Say farewell to the A-Class Skeeter rear-seater era in the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club. Ken Whitehorse’s WARRIOR was the last rear-seater to sail competitively in our 4LIYC races, International Skeeter Association races, and Northwest regatta races. The above photo of Ken hiking on Geneva Lake appeared in the Janesville Gazette several years ago. Ken recalled that day of scrub racing. Skeeter Ice Boat Club’s Buddy Melges was the judge/flagman on a mushy, slushy track. Ken remembers that the boat “was a real mudder that day, WARRIOR came up and out of the slush to win 4 races!” Ken’s looking for a good home for the boat and listed it for sale on the Buy & Sell page.
More on the boat: Bill Dale gave Ken a super wide mast-pole 14″ from top to bottom and also gave him a super-full 2″ draft sail. (The kind of sail Dave Clapp and Tom Nichols used to use on the Navasink River.)
Paul Krueger developed the rear-seat Skeeter back in the 1970s. Here’s an excerpt about rear-seat Skeeters from the 4LIYC History page.
The Appearance of the Rear Seater Skeeter
By Greg Whitehorse
In 1975, Madison skipper Paul Krueger was involved in a serious iceboating accident while competing in a Northwestern Regatta on Lake Winnebago. Krueger thought that part of the cause of the accident was the limited vision one had while sitting under the boom when sailing a Skeeter. With that in mind he designed and built the first rear-seater Skeeter for the 1976 sailing season.
Not only did the skipper not have to duck under the boom on each jibe or tack; he also enjoyed a much larger field of vision. The new design also allowed the gap between the boom and deck to be closed. In other words, when fully trimmed, the boom was now pulled down to meet the deck This greatly enhanced the performance of the already potent Class E Skeeter iceboat.
Krueger’s new design dominated the competition for the next few years. He won win two ISA World Championships, in 1976 and 1979, along with a Northwestern Regatta title in 1979. The dominance of Krueger’s Rambl’n forced others to change to a rear seat design in order to keep up. With Krueger’s and Bill Mattison’s help, most of the 4LIYC Skeeter fleet was converted to the new design.
Outside the 4LIYC area some Skeeter sailors were not real happy about having to make yet another change in their yachts, even though no parts off the old boats were made obsolete with Krueger’s new design. The hull was fairly easily converted to rear seat dimensions, and the existing boom only needed to be made a little wider.
Soon all serious contenders in the Skeeter fleet were sailing rear seaters. In 1977 Ken Whitehorse sailed a Krueger reconfigured Skeeter to a Northwestern Championship, becoming yet another 4LIYC member to win a major regatta.