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.

NEW LOCATION: Off Broadway Drafthouse!!  4LIYC Meeting: February 20 Info
DN Gold Cup and North American Championship February 16-23 Info
Tropical Party February 23 Info
4LIYC Banquet: Save the date! April 27

Runner Tracks Newsletter Scores

2019 February Runner Tracks

The February issue of the DN newsletter, Runner Tracks, has just been published over at the DN class website. Besides some excellent photography, this mid-season issue has a couple of articles that may be of interest to those involved with the race committee end of things. IDNIYRA Commodore Warren Nethercote’s article about the DN tiebreak system also includes information about how Steve and Mary Jane Schalk deal with tiebreaks in other classes. If you want to get a handle on the Bart scoring system, read Loretta Sherry Rehe and Paul Goodwin’s article that explains Bart scoring (also known as Grand Prix scoring, or Indy 500 scoring as I call it. When the checkered flag goes up at the Indy 500, all cars finish no matter what lap they are on.)

Regatta Watch: WSSA Postponed

Joe Terry V36 at the tiller of his Class D Stern Steerer LACINDA MAE at the 2019 Northwest Regatta on Lake Pepin in MN                                                                                                               Photo: Pat Heppert

The Wisconsin Stern Steering Association regatta has been postponed to February 23 and 24, 2019. The next update will be Sunday, February 17. Check back here at that time. Too much snow, shell ice, and roughness.

Andy Gratton
WSSA Secretary/Treasurer

Saturday 4LIYC Racing Update

Vice Commodore Tim McCormick checked in to report at 2 PM that some Renegades and Nite gave it a try but determined that the ice on Lake Monona was too rough for racing. With snow in the forecast tomorrow, club racing has been cancelled for the weekend.
Accepted Iceboating Wisdom applies here: A bad day iceboating is better than a good day at work. 

4LIYC Racing Called ON for Feb 9-10 @ Monona

We’ve been sailing Madison’s waters since 1860 and are part of what makes Madison unique.

Four Lakes Ice Yacht club racing is called on for February 9-10, 2019 on Lake Monona. Use the Olin boat launch.
Saturday’s races are postponed until 1 PM because of the low temperatures that are in the morning’s forecast.
Ice: Tim McCormick and Don Sanford report 6″+ of ice (They couldn’t drill completely through the ice with a 6″ bit). The ice is very hard and there are some 2″ high sloped humps (no vertical faces) completely covered in ice. .
Launch: The launch ramp at Olin is covered in ice. Please use extreme caution if you drive on the ice to drop your trailer. If you drive on, drop your trailer and drive off the ice IMMEDIATELY. Don’t leave your vehicle on the ice more than 5 minutes. This can’t be stressed enough!
Observe all regulations at the launch including the parking lot permit. 

Junior Worlds Complete

Ice Optimist sailor Livia Liszkiewicz P334 would rather be ice sailing!       Photo: Olsztyński Klub Żeglarski Facebook Page


DN Junior World Championship: 1st Rasmus Maalen, 2nd Zuzanna Rybicka Photo: Zuzanna Rybicka

The 2019 Junior DN and Ice Optimist World Championships are complete. Congratulations to all who competed including the 4LIYC’s Thor Rosten who kept his DN moving in some sticky, light conditions. The European Championship began today and will be completed on Friday.
It’s heartening to see these kids racing iceboats and gives us all hope for the future of this always fragile sport. North Americans may be wondering how the Europeans can field an 80 boat youth regatta on ice. 4LIYC member and North American Junior Secretary Ron Rosten has written about why he thinks the Europeans are miles ahead of North America in youth iceboat sailing. Read his article, “The State of Youth Sailing” in the September 2018 issue of the DN newsletter, Runner Tracks.
Europeans are also leading the way to encourage more women to compete in the sport. One sailor who has benefited from such a strong youth program is Polish DN sailor Zuzanna Rybicka -she has had quite an ice sailing season. Someday we will see her compete in North America. I took the liberty of posting (with a bit of correcting and guessing on the translation) her thoughts from Facebook today:


Yay! Today ended the junior world championship where I took 2th place in the DN fleet and 1st place in the women’s division. 🏆
It’s a great goodbye with age junior, and at the same time successful year greeting with age
This year I got a lot of support from a lot of people and I would like to thank everyone Awesome starts having such great fans like you guys.

