona, Jim Nordhaus helped to save the Olin landing by showing up with plywood so that trailers could bridge the cracks.
Fast forward to last week, and there was Jim again helping to make a bridge with plastic and cardboard so that the Blokarts could be rescued from the muddy playa after the North Americans concluded. When it does rain in the desert (this particular rainstorm broke a 73 year old record), the playa reverts to its lake bed state followed by mud. It's important to keep the area flat because any ruts left in the desert may last for years.
The rescue was a success and an alternate site for the Worlds was found across Interstate I-15.

Here's a short video from the Worlds that shows a classic leeward rounding situation, one boat (or cart) coming in hot, squeezing in, and hitting the mark. The cart to leeward is Jim Nordhaus.
Results for North Americans are here and Worlds here. Kyle Metzloff had the best 4LIYC finish in the Worlds, placing 3rd in his division.

Madars Alvikis DN O31, Latvia

Tech-ing Out

Saw this on Facebook written by Edgars Dzenis of Latvia who traveled to Baikal for the DN regatta. It's one of the best explanations of iceboat racing I've read.
"I knew absolutely nothing about the DN (Detroit News) iceboat class before getting here. To say these guys tech out would be a massive understatement. I thought foilers were bad, but they’ve got nothing on the ice crew. But that’s the nature of high performance sailing, the faster you go the more important tuning your kit becomes. Mental toughness plays a big role in this game because of the speed. Imagine missing a shift in your local one design fleet. Your buddies might pull 10 seconds ahead but they still seem within reach. Battling on to grind them down isn’t too hard to manage mentally. Now imagine what that 10 second gap looks like when you’re ripping around the buoys at a mile per minute! It’s over 800 feet, nearly 3 football fields! It takes a special kind of tenacity to keep your head in the game with those kind of distances lost and gained every moment.

This is one reason why ice sailors, like foilers and other high performance racers, are always sniffing out an edge in their gear. Similar to the moth fleet, teching out and being social seem to go hand in hand. Beers in the tent and post regatta karate (you know that thing we all do when we use our hands to show how two boats were coming together) are accompanied with discussions on composite flex, steel metallurgy, and the all important concept of apparent wind. So far my experience with this fleet has been inspiring and humbling. I used to think 30 knots was quick and 40 knots was balls to the wall. These guys don’t even budge off their resting heart rate until then. Am I ruined forever? Will foiling now feel like slogging in a laser? Perhaps….but at the same time, I just discovered yet another epically fun aspect of our sport that I know nothing about, and that is what keeps me coming back for more! DN Worlds is in America next winter….perhaps just enough time to learn how to get around the course without killing myself?"

Winter V2

Winter hasn't given up yet. April showers have arrived in the form of snow in the Midwest. The Maine iceboaters are reporting possible sailing for the weekend on Lac St. Francois in Canada. They also held a 100 mile race a few days ago. Read all about it on the Chickawaukie website.

The iceboaters on Lake Baikal have finished their regatta. Photo from Waterlust.

How Iceboats Start A Race

A great explanation of how iceboats begin a race from Waterlust on Lake Baikal.

Newspaper clipping from January 23, 1949

Looking Back: Skeeter Iceboat Club

SIBC sailor Jane Pegel came across a club yearbook for the 1948-49 season while updating the club files in preperation for their banquet (which was last Saturday. Jane writes, "Sort of fun to see some of the old names and read the sailing rules." Read it here.

Baikal Waterlust

Baikal ice sailing week began today. The folks from Waterlust, a "a purpose-driven brand that creates: 1) media to inspire scientific curiosity and an adventurous spirit, and 2) sustainable products to support marine science research and education" made the trip and are sharing photos to their Facebook page.

Arctic April

The season appears to be slowly winding down in North America despite the late arrival of a Polar Vortex. The Maine iceboaters tried their best to get one more weekend but have given the Fat Lady a "warm welcome". (Watch her here.) Canada's ice is snow covered as far as I know. But there's still one more place in the world where there's an ice sheet waiting for 50 or so DNs to arrive this week for a regatta.

Sail Saskatchewan!

The season is not over yet for our Canadian friends. Jamie Smith sends along these photos and writes, "We are still sailing in Saskatchewan, at least we were up until last Sunday March the 20th. Unfortunately we had a snow storm hit on Monday night taking away our sailable ice for what I am guessing could be the season, but hopefully not. El Nino was good to us this year giving us plenty of sailable ice for the last month or so. All the pictures were taken on Long Lake (Last Mountain Lake) near Regina Beach Saskatchewan."
Saskatchewan wasn't the only sailable ice in Canada over the weekend. DN Canadian Commodore, Warren Nethercote, checked in about sailing in Prince Edward Island on the New England Ice Yacht Association website.

