MARY B draws a crowd on Lake Monona. Photos: Earl W Brown
In January 1952, Lake Monona delivered and the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club hosted the Northwest regatta and the Hearst Challenge. (The Hearst trophy was donated in 1903 by newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst.) Lake Monona in the 1950s could be counted upon for sailable ice thanks to the soot pollution from the coal burning power plant on its northeastern shore. The downside for the Skeeters was that the coal dust very quickly dulled runners. Perhaps the coal cinders didn’t affect the big iron of the Stern-Steerer runners.
The three majestic Class A Stern Steerers that competed for the Hearst that year were 2 4LIYC boats and 1 from Oshkosh including the MARY B owned by O. T. Havey and skippered by Carl Bernard with crew Norm Braith and Charlie Johnson; FRITZ owned and sailed by Jim Lunder with Beauford Polglase; and FLYING DUTCHMEN owned by John Buckstaff of Oshkosh, WI and skippered by Chuck Nevitt with crew Bud McDonald. MARY B was able to defend her title that year.The excitement of the regatta drew crowds and prompted the 4LIYC to set up a public address system at Law Park. Someone provided a play by play account during the racing.
These historic ice yachts are still with us today. Current owner of the FLYING DUTCHMEN, Dave Lallier in Fond du Lac, reminded me that FLYING DUTCHMEN is the correct name of the boat, not DUTCHMAN. The Van Dyke brothers from Milwaukee commissioned the FLYING DUTCHMEN in the 1930s, hence the plural designation. MARY B is back in Madison and owned by the Ice Boat Foundation while FRITZ is owned by Fred Stritt and is available for sale.
The San Diego Yacht Club welcomed 4LIYC Commodore Don Anderson back in March when he crewed on MR BILL, an Andrews 68, in the annual San Diego to Puerto Vallarta yacht race. MR BILL finished 2nd in class and 3rd overall. Don has been crewing on MR BILL for a few years and has competed in 2 Trans Pac races.
Hi all. Been a while. Life moves on during our global pandemic. On May 5, I officially became a real old dude. A grandpa. Haven’t started building Dash (Dashel) Daniel Percevecz’s first iceboat yet, but it’s on my list. Much joy, but also heartbreak, as I lost my mom the same day.
Daniel with first grandchild and newest Ice Optimist sailor.
Since my last update, I’ve pimped out my trailer. It’s set up to haul a C-Skeeter, a Renegade and three DNs; with sails, planks and runners for all. Along with a powered kick sled or two. I’ll give you a tour in a future update. Good ride for a Northwest!
Also meet “Tug,” the newest addition to the Spaight Street Syndicate garage. She’s a real tomboy—an electric powered trailer mover built from readily available parts, complete with lights and cup holders. Many thanks to Ken Whitehorse for the welding. I may have understated the task when I mentioned I had a few pieces of metal to weld up. But Ken was a great sport, and we had fun working on the project. I often need to move trailers around by myself, and Tug makes it really easy not only to move, but to position in tight spaces.
The other active project is repainting my Renegade components. Haven’t paid enough attention to the old girl in a while, so she’s getting a new dress. Plank and springboard done, mast going into spray booth tomorrow. Thanks to Jeff Russell for the booth. Left over from his airplane painting years ago, so all I had to do was reassemble and buy new plastic. Came complete with intake filters and an exit fan. Fumes disperse quickly.
So much for now. Grateful to the veterans out there for all they have sacrificed for our freedom. And to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, Rest In Peace. You will always be remembered.
2013 Mozambique Postal Stamp featuring DN and Renegade Class iceboats. The boat left middle US44 is Ron Sherry of Detroit, MI.
2013 Mozambique Postal Stamp featuring a Renegade class ice boat.
Bob Cummins inquired if the iceboat stamp issued by the US Post Office had ever been featured on iceboat.org. His email was a great jumping off point to search for other examples. I knew that Poland had issued a set and the Google pointed to Postal History Corner; Canadian Postal and Philatelic History where there’s a comprehensive page dedicated to ice sailing stamps and postcards from around the world. Until yesterday, the only thing I knew about the eastern African country, Mozambique was that Bob Dylan had written a song about it. What a surprise to learn that Mozambique had issued 6 iceboating stamps in 2013! All of these stamps are available to buy on ebay or stamp collecting websites.
1955 Hungarian postal stamp featuring a Monotype iceboat.
1978 Polish postal stamp issued in conjunction with the DN Gold Cup sailed at Krynica Morska, Poland, February 6-11, 1978.
CLANCY on Lake Monona near Law Park in Madison, WI c.1952
Craig Wilson found the above photo while looking through his dad J. Dale Wilson’s slide collection. (Craig is the aerial kite photographer who has been snapping our pictures for many years. See some of his work here on Flickr.) Craig figures the slide dates from around 1952 or 1953 and wondered if we knew anything about the yellow stern-steerer. I sent it off to Andy Gratton, Mike Peters, and Don Sanford. Here’s what the collective stern steerer history brain trust found:
Via Don Sanford:
The gods of iceboating must be sending me a message…..
I believe that this is the Clancy. She was owned by the Oetking family. See page 81 of “the book” (mine). [On Fourth Lake]
I have been on the trail of these folks for years and during the past six weeks (pandemic) I had a chance to plow through the internet, sailing websites, and obits. This is a family of sailors. Last week, I finally connected with Curt Oetking. (Who also goes by “Pete.”) His dad, Pete, crewed for Carl [Bernard] on the MARY B in a few regattas.
I sent him a photo of the Clancy that Jay Payton gave me several years ago. He sent this message:
“Clancy which was my mother Clare’s nickname…..”
Armed with that info, I looked in the Bernard Slide index and found several entries that mention either “Clancy” or Oetking. Somewhere I have a statement that the Clancy was a scaled-down version of the MARY B. Andy [Gratton] told me that he knows where she is now.
As for the photo, I believe that this was taken on Lake Monona, just off Law Park. it’s the only place on either lake where cars can park that close to the water.
WSSA Secretary/Treasurer Andy Gratton reports that Clancy is still around and in the care of Jim Rettke in Marinette who has owned it at least 35 years or more.
CLANCY in front of the Ray Stroud residence on Farwell Drive in Maple Bluff, Madison, WI.