Upcoming Events:
Nov 8: SIBC Iceboat Swap Meet. More info
Oct 25th: 4LIYC Picnic Celebrating the Book Release of On Fourth Lake More info

16 Out of 17 Regattas Agree: El Nino Years Aren't That Bad

There’s been a lot of hype in the weather news about an upcoming El Nino that’s supposed to be the strongest ever. More precipitation and warmer temperatures are typically seen in El Nino winters. I wondered what the historical iceboat regatta records tell us about other El Nino years. (I obviously have too much time on my hands.)
I picked five years, 3 strong El Ninos (1958, 1966, 1973) and 2 very strong El Ninos (1983 and 1998). There were 17 major North American regattas scheduled for those years including DN Gold, DN North American, ISA, and Northwest. The results were suprising. Only one regatta out of 17 was not sailed during those years, the 1983 ISA.
So here comes another El Nino year. Here's what we can promise: There will be sailable ice somewhere at some time during the season. We can say that with confidence every year. (The late comedian Chris Farley, born and raised in Madison, had this to say about El Nino.)

Iceboating in Advertising: Discriminate

New York socialite, Mr. J. Bond Rogers, wants you to prefer Tareytons. This is the iceboat in advertising ad that first started my collection. I always been curious about what connection Mr. Rogers had to iceboating. At first, I thought he could have been the son of Archibald Rogers, neighbor of Franklin Roosevelt and 5 time winner of the Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant but that turned out not to be the case.
He was the heir to the Waitt and Bond of Massachusetts cigar fortune and yes, a socialite who was “a popular escort of debutantes and actresses such as Barbara Hutton and Jane Meadows. He was often photographed in the company of beautiful women. John served in the in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II (1941-1945) as a C-46 pilot in the Air Transport Command. He completed 23 missions flying over “The Hump”, a dangerous, and for a good part of the war, top secret route from Burma to China. He and his squadron transported cargo over the Himalaya Mountains, with elevations as high as 20,000, causing dangerous air currents. They flew with poor visibility and few navigational tools by following deep gorges cut by the Salween, Mekong, and Yangtze Rivers. John and his fellow pilots earned the respect of their contemporaries and he received the Presidential Citation for his participation in that campaign.”
I can find no evidence of him owning or sailing an iceboat. It seems that he represented the kind of discriminating guy that the advertising agency thought would well represent their client’s product.

Going Green

Here's "Another Green Boat" from the Yaeso Suamico Attic Skeeter Factory. Nice to see a fresh coat of paint on the winning boat of last season's International Skeeter Association Regatta. It's time to get ready for the season.

Iceboats in Advertising: Men of Action

Another classic ad, this time from Playboy Magazine and shot on Geneva Lake where there was a Playboy Club just a few miles from Fontana. The models are sitting on Lou Lonnecke's Skeeter, Slave Ship. Lou won the 1970 Northwest A Skeeter title in the boat which was built by one of the best Skeeter builders of the time, Bill Boehmke for Bob Cave Sr. Lou's father bought the boat from Bob Cave Sr. That's Bob Mereness and Jim Smith in the background. Lou figured that they used his boat because the white deck was visually appealing for the photo. Lou never had a chance to meet the models that day because he was at work. Slave Ship was sold and eventually the hull succumbed to the ravages of old Weldwood glue.
UPDATE: Steve Schalk provides some more background: "The boat in the background belonged to Bob Mereness. It is also a Boehmke skeeter. It is one of the round hull boats he built in the late 50’s. I think there were 4 of them. I know of three still in existence, including the boat in the ad that Bob sold to someone in Fontana. The boat is still owned by him in complete ready to sail condition."

Getting a Sailor Back on the Water

UPDATE: Here's Hero In Heronemus Part 2 released this week.
DNer and Skeeter sailor Steve Orlebeke has been involved with in inspiring and interesting project to get Steve Heronemus, a sailor with ALS, back into a sailboat. "As many of you know, Steve has had ALS for over 10 years. Prior to contracting ALS, Steve sailed with his father Richard Heronemus who was a very active member of the Sheboygan Yacht Club. He is an accomplished sailor. Despite his disease he continues follow sail boat racing worldwide. It is his passion, which makes this particular journey quite meaningful. As Steve's ALS has progressed, Steve may have lost nearly all of the ability to use his arms and legs, but certainly not his will to sail. He has a slight use of his middle left finger and has enough shoulder movement in his right shoulder to activate switches to steer the boat. He also has the use of his jaw, which will enable him to activate bite switches to trim and ease his sails. Both the steerage and trim systems were inspired by Steve Heronemus, and collaboratively developed by Steve Orlebeke at Harken and Nick/Rich/Matt at Windway. " Watch the video here.

