Welcome to iceboat.org

The Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club is one of the most active iceboat clubs in North America. We’ve been building and racing iceboats for over 100 years in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

Ice Is Never 100% Safe.

Our ice reports are strictly for iceboat racers. Recreational iceboaters, kite boarders, cross country skiers, and ice fishermen should not rely on our ice reports. We have safety equipment. Do you?

Buy or Sell Your Iceboat

One of the best pages in North America to buy or sell iceboats and their parts. There’s also a complete list of vendors who will supply iceboats, sails, and their components.

Common Questions:

How can I get started? How fast can they go? How much do they cost? Is it safe?

Regatta Watch

Information about the ISA, NIYA, WSSA, Nite, and DN regattas.

Iceboat Classes

Learn about Skeeters, DNs, Stern Steerers, Renegades, Nites, and Ice Optimists.

The Rules.

The purpose of iceboat racing rules is to prevent collisions.

Ice Yacht Clubs

The best way to learn about iceboating and make life long friendships is to join a local club.

Why We Sail.

“If all our ice were glass, slightly wet, and all our air reasonably steady with lifters just where needed, sailing would be perfect. Sometimes we do find this, and it is worth waiting years to have. Meanwhile we must accept the more ordinary ice conditions, ordinary weather and wind, and gracefully accept snow, sometimes for weeks. Our ideal comes from time to time, the Great Maker gives only so much of the very best.” Charles H. Johnson.

Iceboating for Kids

Ice Optimists were created specifically as a youth trainer, designed to be easily built using commonly available materials, and to keep costs to a minimum.

UPCOMING:
November 3, 2019: SIBC Swap Meet  Information

ENTERPRISE III: Ahead Of Its Time

One of the earliest front-cockpit Class A Skeeters in iceboating, designed and built by Harry Whitehorse, c. 1976. Photo: Gary Whitehorse

Gary Whitehorse recently came across this previously unknown photo in his collection. “Came across this negative looking for something completely different. My Dad, Harry’s, front seat “A” Skeeter, Dad in foreground , 1976ish. Not many pictures of it, so I was happy when I found it.”

He posted it on the 4LIYC Facebook page and it solicited a lot of questions and comments.  ENTERPRISE III was an aluminum-hull front-cockpit Class A Skeeter designed and built by Harry Whitehorse in the mid 1970s. Gary’s brother, Greg Whitehorse, remembers that it was heavy and “…even today’s front-seaters are on the heavy side. Could have used a wider plank and a less drafty sail. It did ‘kink’ the aluminum skin on its initial cruise (which if I remember, was on rough, snow covered ice, and a windy day), but the kink didn’t get worse. Another interesting thing about this boat was the sheeting system. My Dad wanted to steer it like a race car, with a steering wheel. So he made a cleat on a traveler and track that he could operate with his legs and feet. It really was kinda neat. He said it worked good.”

SIBC Iceboat Swap Meet: November 3, 2019


Via Jane Pegel of the Skeeter Iceboat Club:

Skeeter Ice Boat Club 34th Annual Swap Meet

Date: Sunday, November 3, 2019
Time: 9:00 to noon (Central Std. Time)
Location: Lucke’s Cantina
220 N. Elkhorn Rd. (WI Hwy 67), Williams Bay, WI.

There is no charge for participating.
Free tickets for the annual raffle.
For more info, email sailing19@charter.net

This is the day to swap, buy, or sell new and used iceboats and misc. equipment. Boat builders & hardware manufacturers will display new products. Breakfast and/or lunch will be available at Lucke’s.

Display area:
Items for sale can be set up on the black top parking area at Lucke’s and in the vacant lot to the south of the old Sailing Specialists building. Please do not park your cars in the display area.
Please do not park or set up your displays adjacent to neighboring businesses. A short distance to the north there is a municipal parking lot located at the intersection of Elkhorn Rd. and Stark St. (on the north side of Stark St., opposite Burrough’s Floor Coverings).

“Left Alone With Big Fat Fanny”

The Fat Bottomed Girl gets some knickers.

Previously:
“A Space for Cowboys:
“The Inspector”
“Building In The Big City”
“New Ways to Shave”
“Heavy Metal Lightweight”
“It’s a Bubble”
“Simon Says”
“Frosting For Frozen Fun”
“When Your Plank Needs Work”
“A Weak Moment
Hang on folks, here we go with another Spaight Street Syndicate report from Daniel Hearn:


I was just a skinny dad

Never knew no good from bad
But I knew life before I left my shop dusty
Left alone with big fat fanny
She was such a naughty lassie
Heap big woman
You made a bad boy out of me

I was focused on her bottom last night when Spotify served up a classic. Coincidence? I think not. Just me and my fat bottomed girl havin’ at it in the basement. And my wife doesn’t seem to care, unless things get too loud, but even then she just calmly asks, “can’t you do that when I’m not home?” Reasonable request. She walked in on us a couple days ago when I was nailing her with the pneumatic gun. I apologized profusely for that indiscretion, as I appreciated that it can be shocking when not expected.

Thanks for the sign, Freddie. Enjoyed your movie earlier this year. Rock on and tell my dad I miss him.

The Fat Bottomed Girl gets some knickers.


Regatta Watch: TWO Western Challenges in Minnesota

Drone shot from the 2019 International Skeeter Association Regatta on Lake Pepin, Lake City, MN Photo: Steve Brown

It’s time to start thinking seriously about ice! The Minnesota Ice Sailors have announced back to back
fun-regattas (non-sanctioned events) for December 2019. Both regattas will take place on the best ice in Minnesota, location to be announced. Information will be posted on the Minnesota Ice Sailing website, iceboating.net.

DN WESTERN CHALLENGE
December 6-8, 2019
Location: TBA, best ice in MN
Mini-Skeeters are also invited to attend and join the party!

SKEETER WESTERN CHALLENGE
December 14-15, 2019
Location: TBA, best ice in MN
Classes: A, B, and C Skeeters

 

DRIFTER Getting Dirty

Worlds colliding!

Pat Heppert is temporarily converting his C Skeeter DRIFTER into a land sailor for the September 28 – October 6, 2019 gathering at Alvord Desert in southeast Oregon. Pat writes:

Here’s the latest evolution of iceboat craziness from the shop that is home to the Drifter C Skeeter in Belle Plaine, MN. John Eisenlohr has graciously extended an invitation for iceboaters to join him in the desert for a week of sailing, even going as far as promising iceboaters some seat time in the mini-skeeter fleet.

Sounds like fun, but it seemed like I should be taking a “mini” skeeter of my own. With much advice borrowed from John’s extensive landsailing knowledge, Drifter is in the process of being converted for the task. An extra plank that was previously too short and too soft was stiffened for the added width of landsailing axles. The springboard is completely new just for landsailing. The axles and steering hardware was ordered from Amazon, just search for “C skeeter landsailing conversion kit”, and all the pieces are in the box. Needs paint and trailer modification, but should be ready. Not sure how that canopy/greenhouse thing is going to work out in the hot sun.

Come join the fun! https://www.iceboat.org/2019/07/18/mini-skeeter-invitation/

A Space for Cowboys

After a short break, Daniel Hearn is back in the saddle, so to speak, with his C Skeeter basement build.

Previously:
“The Inspector”
“Building In The Big City”
“New Ways to Shave”
“Heavy Metal Lightweight”
“It’s a Bubble”
“Simon Says”
“Frosting For Frozen Fun”
“When Your Plank Needs Work”
“A Weak Moment

Saddle Up, Cowboy

Yeah, I know, it’s been awhile since my last update. In between that work thing and summer pursuits, my time blocks for the shop are short and less frequent, but I’ve been chipping away at the iCe rocket. (No, that’s not the boat name, but it will be a subject of a future blog). My internal mechanicals are now complete, and I’ve been doing lots of sanding on the cockpit carbon to make it look all purdy. I’ll give you the full tour in my next blog.

 

My nightly ritual this week has been laminating carbon to form the “saddle” which will attach my rocket to the launch pad. At the center point of the plank I laid out a layer of peel ply, then formed the saddle around the plank. I lost track of how many layers, but it was a great way to use up my scraps of both uni and cloth, interspersed with full size pieces. My technical consultant advised that the saddle needed to be stronger than the hull itself, so I just kept adding layers each night until I got to a thickness of about 3/8”. Once there, I rough trimmed the saddle and cut a matching profile in the bottom of my hull to prepare it for glue on. After I glue it on, I’ll reinforce the attachment with carbon fillets on the inside and outside of the hull. The outside fillets will cover up the mounting plates for the titanium axle that holds my exit block in position.

 

It was noticeably cooler this morning for my sun-up open water swim. Ice is a good way off yet, but the seasons are starting to sniffle. This cowboy is excited to break in a wild mare branded M-177!

On Twinbeds

TWINBEDS on Lake Kegonsa at the 2002 Northwest Regatta

The McCormick family, long time members of the 4LIYC, have owned TWINBEDS, a Class C Stern Steerer, since 1949 when 19 year old Bill McCormick purchased the boat from Charlie Bleck who lived in Monona, WI. Peter McCormick, who takes her tiller these days, has been on a quest to learn more about the history of the boat. Charlie Bleck purchased the boat from Phil Berdner, an Oshkosh Ice Yacht Club member and owner of a marina. When Chuck bought the boat it had a spare mast that was 4-5 ft taller than the sail. Chuck replaced the mast with a shorter one.

TWINBEDS was built here in Madison by Carl Bernard in the Hudson River style instead of the Madison style- which means she was built after 1927. (MISS MADISON was the last Madison style stern steerer built here). TWINBEDS has captured the Class C stern steerer Northwest regatta title 11 times.

Iceboats On Display in Michigan


If you are near the west coast of Michigan on Saturday, check out the Penwater Classic Boat Show.

Summer Iceboat Festival at the Pentwater Wooden and Classic Boat Show
This Saturday, August 24th from 10 to 4 on the Village Green in Pentwater, Michigan.
See iceboats from Skimmers to Skeeters in the warmth of a summer’s day.
For more information contact David Reynolds 847 922-7871

Herbert L. Stone Inducted into National Sailing Hall of Fame

“The design, construction, and handling of an ice boat is an art rather than an exact science.” Herbert L. Stone

Yachting Magazine editor Herbert L Stone, editor of the first ice sailing book in the United States, is being inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame. Stone edited the book “Ice Boating” in 1913 and also wrote the forward to “Wings On the Ice” (published in 1938), one of the best books on the subject ever written.

I can find no evidence that Stone ever owned an iceboat but he had a tremendous influence on the sport by helping to popularizing it through articles in Yachting Magazine. Stone played a big part in reviving the Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant (IYCP) when he encouraged the IYCP trustees of the New Hamburgh Ice Yacht Club to pass on the trusteeship to the Eastern Ice Yachting Association.
Read Ray Ruge’s 1950 article about the revival of the IYCP published in Yachting World here.

Stone’s forward in “Wings On the Ice”, written 81 years ago, still rings true today.

Perhaps one of the chief charms of ice boating is the fact that the implements with which the sport is played, just as in the case of sailing yachts, have not been reduced to a fixed, static quantity. The design, construction, and handling of an ice boat is an art rather than an exact science. There is still room for the play of new ideas, for the expression of individual talent, for the exercise of skill, knowledge, and ingenuity.
Herbert L. Stone
Excerpt of forward to Winds on The Ice, Frederic M. Gardiner

Other ice sailors who have been inducted into the NSHOF are: Peter Barrett, Bill Bentsen,Jan Gougeon, Meade Gougeon, Olaf Harken, Peter Harken, and Buddy Melges

4LIYC Ice Yacht History: RED ARROW

The recent “Garage Find” post inspired a morning of research on RED ARROW, a Madison-style stern-steerer built by William Bernard in the 1920s.

Peter Fauerbach mentioned that after years of being stored in an Madison apartment building owned by Warren Tetzlaff, RED ARROW was sold in the mid 1990s and shipped to Montana.What happened in between covers some interesting Madison history.

RED ARROW was originally owned by Joe Dean Jr., son of prominent Madison doctor Joseph Dean who founded the Dean Clinic. Joe’s brother, Frank, raced it as well.  The Deans lived next door to the Bernard Boat House on Gorham Street on Lake Mendota.

The boat was named after the 32nd Infantry Division, a World War One Army National Guard Division made up of units from Wisconsin and Michigan. RED ARROW won the C Class at the 1922 Northwest sailed on Lake Winnebago in Oshkosh, WI.

RED ARROW has a slight link to the famous aviator, Charles Lindbergh, who briefly attended the University of Wisconsin in 1921. When Lindbergh visited Madison in 1929, Dr. Joseph Dean Sr. told his son, Frank, that if he could get a ride in Lindbergh’s plane, he would buy him an airplane. Frank was successful and his father bought him that airplane.

More on Charles Lindbergh and Madison Ice Sailing: 
Charles Lindbergh Learned About Speed on Lake Mendota’s Ice
Meade Gougeon’s Essential “Evolution of Modern Sailboat Design”

Photos from the William and Carl Bernard Collection

Regatta Dates 2020

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4LIYC Race Results


Click for 4LIYC Meeting Dates

2018-2019

  • November 14
  • November 29 THURSDAY Elections, Elect Fleet Captains. Vote on ISA & NIYA Agenda Items
  • December 12
  • December 27 THURSDAY
  • January 9 Honor Roll Nominations
  • January 23 Deadline for By-Law or Racing Rules Amendment Submission
  • February 6
  • February 20 Business Meeting
  • March 6
  • March 20

Location: Off Broadway Drafthouse 5404 Raywood Road Madison, WI Time: 6:30 PM (Come earlier for dinner)


YOU ARE SKIPPER NUMBER

TO ROUND THE MARK SINCE NOVEMBER 1999.



Lake Access Permits

A year-round permit required for designated launch sites in the City of Madison and Dane County Parks. Locations include:

    • Lake Mendota Warner Park Mendota County Park
    • Lake Monona Tonyawatha Tr. Olin Park
    • Lake Waubesa Goodland Park

Purchase Lake Access Permit Online.

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