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:
4LIYC Racing in the 21/22 Season
March 2022: The Hard Water Summit, Ft. Peck, Montana More information

BURGEE: Order your 4LIYC Burgee

Fast/Not So Fast

Via Natali Burdukovskaya Facebook page.

Not so fast – the Fat Lady is merely warming up. DN sailors in Bratsk, Russia, took advantage of their snowmelt and raced today.
Tip of the Helmet: Natali Burdukovskaya

A few weeks earlier in Russia, a mere 71-hour car drive east in St. Petersburg, the S8 and Monotype XV held their regatta 27-28 March 2021. “11 racers in S8 class and 4 in M-XV took part during the racing days at the end of the season in complicated racing conditions, soft spring ice and weak wind , 4-7 knots with gusts up to 8-12 knots.”
Tip of the Helmet: Andre Ivolgin

Queen of Mendota


With the Fat Lady past her sell-by date, the focus is again back in the shop and reviewing iceboating history. Don Sanford sent this photo of an unidentified UW Madison student who was the 1927 Prom Queen posing on an iceboat on Lake Mendota. LIBERTY was a Madison-style iceboat built by 4LIYC member, William Bernard. She won the 1925 Northwest Regatta Class B title and made the local newspapers quite a bit in the late 1920s and early 30s because of her winning record. See the full image here.

Stars Come Out to Play

Benoit Marie F1 at the 2019 DN European Championship in Poland. Photo: Gwidon Libera

Daniel Hearn’s update on the Montana Hard Water Summit Ice Sailing event, scheduled for March 2022.

Stars Coming Out To Play
2022 Hardwater Summit Information

Like KID ROCK, “he’s a Michigan boy, can feel that? Matt Struble now calls San Diego home, but he’ll always be a Midwesterner at heart. And he’s a sailing phenom. A multi-time DN World and US Champion on hard water. Countless catamaran titles in multiple classes on soft water. And more recently, since it’s hard to find hard water in San Diego, he’s tearing up the Moth circuit. Matt hasn’t actively campaigned a DN in years, yet he’s still an expert guest on SailJuice.com, sharing all his go-fast DN secrets with our Canadian buddy, Mike Madge. (Mike’s up der in Thunder Bay, eh, and he’s a really good guy. Check out the interviews if you haven’t seen them already). Take notice…Matt is planning on the Hardwater Summit next March. In spite of his layoff, odds are the rest of the DN fleet will be fighting for places 2 and below. If you’re going to get waxed, it’s not bad getting the beat down from Matt. He’s as soft-spoken and humble as he is good. Reminds me of another Michigan athlete, Barry Sanders, who simply handed the football to the ump after every touchdown. When you’re that good, I guess you can act like you’ve been there before.

 

But what if you’ve never been there before? No worries, the Hard Water Summit is still for you. Take French sailing superstar, Benoit Marie. He’s the reigning French Moth and A-Class Foiling Catamaran Champion. In 2018, having never sailed an iceboat, he showed up at the DN Worlds, outfitted with equipment and tips from Vaiko Voreema of Estonia. With no ranking, Benoit sailed as a rookie in both the Silver and Gold Fleet qualifiers, advancing both times up to the Gold Fleet. And he ultimately finished the World Championships in an impressive 35th position. Oui, oui…it appears the guy has talent. Always seeking the next adrenaline rush, now Benoit wants to try a C-Skeeter. Thanks to international ice sailing coordinator, Deb Whitehorse, he’s going to get his chance at the Summit.

 

Gareth finds the English Pub in Irkutsk, Siberia.

But what if your style is a bit more…let’s call it…flamboyant? Take our friend Gareth Rowland who’s coming to the Summit from England. I’m not sure if Gareth has ever won a race, but ask anyone…he always wins the party. His ice sailing regatta attire routinely includes Union Jack adorned sports coats, top hats, kilts and the like. And, no, I have no idea what he wears under the kilt, but if you come to the Summit, there’s a good chance you’ll find out.