Happy Birthday Mary Bernice!

The stern steerer Mary B was christened 68 years ago today. Wooden boats age gracefully!

Photo: Gretchen Dorian
Here she is under sail on Lake Monona in February of 2016. For more information about the Mary B stern steerer, click here.

Runner Tracks

Latest edition of the DN Class newsletter, Runner Tracks, is now available. Read it here.

In The News

Today's Wisconsin State Journal published an opinion column that ran 100 years ago in response to a horrific tragedy involving an iceboat that claimed the lives of three young Madison men, Olaf Mathewson, Rudolph Wesselle, and Walter Throl. (Their photos here.) According to a report published on March 22, 1916, they borrowed a stern steerer the night of March 21. The wind was blowing 30 mph from the northeast and they sailed into the open water where the Yahara River (then known as Catfish River) flows into Lake Monona. (It must be stated that the lake is generally unsafe at any time in that area.)
These young men were in their early 20s; Throl and Mathewson worked for the Gisholt Machine Company and Wesselle worked with his father at Fauerbach Brewery. Nearby residents could hear their cries for help for 30 minutes. A rescue was attempted in a rowboat but the young men were not reached in time and they succumbed to hypothermia and drowning. Here's a partial newspaper clipping about what happened that fateful night.
This story is a grim reminder that iceboating can be risky if common sense rules are not followed. Safe sailing includes respecting the lake at river and creek outlets, properly equipping yourself for self rescue, and keeping a close eye on the weather. The Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club would not recommend that anyone sail at night but ultimately, you are responsible for yourself. Take the time to review the Safe Sailing page on this website.

Sail Siberia

The ice sailing season is still going strong, just not the United States. Yesterday a container of DNs left Germany for the journey to Irkutsk on the Trans Siberian railroad. The boats will arrive around March 28. A truck will pick up the container and deliver the boats to the Uyuga resort on Lake Baikal for the regatta which begins on April 2, 2016. DN European Commodore Joerg Bohn is looking forward to the regatta and writes, "As for the ice at the lake the picture is from today taken from the Island Olchon, I think our race course is looking great." See more about Baikal's ice sailing week on their website.
Meanwhile, an 89 hour drive from Baikal, the 2016 Finnish Championships will be sailed this weekend on Lake Pyhäjärvi, Säkylä.

'36 Chevy v. 15 Meter

"There's nothing like beating an iceboat at its own game". Tip of the Helmet - Wayne Schmiedlin.

France 2 North Americans Video

More international coverage from the recent DN North American championship sailed on Lake Monona in Madison. The reporter and film crew came early in the week when there was no wind. They were able to use footage from the 2015 Gold Cup sailed in Kingston, Ontario and some other footage from New York. Watch video here.

Hollywood Nites

Very well done video by Matt Parker from the 2016 Nite Nationals on Pewaukee.

Sail Antarctica

"A Queensland man is about to embark on a record-setting mission to “snow sail” across Antarctica. Adventurer Charles Werb’s unique sail is designed to glide across the ice and is powered only by the wind. The journey will take him from the Novo base to as close as possible to the South Pole – and all the way back.....If successful, he will become the first person to snow sail the Antarctic plateau. He is also trying to break a world record for the most wind-assisted distance covered in 24 hours. Mr Werb’s sails were designed and built in Brisbane by a local fabricator who has only seen the snow once. He will go from 30 degree temperatures in Australia to minus 30 degree temperatures on the ice. He will also have to fit all his supplies to last three weeks, including all of his food and camping gear, inside the vessel."
News video here.
Outer Edge Polar Challenge website here.

Wisconsin Stern Steerers Association Regatta Results & Report

UPDATE 3-10: Joe Terry has shared a longer version of the story
Photos and a report from Joe Terry on the WSSA page.

Photo: Gretchen Dorian

Steve Orlebeke: "With Some Good Fortune"

Cut and pasted from the Harken Facebook Page:
"This winter I have been sailing Peter Harken’s E-skeeter called Honeybucket XIV. The E-skeeter class is the fastest class of iceboats and arguably the fastest sailing craft in the world. These boats can hit speeds over 100mph powered only by the wind. I put a lot of practice time in this winter leading up to two major skeeter regattas. The first of these regattas is called the Northwestern Ice Yacht Association Championship. This year was the 102nd annual Northwest regatta. The E-skeeter class has been racing in this event since 1936. This year it was sailed February 12th through the 14th on Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin. After a great battle I won this regatta by one point over Jay Yaseo from Green Bay. The second major regatta is called the ISA (International Skeeter Association) championship. The ISA was first sailed in 1940 and is the championship for all of the skeeter classes. This year it was held on Green Bay. With some good fortune I also won this trophy. A third major trophy was awarded to me for winning both regattas in the same year called the triple crown. In total I sailed the Honeybucket in 21 races and sailed her 10 days this winter." -Steve Orlebeke, Director of Engineering, Harken USA

