A Brief Overview of Northwest Regatta History
Welcome to the home page of the Northwestern Ice Yacht Association Regatta. This historic regatta was first sailed in 1913 in Menominee, Michigan. Skeeters, DNs, and Renegades weren’t even invented back then when the big stern steerers ruled the ice.
Dateline January 13, 1913. Wisconsin State Journal. “Representatives of Oshkosh, Madison, Menominee, and Marinette met at the Hotel Menominee this morning and discussed future of the new NIYA….. LF Porter, of Madison, a man who has been connected with several water and ice craft organizations, gave some timely and instructive suggestions in regard to the proper manner of conducting the association. He proposed having two delegates from each club present at a future gathering and from a constitution and by laws at that time.”
In 1913, Menominee skipper E. Peterson won the first Class A championship in “Square People”. Madison, Wisconsin’s Emil Fauerbach won the 1914 championship in the famed Princess II, a boat that went on the win the Hearst International Trophy.
Other notable Class A winners throughout the years include John Buckstaff of Oshkosh, Fritz Jungbluth and Carl Bernard of Madison in the Fritz, Harry Melges of Lake Geneva (Buddy’s father), Carl Bernard again in the Mary B, the Debutante currently owned by Mike Derusha, and Buddy Melges in his Ferdinand the Bull. The DNs were first recognized as a separate class in 1954 when Skip Boston won the inaugural NIYA DN championship. Other notable DN champions include William Sarns in 1956, Jane Pegel who first won in 1960 and went on to capture another nine championships. Class E Skeeters first raced the NIYA in 1936 when Lake Geneva sailor Harry Melges won in Mickey Finn. Elmer Millenbach took the 1949 trophy sailing his Renegade II back when the Renegades and Skeeters sailed together. Other famous ice boating names who’ve won the NIYA Class E championship include Bill Perrigo, Howard Boston, Frank Trost, Jack Ripp, Dave Rosten, Bill Mattison, Lou Loenneke, Buddy Melges, Bob Pegel, and Paul Krueger. The Renegades first raced in the NIYA as a recognized class in 1958 and of course, Mr. Ice Boat, Elmer Millenbach won his first of many NIYA Renegade Championships in Renegade III and went on to win every regatta until 1984. Other winners include Arlyn Lafortune, Lorne Sherry, Jack Ripp, Tim McCormick, Roger Derusha, Don Anderson, and Mike Derusha.
“The chief difficulty in iceboating is the utter dependence upon the fickleness of the weather dispenser” Wisconsin State Journal 1918
Via NIYA Chair Tim McCormick:
The NIYA Regatta is cancelled for the 2018 season. Gladstone, MI continues to have a hard crust of snow. Shawano Lake has workable landings but the ice is too rough. Houghton Lake and Higgins Lake have holes. All other sites do not have sufficient landings. With the following weekend being the Easter Holiday, the NIYA Race Committee agreed we should cancel for the season.
The above quote in italics comes from this newspaper article published 100 years ago in 1918, a year when the Northwest was also canceled. In fact, it wasn’t sailed again until 1922. See you on the ice at next year’s Northwest!
Via NIYA Chair Tim McCormick:
The Northwest Regatta is tentatively called ON for March 23-25. The primary site is Gladstone, MI with Houghton Lake, MI as a secondary site. With all the warm weather this past weekend, we’re getting close! Final determination will be Wednesday, March 21st at Noon CDT.
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.
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 Tim McCormick:
The NIYA Regatta is postponed until March 9-11. The landings in Madison, Green Lake, Winnebago, and Green Bay will not support cars or large trailers so we’re keeping our eyes open for potential ice north of Suamico, WI for the regatta. Next update is Sunday, March 3 at 8pm CST.
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!
Via NIYA Regatta Chair Tim McCormick:
The Northwest Regatta is tentatively called ON for February 23-25, 2018. We don’t currently have racing conditions, but we have a major weather system moving through the area early this week bringing warm temperatures and rain followed by colder temperatures Tuesday night. We’ll inspect ice conditions Wednesday morning and make the final call by Noon CST, Wednesday February 21st. Potential regatta sites include Madison, Green Lake, and Fond du Lac.
Our club had an unexpected visitor at last week’s meeting who brought us some classic photos. Long time Madisonian Dick Brandt shot these on Lake Monona back in the 1950s. Many thanks to Dick and to Peter Fauerbach for taking the time to scan these important historic photographs. My guess is that many of these were from the 1952 Northwest Regatta which was sailed on Lake Monona.
UPDATE: Skeeter Iceboat Club’s Jane Pegel has helpfully identified some of the boats. The skipper sitting in the MICKEY FINN Skeeter is in question. Jane writes, “I think Mickey Finn may be Buddy because his sail number is I-180 (Harry C. Melges, Jr.) but perhaps his father was sailing the regatta in Mickey Finn.”
Click here to view more photos
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 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.
The Northwest Regatta has been postponed. Next update is Sunday, February 4, 2018.
Via Northwest Ice Yacht Regatta Race Committee chairman, Tim McCormick:
The NIYA has been postponed. Next update is January 28.
Via NIYA Race Committee Chairman Tim McCormick
“The Northwest Regatta is tentatively call ON for January 26-28. The primary site is Lake Winnebago and we’re holding Madison and Green Bay as backup sites. Final confirmation will be made by Wednesday, January 24th at Noon CST.”
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
Via NIYA Race Committee Chair Tim McCormick:
The Northwest Regatta is postponed until January 26-28. The next update will be on Sunday, January 21st at 8pm CST.
The Northwest Regatta is tentatively call ON for January 19-21. The primary site is Madison, WI but we’re expecting a snow event for the next 24 hours so we may postpone as soon as Monday, January 15th. We’ll keep you updated. Final confirmation will be made by Wednesday, January 17th at Noon CST.
Via Acting NIYA Secretary Steve Schalk, documents for the 2018 NIYA regatta tentatively scheduled for January 19-21, 2018. Next update January 14, 2018.
January 19-21, 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