Early Skeeter Video

In his search to learn more about a Ray Ruge built Skeeter he is restoring, Maine iceboater Bill Buchholz has inadvertently discovered some historic 16mm film in the archives of the Cohasset, MA Historical Society Francis Hagerty collection. The footage centers around the Fox Lake, Illinois Skeeters of the early 1940s. It's possible that the films are from the 1941 and 1942 International Skeeter Association regattas. Considering the ISA was first sailed in 1940, these are very early films that show the early development of the Skeeter class. Some things to look for in the video below:

  • The winners of the 1941 and 1942 ISA regattas from Fox Lake, Harry Salmon and JD Graff (the first JD!)
  • The A class stern steerer, Ferdinand the Bull, then owned and sailed by C.S. Jacobs of Detroit, MI
  • A really cool ice car that would make a fine RC vehicle.
  • Some very early DNs
  • Ted Mead, designer and builder of the famous Mead iceboats, many of which are on the ice today.
  • ISA trophies (with kittens!?)

TBT: Chain Reaction

Hard to believe it's been almost 20 years since Chain Reaction, an action film starring Keanu Reeves and Morgan Freeman, was released. The movie is notable to iceboaters for some of the winter background scenes filmed on Geneva Lake in Williams Bay, WI. The full movie is on You Tube and I've grabbed some screen shots. Steve Schalk provides some background: "The blue Skeeter in the first two shots is a Bill Boehmke single seat boat owned by Joel Bikowski, who bought it from Bob Mereness. It was one of four round hull boats built around 1959. Sparky Lundberg (109) is in front Captain Carl Bergersen sailing the Skeeter he bought from Fritz Button (228) in several of the shots.That is the first Bob Pegel design B Skeeter Sparky that built. The filming was done during the 1995-1996 season. The white boat is an old Skeeter maybe a Kummerline or a Palmer. I remember being out on a Wednesday setting a windward mark with the ATV and wondering if our races would mess with the shots they were taking. Watching the helicopter with the camera fly sideways ahead of the chase helicopter was much more impressive than what you see in the movie." Also interesting to note that some of the scenes were shot in the Wisconsin capitol building here in Madison.

Starring Green Lake

"Discover Wisconsin" showcases Wisconsin tourism and their latest episode features one of iceboating's great destinations, Green Lake. The sailing footage is in the fourth segment. See it here.

TBT: The Strange Tale of the Ice Soar

It's been well over ten years since 4LIYC Renegader Greg Whitehorse wrote the world's best iceboating ghost story. The Strange Tale of the Ice Soar originally appeared in the 4LIYC newsletter, the Blade Runner, which Greg wrote pretty much by himself. "Buy a friend a cold dipper and I'll tell you the tale of the 'Ice Soar'."....

Ice Boating Barnegat Bay

Posted by Peter Slack on Tuesday, January 6, 2009

TBT: Iceboating the Rock Video-JET & Barnagat Bay

The Russian music video, posted below, brought to mind another music video from JET, an Austrialian band that were together from 2001 - 2011. Back when I originally posted the video, Henry Bossett emailed to let us know that the video's producer, Peter Slack, is part of a local E-Scow family from Barnegat Bay.

Iceboating: The Musical

Bill Buchholz posted this wonderful video out of Russia on the Chickawaukee Ice Boat Club site and it's a must-share. Gull Lake IYC's Pete Sarelis did a little investigating and figured out the song is "One Way Ticket to the Blues" originally performed by Neil Sedaka. (Neil's version here, but sadly, no iceboats.)

TBT: The Mary B and Pink Pink

In last week's TBT photo posted below, we see young Spike Boston holding a trophy with the rest of the NIYA regatta winners. Spike had a mini-Skeeter, Pink Pink, built by his father, Howard Boston of Mt. Clemens, MI. 4LIYC's Carl Bernard is also in the photo holding the trophies he won sailing O.T. Havey's Class A stern steerer, the Mary B
This week's TBT features two photos, one of the Boston mini Skeeter, Pink Pink, sitting next to the Mary B at an early 1950s regatta in Michigan; and another photo taken at that same regatta with Carl Bernard, O.T. Havey, and the namesake of the Mary B, Mrs. Mary B. Havey, enjoying a ride on the boat.

