International Skeeter Association Regatta
January 12-14, 2018. Next update January 7, 2018.
Disclaimer: 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
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
Skeeter Iceboat Club B-Skeeter sailor Steve Schalk is now the acting Secretary and Treasurer of both the Northwest Ice Yachting Association (NIYA) and International Skeeter Association (ISA), He will be the acting Secretary/Treasurer until the Officer elections at both annual meetings.
Steve along with his wife, Mary Jane, recently met with the retiring Secretary/Treasurer of the NIYA & ISA, Paul Krueger, and began the process of transferring files, a daunting task considering how long Paul has been an officer for the organizations. If you have a question or comment for Steve and his “helper”, Mary Jane, please email to them.
The iceboating community thanks Paul for his amazing legacy and dedication to the sport of ice yachting. He’s been taking care of the business of the ISA and NIYA since the 1960s! Greg Whitehorse said it best on a Facebook post:
“PK is definitely one of the most influential figures in our sport. A designer, builder and championship winning sailor, along with being an important administrative officer on a regional and national level. And he is still yanking the go fast rope in his A Skeeter, Rambl’n (not sure what number).”
As many of you know, Paul had a rough summer because of health issues. The good news is that he’s back home focusing on getting stronger by the day. We all look forward to seeing him back in ‘RAMBLN as soon as he is able. Iceboaters are a tough breed!
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.
This photo of Paul Krueger and Dave Rosten was published in the Wisconsin State Journal on December 30, 1956 when these two were still in school at East High in Madison. Paul Krueger has been sailing Class A Skeeters longer than anybody and has defined this club. Please keep him in your thoughts as he continues in his recovery from a health issue.
It’s heartening to see some building activity from out east this summer in the C Skeeter fleet which could make for an exciting ISA regatta. Bill Buchholz has the latest over on the Chickawaukee Iceboat site.
After seeing Drifter race at the ISA last season Keith Kennedy commissioned one to be built here in Maine with the plan to go back to the ISA this season and bring home the cup.
Class A Skeeter Sighting in Pewaukee
Peter Harken’s Skeeter, the Bill Mattison built HONEYBUCKET XIV, was set up at the plant over the weekend to celebrate Harken’s 50 years in business. Olaf and Peter are long time iceboaters and do much to support the sport.
“The Korean War introduced you to the real ‘Honey Bucket Wagons’. You always said, ‘You can never come out spelling like a rose.'”
Lynn Mattison Raley about her father, Bill Mattison.
When Jerry Simon and I were looking through the Krogman scrapbook photos, the subject of Bill Mattison’s Renegades and Skeeters came up. I’ve always wondered if Bill ever had an iceboat with plain old HONEYBUCKET on the side, without a Roman numeral next to the name. (As far as I can ascertain, there has never been a HONEYBUCKET. Jerry Simon agreed that Bill went from SNAPSHOT to HONEYBUCKET II.)
Bill’s daughter, Lynn Mattison Raley, explains the lineage best in a wonderful book she put together about her dad.
“Bill was now really hooked on iceboats and started building his first one-design iceboat, a Renegade. Unfortunately, during the winter of 1949, a fire swept through his family’s home. Damage was confined to the basement, destroying Bill’s new iceboat. Undaunted, he built another. Two years later, SNAPSHOT, named in honor of the family business, Star Photo Service, was on the ice ready for her first race. That boat also met with an unfortunate end. While waiting for his first race to begin, the [stern-steerer] FRITZ came around the leeward mark of the racecourse, spinning out of control right into Bill’s new boat, turning the beautiful SNAPSHOT into a pile of firewood. Then came the Korean War and service with the army. Iceboating would have to wait for Uncle Sam.
After the war, Bill finished his third Renegade. SNAPSHOT’S first race was on Lake Monona. “We had 60 boats on the starting line and I finished that regatta in the top 10,” Bill said. Speed, they say, is a narcotic. You can never get enough. So it was with Bill and iceboats. In 1954, he build his first class E Skeeter, HONEYBUCKET. The rest, as they say, is history. His boats set the standard for the evolution of the Skeeter class. He continually refined and improved his designs, eventually producing 14 HONEYBUCKETS before he retired from the sport in 2008.”
The area sailing community turned out in force for Bill Mattison’s induction into the Madison Sports Hall of Fame on June 7, 2017 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center. Jane and Susie Pegel represented Geneva Lake’s Skeeter Iceboat Club, the Harkens, Perrigos, and Carole Miller were there from Pewaukee, and a big contingent from the Green Lake Ice Yacht Club added to the fun of the evening. The above video was produced by the Madison Sports Hall of Fame and was shown as part of Bill’s induction. Don Sanford and Steve Holtzman deserve a lot of credit for their efforts that resulted in this wonderful evening. Thanks to John Hayashi for taking the social photos.
