Crash Test Dummy

Crash Test Dummy

The Spaight Street Syndicate and Russell Aviation collaboration begin the testing phase of their new powered kick-sleds.

Previously: “Get On Your Bad Motor Kicksled and Ride

Much to the displeasure of the Director of Product Development, Jeff Russell, the marketing team showed up in the lab to take glamour photos, even before any product testing was conducted. Seizing the opportunity, Russell lured the unsuspecting Director of Marketing, Daniel Hearn, into a test dummy role. “Looks great, doesn’t she,“ crowed Russell. “Sure does,” Hearn replied, “can’t wait to give her a go.” “It’s your lucky day,” exclaimed Russell, with a twinkle in his eyes!


There being no other gas handy, the sled was filled with high octane aviation fuel. “She might go just a little faster than usual, but I’m sure a stud like you can handle it,” he assured Hearn. Moments later, Hearn was flying down the test track unable to control the speed with no throttle yet installed. Russell claimed it was on back order. And the 20-tooth front sprocket may have generated a bit too much speed. “You should audition for next Jackass movie,” Russell suggested.


Today, with a 10-tooth front sprocket installed and standard fuel in the tank, the sled designer was ready for a spin.

You’ll want one.

Distraction of the Day: Sail Repair

Distraction of the Day: Sail Repair

Let’s watch an old sail being repaired at the Hardanger fartøyvernsenter in Western Norway for MATHILDE, a fishing boat, built in 1884. The same techniques were probably used to make and repair the sails on the stern-steerers pictured below. William Bernard kept a rental fleet of iceboats on Lake Mendota. Imagine that!
Tip of the Helmet: Ann Gratton

William Bernard’s fleet of rental stern steerer iceboats on Lake Mendota c.1895

Fat Lady Continues Social Isolation

Fat Lady Continues Social Isolation

The Fat Lady who sings of ice-break up has not been heard in parts of Montana and the Maritimes in Canada.

Via Doug Gaudet from the Maritime Ice Boating Facebook Group:
I’m not sailing but the Nites, with Peter McLaine, Angus Orford and Scott Stewart are still ripping Stanhope Bay apart. Here’s a couple of pic’s of the Nites and the three boys at rest . Pictures are by Alex Bruce.


In Montana, John Eisenlohr and friends have been sailing Lake Mary Ronan and applying rigorous standards to maintain social distancing.


Distraction of the Day: Lake Monona 6 Years Ago Today

Distraction of the Day: Lake Monona 6 Years Ago Today

DN iceboats line up to race on Lake Monona on March 29, 2014.     Photo: Tim Stanton.

It’s been over 20 years since went online.  Time to take a look a back through our own archives starting with Lake Monona 6 years ago.

March 29, 2014
Spring Sailing Continues

The DNs and Renegades were able to race on Lake Monona on Saturday on what looks to be pretty decent ice. Tim Stanton was there and took some more excellent photos from his RC drone

“Get On Your Bad Motor Kicksled and Ride”

“Get On Your Bad Motor Kicksled and Ride”

Jeff Russell installing the throttle cable in unit #1.

Daniel Hearn talks about a recent collaboration with Jeff Russell to build motorized kick sleds patterned after what he saw in Sweden at the 2020 DN Worlds. I think these have the potential to be a game changer for regatta management. There will always be a need for ATVs, but these are easier to transport than ATVs.  Need to check ice, change the weather mark, push a disabled boat to the pits, or quickly change the starting line at a DN regatta? No problem, hop on the sled and give her the gas.

Quarantined Ice Sailors

I suck at sitting still. One year during summer vacation, when I was a little kid, my mom thought I needed some daily down time. I was supposed to sit quietly on the couch and read a book, draw, or ponder the universe. The exercise lasted two days. Now I’m going to be a grandfather and my behavior still hasn’t changed.

With COVID-19 rearing it’s ugly head and our governor ruling my livelihood a “non-essential business,” I’ve been sentenced to weeks of down time. (Clearly he didn’t check with my wife. It’s essential for her sanity that she gets me out of the house). Not being deterred by my plight, I convinced a friend to do something he didn’t even know he wanted to do. Advertising must be the right profession for me after all.

Rising from the current chaos is a new partnership between the Spaight Street Syndicate and Russell Aviation. The strategic alliance was formed to build a couple powered kick sleds in the United States for use in regatta management. One party is the brains of the operation and the other is the grunt labor, however, the NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) prohibits delineation of individual capabilities.

Daniel Hearn

Highly skilled laborer performing precision cuts in exotic metals.


Highly skilled laborer’s twin brother preparing the testing surface.

This American Boy c 1953 and Now

This American Boy c 1953 and Now

Previous: Another Ice Sailing Cover: Have the Time of Your Life

4LIYC Nite sailor and MARY B group member, Don Sanford, was reviewing some 1953 footage filmed on Lake Monona and noticed this young man sailing by on an iceboat. The boat looks similar to the plans published in the 1952 American Boy magazine posted here yesterday, March 24, 2020.

Below are photos of Andy Gratton’s boat PEANUT (aka Face Plant Boat) modeled after the plans in the same magazine.  He made it for his son years ago and has sailed it a number of times.

PEANUT and the famous Hudson River Stern Steerer JACK FROST which was visiting Lake Winnebago in 2013.  Click here to see video of JACK FROST being set up on that day.

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