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
Frank Trost, along with his neighbor William Perrigo, was another legendary E Skeeter sailor from Pewaukee, WI. Trost and Perrigo captured the 1953 Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant the first time the race was held in the Midwest after Fox Lake’s Eddie Rollberg won it out east in 1952. Trost was part of the winning team that went on to win it another 3 times.
Frank Trost gave one of my favorite descriptive quotes about ice boating to a Russian reporter in 1960:
From “Sailing In the Cold Region“, a Russian magazine article published in 1960:
Frank Trost, Perrigo’s neighbor, describes even poetical a ride on his “Tuscarora”:- Iceboat comes alive, he begins to talk to you. Was I somehow on Lake Delavan. Gusts crosswind reached 80 km / h. I didn’t feel under itself, but the “Tuscarora” didn’t obey. It seemed to fly through the air; only the wind howled in the wires and whistled – people standing on the bank told us that the boat roared like a jet plane – and in my helmet was a rumble that I have not heard the creaking of the runners. After the arrival, from flying in all directions icicles Trost’s face was covered with hundreds of tiny cuts. But the little things it did not disturb. As many iceboat sailors, he doesn’t recognize the face masks. He argues that in order to determine the speed of a good sailor should feel the wind on his face and trap slightest changes, skillfully using them to speed up the movement. It is worth and cause injury to the blood!
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.
Both the International Skeeter Association and Renegade Championship Regattas have been postponed.
Ice checkers found 25″ of hard black ice at Little Bay de Noc at Gladstone, Michigan but with too much shell ice for safe sailing. Next update will be Sunday, April 1, 2018. [Never thought I’d be typing that date about an iceboat regatta!-ed.]
In the meantime, let’s revisit the 1955 ISA championship won by Buddy Melges in MICKEY FINN. Jane Wiswell (before she married Bob Pegel) won the women’s division. There’s some good detail in this article if you are a fan of the sport.
The International Skeeter Association Championship has been tentatively called ON for March 30 – April 1, 2018. Potential sites include Little Bay de Noc in Gladstone, Michigan. Final confirmation will be made by noon Wednesday, March 28.The word from acting regatta chair John Dennis is that the committee is optimistic about conditions at Gladstone.
The International Skeeter Association Regatta has been postponed. The Race Committee continues to remain optimistic that the regatta will be sailed. Next update is Sunday, March 24, 2018 by 7 PM CST.
The International Skeeter Association Championship has been tentatively called ON for March 23-25, 2018. Potential sites include Little Bay de Noc in Gladstone, Michigan and Houghton Lake in Michigan. Final confirmation will be made by noon Wednesday, March 21.
Both the ISA and Northwest Regattas have been postponed. Next update for the ISA regatta will be Sunday, March 18.
Via NIYA Chair Tim McCormick:
The NIYA Regatta is postponed until March 23-25. Gladstone, MI is the most promising site but they still have 2” of hard crust snow and the wind forecast for this weekend is light. Ice thickness is more than 18” and trucks are driving on and off the ice without a problem. We need a moderate melt for that site to become good enough for a regatta and the forecast for the next week indicates that should happen. Next update is Sunday, March 18 at 8pm CST.
Via WSA Correspondent Jay Yaeso:
The Wisconsin Skeeter Association held a Spring Fling on March 3-4, 2018 in Suamico, Wi on Green Bay. Friday night’s Smoker was a festive event; stories were told and Commodore Ken Whitehorse reflected on past events dating back to the 70’s. We sure we’re impressed with Ken’s recollection of these events in years past.
A discussion was had with regard to the lack of wind on Friday. Ken graciously volunteered to chat with Mother Nature hoping to convince her to show up Saturday.
Photos below are proof that we did sail. Tom Hyslop and Mark Isabel at top mark. John Dennis was the speed demon on Sunday demonstrating his fine sailing ability along with the perfect setup. John is crowned champion of the Spring Fling with one race completed
Both the ISA and Northwest Regattas have been postponed. Next update, March 11.
Via NIYA Chair Tim McCormick
The NIYA Regatta is postponed until March 16-18. Gladstone, MI is the most promising site but they still have 2” of hard crust snow covered by 1” of fresh snow. Ice thickness is more than 18” and trucks are driving on and off the ice without a problem. We need a melt for that site to become good enough for a regatta. Next update is Sunday, March 11 at 8pm CST.
ISA News Via Jay Yaeso:
The ISA is called on for March 10,11,12. Potential sites are: Escanaba,Mi. Elk Lake, Mi. and Newport, VT.Final call Wednesday, March 7 at noon.
Northwest Regatta News Via Tim McCormick:
The Northwest Regatta is tentatively called ON for March 9-11. We’re keeping our eyes on ice in upper Michigan and Elk Lake and will monitor the snow event Monday-Tuesday. Final determination will be Wednesday, March 7th at Noon CST.
From Jay Yaeso:
The ISA Race Committee is postponing another week. Ice checkers
found 20″ of ice but current ramp conditions will not be able to
tolerate a regatta.
We continue our search for having a 2018 ISA championship.
Next update March 4, 2018
ISA called ON. Green Bay primary location.
Final call Wednesday noon.
UPDATE:ISA postponed as well. Next ISA update is February 25, 2018.
Via NIYA Regatta Chair Tim McCormick:
The Northwest Regatta is postponed until March 2-4. We have a number of potential sites which are close to racing conditions. Madison lakes have smoothed out nicely but they have shell ice; ¾” ice above 1-3” of liquid. Geneva has drain holes with skimmed ice over them. Green Lake is similar to Madison plus it has some hard 4” snow drifts. Lake Winnebago and Green Bay are getting smoother but are still too rough for a regatta. Next update is Sunday, February 25th at 7pm CST.
Via Tim McCormick
DID YOU KNOW?
The racing format for the NIYA, ISA, and Renegade regattas has changed from five races to nine races. Three races are scheduled for each day (Friday through Sunday) and races may be made up if missed on prior days. For example, if only one race is completed on Friday, then we may sail up to 5 races on Saturday. Here’s hoping for smooth ice, fair winds, and lots of good racing soon!