France 1 TV Report

The world knows that Madison has great ice sailing. "It is -15 ° C and the wind is blowing at 50 km / h. During the winter on the frozen lakes of Wisconsin, lovers of skiing and sailing are found to go faster...they perpetuate the tradition of Dutch immigrants who sailed on the Hudson River." Watch video here.

Ken Whitehorse in A Skeeter WARRIOR - Photo: Gretchen Dorian

More Gretchen Dorian Photos from the Northwest

Photographer Gretchen Dorian has been able to get back to editing more photos shot on the cold Saturday, February 13, of the Northwest and they are a must see. Take a look here.

DN North American Photos

Thank you Robert Jaeger for sharing your photos from the DN North American championship which was recently sailed here in Madison on Lake Monona. See them all here.

Photo: Gretchen Dorian

In The News: "Historic Madison iceboat Mary B may race again"

Wisconsin State Journal
Barry Adams
TOWN OF WESTPORT — When the Mary B skimmed across the ice of lakes Monona and Mendota in the early 1950s, she shared her exploits in the Wisconsin State Journal sports pages with the University of Wisconsin boxing team, three-time NCAA champion Don Gehrmann’s ability to run the mile for the Badgers and basketball games at Central High School." Continue reading.
Photographer Gretchen Dorian has posted some of her photos of the Mary B under sail for the first time in many years on Lake Monona at the recent Northwest regatta. See them here.

Photo by Eric Tasden

Up In The Air

Another cool drone photo taken at the DN North American championship regatta on Lake Monona.

Not Much Work Accomplished In Area Offices Last Week

14 seconds of racing action from last week's DN North American championship. These two clips were downloaded from Instagram and shot from skyline of Madison over looking Lake Monona. Toledo Ice Yacht Club DNer, Rich Potcova, noted that "we lowered productivity" in Madison office buildings last week.

News from the National Iceboat Authority

Jane Pegel has decided to retire from the Board of Directors of the National Iceboat Authority. We’d like to thank Jane for over 50 years of service regarding the management of our racing rules and ensuring safety and fairness is maximized in iceboating. Jane was one of the founding members of the NIA along with Elmer Millenbach, Wally Cross, Homer Seider, and Bob Pegel. Prior to the NIA racing rules, the various sailing clubs around the country had different racing rules which created confusion and hazardous situations on the race course. Jane played a key role as this group worked together to develop the NIA Racing Rules which have successfully served as the basis for iceboat racing since the early 1960’s. Please join us in thanking Jane for her many contributions to our sport!
We’re happy to announce that Steve Schalk has accepted the open position on the NIA Board of Directors. Steve is an experienced B-Skeeter sailor with many years of service on local and regatta race committees. Those of you who know Steve would agree that he is a reasonable and patient person who communicates well and always considers the needs of every class of iceboat participating in an event. Welcome Steve!
With Jane’s retirement, Tim McCormick has accepted the role of Secretary/Treasurer of the NIA. Please route NIA correspondence to Tim at:
Tim McCormick
5833 Persimmon Drive
Fitchburg, WI 53711
H 608-278-8830
M 608-234-1950

  • Jim Lafortune, 4th Renegade

  • George Gerhardt, 3rd Renegade

  • Mike Derusha, 1st Renegade

  • C Skeeters: Pat Heppert 1st, Bill Dale 2nd, Mike Compney 3rd

  • B Skeeters: Troy Soberg 2nd, Steve Schalk 1st, Todd Morgan 5th

  • A Skeeters: Steve Orlebeke 1st, Tom Hyslop 2nd, Paul Krueger 3rd, Ken Whitehorse 4th

  • Steve Orlebeke with Triple Crown trophy awarded to skipper who wins both Northwest and ISA regattas in one season
2016 ISA Champions
Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club: Meeting Tonight

