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.

It’s the off-season here at iceboat.org which means there will be more posts about iceboat building and the history of the sport. 4LIYC racing and general regatta information will be posted here during the season. If this is your first time here, thanks for stopping by and check out our “How to Get Involved” page for more information. Please contact us debwhitehorse@iceboat.org if you have any questions. Think ice!

 

UPCOMING:

NEW: Order your 4LIYC Burgee.

Model B

Johnson Boatworks B Class Stern steerer model c 1930

Previous: Minneapolis Play Week
Last week, Jim Gluek shared some family history about his grandfather who raced a Johnson Boatworks-built B Class Stern-Steerer in Minneapolis. Jim has found the perfect place to display the trophy, right next to the model of the stern-steerer that likely dates from around the 1920s.

Jim’s grandfather’s model is a good excuse to take another look at the world of iceboat models which have become highly prized collector pieces. Below are photos of William Bernard and son Carl’s models. (The Bernard Boathouse on Lake Mendota is where iceboat racing began in Madison.) The Wisconsin State Historical Society has a Bernard model iceboat in its collection that Bill Mattison has restored twice. Let us know if you have a model iceboat!

Minneapolis Play Week


Jim Gluek (Skeeter, DN, and Nite class) came across some family history in the form of this  vintage trophy won by his grandfather back in 1927 on Lake Minnetonka. Jim’s grandfather raced a Johnson Boatworks-built B Class Stern Steerer. Jim also mentioned that when conditions are right on Minnetonka, Harry Allen rigs up his vintage B Class Johnson stern-steerer and takes it through the paces. (What iceboater wouldn’t want a shirt with that beautifully designed graphic?)

The Johnson Boatworks was founded by John O. Johnson in 1896 on White Bear Lake in Minnesota. In addition to building iceboats, Johnson was instrumental in scow and other soft water designs. (Johnson Boatworks is now known as White Bear Boatworks. )

More History: “Old ice boats: not for faint of heart”

 

Johnson Stern-Steerers have been featured over the years here on iceboat.org. This picture dates from 2013 when Fond du Lac iceboaters Dave and Jeff Lallier gave their then 84 year-old mother a ride in a Johnson B. Note the “banana” spar.

Classic Video: Laying It On Thick & Fast

Previous: Classic Video: Pewaukee Ice Yacht Club 
Here’s another Bill & Mauretta Mattison home movie proving the point about mast gluing parties referenced in the previous post. This glue party at the Mattison shop on Williamson Street in Madison, WI took place sometime around 1982. The mast is for an A Class Stern Steerer, possibly the MARY B.  Clampers and gluers that day were Billy Mattison, Jack Ripp, Jerry Simon, Greg Simon, Lon Schoor, Donna Schoor, Jim Henkel, Don Sanford, Paul Krueger, Ken Whitehorse, Bill Hanson, Bill Mattison, and Ken Schmidt.

Tuesday Night Gluing Party

Party On

Previous: Mid Summer Mast Makers

Glue parties have been popular within our Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club for many years. (No – not THAT kind of glue party!) Lars Barber’s Nite mast was the guest of honor last night at the Nordhaus Boatwerks. Fast drying epoxy is the life blood of iceboats and many hands and clamps make for quick mast building.

HOOK Update: Tales to Tell

Rick Hennig’s THUNDERSTRUCK (Farr 60). Photo: Eric Tobias

Previous: Ice Sailors Set for the HOOK

As reported yesterday, squalls made for some wild rides during the Racine Yacht Club’s HOOK Race downwind from Racine to Door County on the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan. Apparently there were 5 boats that lost rigs, including Jay Yaeso’s SHAZAM, proving again that sailing on Lake Michigan can be more challenging than ocean racing in big “sleds” – something 4LIYC Commodore Don Anderson who has sailed a few Transpacs related to me yesterday. SHAZAM’S mast “oil-canned” (compressed) Saturday afternoon during a 50 mph squall with 8 – 10′ waves. Thankfully, all crew were OK and they were able to pull into Sheboygan after 4 hours on the motor where they met up with Steve Orelebeke who had been sailing on PEERLESS. Steve and crew were forced to pull into Sheboygan because the waves pushed too much water into the hatch. I believe that race tracking did show that Fred Stritt and HASTEN made it to the end of the race. There were quite a few DNFs, possibly 18.

However, there was one group of ice sailors who made HOOK history and  “absolutely shattered a Hook race record” by 3 hours, Rick Hennig (owner of DEUCE) and the crew of THUNDERSTRUCK. From crew member Eric Tobias’ Facebook feed:

20 hours, 20 kts of boatspeed, 47 knot peak wind speed, hurricane rain, lightning sky, one exploded spinnaker, one exploded jib, several wipe outs, one absolutely shattered Hook race record, a passage through Death’s Door and one incredibly wild ride. We made it to the finish safe with minimal damage and injuries. Thankfully we didn’t find a new meaning for our boat name (we didn’t get struck by lightning). Go Thunderstruck.

Expect to hear some stories about the HOOK race of 2020 during those times when we are standing on the ice waiting for wind.

