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.

Get Started Iceboating

NEW: Pay Your Dues Online

4LIYC Meeting :
Wednesday, December 6, 2023. IN PERSON at the Four Lakes Yacht Club. More information.
Skeeter Summit Zoom Presentation: Wednesday, December 13, 2023 More information
4LIYC Shipstore: Order custom iceboat shirts, hats, and gear. More information.
 Order your 4LIYC Burgee

We Meet Again – 4LIYC Meeting Dec 6 @ 4LYC

We are pleased to announce that our in-person meetings will resume on a limited schedule at the Four Lakes Yacht Club in Monona, WI. We will alternate between meeting at the Four Lakes Yacht Club and on Zoom.

The 4LIYC is grateful to the 4LYC for using their facility and recognizing our long-shared history as people who enjoy and treasure our Four Lakes.

Our first in-person meeting is on Wednesday, December 6, 2023 at 6:30 PM at the Four Lakes Yacht Club.

6312 Metropolitan Ln, Monona, WI
Parking: There is a public parking ramp across the street from the Yacht Club

Pizza & Bev: Pay $20 for pizza and beverages.
We will order pizzas for delivery and purchase beer and soda from the club refrigerator. Please keep track of your purchases by noting them on the beverage list.

Bev Only: $10 for beverages only. Please keep track of your purchases by noting them on the beverage list.

Bottle Bringers: BYOB

Ways to Pay
Please bring cash or write a check to the 4LIYC. Deb can accept credit or debit card payments on-site.

December 6 – Four Lakes Yacht Club
December 20 – Zoom
January 3 – Four Lakes Yacht Club – Honor Roll Nominations
January 17 – Zoom – Deadline for By-Law or Racing Rules Amendment Submission
January 31 – Four Lakes Yacht Club
February 15 – Zoom – Business Meeting
February 28 – Four Lakes Yacht Club
March 13 – Zoom

Iceboating 101

4LIYC Junior Sailing Page
IDNIYRA Junior Sailing Page

This slide presentation, created by Sam Bartel, the IDNIYRA Junior Sailing Director, is cross-posted on DN North America. However, it is too valuable not to share with the entire ice sailing community. Keeping the pipeline full is crucial for DN Junior Sailing, and Sam’s presentation helps maintain and improve momentum.

2023 DN Western Challenge Called ON for MN Dec 1 – 3

The informal first regatta of the season, the DN Western Challenge, has been called on for December 1 – 3, 2023. Primary site is Lake Christina in Ashby, MN. Final confirmation for regatta and site will be made on Wednesday, November 29, 2023. The DN Western Challenge is a fun regatta with no formal racing or scoring.
Next update will be Wednesday, November 29, 2023 by noon CT. 


Staying true to our tradition of recognizing the first boat on the ice, we present Canadian DN sailor Paul Chamberland. Yesterday, he powered two DNs through the woods to get to Owlseye Lake near his hometown in Alberta, Canada. Paul reported that the lake is 5.5″ maximum depth, making it the perfect early season lake.

4LIYC Meeting Tonight – 22 November – Zoom Only

The Mark Setters

Join us tonight as we conduct our bi-weekly Four Lakes Ice Club meeting on Zoom. We’ll be on Zoom only tonight because many of you are getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday. Club members will have received the Zoom link in your email. See you tonight at 6:30!
Date: Wednesday, November 22, 2023
Time: 6:30 PM CT

Skeeter Summit – Evolution of the World’s Fastest Iceboats

Reserve your virtual seat and join us for a Zoom session with Henry Bossett, Dan Clapp, and Pat Heppert on the journey of the Skeeter class — how it morphed into the speed demon we know today as the fastest iceboat class in the world. We’ll also explore how the Skeeter class is evolving. Join the conversation and bring your questions.

So, please register for the presentation, mark your calendar, grab a cold one, and let’s get ready to talk iceboats, Skeeters, and the need for speed. It’s like a virtual hangout at the iceboat shop. See you there!

What To Know
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2023
Time: 6:30 PM CT / 7:30 PM ET
We will send out the link to the Zoom presentation on December 13. Please register to receive the link.


