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.

Upcoming:
December 27:  4LIYC Meeting at Angelo’s Italian Restaurant, Monona 6:30 PM
January 6-7: DN Western Regional regatta

Sights at Skeeter Iceboat Club Swap Meet

The rain stayed away for the Skeeter Iceboat Club’s annual swap meet. The swap meet always provides the perfect venue to catch up with old friends and meet new people who are interested in ice sailing. We hope to see all of you out on the ice this season! Thank you Jane and Suzie Pegel for organizing the swap meet and handling the traditional raffle.

Skeeter Looking For Ice

The first 4LIYC Skeeter sail of the season was hoisted up the mast on Halloween. Jim Gluek looked over the sails on Ken Whitehorse’s Class A Skeeter WARRIOR.

Ghost in the Machine: The Strange Tale of the Ice Soar


Today is Halloween which brings to mind iceboating’s favorite (and only) ghost story, “The Strange Tale of the Ice Soar“, by Greg Whitehorse. Make it part of your Halloween tradition!

Outside the windows of the South Side Ice Yacht Club, the Skeeters, Renegades and Nites were effortlessly gliding over the dark gray ice sheet. Suddenly, sailing into view came a chilling blast from the past. A huge stern-steerer, its yellow stained, canvas sails straining against the twenty mile per hour wind. Behind its sheer size, the Skeeters, Renegades and Nites disappeared for seconds at a time before appearing again on the other side.
Two, no three burly men steered and cranked and pulled, trying to tame the unruly beast. Moving in a southerly direction, its left (port? starboard?) runner gently lifts off the ice, a few feet at first, and then quickly shoots skyward. The runner plank is at an impossible angle to the ice. Surely the beast is going to capsize, but no, the three burly men continue to steer and crank and pull and the ice yacht slowly regains a more proper stance on the frozen surface. A slight change in direction to take advantage of a felt, but unseen wind shift, and the beast sailed away from view.

Continue reading.

Madison Nites – Mark November 9th!


Via the International Nite Iceboat Association Secretary, John Hayashi:

Hey, Four Lakes Nite sailors we want you!
On Thursday November 9th we are meeting out at Springer’s for a night of Nites. Starting at 7pm we are going to do some dinner and drinks and discuss getting ready for the 2017-18 season. If you have a Nite come join us, if you had a Nite come join as well, if you are looking for one come as well. This is a great opportunity to get questions answered about your boat tuning, where to race this winter, and any questions you might have. If you are a 4LIYC member you are welcome as well. For RSVP and more info contact Jthayashi@aol.com

What: A Night of Nites. Learn more about boat set up and meet other area Nite sailors.
Where: Springer’s on Lake Kegonsa
3097 Sunnyside St, Stoughton, WI 53589
When: Thursday, November 9, 2017
Time: 7PM
RSVP/Information: Jthayashi@aol.com

2017-18 Winter Forecast: There Will Be Iceboating Somewhere


For almost 20 years, we’ve been linking to winter weather predictions at the start of each season. Will it snow, will it be cold, will there be ice? The only thing we can predict with 100% accuracy is that there will be ice sailing somewhere in the vicinity of these previous DN regatta locations marked on this map. There will be a frozen body of water waiting for your sharp runners somewhere in the world!

Ice Optimist 2018 North American Championship

NOTICE OF RACE

Download Notice of Race
2018 North American Ice Optimist Championship

Date: Friday, January 5: Practice Day
Saturday, January 6 – Sunday, January 7: Racing Days
Location: The regatta will be held at the site of the 2018 DN Western Regionals. (Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, or Iowa.)
This will be a fun oriented event with no prior racing experience required. Due to kids graduating out of the Optimist Class, there are many Optimists available and a short of kids to sail them. If you know kids that have an interest, please contact Ron Rosten and we’ll set them up with a boat.
Awards shall be given to the yachts placing first through fifth.
Entry fee is $20.00 per yacht.
Contact Ron Rosten at ron.rosten@gmail.com for more information. Also see Ice Optimists of North America Facebook page for regatta updates.

Meade Gougeon’s Essential “Evolution of Modern Sailboat Design”

“Others quickly picked up the bow-steering design, and a few large bow-steerers were built…A Class B boat (250 square feet of sail) was built by Starke Meyer of Milwaukee and he ran away from everything else on the lakes”. Photo from the Carl Bernard Scrapbook Collection.

While researching last week’s Throw Back Thursday Gar Wood regatta post, I discovered a book that wasn’t on my radar or in my library, Meade Gougeon’s “Evolution of Modern Sailboat Design” written with co-author Ty Knoy. The stern-steerer iceboat on the cover hinted this was not a typical book about soft water sailboats with an obligatory paragraph about iceboats. Meade masterfully combined the story of iceboat design, mechanics, and history as he explained why some boats are faster than others. If you collect books about iceboating, this is an essential volume and available on Amazon.

