1938 Northwest: Oshkosh to Madison

The photo above is the starting point and inspiration for this week’s edition of Northwest Regatta Throw-Back-Thursday. That’s Skeeter Ice Boat Club’s Harry Melges (you may have heard of his son, Buddy) in front of H.V. Fitzcharles of Chicago on Lake Mendota. The Northwest was supposed to have started on Saturday, January 15 at Oshkosh but a heavy snow storm forced a postponment. The local newspaper wrote in a way all too familiar for those who enjoy this sport, “Oshkosh lost another regatta through an uncompromising Weather Man who has played a ‘dirty trick’ on the city and and particularly its iceboaters.”
Two weeks later, the regatta relocated to Lake Mendota. Harry Melges did win a trophy that year, but not in the E Skeeter. He sailed the Lake Geneva A stern steerer, KOL-MASTER, to victory. The Wisconsin State Journal reported that there was a controversy about “ships sailing out of their class”. You can that article here.