International Skeeter Association Regatta
The International Skeeter Association (ISA) was organized in the late 1930s and the first ISA regatta was sailed in 1940. Skeeters were developed on Geneva Lake in Wisconsin. They are piloted by a single skipper and steer from the front of the boat as opposed to the original iceboats which were crewed by two or more and steered from the rear.
The Skeeter is the “Formula One” of ice yachting, a wide open development class where state-of-the-art sailing is seen annually. The only restriction on the Skeeter builder is a 75 square foot sail maximum sail area. While the basic configuration for successful E Skeeters has long been established, significant design improvements have been developed within the Four Lakes fleet. Taller rigs and rear seat Skeeters designed and built by 4LIYC members Bill Mattison and Paul Krueger have brought world championship titles to Madison skippers. In 1989, New Jersey’s Dan Clapp took the ice boating world by storm with his first front-seater and dominated the ISA regatta during the 1990s. Skeeter builders are adept with high tech materials like carbon fiber, and Kevlar. The super powerful Skeeters are the fastest boats on the ice. Sufficiently committed skippers find the greatest challenge in these boats, where design, building, and maintenance skills share equal roles with sailing ability
Waiting for ice sailing conditions to return gives more time to post the historical items. The invaluable Brian Reid of New York recently shared some history in the form of a letter from the Palmer Boat Company written in 1936 to a New Jersey iceboater. Brian wrote:
I was going through some images on a snow day here and came upon a few things from out your way. These come from a scrapbook that Greg Strand recently acquired on behalf of the North Shrewsbury Iceboat & Yacht Club of New Jersey; Greg is archivist/historian of the Red Bank crew.The scrap book belonged to George Seger – an active NJ ice boater in the 30s and 40s – he’s in Wings on the Ice (p. 59). Greg called me and I took digital images of as much as I could. Great stuff.
As you see in their elegant letter head, the Palmer Boat Company of Fontana, Wisconsin was an early builder of scows and iceboats. Many vintage Palmers have come across the Buy and Sell page of this website over the years. A quick internet search about Palmer boats turned up some interesting facts. Buddy Melges’ father, Harry Sr., worked for Palmer before starting Melges Boatworks. Maine iceboater Bill Bucholz wrote a story about a Palmer, LINGWES, for the Chickawaukee Iceboat Club that referenced the same Richard Moeller as in this letter to Mr. Seger. Thank you, Brian, for sending this out our way.
Previous: Palmer on the Prairie,, December 2, 2016 on iceboat.org.
If you interested in the early history of ice sailing in the United States and efforts to maintain and sail historic Stern Steerers, Brian’s website, White Wings and Black Ice is a must read.
The International Skeeter Association (ISA) and Northwest Regattas are postponed because all of Wisconsin and Michigan are snow covered. Next update for both regattas is Sunday, February 18.
The Boehmke B-Skeeters held their championship regatta on Geneva Lake over the weekend. Check out the Boe-Craft website for results and photos. Congratulations Rick Pappas on your win!
The International Skeeter Association (ISA) and Northwest Regattas are postponed because all of Wisconsin and Michigan are snow covered. Next update for both regattas is Sunday, February 11.
This story appeared on my doorstep this morning, hand written. I deciphered it as best I could.-Editor
Windjammers Yacht Club Hosts the Wisconsin Skeeter Racers Tournament of Champions Jan 27-28, 2018
Saturday brought westerly wind speeds greater than 30 mph. Many iceboaters of various classes set sail in spite of the too-windy-to-race conditions. Tom Hyslop V738, Director of Competition, canceled racing for the day at 3:30 PM. Shortly after, Windjammer, sponsored the well attended smoker gathering.
Sunday morning brought northwest wind speeds of 12-15 mph. Whitehorse, M197, won the first race by the slight margin of a springboard over Yaeso, U311. Yaeso won the second race with a slightly larger overlap over Whitehorse.
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M197 and V737 returned to the race course starting line. Yaeso remained in the pits where he assembled two Ice Optis, one DN, and one Renegade. Two thumbs up for Jay for supporting and building the local club! HOWEVER short track Skeeter racing waits for no one and shows no favorites. U311 fails to make the start of race four. Race four is won by Whitehorse, second by Hyslop, and DNS for Yaeso.
Race five: The wind, now northerly at 18-21 mph. Whitehorse gets off to a jack rabbit start. At each leg of the race Yaeso skillfully reels in the leader. On the last lap to weather, U311 and M197 round with a complete overlap. Both push sheet as both were in a five foot hike with Whitehorse to the leeward. THE TRAP WAS SET! Both yachts carried a starboard runner aloft and each mast blew out three feet to the leeward. Yaeso put on a sail racing clinic as he used the windward position and hiked across Warrior’s bow to win the race.