Meade’s Bigger Picture Thinking:

  • “Many of the refinements in sails and rigging that have been developed since World War I originated on iceboats.”
  • “The first bow-steerer of any importance was built in 1931 by the Joy brothers, sailmakers in Milwaukee.” …”the Joy brothers and Walter Beauvais (of Williams Bay, WI) who came up with the machine (BEAU SKEETER) that retired the big boats forever…It went on the ice in Lake Geneva in 1933 and was an instant success.”
  • Iceboaters were quick to take up the idea’s of Dr. Manfred Curry, a German sailor who came up with the idea of planing full length battens to curve into an airfoil. (An idea banned in most soft-water racing classes at the time of the book’s publication.) Iceboaters in the 1930s were using revolutionary ideas like rotating masts, wing masts, and full length battens while soft-water classes were outlawing advancements. The few softwater classes that allowed rotating masts (in 1976) were Midwestern scows, from the same part of the world where a good many iceboaters are also scow sailors in the summer.
  • The aviator, Charles Lindbergh, (who spent a semester here the university in Madison and motored around Lake Mendota on an ice sled) “is said to have had a hand in the design of a very advanced rig” that was put on the Class A stern-steerer, DEUCE II, which was owned by Lindbergh’s cousin, Joseph Lodge of Detroit.

“On DEUCE II, with the help of Lindbergh, Lodge installed a rotating wing mast, believed to be the first ever used…DEUCE II was a hard luck boat, plagued by rigging failures, as Lodge challenged for the Stuart Cup and the Hearst International trophies in the 1930s.” Photo from the Carl Bernard Scrapbook Collection.

“Most of the troubles [from DEUCE II] were ironed out in DEUCE III, a remodeled version of DEUCE II, and in 1938, Lodge won both trophies to become champion of the world for Class A.” Photo from the Carl Bernard Scrapbook Collection.

Looking Back: The Gar Wood Regatta


Skeeter Iceboat Club’s Jane Pegel is reviewing her scrapbooks in an effort to help fill in some history for the DN North American Championships. She’s sharing notes from other regattas and I’ve picked out the 1968 Gar Wood for today’s Throw Back Thursday.
Garfield Wood grew up in the Midwest, was an inventor invented the hydraulic lift, owned the company that was to become Chris Craft for a time, and raced and built wooden motor boats that broke speed records. This guy’s accomplishments were amazing (read them here and here). Gar Wood was interested in speed so it’s was only natural that he sponsored a prestigious iceboat regatta in Detroit, the Gar Wood. The Gar Wood hasn’t been sailed for in many years.
There are no photos from this regatta in my files but I have included the program from the 1958 Gar Wood, a 1968 newspaper clipping from the Wisconsin State Journal with Jane pushing Susie in her DN on a light air day, and two pages from Lynn Mattison Raley’s book she made for her dad, Bill Mattison that focus on 1968, which is the year he won the Skeeter class at the Gar Wood.

Feb 24-25. 1968.  Gar Wood regatta on Anchor Bay.  65 boats total in Classes E, Renegade, Arrow and DN

The Scripps Trophy for the DN class was won by Jane Pegel, with Stan Woodruff second and Roy Holden third.  DN juniors were led by Dan Kuemmerlein (Pewaukee), Mike Harvey second, Tim Woodhouse third.  Bill Mattison had won the ISA the previous week and a win at the Gar Wood earned him the Triple Crown (The Northwest was not sailed.)    Elmer Millenbach won the York Trophy for Renegades.   Mike Hendrie won in the Arrows.
Source: Jane Pegel

Note: Click on each image to see the full size.

Swap Meets: From Minnesota to Massachusettes

iceboat-swap-meet
Make plans to attend an iceboat swap meet in your area this season. Swap meets are the place to begin your season. If you are new to the sport, swap meets are the best way to acquaint yourself with ice sailors and buy boats and equipment. See you there!

MICHIGAN: Western Michigan Iceboat Swap Meet, November 3-4, 2017 at the Muskegon Yacht Club, 3198 Edgewater St, Muskegon, MI. More information.

MINNESOTA:  Ice Boat Swap Meet on November 4, 2017, from 10 AM – 12 PM at Sailcrafters 7450 Oxford St., Saint Louis Park, Minnesota 55426. More information.

NEW ENGLAND: New England Ice Yachting Association Swap Meet, October 28 9 AM, Knights of Columbus Hall, 17 Willow St, Westborough, MA. More information.

NEW YORK: Lake Ronkonkoma Ice Boat Yacht Club, December 9th, from 1 PM – 4 PM at Weeks Yacht Yard, 10 Riverview Ct, Patchogue, NY. More information.

WISCONSIN: Skeeter Iceboat Club Swap Meet on November 5, 2017 from 9 AM – 12 PM at Lucke’s Cantina
220 N. Elkhorn Rd. (WI Hwy 67), Williams Bay, WI. More information.