During his 72-year career as an iceboater, Bill has won countless local, national and international championships in what he describes as the most fickle of sports. You’ll also find Bill’s name engraved on Mendota Yacht Club’s trophies for championships won in class C, E and A Scows. It’s safe to say that no one in the history of MYC has won more trophies in more classes than Bill Mattison.
Bill’s skills as a builder earned him a place as head of the shore crew on three America’s Cup challenges: Heart of America in 1986, America3 in 1992 and Mighty Mary in 1995.
Profiled in Madison Magazine, Isthmus, the Wisconsin State Journal, the Capital Times and on Wisconsin Public Television, Bill is a true sportsman who has gone out of his way to advance the sports of iceboating and sailing, helping others both on and off the racecourse. Whether it was for help splicing a broken mast, repairing a boat, building a fast (aren’t they all?) iceboat or making a new shroud, for more than a half-century Madison iceboaters and summer sailors turned to Bill for help and advice. Even though he’s retired from iceboating, sailors still seek him out for his knowledge on everything iceboat. Perhaps that’s why he was recognized as one of the “Three Kings of Iceboating” at Chicago’s Strictly Sail in 2009.
Bill joins Carl Bernard and Peter Barrett as the third sailor in the 54-year history of the Madison Sports Hall of Fame Club to be inducted.
Tickets for the Madison Sports Hall of Fame Club dinner and induction ceremony on June 7 (5:30 pm social; 7 pm dinner) at Monona Terrace are $50. To reserve your seat, please call Peg Mueller at 608-238-5907. Because we are expecting iceboaters and summer sailors from near and far to show up, call for your tickets right away. Be sure to tell Peg that you want to be seated at the Mattison guest tables. With so many sailors in town, there’s bound to be an after-party, too.
Read more on madison.com.
All photos credit Sail Racing/Jan Söderström
As we prepare for the ISA regatta called on for Lake Champlain this coming weekend, it’s a reminder to share these photos from Sweden’s Sail Racing. Their photographer, Jan Söderström shot thousands of photos at the 2013 ISA regatta sailed on Lake Kegonsa for an ad campaign that was to have been released in the fall of 2013. But due to a very warm autumn and winter in Europe, Sail Racing has decided to wait with the Skeeter story until next season, autumn 2014. They also filmed video which will be released next season as well.
Photographer Jeff Smith shot some photos at the Eastern ISA with his new drone helicopter. See them here.
Well edited video from New Jersey Skeeter sailor Dan Clapp. Great to see the orange Skeeter having fun on the ice at the Eastern ISA.
A 30 mile gale added thrills to the Northwestern Ice Yachting Association regatta on Lake Mendota at Madison, Wisc. January 30, 1938. Here two machines are “hiking”, which is like “heeling” in a sailboat as H.V. Fitzcharles of Chicago, left, sailing High Voltage, and Harry Melges of Williams Bay, Wisc. at the helm of Fancy Flight put up a heated fight to head each other.”
I came across this photo on ebay from a company that specializes in original press photos and snapped it up. NIYA records show Harry Nye as the winner of the 1938 Northwest Skeeter class. Skeeters first competed in the NIYA in 1936. Skeeters didn’t have springboards at that time which must have made for quite an exciting ride in a 30 mph gale.
We’ve started a project to scan all the International Skeeter Association News and Views. Here’s a the 1957 November ISA News And Views which was edited by Jane Pegel. Interesting to note that discussions about Skeeter development from 57 years ago haven’t changed all that much. 1957 November ISA News And Views
Here’s the April edition of the 1957 ISA News & Views, edited by Jane Pegel. Topics include an ISA regatta report, organization of a committee on boat development, Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant report, more opinions on boat development, reports to Jane from the clubs, and a Bargain Counter, where you’l find the “cheapest advertising in the world for the world’s greatest cheapSKATES”. I have no photos from the 1957 ISA but have posted some Skeeter pictures taken by Carl Bernard from around that time.
This is MN based Pat Heppert’s new C Skeeter. It’s an attempt at a lower cost, front cockpit Skeeter that is easy to transport in its small lightweight enclosed trailer, and easy to set up by one person. Will it be fast? Will it be the slowest anchor-like contraption in existence? Will the C Skeeter fleet start to build? Or will it remain the under-represented Skeeter class? More construction pictures are on the Minnesota web site under the “How To” section, www.iceboating.net. Pat says that full size CAD drawn frame patterns are available.”