Race six: Northeasterly wind at 22 mph. There was a 3 boat overlap on the first leg to weather. WARRIOR was in the favored windward position, then U311, then V738. M197 had a 100% overlap over U311 yet somehow U311 caught a lift, turned left, and forced M197 up the lake. M197 was losing speed and was forced to dive below U311’s stern in an effort to freshen. The maneuver worked! M197 gained tremendous boat speed! Now it was time to use the Shake and Bake tactic and slingshot by U311. Yaeso was ready for it and he rolled over the WARRIOR and tacked to starboard. WARRIOR could only watch as Yaeso disappeared. Whitehorse desperately needed a favorable wind shift to get back into the race. BUT WAIT…HE GOT IT! Brother wind and sister sky blew a mighty 30 mph gust straight out of the east. Some may call it luck and same may call it “an old Indian trick”. No matter, the mighty blast threw U311 into the top mark. Her nine foot long cold steel runners were no match for the slashing fury of Mother Nature. Whitehorse wins race six, Hyslop takes second, and Yaeso scores a DSQ. After the race, Yaeso approached the other two racers with a dazed look of confusion as if to say, “what just happened out there?” Whitehorse looks back with and gives Yaeso the slight Paul Krueger grin.
At this time, Hyslop, Director of Competition for the Wisconsin Skeeter Racing Alliance (WSRA) assembled the racers for a driver’s meeting. Tom is a walking library of sailing rules, regulations, and tactics and the WSRA is fortunate to benefit from his expertise. He proceeded to inform the skippers of a seldom used racing rule designed to manipulate for a more keen competition. The rule states in part “…if six races are completed before 2:35 PM, a yachtsman is allowed a throwout. Yaeso throws out the DSQ.
Race seven: Thus the stage is set. The tournament is an even tie between the 2017 Battle Lake ISA Champion and the 2017 Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club Skeeter Champion! It appears Yaeso had his fill of that day’s antics as his 6” 11” 285 lb. frame of tendon and muscle pushed the teal green U311 to the line. Yaeso lays the flawlessly prepared U311 off to maximize the now 25 mph northeast wind. He digs in with his 2.5” long razor sharp spikes. CRAAAACCCCK! At the sound of the starting gun, Yaeso was an automaton equal a Duramax Turbo Diesel. His thousand foot pounds of torque spun and churned a trench leaving a two foot high shaved ice drift behind. Whitehorse, just as willful, used less torque but ever increasing RPM on the slick starting surface. The start was an even sprint at the five yard mark, then ten yards, then twenty yards. Both racers glared at one another, neither ready to conceded the foot race.
POW!!! THUD THUD THUD
At twenty five yards, Whitehorse blew a moccasin! Even so, both entered their yachts in unison. Now, it was a boat race. Folks, you just can’t make this stuff up!
Yaeso wins race seven. Little big red and white from Four Lakes is no match for big jet green from Suamico. Congratulations to Jay Yaeso and U311 the 2018 short track Windjammer Skeeter racing champion.
Article..unknown author Fact checked by no one!
Via Jay Yaeso:
The International Skeeter Association championship has been postponed. There are multiple lakes with club racing venues but ramps are all questionable at this time. Tune up and be set for a great championship!
Next update, February 4, 2018.
Wisconsin Skeeter Race results from Green Bay, Suamico, WI.
1st Ken Whitehorse
2nd Tom Hyslop
3rd Jay Yaeso
Short track racing, 7 races completed.
Nice day to sail, if you like to sail..
The ISA regatta has been postponed because the Northwest regatta has been called on and takes precedence. Next update January 28, 2018.
From the Skeeter Iceboat Club on Geneva Lake, Jane Pegel sends this photo with a note:
Here is a photo of Chris Goes sailing January 12, 2018, on Delavan Lake in the Beau Skeeter “Pike”. This boat has been owned and given loving care by the Goes family since 1935. With Harry Melges, Sr. at the helm, “Pike” won the Northwest in 1935, the first year that Class E Skeeters raced in the regatta as a separate fleet. This is what the boats looked like when the Beau Skeeter Ice Boat Club (now the Skeeter Ice Boat Club) was organized in 1933.
Jane’s information puts the Skeeters in the Northwest one year earlier than records had indicated, a date confirmed by this Oshkosh Northwestern newspaper article from 2-28-1935. That’s not the end of the story because it appears the Skeeters first sailed the Northwest in 1933 at Oshkosh but that regatta was cancelled for reasons likely related to weather. The Northwest regatta officials must have embraced the new Skeeter class the same year it was organized at Lake Geneva.
Related: Northwest Regatta Winners
The International Skeeter Association Regatta has been postponed until January 19-21, 2018. Next update is Sunday, January 14, 2018.
Steve Orlebeke’s Perspective Looking Ahead
“I’m looking out my door onto the engineering section in the Pewaukee Harken offices. It’s almost the end of 2017 and a logical time to look ahead toward next year.” Continue reading.
Via Acting ISA Secretary Steve Schalk, documents for the 2018 International Skeeter Association Regatta. The 2018 ISA championship is tentatively scheduled for January 12-14, 2018. Next update January 7, 2018.
January 12-14, 2018 is the first weekend that the regatta can be sailed IF THERE ARE CONDITIONS. The regatta will be postponed on a weekly basis until there are optimal conditions for all classes. Keep informed by visiting this website and by calling the Iceboating Regatta Message Hotline: 608-204-9876