Summary of my results in season 2018/19:
🥇 1st Women, European championship
🥈 1st. Women, Polish junior championship
🥈 2nd  Junior World Championship
🥇 1st  Women, Junior World Championship
[In today’s] European Junior Championship, after the first day I am on lead among women and second place in DN. Open. Keep your fingers crossed, tomorrow decisive races 💪

Previous: Junior Worlds See the World
Previous: 2019 Junior World Championship Begins
Previous: Junior Worlds Ice Sailing Championships Day 1

True Ink On Ice


True Ink magazine “…celebrate(s) The Noble Pursuit, a mix of adventure, expertise, and time well spent”. It’s time well spent reading their latest offering about the sport of ice sailing:


In Brief:Daniel Hearn, ice sailor of the Gold Fleet, spoke with the editors of True about the magic of the hard water. Read more.

4LIYC Ice Check Friday Feb 8

What will they see? 

In one week, the Madison area has seen the temperatures swing from -27F to 40F along with every known precipitation type. It’s raining and sleeting as I type this. What that means is the lakes are in a constant state of change as far as iceboating is concerned.
On Tuesday, 4LIYC members took a look at Mendota, Monona, and Kegonsa with the hopes of finding decent ice for the Nite Nationals. The snow had turned into a rough slushy surface. There were dark patches on Lake Mendota that looked unsafe. Monona looked like it had the best potential but it was rough.
Club members will meet at the Olin Park landing on Friday at noon to assess Lake Monona. Stand by for news.

In The News: Bill Bucholz

Bill Bucholz and Pat Heppert at the 2017 ISA in Battle Lake, MN

Our good friend, Maine iceboater and iceboat builder Bill Bucholz, was recently featured in an article in the Portland Press Herald. Bill made the long drive to the ISA in 2017 with his C Skeeter and we look forward to his next regatta visit.

Maine’s only commercial ice-boat builder has a passion for his craft

In the fringe sport, Bill Buchholz enjoys making boats.


CAMDEN — Bill Buchholz builds ice boats for a living, a trade that sets him apart.

He built his first in 2007, and in the subsequent years turned his Camden company, Apache Boatworks, into a business that specializes in ice boats, sleek usually one-person crafts that can skate across frozen ponds and lakes at speeds of up to 50 mph.

In a boat-building community of some 5,000, Buchholz is the only full-time commercial ice-boat builder in Maine, and one of a small number – some estimate it around 200 – in the country. Continue reading.

Junior World Ice Sailing Championship: Day 1

Photo: Michał Skawiński “Kornik” POL 333 P-339

Provisional Results IDNIYRA Europe

The 2019 Junior World DN & Ice Optimist Championships got underway today on Lake Siemianowka in light air and sticky ice. Ron Rosten reported that the wind shut off during the day’s last race and they tore down their boats in the dark. Ron also praised Estonian DNer Rasmus Maalen C20, currently in first, who “went out of his way to give Thor [Rosten] advice and offer encouragement.”
Rasmus Maalen, it should be noted, won the first race of the European Championship 2 weeks ago and finished 6th overall. Another junior who competed at the Europeans, Zuzanna Rybicka P119, is in second place just 2 points behind Rasmus tonight.
In the Ice Optimist fleet, Estonian sailor Lisbeth Taggu C1 holds first with Poles Mateusz Gigielewicz P89 and Anielka Graczyk P375 tied for second. Aneilka’s father, Robert Graczyk, won the Polish Championship last Saturday. There are a combined total of 80 skippers registered for the regatta. Youth iceboating is doing well in Europe.

Previous: Junior Worlds See the World
Previous: 2019 Junior World Championship Begins

Regatta Dates 2019



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National Iceboat Authority Web Page

Click for 4LIYC Meeting Dates


  • November 14
  • November 29 THURSDAY Elections, Elect Fleet Captains. Vote on ISA & NIYA Agenda Items
  • December 12
  • December 27 THURSDAY
  • January 9 Honor Roll Nominations
  • January 23 Deadline for By-Law or Racing Rules Amendment Submission
  • February 6
  • February 20 Business Meeting
  • March 6
  • March 20

Location: Off Broadway Drafthouse 5404 Raywood Road Madison, WI Time: 6:30 PM (Come earlier for dinner)



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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