New Ice Optimist Secretary & Website Pages

The Ice Optimist (iceboating for kids) section of this website has been updated. In other Ice Optimist news, Ron Rosten has stepped forward to volunteer to head up the North American Ice Optimist program. Ron also serves as Secretary of the International Renegade Association and is an active Renegade class sailor with the 4LIYC.

TBT: 1952 Northwest Regatta

Another favorite vintage photo from the archives with Carl Bernard's handwriting carefully noting each trophy winner. The Northwest was sailed on Lake Monona that year, with the launch site being practically under the shadow of Wisconsin's state capitol building. Here are a couple of newspaper articles with more names and information from the Wisconsin State Journal and the Capital Times. Times change and newspapers no longer provide the extensive coverage they once used to for this sport leaving it up to us to write the stories.

Website Update

The refit of iceboat.org continues. The main pages of Northwest, ISA, and WSSA are now reformatted and mobile/tablet friendly. Have a look:
Northwest Ice Yacht Association
International Skeeter Association
Wisconsin Stern Steerers Association

The Essence of Iceboat Racing Captured in 29 Minutes

This video was worth the six month wait and worth your time. Thank you, Rejean Lemay of Kingston, Ontario. He shares his thoughts about spending three days on the ice with us at the DN Worlds:
"The DN ice boaters are nomads chasing the elusive perfect ice and wind conditions for their craft. They will travel long distances at a moment’s notice to meet venues that are dictated by sometime ephemeral ice and weather conditions to practice and compete in their winter sports....Over the past months, I compiled and edited the material to produce this video which I trust will rekindle the vibes and spirit of the Kingston DN championship in those who participated and volunteered as well as to contributing to making the sport known to a larger audience. In passing I also wanted to highlight Kingston as an attractive and welcoming venue for such events.
As an amateur videographer with limited technical means, I certainly was not fully prepared for snapping pictures and taping videos in the whipping wind and bitter cold offered by the vast expense of frozen Lake Ontario. I certainly did not expect the long waits in between races that were taken in stride by the participants which were the prelude to quick bursts of racing activities that left me little time and opportunities to collect video footage of quality. Video tracking of specific often distanced and fast moving ice boats with extended camera zoom was problematic as my weighed tripods and I could not always hold still in the wind sweeping the large expense of frozen water. So, I apologize for some of the shaking in the video that could not be corrected in post-production.
My extremities got cold from standing in the open and my fingers painfully frozen from operating the cameras bare hand even for short periods. I believe my metabolism slowed down from exposure, which was a good thing considering the number of hours I spent quite a distance off shore. Nonetheless, I was warmed by the convivial atmosphere enveloping the on-ice event. My experience was probably akin to that experienced by the race officials and volunteers who were instrumental in making the Kingston regatta not only possible but also the success it was.
The Video was Produced in HD - For best viewing, select 1080pHD and Full Screen modes from your player’s settings. Put on your headphones and enjoy."

Jane Pegel Receives Award

Jane Pegel was given a Leadership in Education Award by the American Assoc. of University Women, Geneva Lake Branch. Jane’s accomplishments in sailing and sailing education made her a worthy honoree.

Matt at the 2009 DN Worlds. Photo by John Russell.

Matt Struble Wins
"Closest Thing to Iceboating on Softwater" Championship

Congratulations to DN skipper Matt Struble for winning the A Cat North American Championship this week in Florida. Read more about it here.

