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.

Next 4LIYC meeting: November 2018

The Summer Slide Series: Bob & Jane Pegel Collection

Jane Wiswell Pegel of the Skeeter Ice Boat Club with trophies.

Several months ago, an envelope arrived in the mail with 177 slides. I finally got around to converting them and am pleased to announce that iceboat.org’s off-season series will feature the Pegel family iceboating slides. I’ll try to post a few each week with commentary and context from Jane and Susie as their schedule permits.
I don’t have any information from them yet on these photos, but will update if it comes. Before she was a DN sailor, Jane sailed a Skeeter, CALAMITY JANE.  In the above photo, Jane holds a plaque that appears to read “Women’s Skeeter Champion.” ISA regatta records indicate that Jane won the Women’s Championship in 1955, 1956, and 1957.
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.


TRUDLE II: Story Behind a Photo

Lake Winnebago Stern-Steerer sailor, Dave Lallier, posted this eye catching photo on the 4LIYC Facebook page this morning.
A little research indicates that TRUDLE II was owned by Ernst von Lengerke of New Jersey who served as Commodore of the Musconetcong Ice Yacht Club. He received credit in Frederic Gardiner’s book, “Wings on Ice”, as an invaluable source of information about the sport. The boat is also mentioned in a 1940 New Jersey Register article about a successful iceboat regatta held at Red Banks. If you want to dig deeper, one of the Google search results led me back to this website in the form of an article written in 1947 by Ray Ruge that references TRUDLE III.
UPDATE April 18, 2018: Nels Lybeck posts the following on Facebook: “The Trudle III is currently in the care and hands of myself and Doug MacFarland (ex DN US 2500) here in Red Bank and has been restored with a new sail to fit her Duralum (before aluminum) Marconi rig. We received it from Ernst Von Lengerke’s daughter before she died a few years ago.”

Winter V2.0

Bill Bucholz shared this video on the Chickawaukee, Maine Iceboat Club website. The ice sailing season appears to be holding on in  Lac St. Francois, in Lambton, Quebec where they sailed on Sunday, April 15. The weekend snow storm makes the world feel upside down – as if it’s December and we are waiting for first sailing reports. Here in Madison this morning, there’s 4″ of snow on the ground, it’s 24 F, and it’s snowing. Mike Madge reports 4′ of ice in Thunder Bay, Ontario. There could be some more ice sailing to come.

Regatta Watch: ISA Postponed…Until Dec 2018

No fooling!

The International Skeeter Association Championship has been postponed. Gladstone, Michigan, the potential site, received 10″ of snow on Saturday. No sailable conditions exist for the regatta at this time. Check back in November 2018 for the next update. The hope is that the regatta can be sailed in December in Minnesota.

Waiting for December

Final Friday?

The Menekaunee sailors had some ice time under blue skies yesterday, Friday, March 30.  Winter’s not done yet though, a snow storm is rolling through the area today.
Tip of the Helmet: Rob McKesson

From The Beginning

Facebook share from Eduard Zilinskiy

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

Regatta Dates 2019

Wisconsin Iceboat Hotline

  • DN Western Challenge
    Dec 1-2, 2018
  • 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
  • DN & Ice Opti Junior Worlds
    February 4-8, 2019
  • 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


  • 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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