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.

Sunday, Sept 26, 2021: 4LIYC Picnic @ Sugar Ridge Airport – Honoring Greg Whitehorse  More Information
Iceboat Swap Meet: October 31, 2021 hosted by 4LIYC in Madison. More information.
4LIYC Racing in the 21/22 Season
March 2022: The Hard Water Summit, Ft. Peck, Montana More information

BURGEE: Order your 4LIYC Burgee

4LIYC Picnic News – New Location & Time

Run what you brung!


The 4LIYC’s annual fall picnic, when we will also honor the contributions of Greg Whitehorse to our club, has moved from Burrows Park to a private airport and museum in Verona. We’ll be picnicking in a large hanger surrounded by wonderfully restored cars, planes, tractors, horse-drawn buggies; basically, the whole timeline of mechanically driven speed from the late 19th century on up. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to catch up with club members while looking over the collection of vehicles. The photos below are a small sampling of the collection.
Fly or drive to Sugar Ridge Airport on Sunday, September 26. The party starts at noon..

Date: Sunday, September 26, 2021
Time: 12 Noon
New Location: Sugar Ridge Airport
7550 Sugar Ridge, Verona, WI 53593
What to Bring: Bring your own beverages and a dish to pass.
We’ll have a ham for sandwiches, a tradition started by Jim Payton and carried on by Peter Lundt. 

4LIYC Meeting News for 21-22 Season

A good day on Lake Kegonsa. Photo: Jeff Russell

The Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club will decide on October 8, 2021 whether to continue the Zoom meeting format for November and December or to meet in person. Dane County is under a mask mandate which they will update on October 8.
Watch for Notice of Dues postcards in your mailbox or click on this link to download and send your dues to our Treasurer, Jerry Simon.


4LIYC Sailors Take Off at Loring


Photo Gallery
A substantial crew of Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club sailors made the trip to Limestone Maine to compete at the 2021 Eastern Land Sailing Championship at Loring Airforce Base on September 10-12, 2021. You’ll recognize many Eastern and Midwestern ice sailors in the competitor’s list. With 19 races in both the Blokart and Unlimited divisions, they’ll be tuned for the ice sailing season. Loring Airforce Base “was one of the largest bases of the U.S. Air Force’s Strategic Air Command during its existence… Loring was a heavy bomberaerial refueling, and interception facility for military aircraft, equipment, and supplies.” It was closed in 1994. The B52 bomber runways make for an excellent land-sailing track.
UPDATE: Just back from Maine and wanted to add to the original post that I wrote at 5 AM this morning before heading to the airport.  A big thank you to the guy who had the vision to see this through, Bill Buchholz of the Chickawaukee Iceboat Club. Be sure to read Bill’s write up on the Chickawaukee website.


Blokart Lightweight: 4th Milo Fleming (Chickawaukee Ice Yacht Club), 3rd Aiden Schmeidlin (4LIYC), 2nd Daniel Hearn (4LIYC), and 1st Steve Madden (NEIYA).

Blokart Medium Division: 4th Wayne Schmeidlin (4LIYC), 3rd Lars Barber (4LIYC), 2nd BB Hedrock (not pictured), and 1st Mike Dinning.

Blokart Heavy Division: 4th Dan Clapp (NSIYC) (not pictured), 3rd Geoff Sobering (4LIYC) (not pictured), 2nd Jim Nordhaus (4LIYC), 1st Dave Lussier.

Unlimited Division: From left 3rd John Stanton (NEIYA), 4th Dave Fortier (CIBC), 4th Pete Johns (IDNIYRA, SIBC), 2nd Bill Bucholz (CIBC), 1st Chad Atkins (4LIYC) with PRO Henry Capotosto (NEIYA) .

The fasted craft at the regatta, Chad Atkins’ modified DN created a lot of interest on social media. 

Harry Allen

Bill And Harry Allen Lake Minnetonka Dn Sailing

Brothers Bill and Harry Allen on Lake Minnetonka.

Via Mike Bloom

Harold “Harry” Allen (DN 2452) died Tuesday night, September 2, 2021, after a courageous battle with cancer.

Harry was a talented helmsman who raced multiple classes of iceboats in the winter and raced E and A scows in the summer. And, if Harry ever needed a crew, more often than not, one of his three daughters was on board sailing with him.

As much as anything, Harry loved to iceboat. Harry raced Nites, DNs and his Stern Steerer. Harry was as popular as he was generous. If iceboaters were setting up on Minnetonka, 99% of the time the boats were in front of Harry’s house. There was not a more welcoming or friendly sailor on the ice.

