Johnson Boatworks B Class Stern steerer model c 1930
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Last week, Jim Gluek shared some family history about his grandfather who raced a Johnson Boatworks-built B Class Stern-Steerer in Minneapolis. Jim has found the perfect place to display the trophy, right next to the model of the stern-steerer that likely dates from around the 1920s.
Jim’s grandfather’s model is a good excuse to take another look at the world of iceboat models which have become highly prized collector pieces. Below are photos of William Bernard and son Carl’s models. (The Bernard Boathouse on Lake Mendota is where iceboat racing began in Madison.) The Wisconsin State Historical Society has a Bernard model iceboat in its collection that Bill Mattison has restored twice. Let us know if you have a model iceboat!
Jim Gluek (Skeeter, DN, and Nite class) came across some family history in the form of this vintage trophy won by his grandfather back in 1927 on Lake Minnetonka. Jim’s grandfather raced a Johnson Boatworks-built B Class Stern Steerer. Jim also mentioned that when conditions are right on Minnetonka, Harry Allen rigs up his vintage B Class Johnson stern-steerer and takes it through the paces. (What iceboater wouldn’t want a shirt with that beautifully designed graphic?)
The Johnson Boatworks was founded by John O. Johnson in 1896 on White Bear Lake in Minnesota. In addition to building iceboats, Johnson was instrumental in scow and other soft water designs. (Johnson Boatworks is now known as White Bear Boatworks. )
Johnson Stern-Steerers have been featured over the years here on iceboat.org. This picture dates from 2013 when Fond du Lac iceboaters Dave and Jeff Lallier gave their then 84 year-old mother a ride in a Johnson B. Note the “banana” spar.
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Here’s another Bill & Mauretta Mattison home movie proving the point about mast gluing parties referenced in the previous post. This glue party at the Mattison shop on Williamson Street in Madison, WI took place sometime around 1982. The mast is for an A Class Stern Steerer, possibly the MARY B. Clampers and gluers that day were Billy Mattison, Jack Ripp, Jerry Simon, Greg Simon, Lon Schoor, Donna Schoor, Jim Henkel, Don Sanford, Paul Krueger, Ken Whitehorse, Bill Hanson, Bill Mattison, and Ken Schmidt.
Glue parties have been popular within our Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club for many years. (No – not THAT kind of glue party!) Lars Barber’s Nite mast was the guest of honor last night at the Nordhaus Boatwerks. Fast drying epoxy is the life blood of iceboats and many hands and clamps make for quick mast building.