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
SWAP MEET: Sunday, Oct 22, 2023 @ Green Lake, WI
More information
4LIYC Meeting :
 See you next season in November 2023.
4LIYC Shipstore: Order custom iceboat shirts, hats, and gear. More information.
 Order your 4LIYC Burgee

Iceboating Meets Woodstock

Ice sailing enthusiasts know that the Hudson River and its Stern Steerers are where it all started in North America. A short film about the historic Stern Steerers still sailing the Hudson is being showcased at the Woodstock Film Festival. A group of talented high school students from the Hudson River area created the film.

Via Brian Reid’s Facebook post:

Nathan Burger & several classmates made a short film on ice boating for their American Studies class at FDR High School in Hyde Park, last spring.
It was accepted at the 2023 Woodstock Film Festival, going on this week. film summary Link here:
The teen shorts showing will be Sunday, October 1, 2023 6:30 PM at the Woodstock Community Center. ticket link here.
https://woodstock2023.eventive.org/…/teen-shorts-youth… you can buy a virtual ticket which allows you to stream until midnight Sunday.
Nathan is 3rd generation ice boater in the Burger family; The film is also a beautiful tribute to his grandfather Emerson.
Congrats to Nathan Burger, Mia Ferrara, Frances Gorres, and Kalighan Pelish, for their film!!

Notice of Dues: Join the 4LIYC With New Online Payment Option

Tim and Peter McCormick sailing Renegades on Lake Kegonsa, March 2023. Photo Credit: Ethan Brodsky

It’s time to start sharpening runners and renew your Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club membership for the 2023-2024 season. We are excited to introduce our new online payment option. Whether you are a first-time member or renewing your membership, we’ve streamlined the process by offering online payments. However, if you prefer to make payment by check and mail, you will still be able to access and print our membership form. Your support is instrumental in advancing the sport of ice sailing.  By joining, you’ll get the coolest yacht club membership card in sailing in electronic or hard copy.

2023 Annual Wisconsin Iceboat Swap Meet Hosted by the Green Lake Ice Yacht Club

Wisconsin Iceboat Swap Meet – Hosted by the Green Lake Ice Yacht Club, Green Lake, WI
Date: Sunday, October 22, 2023
Time: 9 AM – Noon
Location: Town Square Community Center, 492 Hill St., Green Lake, WI
Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/ZV4newyeK9DatiaW9

The Wisconsin Iceboat Swap Meet is the perfect place to check out iceboats and components for sale. The Iceboat Swap Meet is a chance to meet and learn from experienced iceboaters who are more than willing to share their insights into the sport.

The Green Lake Ice Yacht Club is hosting this year’s meet and will start with a party on Saturday night for early arrivers and club members.
Questions? Contact Joe Norton nortonboatworks@gmail.com

Social gathering from 4:00 – 7:00 at Bierman’s Boat Palace
W3360 Orchard Ave, Green Lake, WI.
The Green Lake Ice Yacht Club members will provide appetizers. Please bring your own beverage of choice and a chair. Weather permitting, we’ll share ice boat stories around the fire pit. Questions? Contact Debbie Bierman debralakereal@gmail.com

Water Street will be blocked off so that long trailers are easy to park.
Vendors and sellers use the Mill Pond Terrace lot.
Town Square Tap will be open for breakfast and beverages.
The GLIYC will continue with Jane Pegel’s classic raffle tradition. Bring your raffle items.

Green Lake Inn – W1970 S Lawson Dr 920-294-3417
Heidel House – 653 Illinois Ave 920-807-0300
Green Lake Suites – 488 South St 920-393-9944
Bayview Motel – 439 Lake St 920-294-6504

1949 Four-Runner Iceboat Newsreel

Screen shot from USA: ICE YACHTING ON FROZEN RIVERS IN ILLINOIS (1949) British Pathe. Harry Melges sails a 4-runner Skeeter.

Previous: Iceboat Tech That Never Caught On
Early ISA 1941 – 1942 Video
Watch the 1949 Newsreel here
Iceboat researcher Henry Bossett has unearthed yet another interesting discovery: a 1949 newsreel chronicling the International Skeeter Association regatta held on Fox Lake in Illinois. This vintage footage, accompanied by newspaper clippings, documents the presence of a four-runner iceboat helmed by Harry Melges, who happens to be Buddy’s father and a member of the Skeeter Iceboat Club. Observe that the fourth runner was positioned at the stern, deviating from the standard practice seen in other configurations where two runners were typically placed at the front. Adding her own memories to this historical account is Jane Wiswell Pegel, a high school student at the time.

Jane Pegel remembers:

I think the 4-runner boat belonged to Bob Ferris. I was in high school. My first iceboat race was at the Fox Lake ISA. I was first at the windward mark in the ladies’ division in a 20 foot Mead (skeeter.) But I did not know how to sail downwind  and ended up second in ladies overall. It snowed for the drive home.

