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.

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?

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.

Common Questions:

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

Regatta Watch

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

Iceboat Classes

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

The Rules.

The purpose of iceboat racing rules is to prevent collisions.

Ice Yacht Clubs

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

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.

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.

UPCOMING:
Next 4LIYC meeting: November 2018

The “R” Word: Free Iceboat to Restore

You can go from this…

..to this in a few simple steps.

UPDATE: July 17,2018: The boat has found a home on Lake Como. Thanks to all who helped with this rescue.
Skeeter Iceboat Club sailor Steve Schalk recently came across the proverbial barn find near Delavan, Wisconsin that dates back to the beginning of the Skeeter class.This 1930s iceboat was home built and patterned after Walter Beauvaix’s early open-back Skeeter design. Just the hull and plank remain and It’s always been stored in a dry barn waiting for either the woodpile or for someone to restore her. If you’d like to save the boat from the burn pile and take on a restoration project, contact i546@charter.net to arrange pick-up. Andy Gratton has offered to donate a sail for the boat.
To learn more about the history of Beau Skeeters, read “A New First“,  about the Goes family’s original Beau Skeeter PIKE, and “Wish You Were Here: Skeeter Iceboat Club History“.

Early Beau Skeeter PIKE, on the left with the P sail.

Ice Sailors Head for Mackinac July 21

EQUATION

Another sign of the high season of summer approaches, the Race to Mackinac and ice sailors will be on board some of the 350+ boats that will race from Chicago to Mackinac Island on Lake Michigan. The racing begins on July 21. Here’s the annual list and please email to me and let me know if I’ve missed anyone.

  • EQUATION (Section 01)
    Ron Sherry DN US44
    Chris Clark DN US4789
    Tom Dawson DN US5470
    Skip Dieball DNUS5
    Griffin Sherry DN US4
  • DENALI (Turbo Division)
    Rick Hennig DEUCE stern-steerer
    Dave Elsmo DN US5486
    Dave Aguilar DN sailor
    Matt Barron DN sailor
    Nick Hovland DN sailor
  • BANDIT
    (Section 2), with DNer Chris Berger DN US5166 and Marcy Grunert. BANDIT’S owners Arvid Eiesland and Joe Kestler have DNs, Arrows, and an old Palmer Skeeter. John Poast is also an ice sailor on this boat.
  • SHMOKIN’ JOE Section J111
    Julie Jankowski DN US4271
  • WINDSONG (Section 8) has DNer Andy Camarda on board.
  • MC^2 (Section 01)
    Matthew Kickhafer DN US5602
    Steve Kennedy DN sailor

Independence Day

Photo: Gretchen Dorian

John Dennis sails his Class A Skeeter. Photo: Gretchen Dorian

Have a great July 4th. Only 150 days until ice making!

 

A Boat That Is On Ice In July

La Voie Du Pole
While this craft isn’t exactly our definition of an iceboat, it’s July and it’s content for this website. On June 19, three French sailors began an expedition in a catamaran fitted with skis with the goal of crossing the Arctic Ocean via the North Pole by sail and without motor. This is their third attempt since 2011. Their journey will cover 1,1750 miles (3,000 kilometers) between Alaska and the island of Spitsberger in Norway.  Here’s their latest blog post:

July 1, 2018: Today, we traveled 1 mile! But we, on foot, a good dozen … Between recognition, hoists, and a few big bags to lug (unloaded from the boat to lighten, pass, then reload) to successfully pass blocks from 2 to 8 meters. But we are satisfied with our day. We are passing the critical part, the big coastal chaos, and it is encouraging to say that we can pass in such corners !! It’s magic, a chaos of ice, with a dim light between mist and sun. Then we have a good team, it works well. Tonight, by the ice ax, we cut into the blocks to create a passage for tomorrow, 100m from here, and then the major ridge will be crossed. We do an ant work, but we move north, where we hope to find water and increase our daily progress.

Follow their journey “La Voie du Pole” here.

Hot Day with MARY B

Mary B Stern Steerer Iceboat 3
Iceboating weather can be extreme, but usually on the cold side. The MARY B group met on Friday, June 30 (on a day that the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning) to set up the historic stern-steerer. Their goals were to practice efficiently setting up the boat, to put up the newly cleaned sails, and to assess the boat. Despite the heat, a big group pitched in to make easy work of it. The new sails and the bright chrome made for an impressive sight.

DRIFTER Plans

Copyright Gretchen Dorian C Skeeter Iceboat Drifter
Minnesota ice sailor, Pat Heppert, has put his virtual drafting pencil to paper and produced AutoCAD plans for his C Skeeter build, DRIFTER. Download them here.

It seems like many people have asked me for plans for my current iceboat, which has been kind of partially drawn up for a few years. So I have finally taken the time to fully detail out the entire boat. The goal of this is NOT to profess any sort of iceboating wisdom, just simply to try to get more people interested in building and continue enthusiasm in the sport. It ended up being 29 pages on 11 x 17 paper. The plans and building guide are now posted in a public folder on Google Drive per the link below. You should be able to download the files with the link below; if you have trouble let me know. The plans are in PDF format as well as AutoCAD format. The AutoCAD format can be viewed and printed with a free viewer program downloadable from Autodesk.
Pat Heppert

C Skeeter AutoCAD plans

TBT: Lake City, MN

Lake Pepin IceboatingLake Winnebago stern-steerer sailors Andy Gratton and Mike Kroll might still be on the search for ice so that they can add to their 1000 mile season. Ice is rare this time of year but they did drop in to visit with an iceboater from Lake City, MN.