Watch this interview with former DNer Ben Hall who talks about the similarities between the A Cats and DNs. Jane Pegel relayed the following about him: "Ben was an engineer at Kenyon, designed the Kenyon aluminum DN masts. Ben left Kenyon to join his brother at Hall Spars. Hall Spars built the wing masts for the America’s Cup winner. The designer of the masts races a Laser in the masters regattas, several times world Laser champion in his division. When they were first sail testing the wing mast it was over Thanksgiving in San Diego. Susie received a Christmas e-card photo of the the guy sighting up the mast during the test sails. Jeff Kent used to work for Hall. I assume you know that Henry Bossett with Jeff Kent crewing would have represented the USA in the Tornado class in the 1980 Olympics in Estonia if Jimmy Carter had not boycotted the Olympics.

TBT: 1934 Stuart

In the course of updating this website, I'm coming across so many great photos. Here's a favorite from the 1934 Stuart Cup which was sailed on Lake Winnebago. Sitting on the Debutante, from left, Carl Bernard, Camp Van Dyke, John Buckstaff, and Andy Flom.

Tom Lothian

Former Skeeter Ice Boat Club treasurer Tom Lothian of Williams Bay, Wisconsin has died at the age of 86. Mr. Lothian was also a former commodore of the Lake Geneva Yacht Club. He is survived by sons Tom and Jack and their children. There will be a visitation on Friday May 22nd at Toynton's in Walworth from 3-8pm. There will also be a short visitation on Saturday from 10-11 at the UCC church in Williams Bay followed by a memorial service. Here's a tribute to his uncle from John Lothian.

"Iceboating Rules the Lakes"

Wonderful article about the history of Detroit's iceboating scene. Read it here.

What did I just get myself into? Oh, I mean, welcome to the latest version of iceboat.org! This newly designed site has features that will make your browsing experience better on mobile phones and tablets.


The home page has all of the same information as the previous version but in a leaner and cleaner version. The page design is two columns rather than three. Starting from the top of the page in the right column, you will find:

  • Regatta Dates: Just click on the header and all will be revealed.
  • National Iceboat Authority information.
  • Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club By Laws, Racing Rules, Meeting Dates, and an archive of club race results.
  • A complete list of iceboat clubs and facebook pages.
  • The website visitor counter which is almost at TWO MILLION!
  • A list of webcams so that you might catch a glimpse of some sailing.
  • Information about Lake Access Permits for Dane County.
  • Link to the merchandise page.
  • The Google search box.

Please email to me if there's a favorite page or link that's gone missing. All of the main pages are redesigned and I'll be updating the rest of the site during the summer.

New Runner Tracks Posted

Runner Tracks, the DN class publication, is now posted.
Great story about the Worlds and lots of great photos.
Take a look.

The Song Remains the Same

"In my opinion, there is nothing on an iceboat more important than perfect runner alignment." Jane Pegel shares this 1964 Lakeland Boating magazine article about the designer of the Renegade, Elmer Millenbach. Read it here.

Too Weird Not To Share
What do you do when waiting for the wind? In Latvia, this is what they do!
Tip Of The Helmet: Jerry Simon R113

Future WSSA Commodore Calls Meeting To Order

WSSA Secretary Andy Gratton introduced his first grandchild to iceboating at the Fond du Lac IYC picnic. "The newest member of the Fond du Lac Ice Yacht Club, my 4 week old grandson, Charlie. I think he is keeping the ice chips out of his face."

Harken Lunch Club

Directly lifted from the Harken Facebook page:
"A reunion for the ages was held at Harken headquarters on Friday! Joining Peter and Olaf for lunch and their first tour of the new plant were: (Left to right)

  • Buddy Melges, sailing legend.
  • Charlie Miller: Former head of North Sails Midwest.
  • Bill Mattison, Ice boating legend.
  • Bob Gilson of Gilson Medical - where Peter Harken was first inspired to use plastic ball bearings in blocks for his ice boat!

The day was surely filled with more than a few good stories!"

Previous posts from the 2014-2015 season here.