Menekaunee Ice Sailors

Fall is when iceboaters start getting together to prepare for the season. Mike Kroll emails, "I'm sending you a couple of photos of Menekaunee Ice Boat meeting. We sailed on the Debutant from Menominee to Fish Creek on 09/25/2015. A beautiful foggy morning and a beautiful sunny afternoon."

Iceboats in Advertising: Get a Lift From Camels

This is my personal favorite iceboat ad of all time, Oshkosh, WI Stern-Steerer champion, John Buckstaff's Camel advertisement from about 1936. Be sure to click on the photo to see the detailed illustration and ad copy.

4LIYC Meeting News: New Location!

We have a new meeting place! Please join us at Angelo's Italian Restaurant (downstairs again) for the first meeting of the season on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at 6:30 PM. Angelo's is located on Monona Drive, just minutes from the Beltline. The entire list of meeting dates is on the right hand column of this webpage. A postcard Notice of Dues will be mailed soon with meeting dates as well.

October 25th: 4LIYC Picnic and Book Release Party

4LIYC Fall Picnic & On Fourth Lake Book Release
When: Sunday, October 25, 2015
Time: Noon until 3 PM
Location: On Fourth Lake! Maple Bluff Beach House at Beach Park
Lakewood Blvd.
Maple Bluff, WI
Link to Map
Please bring a dish to pass. Peter Lundt will prepare and bring a ham, a tradition begun by the late Jim Payton over 25 years ago. Commodore Ken Norton will be grilling up burgers.
4LIYC members and friends, mark your calenders for the annual fall picnic for October 25th. In addition to talking iceboats, we will be celebrating the release of Don Sanford's book, On Fourth Lake. It will a great chance to get your hands on the book and purchase one if you like. Get your Christmas shopping done early at the 4LIYC annual picnic. The Packers have a bye that day so please join us for this season opener.

Iceboats in Advertising: The Cars

An 1957 Oldsmobile Rocket 88, a 1970 Plymouth Duster, and a Saab from the 1960s associating the cool sport of iceboating with their cars. Thanks to Maine iceboater Bill Buckholz for the Saab ad. Bill writes, "Not nearly as graphically dramatic as the Ballantine Ale or the Quaker State, but notice how the reflection on the roof of the car indicates the iceboat class." But take a close look at that Saab ad. The laughing couple in the Saab appear to be racing close with the DNs. That would be dramatic, even traumatic, for the iceboat sailors!

Runner Tracks Magazine

Another sign that the iceboating season is kicking off, here's the September issue of Runner Tracks, the International DN Ice Yacht Racing Association's online newsletter. Click here.to read it and see the latest DN Ranking list.

SIBC Swap Meet Announced

Date: Sunday, November 8, 2015
Time: 9 AM until Noon
Location: Lucke's Cantina
220 N. Elkhorn Rd.
(WI Hwy 67), Williams Bay, WI.
Link to map.
For more info, email sailing19@charter.net
Download flyer in pdf.

This is the day to swap, buy, and sell new and used iceboats and equipment.
There is no charge for participating.
Boat builders & hardware manufacturers will display new products.
Breakfast and/or lunch will be available at Lucke's.
Display area:
Items for sale can be set up on the black top parking area at Lucke's.
Please do not park your cars in the display area.
Please do not park or set up your displays adjacent to neighboring businesses. A short distance to the north there is a municipal parking lot located at the intersection of Elkhorn Rd. and Stark St. (on the north side of Stark St., opposite Burrough's Floor Coverings).

Iceboats in Advertising: Canadian Club and Quaker State

Another pair of vintage ads from the golden age of illustration. Click on the CC ad for some great story telling copy.