“Mike Kroll and I were in Rochester and stopped to see Bruce Eggenberger, a long-time stern steerer sailor at Lake City. He had this photo from his uncle who used to ice boat there.

The story is that most of these boats were all stored in the same barn. Some irate wives of the iceboaters burned the barn one night. Silly them, they didn’t realize the boats were keeping their husbands out of the bars. I bet it was Bob’s wife because he didn’t name the boat after her”.

Back of photo

In a related story, a few years ago, Harry Allen sent a link to this Lake Minnetonka Magazine article written about the iceboating scene on Pepin and Minnetonka in the 1890s. The story details a race between the Pepin and Minnetonka stern-steerers with the winning skipper of the race being a 17 year old girl, Nancy Bassett.

Pegel Slide Collection: Frank Trost & TUSCARORA

Frank Trost TUSCARORA III

Frank Trost, along with his neighbor William Perrigo, was another legendary E Skeeter sailor from Pewaukee, WI. Trost and Perrigo captured the 1953 Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant the first time the race was held in the Midwest after Fox Lake’s Eddie Rollberg won it out east in 1952. Trost was part of the winning team that went on to win it another 3 times.
Frank Trost gave one of my favorite descriptive quotes about ice boating to a Russian reporter in 1960:

From “Sailing In the Cold Region“, a Russian magazine article published in 1960:
Frank Trost, Perrigo’s neighbor, describes even poetical a ride on his “Tuscarora”:- Iceboat comes alive, he begins to talk to you. Was I somehow on Lake Delavan. Gusts crosswind reached 80 km / h. I didn’t feel under itself, but the “Tuscarora” didn’t obey. It seemed to fly through the air; only the wind howled in the wires and whistled – people standing on the bank told us that the boat roared like a jet plane – and in my helmet was a rumble that I have not heard the creaking of the runners. After the arrival, from flying in all directions icicles Trost’s face was covered with hundreds of tiny cuts. But the little things it did not disturb. As many iceboat sailors, he doesn’t recognize the face masks. He argues that in order to determine the speed of a good sailor should feel the wind on his face and trap slightest changes, skillfully using them to speed up the movement. It is worth and cause injury to the blood!

read more…

Triple Twins

an experimental iceboat with two masts

An experimental iceboat. Photo from the World Ice & Snow Sailing Association Facebook page.

Iceboating appeals to dreamers. This twin-masted bow steering iceboat comes from the Facebook page of the World Ice & Snow Sailing Association. One of their members in Canada built the boat. This is one of the more unusual twin-mast concept iceboats because the wings are on the plank. Here are two more twin-masted iceboats, one in the from of an oil painting by Harry Whitehorse, and the other from Brian Reed who saw it ten years ago on Orange Lake in New York.

 

 

Pegel Slide Collection: Elmer & Cora Millenbach

Renegade iceboat

Elmer Millenbach rounds the weather mark in RENEGADE I on Geneva Lake. Note the film crew standing bravely at the mark.

Elmer Millenbach was one of the most influential iceboat builders in North America. Hamilton, Ontario ice sailor, Rob Intini, went so far as to stencil “We All Plays Elmer’s Tune” on his Class-A Skeeter boom as a reminder of Elmer’s iceboat innovations. Elmer designed the bow-steering Renegade and along with his wife, Cora Lee, created a successful one-design class. Cora Lee also served for many years on Race Committees and spent hours on the ice handling scoring duties.
Elmer designed the Renegade because the newly created DN Class couldn’t make up their minds on specifications.
From Renegade Reflections, an interview with Elmer Millenbach:

…. We no sooner got comfortably started when the Detroit Ice Yacht Club rescinded the allowable changes and reverted to the originally modified plans. That was it, as far as I was concerned! The three of us were stuck with sails and material for 3 boats, but I just couldn’t bring myself to build to the original plans. I told my two companions in the project that I was going to design my own boat and left it to their choice to do as they chose.
Read the entire article here.

NOTE: There are two steps to view photos at full size.
1.Click on photo, another page will open.
2. Click on the photo again and you will be able to see the full sized version.
Pegel Slide Collection Series Webpage

 

Regatta Dates 2019

Wisconsin Iceboat Hotline
608-204-9876

  • DN Western Challenge
    Dec 1-2, 2018
    iceboating.net
  • DN Western Region Championship
    Jan 5-6, 2019  DN North America
  • International Skeeter Association & Renegade Championship
    Jan 11-13, 2019
  • Northwest Regatta (NIYA)
    January 18-20, 2019
  • DN  European Championship
    January 20-25, 2019
    icesailing.org
  • DN & Ice Opti Junior Worlds
    February 4-8, 2019
    icesailing.org
  • DN Gold Cup & North American Championship
    February 16 – 23, 2019
    DN North America
  • WSSA Stern Steerer Championship
  • Nite Nationals
  • Baikal Ice Sailing Week, Siberia
    March 16 – 23, 2019

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Click for 4LIYC Meeting Dates

2017-2018

  • November 15
  • December 14 THURSDAY Elections, Elect Fleet Captains. Vote on ISA & NIYA Agenda Items
  • December 27
  • January 10 Honor Roll Nominations
  • January 24 Deadline for By-Law or Racing Rules Amendment Submission
  • February 7
  • February 21 Business Meeting
  • March 7
  • March 21

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.

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