Frozen Asset


Fast forward to the 19 minute mark on this Wisconsin Public Television video for some classic footage from 2001 including Chauncy Grigg’s wing Skeeter, Ken Kreider’s pink Skeeter, and an interview with Bill Mattison.
Tip of the Helmet: Don Sanford

Looming Shortage of Spandex Racing Suits Faces Nation


Via a very trusted source:

BREAKING: NCAA ADOPTS COED ICEBOATING AS OFFICIAL SPORT, SOUTHERN SCHOOLS IN PANIC


In a shocking move, the NCAA has endorsed Iceboating as its latest addition to its catalogue of sports for the Winter 2021-2022 season. After heated discussion over the merit of endorsing E-sports, the NCAA’s Athletic Breadth Committee determined that the speed, excitement, and potential for carnage left Iceboating as a prime candidate for college athletics.

Included in the deal is a 10-year broadcast contract with CBS Sports, along with the appointment of Wisconsin Sailing Team junior @samuel_bartel as the new Ice Tsar for college Iceboating.

Throwback Thursday: 1975 ISA @ Saratoga, NY

The usual suspects – Left to Right: Harvey Witte, Gary Sternberg, Susie Whitehorse, Greg Whitehorse, Gary & Barb Whitehorse, Sandy Witte, Ken & Walter Whitehorse.

It’s birthday week for 4LIYC Skeeter skipper Walter Whitehorse who celebrated 95 turns around the sun a few days ago. Nephew Gary Whitehorse posted a tribute on the 4LIYC Facebook page, which prompted another Skeeter sailor Harvey Wittee to remember a trip with Walter to the 1975 International Skeeter Association Regatta sailed at Saratoga, New York.
Previous: 1975 ISA slides from Gary Whitehorse and commentary by Dan Clapp
ISA Regatta Records

Since it was Wally’s 95th Birthday the other day, it reminded me of our photos of the ISA at Saratoga Lake in 1975. These photos were taken by Preston Shreeve who was an ice boater from New Jersey. Him and his wife were in the motel room next to us and they were the most delightful and enjoyable people to become acquainted with. You meet so many wonderful people ice boating.
Hope you enjoy the blast from the past!

 

 

T-Bay Springs Into April Sailing

Source: Thunder Bay Ice Boating Facebook Page

Source: Thunder Bay Ice Boating Facebook Page

Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada ice sailors usually open and close the ice sailing season in North America. While most of us in the U.S. are turning our attention to soft water and off-season projects, Mike Madge continues to sail well into April, the perfect time to spread the iceboating creed when he actively works on getting new people to try the sport.

 

No matter what time of year, respect and caution are always part of ice sailing. Spring sailing can be tricky, and NEIYA Vice Commodore Jay Whitehair explains his common sense decision-making process when faced with marginal conditions. Read it here.
(Tip of the Helmet Mike Peters.)

This Weekend in Iceboat History: Fauerbach Wins Hearst 107 Years Ago


On March 16, 1914, Madisonians Emil Fauerbach and William Bernard brought the Hearst Trophy to Madison, one of the most sought after titles in ice yacht racing.
UPDATE 3-18: The original photo that was posted was incorrect. See more below.

Previous: Throw Back Thursday, Meet Emil Fauerbach

Emil Fauerbach, born 1870, grew up on Lake Monona near his family’s brewery and was obsessed with the beautiful ice yachts he saw flying around the lake, considered the fastest vehicles in the world at the time. One mile away from the brewery on the other side of Madison’s isthmus, William Bernard was born the same year and grew up immersed in his father’s boat livery on Lake Mendota, where he fulfilled his dream of building and designing iceboats.

 

Fauerbach and Bernard joined forces and chased one of the most prestigious ice yacht racing titles, the Hearst trophy. Newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst donated a gold-lined silver cup at the behest of the Kalamazoo Ice Yacht Club in Michigan in 1903. Emil’s idea was to challenge for the prestigious Hearst trophy, but in 1904 Emil sailing a Bernard-built boat, returned to Madison from Gull Lake, Michigan, without the title.

