Wisconsin Stern Steerers Association

  • Mike Kroll taking spectators for rides on Wisconsin after racing on Sunday

  • Wiener and Tess taking the 1920’s Evenrude “Spindler" to a fast finish.

  • Joe Terry giving spectator rides after racing on Sunday.

  • Andy Gratton giving Kurt Sims an exhilarating ride after racing on Sunday.
WSSA Regatta Photos by Joe Terry

  • Mike Peters gets the checkers.

  • WSSA Champions

  • Stern Steerers line up to race on Lake Petenwell
WSSA Regatta Report & Results

By Joe Terry
The 2016 WSSA is in the books. It was great fun with a bunch of really great people. Taking the B class was Mark Wiener, sailing Spindler. C class was won by Mike Peters, sailing Ace of Spades. Class D was won by yours truly sailing LaCinda Mae. The overall was won by Mike Peters, and fastest yacht sailing cotton sails was Wisconsin, sailed by Mike Kroll. A special thanks to Ann Gratton and Keith (from the Green Lake Ice Yacht Club) for handling RC duties. And a special thanks to the Lure bar and grill for their wonderful hospitality, great food, and letting us access the ice from their private beach. It was a FANTASITC regatta.
On Saturday, light air plagued the fleet and only one race was sailed. The sailors had a great time looking at the iceboats, making minor changes, watching some RC planes and multi-copters, and after racing, spending some time at the Lure enjoying the view of the lake and telling stories.
Sunday, we sailed four races in a nice 13-17 mph breeze with an occasional ripper to keep us on our toes. The Ace of Spades had a wild spin out at the first windward mark in the last race, and the 'New' mast on LaCinda Mae was fast out of the box as I chased Ace of Spades for the entire fourth race and pulled ahead of them after their spin in race 5 held them off for the remaining 6.7 miles to win my first race overall ever!
The Wisconsin probably has more miles on it by several orders of magnitude than any other ice boat and won it's first trophy ever this weekend taking first overall with cotton sails. No iceboat regatta has ever been sailed on Lake Petenwell, and this was Mike Kroll's first iceboat regatta. Another first for me was giving rides after the races when one of my passengers prayed out loud two Hail Mary's and one Our Father during the ride. I kept asking him if he was doing OK and if he wanted me to slow down, but he always said he was fine and broke into the next prayer whenever we'd bear off and crack the whip.
As the sailors packed up their boats, the ice surface was melting and the inevitable end of the season was at hand. I think everyone is looking forward to new ice and being able to add Lake Petenwell as a potential venue for future regattas.

Gerry Knop

Gerry Knop has passed away. Obituary here. Rick Hennig wrote a great tribute to Gerry on the 4LIYC Facebook page. "I just want to let everyone know that Todd Knop's father, Gerhardt or Gerry, passed away on 11-11-15. He was the guy that started iceboating for all of the Racine crowd in the early 70s. He bought a B class stern steerer at the Racine Yacht Club one Friday night after a few Stingers then got all us kids together to help work on her to get her ready for action. Then he took us all out to Williams Bay. We set the boat up and we had the time of our lives we could not believe the speed and the power the boat would produce . We were all hooked and it all went from there to where we are now. He was a leader of men that taught us how to enjoy everything that is good in life and how to have fun.

Nothing will ever be the same with out our Leader, Gerry Knop."

John Isom

Oshkosh sailor and iceboater, John Isom, passed away on Saturday, October 10. He served as Commodore of the Wisconsin Stern Steerers Association (WSSA) and sailed Snowbird III. Read John's obituary here.

How to Race a Stern Steerer

Here's another video from the Wisconsin Stern Steerer regatta by Joe Terry where he provides a running commentary during race four. This one is definitely worth your while!

One More 2015 WSSA Regatta Video - With Bonus Footage

George Gerhardt shot some leeward mark rounding videos at the recent Wisconsin Stern Steerers Association regatta. Here's the compilation with added bonus footage of Rosemary from the 1992 Northwest regatta. I needed another clip to fill out the soundtrack and it dropped in the timeline perfectly. Andy Gratton is sailing Rosemary in both videos. Read his story about the day in 1992 when Rosemary tipped over here.