Please join us tonight at Angelo's Italian Restaurant for our meeting. Should be a good fun one with lots to talk about including the DN North American championship and the ISA.
I'd like to personally thank the members of this club for their outstanding efforts to help make the competitors of DN North American championship feel welcomed to Madison. Commodore Ken Norton came to the landing every day to help make sure boats were getting on and everything was running smoothly. Daniel Hearn,among other things, organized an opening ceremony party in a few hours that played out against the beautiful skyline of our city. Jori Lenon, Mike Barnett, and Dave Elsmo pitched in where ever they could. Don Sanford was also a great help with some behind the scenes activities. And I will never forget the sight of Don Sanford on the club ATV pulling up loaded with a catered lunch put together by Don Anderson the Mary B Foundation including Lou Reed and Bob Stoehr. (Take a look here to learn more about that project.)
I'm not sure if Scott Goetz or Peter Fauerbach ever left the ice the entire week because they were there all the time willing to lend a hand with anything and to help drive the ATVs. Paul McMillan and Jerry Simon were also there. Jim Nordhaus- we didn't see him much, but his presence was huge as an ice checker and then taking time from his busy morning preparing for the ISA to drop off some planking so that we could continue to use the launch. I hope I'm not missing anybody. Thank you, club members, for making everything look so effortless.


Big wind for Wednesday's Gold fleet DN North American race made for some of the most thrilling racing I've seen as a scorer. The talk of the day was James "T" Theiler's dramatic finish with Ron Sherry just ahead of him. Photographer Joe Stanton, who was also at last week's Northwest, caught it on film. Heading out for Day 4 today. T wrote about the race here. There is no skipper's meeting and the Gold fleet starts racing at 9:30 AM.

DN North American Championship: Day 3 Photos by Joe Stanton


Check out this photo set from the Wisconsin State Journal from the first day of sailing at the DN North Americans. The first race is scheduled for 10 AM this morning if the wind cooperates. If there is not enough wind, the race committee will likely postpone and give updates every few hours as yesterday. Wednesday there will be wind. A good place to watch the races would be from Monona Terrace Convention Center. More information about the DN regatta here.

Mayor of Monona, Bob Miller, welcomed the participants to the regatta. Mayor Bob, we thank you for making us feel welcome to Lake Monona.

Welcome to Monona!

Madison's skyline at dusk provided a beautiful backdrop to the opening ceremonies of the DN North American Championships which are being sailed on Lake Monona. Seven flags were raised representing Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, United States, and Torsten Siems from Germany who raised the DN flag. Happy birthday Torsten! More information about the regatta here.

Sun Rise on Lake Monona

For early risers, take a ride on a DN on Lake Monona.

DN North Americans

UPDATE: Lake Monona is the site with primary launch at Olin.
The DN North American championship has been called on for Madison, Wisconsin. You can find all official information on the DN website. The regatta starts on Monday,February 22, 2016.
Look for updates about the regatta on the DN Regatta page.

Another addition is Right-of-Way rule 8.a which states: “When yachts sailing ON-THE-WIND on opposite tacks are approaching a MARK, the PORT TACK yacht shall keep clear of the STARBOARD TACK yacht.” Click here to see all 9 animations.

Animated: Start, Darling Mark Course & New Weather Mark ROW Guide

4LIYC DNer Dave Elsmo (who is the Sailing Program Manager and Head Coach of the UW Hoofer Sailing Club) created 9 animations to help illustrate the recent changes made by the National Iceboat Authority. These animations cover properly starting, approaching marks on a darling mark course, finishing a darling mark course, and Right-of-Way rule 8.a. See Dave's informative work here.

National Iceboat Authority: Change Summary to 2015 Racing Rules

Last week, the National Iceboat Authority released a new version of the NIA Constitution & Racing Rules which includes two new race course configurations, the DARLING COURSE and INLINE COURSE which may be used as alternatives to the STANDARD COURSE we’ve been using for many years. (Click here to see last week's post.)Today, NIA board member, Tim McCormick has released a summary which briefly describes the changes which have been made to the NIA 2015 Racing Rules. Click here to read the summary.

National Iceboat Authority: Important Announcement

The National Iceboat Authority is happy to announce the release of a new version of the NIA Constitution & Racing Rules. (Click here to see new version.) This new version includes two new race course configurations called DARLING COURSE and INLINE COURSE which may be used as alternatives to the STANDARD COURSE we’ve been using for many years. This allows race committees to select a course which is most appropriate for their ice sailing event. The new racing rules also contain:

  • Updated definitions and clauses to support the use of the DARLING COURSE or INLINE COURSE.
  • Clarification on yachts which must keep clear while approaching the windward MARK on opposite TACKS.
  • Updated restrictions on propulsion.
  • A new rule which prohibits sailing between the LEEWARD MARK and the starting line immediately after the start.
Please feel free to contact any of the NIA Directors with questions or comments.
UPDATE 11-13-2015:NIA board member, Tim McCormick, has created a summary which briefly describes the changes which have been made to the NIA 2015 Racing Rules. Read his report here.

Previous posts from the 2015-2016 season here.