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.
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).
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:
MISS PEGGY V50
SNOW GOOSE V4
V20 John Flanagan
V83 Al Sternkopf
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.
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.
It’s been a Fourth of July tradition around here for several years to showcase the red, white, and blue Class A Skeeter built by Tom Nichols and now in the capable hands of Minnesota’s John Dennis.
But wait, there’s more – as an added bonus this year, enjoy Charles Wysocki’s “Ice Riders On The Chesapeake” Americana-themed print. Hope everyone enjoys the weekend and continues to Think Ice! You have 150 days until December 1 to sharpen those runners.
Ice Riders on the Chesapeake Bay by Charles Wysocki