From Ice to Dust – Ivanpah 2024

From Ice to Dust – Ivanpah 2024

NALSA RESULTS

Iceboat.org has been covered in dust while visiting the spring training grounds of Ivanpah, Nevada, where ice sailors have traded their runners for wheels. Last week, I spent a few days as a tourist at the North American Land Sailing Championship. It was an opportunity to hang out with 4LIYC Commodore Daniel Hearn, Pat Heppert, SIBC’s Bob Cave, Ken Smith, John Eisenlohr, Bill Dale, brothers Jim and Dave Gluek, and Pete Johns, to name a few. There was a high concentration of ice sailors in the Mini-Skeeter class, developed by John Eisenlohr, several years ago. The sight of Pat Heppert’s green C Skeeter, DRIFTER, on the dirt, created a surreal juxtaposition, as I’m accustomed to seeing it on ice.

Racing highlights included watching competitors cross the finish line, the speed battles between John Eisenlohr and the Gluek brothers, and Daniel Hearn dialing in the Mini-Skeeter he borrowed from Pete Johns. (Why he had to borrow a boat in the first place is a story for Daniel.) The race committee’s longstanding familiarity with each other translated into effortlessly managing races and enjoying the task.

Social events on the playa were unique. I learned about the tradition of mixing margaritas in a repurposed cement mixer (thankfully, I missed the “gritty” years.), ate freshly prepared fish tacos seconds out of the fryer, and enjoyed the chili cook-off.

Competitors remarked that the playa was in the best condition they had seen in many years, comparable to our black ice – smooth and hard with very few humps or cupping.

Later this week, I’ll be back on the playa for another exciting event, the 2024 Blokart World Championship. Competitors from 11 countries include several 4LIYC members, Jim Nordhaus, Geoff Sobering, Brett Husley, Lars Barber, and Brad Wagner.

Recent rains on the playa have left the Blokart regatta organizers in an eerily familiar position, reminiscent of the same uncertainties often faced by ice sailors. The Federal Bureau of Land Management, responsible for overseeing the playa, has enforced gate closures during rainy periods to safeguard the integrity of the dry lake bed. Unlike snow on a lake, the arid conditions of the high desert typically facilitate the rapid evaporation of moisture. With a sunny forecast ahead, regatta organizers are hoping that the playa will soon be accessible once again for the Blokart regatta. Racing is scheduled from Saturday, April 6, through Friday, April 12. You will be able to see Blokart results here.

 

In The News: “Glued Together” – The Gougeon Brothers


There’s a pattern here. Iceboating has been a source of inspiration for sailing technology innovations. The Harken brothers developed improved blocks for iceboats before expanding into the broader sailing market. Similarly, the Gougeon brothers’ groundbreaking epoxy invention was first put to the test on iceboats, revolutionizing construction techniques and paving the way for advancements in boat building across all sailing disciplines. These instances underscore the significant role that iceboating has played in shaping modern sailing technology and design. One of the best articles ever written about the brothers who invented what holds us together. Read it here.
From Soundings:

Glued Together
The Gougeon brothers didn’t invent epoxy, but they were innovative boatbuilders who created the West System of epoxy products and revolutionized coldmolded boatbuilding.
PIM VAN HEMMEN
Michigan was a hotbed for iceboating and the Gougeons were DN iceboaters. The DN iceboat had been designed for the Detroit News in the 1930s and had quickly become the most popular iceboat in the world. The little racers were fast, but also light, and the high loads they operated under made them prone to operational failures. Broken masts and cracked runner planks were not uncommon. In Meade’s eyes, the DNs were a great test bed for epoxy. Continue reading. 

“I Just Wanted Some for My Iceboat” – Sailing Stories: Peter Harken


SAIL Magazine checks in with Peter Harken. Read the article here.
Sailing Stories: Peter Harken
At 86, Peter Harken remains as excited as ever about the company he and his brother, Olaf, founded.
WENDY MITMAN CLARKE SAIL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

And of course, in our smaller one-design type boats, the scows and the iceboats, we needed blocks that reacted very fast. They were light. And so we were always searching for that. I went home with the idea in my head and made some sketches and came back the next day at work and made some blocks. And then I started using them on my own boat. I wasn’t planning to to sell them or make them for anyone, I just wanted some for my iceboat. And they really worked. Continue reading.