Harry’s passing leaves a huge hole in the Minnetonka sailing community. The DN fleet sends condolences to his wife LeeAnne, daughters Emily, Katie and Mary, and to the rest of the Allen Family.

May Harry’s memory sail on.

Iceboat Swap Meet: Save the Date – Oct 31

Photo: Joe Stanton

The Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club is pleased to announce that we will be holding the Iceboat Swap Meet on Sunday, October 31, 2021, in Madison, WI, from 9 AM-Noon. Lake Geneva’s Skeeter Iceboat Club, the originators of the swap meet, has decided to forego hosting the famous meet again this year and support the 4LIYC having a turn. We’ll have more on location and other details soon.  From the SIBC’s description, the swap meet is “the day to swap, buy, or sell new and used iceboats and misc. equipment. Boat builders & hardware manufacturers will display new products.”

Iceboat Swap Meet
Date: Sunday, October 31, 2021
Time: 9 AM – Noon
Location: TBA
Info: debwhitehorse@iceboat.org

Jane Pegel Honored at LGYC

National Sailing Hall of Fame members and ice sailors- from Left: Peter Harken, Jane Pegel, and Buddy Melges “All kings and queens are not born of royal bloodlines. Some become royal because of what they do once they realize who they are.” Pharrell Williams

Previous: Jane Pegel To Be Inducted into the NSHOF
A celebration to commemorate Jane Pegel’s induction into the National Sailing Hall of Fame was held at the Lake Geneva Yacht Club on Sunday, August 27th.
Susie Pegel reports:

Those in attendance at Jane’s party August 29th at the Lake Geneva Yacht Club included folks from Lake Geneva, Delavan, Madison, Pewaukee and Green Lake. And there was a surprise guest appearance from former DN world champion Mike O’Brien who flew in from New Jersey to say “hi.” Flowers had previously been sent to Jane from former DN world champion Henry Bossett. Mauretta Mattison sent regrets that she and Bill would be unable to attend the party. Many thanks to all the iceboaters who sent messages to Jane wishing her well and congratulations.

Excerpt from email sent to Jane from Dan Heaney:
“I am honored to be invited to the celebration of Jane’s selection to the Sailing Hall of Fame. I will miss the opportunity to hear the wisdom expressed by Jane regarding sailing, both hard water and soft water. Jane’s comments, especially those directed to my attention were always welcome and a positive contribution to my efforts as a race manager for the IDNIYRA. I look forward to the opportunity to see Jane in the future and will make it a priority to contact her and yourself on the occasion I have to be in Lake Geneva….we raise a toast to Jane in congratulations for being recognized for all the contributions made to the sport of sailing and the influence she has had on the sailors who have been lucky enough to meet her.”
Dan Heaney, Neenah, WI

Canadian Ice Force

Canadian Ice Force Newsletters

Ice sailors around here still talk about the Canadian Ice Force, a group of legendary dedicated iceboaters from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The Force is still around and getting ready for the season..  Mike Druiven has uploaded several copies of historic Canadian Ice Force newsletter to Google Drive.

“The newsletters featured articles on sailing, stories, regatta results, land sailing, photos and articles detailing iceboat design, engineering and construction. Thanks to Bob Intini for making these available to share. Some great summer reading to get us off our feet and start preparing for the coming ice! ” Mike Druiven

4LIYC’s Steve Arnold’s Skeeter made for a perfect bench on which to socialize during a regatta postponement at the ISA in Hamilton Bay, Ontario, CA. From left, Lorne Sherry, Charlie Miller, Elmer Millenbach, Bill Mattison. Note the freighter in the background.

Northwest Free For All Trophy History

Read: Oshkosh Ice Boat Club History & 1939 Northwest History by Harry Lund
All-around iceboater Andy Gratton let me borrow a rich archive of iceboat ephemera, photos, and records from Oshkosh, Wisconsin. As anyone who researches history can tell you, the information in libraries like this is filled with rabbit holes that lead you to unforeseen places, always different than what you originally intended.

1930 Oshkosh Ice Yacht Club Letterhead Logo

A report written in 1939 by Harry Lund about the history of the Oshkosh Ice Yacht Club led me to the 1940 Northwest regatta. The regatta was sailed on Geneva Lake in Lake Geneva, WI. It was the first time a Class A Skeeter, Jack Vilas in SUSIE Q, won the ten-lap Northwest “Free For All” race, where the winner is awarded one of the most beautiful trophies in our sport.

