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
“Your sail came down because the mast exploded!”
The December 1957 ISA News & Views covers a variety of topics including a discussion of the complications of ice boat racing rules in the years before the National Iceboat Authority was established. There were rules of the Northwest, the ISA, the DN60 fleet, and the North American Yacht Racing Union.
Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant: There are some historic photos from the 1952 Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant which was the second time it was sailed in the west after Ed Rollberg went out east and won it in 1952.
4LIYC News: “Our old member but new Skeeter skipper, Paul Krueger (17) has built himself a new Skeeter with a 23′ rig.”
Read it all here.
In his search to learn more about a Ray Ruge built Skeeter he is restoring, Maine iceboater Bill Buchholz has inadvertently discovered some historic 16mm film in the archives of the Cohasset, MA Historical Society Francis Hagerty collection. The footage centers around the Fox Lake, Illinois Skeeters of the early 1940s. It’s possible that the films are from the 1941 and 1942 International Skeeter Association regattas. Considering the ISA was first sailed in 1940, these are very early films that show the early development of the Skeeter class. Some things to look for in the video below:
- The winners of the 1941 and 1942 ISA regattas from Fox Lake, Harry Salmon and JD Graff (the first JD!)
- The A class stern steerer, Ferdinand the Bull, then owned and sailed by C.S. Jacobs of Detroit, MI
- A really cool ice car that would make a fine RC vehicle.
- Some very early DNs
- Ted Mead, designer and builder of the famous Mead iceboats, many of which are on the ice today.
- ISA trophies (with kittens!?)
2016 International Skeeter Association regatta winner, Steve Orlebeke, posted a great photo of his puppy, Mac, posing with the regatta trophy on his Facebook page today. This gave me the idea to post a related photo from the 1941 ISA and to kick off a new version of Throw Back Thursday with a twist. A related contemporary photo will be included with the vintage photo as a reminder that a new season is just weeks away. See the 1941 ISA Regatta report and video posted below.
We received an inquiry from the nephew of Greenwood Lake, New Jersey Skeeter sailor Art Siebke wanting to learn more about his uncle’s involvement in ice boating.
Above is part of a beautifully illustrated advertisement for Camel cigarettes featuring Siebke. Be sure to click on the image to see the entire panel.
Sailing as a member of the Skeeter Ice Boat Club, Siebke won the International Skeeter Association championship in 1948.
The ISA continues to award the Siebke Memorial Trophy to the skipper who travels the farthest to race his yacht in the annual regatta.
If you have any stories to share about Art Siebke, email to me and I’ll pass them on to his nephew.