Fauerbach and Bernard’s obsession with the Hearst resulted in a new ice yacht explicitly designed to win the coveted cup. Bernard completed Princess II for Fauerbach in January of 1906. Princess II carried 426 square feet of sail, weighed 1500 pounds, and made of the finest white oak and spruce. Between 1904 and 1914, the two determined men traveled six times to Gull Lake, Michigan, trying to win the Hearst. Fauerbach was considered Madison’s “Sir Thomas Lipton,” after the British millionaire yachtsman famous for his five unsuccessful bids to win the America’s Cup.

1914: The Hearst Cup Finally Comes to Madison
PRINCESS II won the Northwest regatta Class A championship in 1914. Shortly after the win, Emil Fauerbach, PRINCESS II, and his crew of Andy Flom, William Bernard, and Hiram Nelson took the train to Michigan.

 

Fauerbach’s resolve to capture the Hearst for Madison was so great that he put aside his ego and stayed off the boat, turning over control to superior sailor Andy Flom. On March 16, 1914, Emil watched from the finish line as Flom, Nelson, and Bernard finally wrested the Hearst away from the Kalamazoo Ice Yacht Club. They were bringing the elegant trophy to Madison.

 

When the news of the victory reached Madison, the citizens were ecstatic. Henry Fauerbach, interviewed at Chicago’s Illinois Athletic Club, declared that his brother’s victory would be a good motivation for ice-yacht racing throughout the whole Northwest. In an understatement, Mendota Yacht Club Commodore Lew Porter told the Wisconsin State Journal, “it is possible that the Mendota Yacht Club will hold some sort of jollification as a result of the victory of the PRINCESS II.” The paper went on to write, “PRINCESS II, sailing the colors of the Mendota Yacht Club, has won for Madison the highest honors in this year’s leading American ice yacht regatta…Madison is particularly gratified at the splendid success of Emil Fauerbach’s iceboat because the game Badger skipper has tried several times to lift the cup.” Fauerbach’s win put Madison on the map as an iceboating community.

 

Sadly, Emil Fauerbach had only a short time to revel in the Hearst trophy’s prestige and honors. Fifteen months after he won the Hearst, Madisonians read the shocking news that their most famous ice yachtsman had passed away. Emil Fauerbach died on May 22, 1915, at 45, from complications of a stomach operation.

Misidentified as “Emil Fauerbach and possibly Andy Flom on PRINCESS I in front of Fauerbach Brewery on Lake Monona, Madison, WI, c.1905. Courtesy of Byron Tetzlaff.” Erich Schloemer pointed out that this boat isn’t a Madison-style boat as all PRINCESS boats were, but instead could be a John Buckstaff-built boat, possibly DEBUTANTE B. Stay tuned for more.

Fort Peck 2022: The Hard Water Summit – Survey


Fort Peck 2022: The Hard Water Summit

Ice Sailors:

Don’t get pinned!

We just learned there is a chance we will be competing for hotel rooms next March with the Montana State High School Wrestling Tournament. As you know, our dates are fluid within a 3-week window; the wrestling authorities have yet to choose their date.

To put us in the best position to negotiate a block of rooms well in advance, please fill out our survey, IF you are a likely participant. In the event we are forced to “ration” rooms in our block, we will do so based on the chronology of survey submission (i.e., earliest survey respondents will get first-right-of-refusal on reserved rooms).

Have you started building your new boat yet for the event?

Previous:
The Hardwater Summit
Fort Peck 2022

Introducing WING

New Jersey Dan Clapp is best known for his innovative A-Class front-seater Skeeter designs and dominating the Skeeter class championships for two decades. He won nine International Skeeter Association regattas and seven Northwest titles. In the past years, he realized that the magnitude of effort to campaign the Skeeter became too much and too time-consuming. The lack of travel partners also contributed to his decision to sell his INSANITY, one of the most stunning Skeeters ever seen.

Jim Gervolino nudged Dan into helping him put together a wing mast that could work with various hulls. Here’s his story on the WING.