Ray Ruge’s WAR BABY

Some of Carl Bernard’s scrapbook photos of his old friend, Ray Ruge.

The Hudson River Maritime Museum highlights the legacy of Ray Ruge, a pioneer in iceboat design and literature during the 1940s and 1950s. The Museum has posted his  article, WAR BABY – A Simplified Version of a Bow Steering Iceboat,  detailing the construction of an iceboat in 1940s Alberta using only available materials. As a premier writer on the subject, Ruge’s insights and innovations continue to inspire ice sailors today. It’s interesting to note that during WW2, Ruge spent time in Madison, sailed with our club, and became great friends with one of our most famous club members, Carl Bernard. See the article here.

From the article: “But,” said he, “no plywood, no dural, no fittings, no this and no that, how in the world can we build a decent ice boat now?” And the question certainly seemed sensible enough. But there was the lake, ready to freeze; there was the sail boat’s rig, ready to use; there were the tools and the shop to work in. So we just decided to start in and see how far we could get. Continue reading.

Video Link: Ray Ruge’s New Skeeter

Reflections & Resolutions – 4LIYC Meeting Recap


NORTHWEST FREE FOR ALL TROPHY HISTORY
Last night, the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club gathered for its final season meeting at the Four Lakes Yacht Club. The event was memorable, with Lars Barber in charge of pizza pick-up, Daniel Hearn bringing the essential bottle of Irish whiskey, and Ken Whitehorse hauling in the historic Northwest pots and pans. We honored our Northwest champions and paid tribute to the legacy of Tim McCormick while also remembering other departed members. The gathering brought together familiar faces, including those from Green Lake and Oshkosh, adding to the camaraderie. Ken Whitehorse showcased the Northwest Skeeter Trophy and the Northwest Free For All Trophy, awarded at the first Northwest regatta in 1913.

Despite the shortness of this sailing season, we are always optimistic and are already laying the groundwork for an exceptional season ahead. The club is gearing up to host the Southern Wisconsin Iceboat Swap Meet next fall and brainstorming ways to make it an unmissable event.
Video link to Ice Sailors Irish Blessing.

 

 

Eight Bells – Byron A Tetzlaff


OBITUARY
The iceboating community mourns the loss of Byron A. Tetzlaff and extends heartfelt condolences to his family. The Tetzlaff family’s legacy has been an integral part of our club’s history since the 1920s.
Via Don Sanford:

Once an iceboater…
c. 2024. Donald P. Sanford

Until a cold and blustery day in January, 2020, I thought I had met just about every iceboater in Dane County and listened to all their stories. Sure, I heard about Frank Tetzlaff and I had even met his grandson, Byron. On that day I was introduced to Frank and Evelyn Tetzlaff and instantly immersed in everything Tetzlaff and Mary B.

Peter Fauerbach arranged a field trip to their apartment in nearby Sun Prairie for a group of us from the Ice Boat Foundation. Byron was a master woodworker, a skill he no doubt learned from his dad. Our eyes popped as we checked out the beautiful collection of clocks and other projects displayed in their cozy apartment. What really caught our collective attention was the equally impressive family archive of Mary B photos, clippings, mementos and Evelyn’s Mary B quilt. As we took all this in, Byron told us story after story about his dad, the construction of both the B, the Fritz and the First Unitarian Meeting House as well as his experiences sailing on both of these iconic iceboats with Carl Bernard.

More than fifty years had passed but for us (and I guess for Byron) it was as though he’d just stepped off the ice. He was kind enough to let me scan all his photos and, by some stroke of luck, I had brought along my scanner. A lucky break because eight weeks later, Covid had us all isolated and nobody was going anywhere.

Fast forward to November of 2020. Production of our film, Mary B: Madison’s Legendary Iceboat was underway. I had Byron’s stories but I really wanted to hear him tell them. Again, we weren’t going to his apartment and he certainly wasn’t coming to us. But Byron was enthusiastic and wanted to tell his story for the camera. We came up with a solution. On a chilly day in November of 2020, Byron opened his garage door. He sat just inside, our crew took up a position at a safe distance in the driveway. Mission accomplished! Once an ice boater, always an ice boater. A little chill in the air wasn’t gonna get in the way of a good story! His in-person interview added so much to our film and I will always be grateful to Byron for his willingness to help.