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.
CLANCY from the Carl Bernard Slide collection.
Previous: Celebrating the Women of Ice Sailing
Skeeter Ice Boat Cub sailor Jane Pegel shares her memories of female ice sailors and race committee members. Some of the women she mentions were featured in an article that ran in Rudder Magazine in 1943, see below.
UPDATE: One more woman who must be included is Green Lake Nite sailor Maureen Bohleber who won the 2019 ISA title.
“Sunday morning on Lake Geneva is really ladies’ day. The skipperettes get the boats ready themselves and there is every evidence of sex equality at the crack of the starting gun.”
The Skeeter IBC was organized in 1933 and the Club archives show a fleet of women racing Skeeters:
- Bettye Nye
- Ethel Koehler
- Lucille Fitzcharles
- Ariel Clayton
- Sue Vilas
- Vera Granath
- Rose Anderson
- Medora Adams
- Helen Campbell
- Frieda Hoiles
Winning the championship:
- 1934 Lucille Fitzcharles
- 1935 Vera Granath
- 1936 Bettye Nye
- 1937 Vera Granath
- 1938 Bettye Nye
- 1939 Sue Vilas
The Club cancelled racing during WW II and subsequently the women’s fleet seems to have disappeared from the weekly race schedule, though many raced in the ISA Women’s Division.
When I was a Williams Bay high school student, my father bought me Holy Smoke, a 20 ft. Mead. In 1951 I took it down to Fox Lake to race in the Women’s Division of the ISA regatta. In the opening race I was leading at the first windward mark but didn’t know how to sail off-the-wind so ended up DNF. My recollection is that I improved over the weekend and finished second in the regatta. There were several outstanding women skippers competing, including: Olive Lindstedt, Fox Lake IYC; Dorie Sarns, Detroit IYC; and Harriett Sternkopf and Jean Zwicky of the Pewaukee Ice Yacht Club who were outstanding Skeeter sailors.
I continued to race my Skeeter for several years and won some SIBC trophies. Then in November, 1956, I switched to a DN and raced successfully in that class through 2014. My daughter, Susie, started racing a DN in 1969, at age 12. She was top Junior In the Northwest and brought home trophies in several DN championship regattas, both gold and silver divisions,several times beating her mother.
Julie Richards from Grand Traverse IYC is an outstanding DN skipper and has taken home a number of awards, including a Central Division championship.
The list of faithful women race committee volunteers includes Mauretta Mattison; Cora Millenbach; Mary Jane Schalk; Deb Whitehorse; the three Sherry sisters – Loretta, Debbie, Jane; the Green Lake contingent of Julie Jankowski , Laurie Norton, Debbie Bierman; Mrs. John Koeck came all the way from Lake Hopatcong, NJ; Mrs. Gene Treuter led the Cass Lake contingent. And there have been many DN wives who devoted evenings to keeping class membership records.
Many thanks to them all.
Ye Olde Party Boat
Museums and archival websites have flung opened their virtual doors and allowed access to their archives to help us while away the hours. Stumbled across this print dated from around 1600 on the British Museum website. It’s purported to be the earliest representation of an iceboat – Dutch, of course. The artist took some liberties because a 10 person iceboat would need some good breeze to get going not to mention the impossibility of handling the boat around such a twisty narrow track.
Seeing this 10 person iceboat brought to mind one of the greatest ice sailing projects ever seen, executed by the Toledo Ice Yacht Club in 2007, the BERZERKER. She was built to be a one-weekend party boat, a stern steerer assembled from what ever they found laying around. BERZERKER gave many people their first iceboat ride during that Winter Carnival weekend on Lake Erie.