 

Ice Sailors Set for the HOOK

From left, Steve Orlebeke, Jay Yaeso, Mike “Wally” Waldo , George Gerhardt, Don Anderson, Erik Sawyer, and behind Erik, Andy Gratton. Behind Wally, Paul Scneeberger and Tony Abts, both from Green Bay.

Race Tracking
Scratch Sheet

UPDATE JULY 19: Andy Gratton checked in with the rest of the crew names that I missed. He also wrote with news that the rig collapsed yesterday during a squall which ended their race. He adds, “All are safe, no holes in the boat. We decided we did not want to do that again.”

Several area ice sailors are gathered this morning at the Racine Yacht Club for the 37th annual long distance Lake Michigan HOOK race from Racine to Death’s Door in Door County, WI. Pretty much every class of ice sailing is represented in this race including the Skeeters, DNs, Renegades, and Stern Steerers. 4LIYC Commodore Don Anderson, Renegader George Gerhardt, Stern-Steerer guys Andy Gratton, Mike “Wally” Waldo. and Erik Sawyer will be sailing with Jay Yaeso on SHAZAM (PHRF2). Skeeter and DN sailor Steve Orlebeke is on PEERLESS (PHRF2). Rick Hennig, who owns the biggest iceboat in the world, DEUCE, is sailing his new Farr 60 THUNDERSTRUCK (PHRF1). Stern-Steerer sailor Fred Stritt is sailing HASTEN (PHRF 4).

 

Renegade Class Tech News

Renegade Class Web Page

 

Download in pdf

 

Via International Renegade Ice Yacht Racing Association Secretary Ron Rosten:

THE RENEGADE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE WAS ASKED THE FOLLOWING 3 QUESTIONS BY DOUG KOLNER. THE COMMITTEE’S ANSWER FOLLOWS EACH QUESTION.

 

  1. WHEN CONSTRUCTING A MAST, CAN THE GOOSENECK TRACK EXTEND CLOSER TO THE BASE OF THE MAST THAN THE 9 INCHES SHOWN ON THE PLANS?
    TECH COMMITTEE ANSWER: NO
  2. WHEN CONSTRUCTING A MAST, CAN THE BOTTOM OF THE LUFF TUBE EXTEND CLOSER TO THE BASE OF THE MAST THAN THE 26 INCHES SHOWN ON THE PLANS?
    TECH COMMITTEE ANSWER: NO
  3. WHEN CONSTRUCTING A MAST, CAN THE BASE BE FORWARD OR AFT OF THE MAST CENTERLINE AS SHOWN ON THE PLANS?
    TECH COMMITTEE ANSWER: NO

Classic Video: Pewaukee Ice Yacht Club c.1960

Bill Mattison points his Graflex camera at Mauretta who was filming him on Lake Mendota. Dave Rosten M160 in the background.

It’s always a good day when a surprise arrives in the mail, particularly when the package contains vintage ice sailing footage shot by Bill & Mauretta Mattison. Don Sanford recently had Kodak transfer the Mattison’s 16, 8, and Super-8 mm into electronic files which he burned to disc and sent off to me.(Speaking of Kodak, the Mattisons owned one of Madison’s premier film processing labs, Star Photo, for many years.)

Let’s begin by traveling back to the late 1950s/early 1960s on Pewaukee Lake. At first I thought this may have been the 1957 International Skeeter Association Regatta which was sailed on Pewaukee (Buddy Melges won) but a couple clues led me to believe that we are watching a Pewaukee Ice Yacht Club race. All of the boats, except for one, carry the Pewaukee designation V on the sail. The biggest clue is that Bill is filming from the weather mark.  Bill finished 8th at the 1957 ISA so therefore, he would not have been filming at that regatta. The 1957 ISA newsletter regatta report and results are posted below the video.  Stay tuned to the end of the video to see the spring ritual of carrying iceboats through a wet and  deteriorating shoreline. Pewaukee friends, if you recognize any of these Skeeters, please let us know!

I’ll be editing and posting two more ice sailing videos from the Mattison archives in the coming weeks.

Bill Perrigo’s THUNDERJET IOU is easy to spot. Some other sail numbers and boat names I picked out were:
SNO USE
V112
MISS PEGGY V50
SNOW GOOSE V4
V20 John Flanagan
TWISTER V71
V83 Al Sternkopf

 

Midsummer Mast Makers


The summer building and dust making season is in full swing over at the Nordhaus Boatworks. 4LIYC Nite sailors Lars Barber and Brad Wagner are almost to the gluing stage on their Nite masts. Jim Nordhaus shared these photos on the 4LIYC Facebook page. 

Who was MARY B?

MARY B draws a crowd on Lake Monona in 1952

The Dane County Historical Society Newsletter has published an article by our own Don Sanford about the historic stern-steerer MARY B.

The Mary B was fast, really fast, but just who or what was she? A racehorse, a track star, or maybe a downhill skier? None of the above, she was an iceboat…She was the dream of one of Madison’s largest electrical contractors and public-spirited citizens, Orvin “OT” Havey.

Read the whole story here.

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)

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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

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