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.

February 21:  4LIYC Meeting at Angelo’s Italian Restaurant, Monona 6:30 PM
4LIYC racing for Feb 17-18 Racing canceled because of snow. Next update Feb 23
4LIYC Awards Banquet: Save the Date for April 21, 2018 @ Springer’s
Regatta Watch:

  • Northwest postponed. Next update Feb 25
  • ISA & Renegade Championship postponed. Next update Feb 25

Regatta Watch: NIYA & ISA Postponed

Photo: Gretchen Dorian

UPDATE:ISA postponed as well. Next ISA update is February 25, 2018.

Via NIYA Regatta Chair Tim McCormick:

The Northwest Regatta is postponed until March 2-4. We have a number of potential sites which are close to racing conditions. Madison lakes have smoothed out nicely but they have shell ice; ¾” ice above 1-3” of liquid. Geneva has drain holes with skimmed ice over them. Green Lake is similar to Madison plus it has some hard 4” snow drifts. Lake Winnebago and Green Bay are getting smoother but are still too rough for a regatta. Next update is Sunday, February 25th at 7pm CST.

ISA & NIYA: Nines!

Via Tim McCormick


The racing format for the NIYA, ISA, and Renegade regattas has changed from five races to nine races.  Three races are scheduled for each day (Friday through Sunday) and races may be made up if missed on prior days.  For example, if only one race is completed on Friday, then we may sail up to 5 races on Saturday.  Here’s hoping for smooth ice, fair winds, and lots of good racing soon!

Kenny Krieder in POON, a classic rear seat Class A Skeeter

State of the Four Lakes

After about an inch of rain the past 24 hours, Lake Monona is back to looking like a lake, but with mysterious floating buildings on top. I made this image while standing in about ankle deep water this morning in a light drizzle, and the light was super dynamic and ever changing shortly after the rain ended. About a 30 minute window was all we got with the best light and cloud drama for this city / skyscape. What a perfect morning 👌😁 . . . . . #simplyadventure #optoutside #getoutstayout #travelawesome #roamtheplanet #theglobewanderer #welivetoexplore #discoverearth #nakedplanet #liveoutdoors #stayandwander #theoutbound #keepitwild #destinationearth #awesomeglobe #adventurethatislife #fantastic_earth #awesome_earthpix #awesomepix #earthfocus #discoverglobe #earthofficial #planetdiscovery #exploringtheglobe #modernoutdoors #artofvisuals #sonyalpha #visualoflife #vscocam #exploretocreate

A post shared by Christopher (@christophermanzeck) on

The snow has completely melted from our lakes. The ice will be checked tomorrow here along with other locations with the hopes of having a regatta on Friday through Sunday.


Regatta Watch: ISA Tentatively Called ON for Feb 23-24

Photo: Craig Wilson

Via ISA Regatta Chair, Jay Yaeso:

The International Skeeter Association Regatta is tentatively called ON for February 23-25, 2018. The Northwest has precedence. Currently, conditions do not exist. A weather system early in the week could present an opportunity for an event. The Northwest is also called on and takes precedence over the ISA. Final confirmation will be noon, Wednesday, February 21.

Regatta Watch: NIYA Tentatively Called ON for Feb 23-25

2008 Northwest    Photo: Geoff Sobering

Via NIYA Regatta Chair Tim McCormick:

The Northwest Regatta is tentatively called ON for February 23-25, 2018. We don’t currently have racing conditions, but we have a major weather system moving through the area early this week bringing warm temperatures and rain followed by colder temperatures Tuesday night. We’ll inspect ice conditions Wednesday morning and make the final call by Noon CST, Wednesday February 21st. Potential regatta sites include Madison, Green Lake, and Fond du Lac.

4LIYC Racing Update: No Go for Feb 17-18

Not happening.                                                                                     Photo David Travis

There will be no Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club racing for the weekend of February 17-18, 2018. Commodore Don Anderson took a look at Mendota and reported “too rough and slush pits.” Vice Commodore Tim McCormick swung by Monona and reported it to be unsailable as well. Next update Friday, February 23.


Palmer Boat Company of Lake Geneva


Photo of a Palmer iceboat,  LINGWES,  from Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club website. PS. This boat is still for sale. Contact Bill Bucholz.

Waiting for ice sailing conditions to return gives more time to post the historical items. The invaluable Brian Reid of New York recently shared some history in the form of a letter from the Palmer Boat Company written in 1936 to a New Jersey iceboater. Brian wrote:

I was going through some images on a snow day here and came upon a few things from out your way. These come from a scrapbook that Greg Strand recently acquired on behalf of the North Shrewsbury Iceboat & Yacht Club of New Jersey; Greg is archivist/historian of the Red Bank crew.The scrap book belonged to George Seger – an active NJ ice boater in the 30s and 40s – he’s in Wings on the Ice (p. 59). Greg called me and I took digital images of as much as I could. Great stuff.

As you see in their elegant letter head, the Palmer Boat Company of Fontana, Wisconsin was an early builder of scows and iceboats. Many vintage Palmers have come across the Buy and Sell page of this website over the years. A quick internet search about Palmer boats turned up some interesting facts.  Buddy Melges’ father, Harry Sr., worked for Palmer before starting Melges Boatworks. Maine iceboater Bill Bucholz wrote a story about a Palmer, LINGWES, for the Chickawaukee Iceboat Club that referenced the same Richard Moeller as in this letter to Mr. Seger. Thank you, Brian, for sending this out our way.
Previous: Palmer on the Prairie,, December 2, 2016 on iceboat.org.

If you interested in the early history of ice sailing in the United States and efforts to maintain and sail historic Stern Steerers, Brian’s website, White Wings and Black Ice is a must read.


1950s Lake Monona Ice Sailing Photos

Two legends, Bill Perrigo IOU and Elmer Millenbach RENEGADE III

Our club had an unexpected visitor at last week’s meeting who brought us some classic photos. Long time Madisonian Dick Brandt shot these on Lake Monona back in the 1950s. Many thanks to Dick and to Peter Fauerbach for taking the time to scan these important historic photographs. My guess is that many of these were from the 1952 Northwest Regatta which was sailed on Lake Monona.
UPDATE: Skeeter Iceboat Club’s Jane Pegel has helpfully identified some of the boats. The skipper sitting in the MICKEY FINN Skeeter is in question. Jane writes,  “I think Mickey Finn may be Buddy because his sail number is I-180 (Harry C. Melges, Jr.) but perhaps his father was sailing the regatta in Mickey Finn.”

Click here to view more photos

The Two Mr. M’s

From left to right is Ivar Steffner, Gustav Lindén, Wilhelm Alness, Axel Steffner, Oskar Svensson, Rasmus Söderman.

From Ron Rosten, just returned from the Junior World Championship:

Parallel Universe. The gentleman standing behind Team Sweden is Uppsala’s Kjell Mattsson. Every DN in Uppsala, Sweden has been built, repaired, or upgraded in Mr. Mattsson’s shop. Does this sound familiar to anyone in Madison with an almost identical last name?

Regatta Dates 2018

Wisconsin Iceboat Hotline

  • Northwest Postponed
  • ISA & Renegade Championship
  • Nite Nationals Called On Feb 3-4
  • DN Worlds & Europeans
    February 25-March 3, 2018
  • DN & Ice Opti Junior Worlds
    February 5-8, 2018
  • WSSA Sailed
  • DN Western Regional
  • DN North Americans
  • Baikal Ice Sailing Week, Siberia
    March 31-April 7, 2018


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Click for 4LIYC Meeting Dates


  • 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.



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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