1940 Oshkosh Newspaper Northwest Report

The Northwest began in 1913, and the Free For All was the last race of the regatta to compare the speeds of the different classes of stern-steerers. The top two finishers in Class A, B, C, and D stern-steerers were eligible to race for the trophy. 1933 marked the first time the Skeeter class competed in the Northwest, and it only took them seven years to take the Free For All trophy from the stern-steerer class. The Skeeter class has continued their dominance of that race to the present day; Minnesota’s John Dennis is the current titleholder. Thinking about that day in 1940 when Jack Vilas in SUSIE Q became the first bow-steering boat to take home the big cup reminded me of National Sailing Hall of Fame member Jan Gougeon.

Back on Lake Geneva in 1981, Jan gamely lined up his DN with the Class A Skeeters of Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club’s Paul Krueger and Bill Mattison for the ten-lap finale. “It was a scary situation for Bill and me,” Paul recalled. “Jan didn’t realize how fast Bill and I were making the mark. To avoid him, I had to hit the mark, and Bill went to the outside.” From then on, DN sailors who qualified and wanted to compete in the race were allowed to borrow a Class A Skeeter. Jan’s good friend, Ron Sherry, won the 1997 race in a Class A Skeeter he borrowed from 4LIYC’s Bob Kau. (Interesting how Lake Geneva is where Northwest Free-For-All History has been made in 1940, 1981, and 1997!) Ron’s account of that race is a classic story, worthy of another good future post.

The trophies of the Northwest Regatta in 1913. Note the biggest of them all, the Free-For-All trophy

“Tool Porn”

“To Bodge (v), to make or repair hastily, to MacGyver”

Spaight St. Syndicate
The Spaight Street Syndicate expands its footprint. Via Daniel Hearn:

A sure sign that you’re a major dork is when certain tools tickle your loins. Guilty. But come on, check out this bad girl! If you’re like me, you’ve been lusting after the perfect re-saw machine since you skinnied your first board. Miss August, Tilly Tannewitz, boasts a 5 horsepower motor that will rip your hardwood quicker than a sailor draining a bottle of rum. She insists that Sitka is for sissy saws, but she doesn’t judge, so she’ll still entertain wuss wood. Touch her button and she slowly winds up until she’s a screaming mad woman just daring you to test her metal. With a 1″ carbide-toothed blade, she’s not slowin’ down for nobody. And if you think you need a rounded fence to keep her tracking down the center, forget about it! Set your thickness, and she’s as straight and true as they come.


Tilly is a relatively new addition to the Bodgery, a community shop that I joined just before COVID.  Until now, I’ve never found an economical resource for re-sawing lumber. By the time I would pay a set-up fee and then the hourly rate for cutting at a professional shop, it would still be cheaper to waste a lot of wood in the planer. At $12 per board foot, I just couldn’t do it. So, on my current projects, I ripped the boards to 4″ width, then re-sawed, then planned, then glued the boards back together to get the widths I needed. Material efficient, but labor intensive. Tilly can resaw up to 13″ of hardwood, barely breaking a sweat. I’ve completed my Tilly training, so if you need something re-sawn for your next iceboat build, feel free to hit me up.

A few weeks ago, fellow C Skeeter builder Pat Heppert came to Madison to pick up some high-tech foam to build C Class Skeeter masts. The day started in the original compact basement workshop of the Spaight Street Syndicate, then over to the Bodgery to cut the foam, and then finished at the SSS Launchpad shop.

Ice Sailors On The Hook

SHAZAM crew: Erik Sawyer, Andy Gratton, George Gerhardt,4LIYC Commodore Don Anderson, Jay Yaeso, Mike Waldo, Rich Sawyer, and Tony Abts, 

Previous: Tales To Tell, the 2020 Hook Race
2021 Hook Race Results
Jay Yaeso assembled another crew of ice sailors for the July 24th, 2021 Hook Race, a challenging 189 nautical mile race on Lake Michigan from Racine, Wisconsin, to Menominee, Michigan. (Thankfully, their rig stayed up this year.) Between them, I count about ten stern-steerers, 5 Renegades, an A-Class Skeeter, and some vintage Skeeters. Other ice sailors who competed include Fred Stritt in HASTEN and Rick Hennig in THUNDERSTRUCK. Rick broke his time record from last year, completing the race in 20:20:46.


Regatta Dates 2022


Enter your email address to subscribe to iceboat.org and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 190 other subscribers

National Iceboat Authority Web Page

4LIYC Race Results

Click for 4LIYC Meeting Dates


  • 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


Web Analytics


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.


%d bloggers like this: