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:

NEW: Order your 4LIYC Burgee.

Spaight St. Syndicate Memorial Weekend Report

Tug, Spaight St. Syndicate’s motorized assistant 

New Additions to the Spaight Street Syndicate

Hi all. Been a while. Life moves on during our global pandemic. On May 5, I officially became a real old dude. A grandpa. Haven’t started building Dash (Dashel) Daniel Percevecz’s first iceboat yet, but it’s on my list. Much joy, but also heartbreak, as I lost my mom the same day.

Daniel with first grandchild and newest Ice Optimist sailor.

Since my last update, I’ve pimped out my trailer. It’s set up to haul a C-Skeeter, a Renegade and three DNs; with sails, planks and runners for all. Along with a powered kick sled or two. I’ll give you a tour in a future update. Good ride for a Northwest!

Also meet “Tug,” the newest addition to the Spaight Street Syndicate garage. She’s a real tomboy—an electric powered trailer mover built from readily available parts, complete with lights and cup holders. Many thanks to Ken Whitehorse for the welding. I may have understated the task when I mentioned I had a few pieces of metal to weld up. But Ken was a great sport, and we had fun working on the project. I often need to move trailers around by myself, and Tug makes it really easy not only to move, but to position in tight spaces.

The other active project is repainting my Renegade components. Haven’t paid enough attention to the old girl in a while, so she’s getting a new dress. Plank and springboard done, mast going into spray booth tomorrow. Thanks to Jeff Russell for the booth. Left over from his airplane painting years ago, so all I had to do was reassemble and buy new plastic. Came complete with intake filters and an exit fan. Fumes disperse quickly.

So much for now. Grateful to the veterans out there for all they have sacrificed for our freedom. And to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, Rest In Peace. You will always be remembered.

Ice Sailing Goes Postal

2013 Mozambique Postal Stamp featuring DN and Renegade Class iceboats. The boat left middle US44 is Ron Sherry of Detroit, MI.

2013 Mozambique Postal Stamp featuring a Renegade class ice boat.

Bob Cummins inquired if the iceboat stamp issued by the US Post Office had ever been featured on iceboat.org. His email was a great jumping off point to search for other examples. I knew that Poland had issued a set and the Google pointed to Postal History Corner; Canadian Postal and Philatelic History where there’s a comprehensive page dedicated to ice sailing stamps and postcards from around the world. Until yesterday, the only thing I knew about the eastern African country, Mozambique was that Bob Dylan had written a song about it. What a surprise to learn that Mozambique had issued 6 iceboating stamps in 2013!  All of these stamps are available to buy on ebay or stamp collecting websites.

1955 Hungarian postal stamp featuring a Monotype iceboat.

1978 Polish postal stamp issued in conjunction with the DN Gold Cup sailed at  Krynica Morska, Poland, February 6-11, 1978. 

1985 American stamp with a stern-steerer iceboat.

Meet CLANCY

CLANCY on Lake Monona near Law Park in Madison, WI c.1952

Craig Wilson found the above photo while looking through his dad J. Dale Wilson’s slide collection. (Craig is the aerial kite photographer who has been snapping our pictures for many years. See some of his work here on Flickr.) Craig figures the slide dates from around 1952 or 1953 and wondered if we knew anything about the yellow stern-steerer. I sent it off to Andy Gratton, Mike Peters, and Don Sanford.  Here’s what the collective stern steerer history brain trust found:

Via Don Sanford:
The gods of iceboating must be sending me a message…..

I believe that this is the Clancy. She was owned by the Oetking family. See page 81 of “the book” (mine). [On Fourth Lake]

I have been on the trail of these folks for years and during the past six weeks (pandemic) I had a chance to plow through the internet, sailing websites, and obits. This is a family of sailors. Last week, I finally connected with Curt Oetking. (Who also goes by “Pete.”) His dad, Pete, crewed for Carl [Bernard] on the MARY B in a few regattas.

I sent him a photo of the Clancy that Jay Payton gave me several years ago. He sent this message:

“Clancy which was my mother Clare’s nickname…..”

Armed with that info, I looked in the Bernard Slide index and found several entries that mention either “Clancy” or Oetking. Somewhere I have a statement that the Clancy was a scaled-down version of the MARY B. Andy [Gratton] told me that he knows where she is now.

As for the photo, I believe that this was taken on Lake Monona, just off Law Park. it’s the only place on either lake where cars can park that close to the water.