Register for the Skeeter Summit

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Drake Sparkman & George Ratsey – Stern-Steerer Sailors

A fascinating thread connects renowned figures, iconic boats, and the ice yachts of the glory years. Here’s a look at the interconnected legacies of Lord Admiral Nelson, Ratsey Sailmakers, Sparkman and Stephens, and iceboaters Drake Sparkman and George Ratsey.

INTREPID, DORADE, COLUMBIA, and SHIVER? Soft water sailors will recognize the first three boats designed by America’s most successful yacht designer, Olin Stephens. Dozens of classes and championship yachts emerged from his partnership with Drake Sparkman and their business, Sparkman and Stephens. In 1929, Drake Sparkman was a yacht broker who gave Olin Stephens his first break and hired the novice Stephens to design boats. Drake Sparkman was an iceboater.

Henry Bossett shared a 1950 news clipping about the Alcort (Sunfish) Skeeter on Peach Lake in New York. What caught my attention was a mention that Drake Sparkman had donated his stern-steerer SHIVER to the Larchmont Iceboat Club. Of course, Henry’s extensive archives have a file dedicated to Drake Sparkman, and I couldn’t resist taking a closer look.

The rabbit hole revealed an unexpected link between ice sailing, a famous naval battle, and the America’s Cup. A 1935 article reported that sailmaker George Ratsey “with his FROSTBITE, passed everything in sight” while sailing with Drake Sparkman on Peach Lake in New York. Ratsey’s ancestors were the sail makers of HMS VICTORY, and a piece of sail from the Battle of Trafalgar is on display at the Naval Museum in Portsmouth, England. In 1905, Ratsey & Lapthorn established a loft in New York. Ratsey sails were famous among America’s Cup boats and the majestic stern-steerers of the east coast.

The December 24 edition of Red Bank Register in New Jersey reported about a yacht with “a new Ratsey Rig. The mainsail will be cut on a more advanced plane, reducing the size of the jib in order to hold the combined sail area size within the limit of 350 square feet of canvas.”

Sparkman & Stephens and Ratsey & Lapthorn had a long connection with the America’s Cup. Ratsey & Lapthorn supplied the sails for the 1958 America’s Cup winning boat, COLUMBIA, designed by Olin Stephens.

Drake Sparkman and George Ratsey’s connection went beyond the design table in their shared passion for ice yachting.

Tip of the Helmet: Henry Bossett

The Spirit of ACME

Minnesota mastermind Pat Heppert slapped the ACME seal of approval on his latest build, a Mini-Skeeter, a boat that does double duty for land or ice. Pat has created a new blocking system and is anxious to try it on the ice. I suspect we’ll see MINI DRIFTER the first week of December at the Minnesota Western Challenge.
“[The blocking system ] worked well and didn’t break or bend, so rework is unnecessary. Putting the ratchet block between my feet was definitely a good call. You should be able to keep your arms under the deck at all times without difficulty.”
Previous ACME Lab posts:
Getting Framed
Still Somewhat Confused

Online Ship’s Store

Regatta Dates 2024

  • Northwestern Regatta (NIYA)
    Postponed until December 2023
  • DN Western Challenge
    December 1 – 3, 2023 Information
  • DN Western Region Championship
    January 6 – 7, 2024 Information
  • DN Senior Shuffle
    January 8 – 10, 2024
  • International Skeeter Association Regatta
    Jan 12 – 14, 2024 Information
  • DN Worlds, Europeans, & Junior Worlds
    February 3 -10, 2024 Information
  • DN North American Championship
    February 25 – March 2, 2024 Information
  • Northwest Regatta Information
  • Nite Nationals Information
  • WSSA Championship Regatta


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National Iceboat Authority Web Page

Click for 4LIYC Meeting Dates


  • November 8 Zoom
  • November 22 Elections
  • December 6
  • December 20
  • January 3 Honor Roll Nominations
  • January 17 Deadline for By-Law or Racing Rules Amendment Submission
  • January 31
  • February 15 Business Meeting
  • February 28
  • March 13

Location: In person at S & B Strategic Marketing or 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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