Several years ago, when Tom Nichols moved from New Jersey to Maine, he had to get rid of the wing he built in the ’80s for his front-seat C-Class Skeeter. I convinced Jim Gervolino to take it.

Jim Gervolino’s C Class Skeeter w Wing

 

Jim spent that summer rebuilding that wing from its three-element, low aspect ratio shape to a more modern two-element (wing & flap), high aspect ratio shape, similar to those of John Eisenlohr’s wing land sailing boats.

 

Jim put his wing on a new conventional cockpit C-Class Skeeter boat he built and sailed it three times in 2020.

 

An Icebird

It worked so well that Jim came to me in the spring and tried to convince me to build a wing so he’d have someone to “play” with. We were standing in my shop beside a wall of photos. I told him I wasn’t interested in building another iceboat, but if we could put a wing on a boat I already had, like, say, “that” one (as I pointed to a picture of an Icebird), then maybe I’d be interested. Jim laughed and said, “You’re not serious, are you?”

 

We collaborated on the shape of the wing until we agreed on an airfoil. I wanted a taller wing for light wind, but Jim wanted a shorter wing so he wouldn’t be overpowered in heavy air. So, we agreed on making the top three feet (six sq.ft.) removable. It turned out to be the perfect compromise, and it has already proven itself with wind gusting over 25 on our maiden voyage.

 

Jim proposed that he’d build the wings, and I’d build the hulls. Jim is retired. All summer, he’d keep sending me progress photos and asking, “when are you going to start building the hulls?” By September 2020, I could no longer procrastinate. I used a medical table mold from work to shape the hulls. The design is simple because it doesn’t need to provide for “sheeting” loads like most iceboats since the wings have none.

 

I may have been a little bit hoodwinked into this whole WING project, and I wasn’t exactly thrilled to be involved at first. These boats are like toys, and I was used to building A-Class Skeeters. It wasn’t until my first ride that I saw the light and couldn’t be happier now. The wing works better than I ever imagined. And, the entire boat, including the wing, fits inside my Yukon XL. No 36-foot long box trailer necessary. My back doesn’t hurt from lugging heavy Skeeter hulls and stepping 28′ masts. My neck doesn’t hurt from laying down and trying to hold my head up like in DN. In fact, except for a bathroom break, there was no reason to stop sailing. It’s like iceboating in your lazy-boy recliner. I sailed for hours, and the next day, miraculously, I got out of bed without an aching body.

Chauncy Griggs Skeeter with wing mast

But, Jim deserves most of the credit. He rebuilt the first wing proving the concept. He researched everything and studied John Eisenlohr’s wing-building videos, of which we used much of the same ideas. And, he kept the project progressing over the summer when most of us were out on the water having fun. Not too many people have the motivation to work on iceboats when it’s 90 degrees outside, even most iceboaters.

 

We look forward to others using their DN parts and building themselves a wing, and we’d be happy to answer any questions they might have. We talked about a name for this new class (Ice Wings, Hot Wings, Grasshoppers). Probably just calling them “Wings” and adding a number next to the “W” for sail area, like W28 for our 28 square foot wings, is best. If someone makes a bigger wing as Chauncey Griggs did, it’ll be called W75. I wish Chauncey had lived long enough to have seen these. He would’ve been proud, even if it took 30 years for someone to join him. I did get the “handlebar” idea for controlling the wing rotation from one of his boats.

Regatta Dates 2022

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4LIYC Race Results


Click for 4LIYC Meeting Dates

2020-2021

  • November 18
  • December 2
  • Elections, Elect Fleet Captains. Vote on ISA & NIYA Agenda Items
  • December 16
  • December 30
  • January 13 Honor Roll Nominations
  • January 27 Deadline for By-Law or Racing Rules Amendment Submission
  • February 10
  • February 24 Business Meeting
  • March 10

Location: Online using the Zoom App Members please email debwhitehorse@iceboat.org for the link.

Time: 6:30 PM

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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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