WSSA Secretary/Treasurer Andy Gratton reports that Clancy is still around and in the care of Jim Rettke in Marinette who has owned it at least 35 years or more.

CLANCY in front of the Ray Stroud residence on Farwell Drive in Maple Bluff, Madison, WI.

 

CLANCY from the Carl Bernard Slide collection.

Celebrating the Women of Ice Sailing: More History


Previous: Celebrating the Women of Ice Sailing

Skeeter Ice Boat Cub sailor Jane Pegel shares her memories of female ice sailors and race committee members. Some of the women she mentions were featured in an article that ran in Rudder Magazine in 1943, see below.
UPDATE: One more woman who must be included is Green Lake Nite sailor Maureen Bohleber who won the 2019 ISA title.

“Sunday morning on Lake Geneva is really ladies’ day. The skipperettes get the boats ready themselves and there is every evidence of sex equality at the crack of the starting gun.”

The Skeeter IBC was organized in 1933 and the Club archives show a fleet of women racing Skeeters:

  • Bettye Nye
  • Ethel Koehler
  • Lucille Fitzcharles
  • Ariel Clayton
  • Sue Vilas
  • Vera Granath
  • Rose Anderson
  • Medora Adams
  • Helen Campbell
  • Frieda Hoiles

Winning the championship:

  • 1934 Lucille Fitzcharles
  • 1935 Vera Granath
  • 1936 Bettye Nye
  • 1937 Vera Granath
  • 1938 Bettye Nye
  • 1939 Sue Vilas

The Club cancelled racing during WW II and subsequently the women’s fleet seems to have disappeared from the weekly race schedule, though many raced in the ISA Women’s Division.

 

When I was a Williams Bay high school student, my father bought me Holy Smoke, a 20 ft. Mead. In 1951 I took it down to Fox Lake to race in the Women’s Division of the ISA regatta. In the opening race I was leading at the first windward mark but didn’t know how to sail off-the-wind so ended up DNF. My recollection is that I improved over the weekend and finished second in the regatta. There were several outstanding women skippers competing, including: Olive Lindstedt, Fox Lake IYC; Dorie Sarns, Detroit IYC; and Harriett Sternkopf and Jean Zwicky of the Pewaukee Ice Yacht Club who were outstanding Skeeter sailors.

 

I continued to race my Skeeter for several years and won some SIBC trophies. Then in November, 1956, I switched to a DN and raced successfully in that class through 2014. My daughter, Susie, started racing a DN in 1969, at age 12. She was top Junior In the Northwest and brought home trophies in several DN championship regattas, both gold and silver divisions,several times beating her mother.

 

Julie Richards from Grand Traverse IYC is an outstanding DN skipper and has taken home a number of awards, including a Central Division championship.

 

The list of faithful women race committee volunteers includes Mauretta Mattison; Cora Millenbach; Mary Jane Schalk; Deb Whitehorse; the three Sherry sisters – Loretta, Debbie, Jane; the Green Lake contingent of Julie Jankowski , Laurie Norton, Debbie Bierman; Mrs. John Koeck came all the way from Lake Hopatcong, NJ; Mrs. Gene Treuter led the Cass Lake contingent. And there have been many DN wives who devoted evenings to keeping class membership records.

 

Many thanks to them all.

…Jane Pegel

Runner Tracks Online Newsletter

May Runner Tracks

If you can’t get enough iceboating news, check out the latest issue of the DN class newsletter, Runner Tracks. The photography is outstanding and does a tremendous service in the promotion of our sport.

RUNNER TRACKS IS AVAILABLE IN THREE DIFFERENT FORMATS:

Flipbook Magazine
Download pdf file (best for tablets)
Download single page pdf (best for phones)

Photo: Sophie Marc-Martin

Celebrating the Women of Ice Sailing

Happy Mother’s Day to all the women involved in ice sailing. The day provides a chance to share some history of women in ice sailing.  The first woman who comes to mind for most of us is Skeeter Ice Boat Club’s Jane Pegel, pictured above, who has won many ice sailing titles. Ron Sherry sent this article about Detroit Ice Yacht Club’s Garwood Regatta published when Jane won the Scripp’s Trophy for DNs, a reminder of the time when the idea of “housewives” accomplishing anything was considered a novelty.

Women have been key members of iceboat race management for many years.  Below is an article shared by Jack Jacobs about his mother and the other women of the Detroit Ice Yacht Club who
made things run smoothly so that ice sailors could concentrate on racing and socializing. Much of what is written about scoring iceboat races in this article remains true 68 years later such as keeping the chatter to a minimum and the writers keeping their eyes on the score sheets while they miss the excitement of the racers rounding the leeward mark.

Distraction of the Day: Curious & Rare & BERZERKER

Ye Olde Party Boat

Museums and archival websites have flung opened their virtual doors and allowed access to their archives to help us while away the hours. Stumbled across this print dated from around 1600 on the British Museum website. It’s purported to be the earliest representation of an iceboat – Dutch, of course. The artist took some liberties because a 10 person iceboat would need some good breeze to get going not to mention the impossibility of handling the boat around such a twisty narrow track.

Seeing this 10 person iceboat brought to mind one of the greatest ice sailing projects ever seen, executed by the Toledo Ice Yacht Club in 2007, the BERZERKER. She was built to be a one-weekend party boat, a stern steerer assembled from what ever they found laying around. BERZERKER gave many people their first iceboat ride during that Winter Carnival weekend on Lake Erie.

Picture of the Day: Pewaukee Northwest 1973

Photo by Gary Whitehorse. That’s a lot of horsepower! Stern steerer iceboats start on race at the Northwest regatta which took place on February 2-4, 1973 on Pewaukee Lake in Wisconsin.

UPDATE: The photo was originally taken by Gary Whitehorse and uploaded to the 4LIYC Facebook page.
Peter McCormick (via Andy Gratton) forwarded this picture to the iceboat.org inbox this week wanting to confirm if these stern-steerers were on Pewaukee Lake and when this regatta took place. I started looking into the files and realized that I was there with my brother and dad, Dave Rosten and that my Dad won the Class A Skeeter trophy. Another 4LIYC skipper, Peter’s dad Bill McCormick, won the C Stern Steerer trophy that year as well.
If you have any information on the stern-steerers or the regatta you’d like to share, please drop a line. debwhitehorse@iceboat.org

UPDATE: 30 April:
“I was 16 years old at the time and won the DN junior trophy. Chuck Miller was racing a DN in the regatta called “Chicken Little.” He got a big kick out of racing against me in the regatta. Ever since that time I always felt that Chuck Miller was a really nice guy, someone who really loved his sailing and iceboating.”
Susie Pegel, formerly DN 905

Andy Gratton, WSSA Secretary: “Max Runge sent me this old photo. …There are some boats I don’t recognize, such as the C skeeter, the black mast, the yellow mast, B9, and what appears to be a round backbone second from the far end. V83 is the D skeeter that got turned around and ended up in Fond du Lac in the 1980s with Herb Bankstahl. He named it  FIDDLESTIX, I think it came from Sternkopfs. Who is pushing ROSEMARY?”

Peter McCormick, stern steerer (TWINBEDS) and Renegade sailor: “I remember my dad [Bill McCormick] telling me how he took TWINBEDS to Pewaukee on a lumber truck for either a Northwest or WSSA regatta.”

UPDATE:
Tom Hyslop: “Not sure about the lake or the year as some of the Pewaukee boats were not built until the late 70`s.
B9 was CLANCY owned by John Olson.
V83 was a Sternkoph boat.
Yellow mast with red V is COUNTRY WOMAN owned by me.
Black mast with V is ECLIPSE owned by Ric Sternkoph and Mike Hasse.”

1973 Northwest Results
STERN STEERERS
Class A: No Race
Class B: CLANCY, John Olson
Class C: TWIN BEDS, Bill McCormick
Class D: DEE WHIZ, Bill Osenga

Skeeter Class A: Dave Rosten, PIRATE
FREE FOR ALL: No Race
DN Class: George Timmons
DN Class Junior: Susie Pegel
Renegade Class: Elmer Millenbach RENEGADE III

420 On 4/20

Obligatory

Picture of the Day: 4LIYC Commodore Don Anderson rounds the leeward mark in his Renegade EASY RIDER on Lake Mendota.

Regatta Dates 2021

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4LIYC Race Results


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2019-2020

  • November 6
  • November 20 Elections, Elect Fleet Captains. Vote on ISA & NIYA Agenda Items
  • December 4
  • December 18
  • January 2 THURSDAY Honor Roll Nominations
  • January 15
  • January 29 Deadline for By-Law or Racing Rules Amendment Submission
  • February 12
  • February 26 Business Meeting
  • March 11

Location: Breakwater Restaurant

6308 Metropolitan Lane

Monona, Wisconsin

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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