Western Michigan Iceboat Swap Meet Nov 3-4


Western Michigan Iceboat Swap Meet
November 3 @ 6PM – November 4 @ 9:00 am

This year the Gull Lake Ice Yacht Club (search Facebook:  Gull Lake Ice Yacht Club) will be combining with the Grand Traverse and West Michigan Ice Yacht Clubs in sponsoring and putting on the annual 2017-18 ice sailing season’s opener Swap Meet in Muskegon, MI.

Click here to read more

If you are coming in from out of town we have made special arrangements with the Baymont Inn and Suites, (231) 798-0220, here in Muskegon on Friday evening for rooms with two (2) queen sized beds for $67.99 pus tax. When checking in tell them you are in town for the Western Michigan Iceboat Swap Meet.

This year’s event will be held at the Muskegon Yacht Club (MYC) located on the southwest end of Muskegon Lake. What has in the past been known and referred to as the Gull Lake Swap Meet held at the Gull Lake Country Club on Gull Lake is this year renaming itself as the “Western Michigan Iceboat Swap Meet”.

This year the event will begin on Friday evening, November 3rd with socializing and a presentation from Ron Sherry on his experiences during the 2017 Miami,FL to Havana, Cuba sailboat race last March. Ron was the helmsman aboard the smallest boat in the race, “Chico 2”, a 1D35 out of Detroit. The following is a quote from their navigator:

“Nearly every winning boat sailed a similar course to Dragon, staying close to the Florida reefs for relief from the swift-moving current of the Gulf Stream for as long as possible.   Despite sailing one of the lightest and smallest boats in the race, the Michigan crew aboard 35-foot Chico 2 finished fourth over the line and first in PHRF B Class thanks to strong crew work and near-flawless navigation.  “This is my first race to Havana, but I’ve run literally two months worth of navigational simulations of the race at home on the computer,” said Tom Anderson, Chico’s navigator.  “The real deal was quite a bit wetter, but thanks to the preparation, it was always familiar, and the answer was to avoid the deep water and push the boat hard along the reef.” (excerpted from Sailing Anarchy). This presentation should be interesting to anyone interested in sailing!

This presentation will be open to those “ice sailors” present on Friday evening, as well as any MYC “soft water sailors” who might be present at the club that evening. Everyone is welcome! For anyone planning on attending, we expect to start Ron’s presentation sometime around 7:00 pm in the “Spinnaker Room”. MYC’s kitchen will be open to any “ice sailors” on Friday evening in order to order from the open menu. Any alcohol, however, will need to be purchased via a MYC member, several of which are active members of the WMIYC.

There will be a luncheon buffet available at noon on Saturday included in the Swap Meet fee of $15.00 for which you will receive a “SINGLE” lunch ticket. For current WMIYC members, and any one else attending the meet who desires to become a new member of the WMIYC, in addition to lunch you will also receive a one (1) year membership to the WMIYC. Also included in the $15.00 fee you will receive one (1) “DOUBLE” ticket that you will use in bidding in the “Silent Auction” for some pretty nice gifts that will be available. Additional tickets for the “Silent Auction” will be available for purchase @ $1.00 ea. or six (6) for $5.00. You’ll likely want to either buy as many as you want, or more than you can afford, when you see what is being auctioned off! We will also be holding and selling tickets for a “50/50 Raffle” with the proceeds going to cover Swap Meet expenses. During, or after, lunch we have suggested to Ron that he be prepared to present a brief technical presentation on DN rig tuning and blade sharpening basics. Please put this on your calendar and plan to attend. If you are not an iceboater please ensure you take a look at the iceboats and related hardware that will be displayed/traded/sold on Saturday! It is a great way to extend your sailing season here in West Michigan! It is also typically a great opportunity to get into the sport with an older boat at a good price! Check us out!

Details Start: November 3 @ 6:00 pm End: November 4 @ 9:00 am Website: http://www.wmiyc.org , www.gulllakeiyc.org, www.gliyc.org

Organizers Gull Lake Ice Yacht Club Grand Traverse Ice Yacht Club West Michigan Ice Yacht Club

Regatta Dates 2018

Wisconsin Iceboat Hotline
608-204-9876

  • DN Western Challenge
    December 1-3, 2017
  • DN Western Regional
    January 6-7, 2018
  • ISA & Renegade Championship
    Jan 12-14, 2018
  • Northwest Jan 19-21, 2018
  • DN North Americans
    Jan 21-27, 2018
  • DN Worlds & Europeans
    February 25-March 3, 2018
  • Nite Nationals
  • DN & Ice Opti Junior Worlds
    February 5-8, 2018
  • Baikal Ice Sailing Week, Siberia
    March 31-April 7, 2018

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Click for 4LIYC Meeting Dates

2017-2018

  • 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.


YOU ARE SKIPPER NUMBER

TO ROUND THE MARK SINCE NOVEMBER 1999.



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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