Ben Lampert’s 4-Runner Skeeter Plan

Illustration from Wings On The Ice

Ban Lampert’s 4 Runner Skeeter from the Carl Bernard Scrapbook Collection

Alcort Skeeter Restoration Progress Report

PREVIOUS: From Skeeter Iceboat to Sunfish Dinghy
Dan Heaney has made steady progress with his Alcort Skeeter restoration project in Neenah, WI. As some of you may remember from a previous post, it’s worth noting that the Alcort Company of Connecticut, which initially gained fame for developing the Sunfish, has roots in iceboat manufacturing.

Via Dan Heaney:
The boat is a work in progress as it required some repair and tender loving care. I hope to have it on the ice this winter. A photo shows the remains of the original “Alcort” identifying decal. The decal is located above the steering wheel. The boat has a 75 SqFt sail.

I completed the following work:
New Deck
New Bottom
Added a Springboard
Adding foot steering

MARY B & INSANITY On Display at E Scow Nationals

Photo: Anna Suslova

Firs of all, welcome to all ice sailors competing in the 2023 E Scow Nationals on Lake Mendota. The MARY B appears ready to lift off at Marshall Park in Madison, WI, where she’s on display along with the famous Class A Skeeter INSANITY. The Mendota Yacht Club is hosting the 2023 E Scow Nationals 100 Year Celebration. The racing begins today. As of this morning, just a few boats shy of the 130 boat record from the 1999 E Scow Invitationals on Mendota are registered and will race in one line. Event website here.

2023 Minnesota Swap Meet Scheduled

Minnesota ice

Here’s another Iceboat Swap Meet for your calendar. Here’s your chance to get into the sport if you are in the Minneapolis area.

Hosted by Tim Carlson at Sailcrafters Loft and Rigging.
Date: Saturday, November 4.
Time: 9 AM – Noon CT
Location: 7450 Oxford Street
St. Louis Park, MN 55426

Mike’s Marquee

Mike’s hometown, Menominee Michigan, shares the good news.

Renegader Mike Derusha is no stranger to the winter podium, having won numerous Renegade Championships, but one championship has eluded him until now. Congratulations to Renegader Mike Derusha for winning the 2023 Ensign Nationals. Results.

Mike Derusha pushes off at the start of the race at the 2022 ISA on Lake Monona. 

Save the Swap Meet Date: Oct 22, 2023 @ Green Lake, WI

Ron Sherry inspects the Class A Skeeter LOST KAUS at last year’s swap meet at the Delavan Yacht Club in Delavan, WI.

2023 Annual Wisconsin Swap Meet Hosted by the Green Lake Ice Yacht Club

Date: Sunday, October 22, 2023
Time: 9 AM – Noon
Location: Town Square, Green Lake, WI

Our Green Lake Ice Yacht Club friends are preparing for their turn at the yearly iceboat swap meet. This event was initially established by Bob and Jane Pegel of the Skeeter Iceboat Club and was held in Williams Bay, WI for many years. Nowadays, the swap meet rotates between the Skeeter Iceboat Club, Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club, and Green Lake Ice Yacht Club.
Stay tuned for more details!

MISS MADISON to Iceboat Foundation

In the early 19th century, the first American ice yacht designers tested their ideas near Poughkeepsie, New York, giving rise to the Hudson River style of Stern-Steerer iceboat. Eighty years later, William Bernard, owner of a boat livery on Gorham Street on Lake Mendota refined the Hudson River design and named it after the city where he had grown up.

Many Madison-style iceboats came out of the Bernard Boathouse, winning prestigious ice yachting titles such as the Hearst, Stuart, and Northwest. Eventually, the Hudson River style became more popular, and William and his son, Carl, built the last Madison-style iceboat in 1927, naming her MISS MADISON. MISS MADISON actively raced with the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club. She also competed in the Northwest Regatta and for a famed trophy donated by newspaperman Randolph Hearst. Newspaper accounts and captions from the Bernard scrapbooks mention her skippers as Carl Bernard, Herb Teztlaff, and William Van Keulen. Carl Bernard stated that MISS MADISON “was the best hull ever built” in an interview on tape in the Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

The Bleck family of Monona, WI, bought her sometime between 1940 and the 1980s. Mari Ann Lichtfeld purchased her from the Blecks to surprise her husband, Richard Lichtfeld. Lichtfeld strived to keep her in period condition, which is unusual because most iceboat owners refashion vintage crafts with modern hardware. Lichtfeld and his kids would play hooky from work and school to take advantage of a perfect ice-sailing day on Lake Monona.
MISS MADISON is one of the best-preserved Madison- style ice yachts in existence, thanks to the efforts of her late owner, Richard Lichtfeld.

Mari Ann Lichtfeld donated MISS MADISON to the Iceboat Foundation this week. She’s now safely stored indoors, like she was at the Lichtfeld shop, with MARY B. Thanks to the Lichtfeld family for donating this piece of history.

On her way to join the MARY B.

Dick Lichtfeld left detailed instructions and photos showing how to rig this vintage boat.

Online Ship’s Store

Regatta Dates 2023


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National Iceboat Authority Web Page

Click for 4LIYC Meeting Dates


  • December 21
  • January 4 Honor Roll Nominations
  • January 18 Deadline for By-Law or Racing Rules Amendment Submission
  • February 1
  • February 15 Business Meeting
  • March 1
  • March 15

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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