Everyone starts in this sport somewhere! This creative attempt at an iceboat brought back memories for ice sailors on the 4LIYC Facebook page. See their comments below.
Back in the 1940s and 50s, kids in Madison used to raid housing construction sites for wood to build their versions of what this represents. Hope they enjoyed the ride, caught the bug, and upgrade to better one for next season.
When I was 12 years old I got the plans for an iceboat out of Popular Mechanics and built it. I took it down to the lake and sailed it across—it sailed pretty good but I had to walk it back—-after about three times I took the boat home and dismantled it—what a dumb sport—-I didn’t know about tacking then !!!!!
Richard Lichtfeld, MISS MADISON stern steerer owner
My first boat was a psuedo-Madison-style stern steerer with a tobacco pole mast and largely rotten cotton canvas sails. Still, it went, and I’d (almost) always end the day smiling and smudged with the oxide of the red barn paint with which she was finished. One major quirk: you had to sail her with an appropriately sized wrench on a lanyard around your neck, as the bolt securing the tiller to the steering runner post would always loosen up underway.
Mark Langenfeld, 4LIYC sailor
Too bad I never got a picture of my 1976, ice boat built at age 12. Runners were free hand ground from ice skates bought for 25 cents at the second hand store. mounting plates welded on at local Shell Station. Half a blown out Snipe sail. Stair banister for a mast with cotton close line rope for stays. Half a broken lawn chair for a seat. 3 or4 cheap cast pulleys, nothing like a harken. Bow Steering was from an FAO Schwartz sail car, the aluminum mast on that rig snapped while luffing at the end of the drive way the day the Edmund Fitzgerald went down. I had to regrind the runners twice, until I got the right kind of angle. The boat was Oak 1×6’s. They were stacked and nailed together in varying layers to give the right strength and flex at different parts of the boat. Three different lengths for the runner plank bend, thickest in the middle. Loose footed, no boom. It sailed pretty good, once the runner edges no longer looked like steak knives. My brother did figure out the method to screw the runners to the plank in an amazingly well aligned manner.
I rigged a bicycle with screws through the tires and geared it for speed. I could get from home to Norton’s, where naturally all ice boats were parked in those days, in a few minutes. We were blessed with a long ice boating season that winter. I always had a need for wind powered speed.
Drew Zeratsky, Green Lake Ice Yacht Club