George Gerhardt Photo Gallery

Overall Champions: Jay Yaeso and Bob Kau along with the King of Beers.
Some shots of the stern steers and trophy ceremony from George Gerhardt here.

Jeff Russell Photo Gallery

4LIYC Renegader and Super Cub pilot Jeff Russell shot some excellent WSSA regatta photos. Take a look here.

The Deuce: "Nothing But Power"

Video shot and edited by Dave Elsmo that's gone viral and been featured on the major sailing websites.>

Deuce Rounds Leeward

Feel the power! Here's a quick clip of the Deuce rounding leeward.

Final WSSA Standings

Click here for pdf of final standings. Thanks to Mary Jane Schalk for on shore scoring services.

WSSA Called On for Mendota

"The Wisconsin Stern Steering Association Regatta has been called on for this weekend, January 24 and 25, 2015, on Lake Mendota, Madison, WI. The launch area will be at Mendota County Park, NW corner of the lake off County M. Race area is east of Governor Nelson State Park. Don't forget that a permit is needed to drive onto the ice. See Andy Gratton on the ice for a permit or email him before Friday evening. First race is scheduled for 11 AM Saturday.

Stern Steerer Cruise on Lake Petenwell

Joe Terry, Andy Gratton, and Mike Kroll powering through the snow drifts as only stern steerers can do on Lake Petenwell in central Wisconsin on January 4

2015 WSSA Newsletter

The season is upon us. Here's the 2015 newsletter.

Rosemary Knows

WI Stern Steerers Regatta

The Wisconsin Stern Steerers Association held their annual championship on Green Lake in Wisconsin over the weekend. Green Lake IYC member was there to photograph the action and has uploaded his photos here.

Photo Credit: Tim Bryden, Green Lake Ice Yacht Club
Mike Peters helms Ace of Spades with DNer Mike Madge

WSSA Called On

The 2014 Wisconsin Stern Steering Assoc regatta is called on for Green Lake, March 22 and 23. The regatta site is at the southwest end of the lake at the boat landing. The first race is scheduled for 11 AM.

1968 Russian Championship

Via WSSA Secretary/Treasurer Andy Gratton alerts us to this really interesting Youtube video: "Matt Critchley found this video. Wing-sails on stern steerers, all they need is a bubble canopy. I don't even see any wires on these boats. Everyone should see these boats." See it here.

December 2013 Newsletter
& Notice of Dues

Hot off the press! Read it here.

Ole Evinrude's Ice Boats
Ole Evinrude, inventor of the first reliable outboard boat motor, also built and sold stern-steerers in his factory for a brief time during the 1920s in Wisconsin.

The only reference I've been able to find online to Evinrude ice boats is from the Rudder Magazine of February 1922. Evinrude exhibited an ice boat at the New York Power Boat Show that year. (Enter the search term "ice boat" on this link, quite a bit about ice boats in this magazine.)

The caption in the magazine reads "Evinrude Motor Company: A novelty will be a fully rigged Class F ice boat." Intrestingly enough, here's another photo with an "F" on the sail. Thanks to Mike Peters for the photos.

UPDATE: Mark Weiner writes: "Saw the photo's from Mike Peters of the old Evinrudes posted. I though you might like some photos of an old Evinrude ( or at least parts of one) as it exists today. The boat is "Spindler". Acquired about ten years ago and refurbished by Dan Tess and Mark Wiener. Home port of Fond du Lac. As you can see by the photos some parts have been rebuilt through the years, but there are may signs of the old boat still there. The most obvious is the tail block. The runners, and the plugged holes in the plank for the saddle brackets. The mast is now a banana, but the sail cut looks much the same, and is still cotton. We are still doing work on her each year to make her sail better, but we do intend to keep her looking as original as possible. Where ever we set up, Spindler seems to be a crowd pleaser and a calling card for the sport. We do sail the "B class" with the WSSA when ever possible. We are not the most competitive boat in the fleet, but we would like to see many of the old boats come out and sail with us. If we could get enough old boats on the ice we could start a cotton sail division. The photos enclosed were taken during a Spring rigging improvement day a few years ago."