On The Fourth Lake

Madison's local newspaper, the Isthmus, interviews Don Sanford about his soon to be published book about Lake Mendota. Read it here. Great to see that the designer selected a photo of the late Jim Payton and his stern steerer as the cover.

  • Photos: Jori Lenon
Nordhaus Boatwerks Mead Restore: Meet the Cheese Slicer

It was glue night at the Nordhaus Boatwerks on Tuesday when they put a deck on an old Mead two-seater Skeeter that Geoff Sobering and Dean Lima picked up 20 years ago in the area. Jim says they've removed 25 lbs. of excess wood and 2 lbs. of fasteners from the boat. (Yes, he weighed it all.) The new name was inspired by some unusual rigging that was on the boat in its former life. The boat will receive a coat of yellow paint to go with the new name. Interestingly the name of the paint picked out from the auto parts store is "Mac and Cheese".

News from the National Iceboat Authority

Via the National Iceboat Authority Board of Directors:
The Board of Directors of the National Iceboat Authority is pleased to announce that two well qualified iceboaters were invited to fill the positions previously held by Jack Ripp, who chose to retire, and by Bob Pegel. Dan Clapp and Jay Yaeso have accepted the positions. They join Tim McCormick, Jane Pegel, Tom Nichols, Ron Sherry, and Paul Goodwin.
The seven members represent the full geographic spread of the U.S.A. iceboating community as well as decades of experience as racers and builders of iceboats. Each has an impressive list of racing accomplishments.
In response to a request from the DN Class, the National Iceboat Authority Board of Directors is preparing a new section of the racing rules that will establish a new optional race course diagram and the sailing rules that will apply to races held on the new course. The conventional course diagram and sailing rules that have governed iceboat racing since 1963, will remain as a section of the rules. Race organizers will be able to choose which course diagram they prefer, along with the rules that relate to that course.

Iceboating in Advertising: Jangled Nerves Edition

I've collected many vintage ads over the years featuring iceboating and will start sharing them weekly as a prelude to the 2015-2016 season. Here are the first two that I grabbed out of the box and they both come out of New Jersey. One is a beautiful illustration for Ballentine's Ale (year unknown) featuring a stern steerer. Ballentine's was a New Jersey brewer and is now owned by Pabst. The second is a lesser known Camel ad from 1935 featuring Lake Hopatcong Ice Yacht Club Commodore George Seger who reports that "iceboat sailors find that Camels never jangle the nerves."

Photo from Instagram "basvanschaik"

Icesailing as "Legal Doping"?

Via Gull Lake Ice Yacht Club Peter Sarelis' Facebook page, an article about cryotherapy, exposing the body to extremely cold temperatures, which is alleged to improve sports performance and recovery.

Tim Woodhouse and Ain Vild

Tim Woodhouse

UPDATE: Link to obituary.
The iceboating community sends our condolences to the family of Tim Woodhouse who passed away Monday, August 31 after a long illness. He was highly regarded and had an impressive regatta record. Tim won the DN Worlds in 1974 in Zergrze, Poland, was third in 1975 in Saginaw, Michigan, and 4th in 1981 in Hamilton Bay, Ontario. He won the DN North American championship in 1970 on Lake St. Clair in Michigan, 1973 in Sodus Bay, New York, 1974 in Hamilton Harbor, Canada, and placed 3rd in 1977. He was the highest scoring junior in the DN North Americans in 1969, 1970, and 1971.
Jane Pegel remembers, "Tim owned Hood Sail makers This is an international sail making firm. He bought the company several years ago. Tim was only 16 years of age when he won the DN North Americans in 1970 and went on to win more championships.
Tim was a big help when we were writing the DN sail measuring procedure (about three years ago) and he felt strongly that it was important for the DN sail to remain a dacron cross-cut sail so to keep it economical to build. "
UPDATE: Ron Sherry remembers Tim, " Tim was one of the most competitive people ever born. He graduated from Grosse Pointe South High School in 1971 where he held swim team records forever. Tim won the DN Iceboat North American Championships for the first time in 1970 on Lake St. Clair at the age of 16. He challenged my son Griffin to do the same." Continue reading.

"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.

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.

Previous posts from the 2015-2016 season here.