Welcome to iceboat.org

The Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club is one of the most active iceboat clubs in North America. We’ve been building and racing iceboats for over 100 years in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

Ice Is Never 100% Safe.

Our ice reports are strictly for iceboat racers. Recreational iceboaters, kite boarders, cross country skiers, and ice fishermen should not rely on our ice reports. We have safety equipment. Do you?

Buy or Sell Your Iceboat

One of the best pages in North America to buy or sell iceboats and their parts. There’s also a complete list of vendors who will supply iceboats, sails, and their components.

Common Questions:

How can I get started? How fast can they go? How much do they cost? Is it safe?

Regatta Watch

Information about the ISA, NIYA, WSSA, Nite, and DN regattas.

Iceboat Classes

Learn about Skeeters, DNs, Stern Steerers, Renegades, Nites, and Ice Optimists.

The Rules.

The purpose of iceboat racing rules is to prevent collisions.

Ice Yacht Clubs

The best way to learn about iceboating and make life long friendships is to join a local club.

Why We Sail.

“If all our ice were glass, slightly wet, and all our air reasonably steady with lifters just where needed, sailing would be perfect. Sometimes we do find this, and it is worth waiting years to have. Meanwhile we must accept the more ordinary ice conditions, ordinary weather and wind, and gracefully accept snow, sometimes for weeks. Our ideal comes from time to time, the Great Maker gives only so much of the very best.” Charles H. Johnson.

Iceboating for Kids

Ice Optimists were created specifically as a youth trainer, designed to be easily built using commonly available materials, and to keep costs to a minimum.

UPCOMING:
Next 4LIYC meeting: November 2018

TBT: Lake City, MN

Lake Pepin IceboatingLake Winnebago stern-steerer sailors Andy Gratton and Mike Kroll might still be on the search for ice so that they can add to their 1000 mile season. Ice is rare this time of year but they did drop in to visit with an iceboater from Lake City, MN.

“Mike Kroll and I were in Rochester and stopped to see Bruce Eggenberger, a long-time stern steerer sailor at Lake City. He had this photo from his uncle who used to ice boat there.

The story is that most of these boats were all stored in the same barn. Some irate wives of the iceboaters burned the barn one night. Silly them, they didn’t realize the boats were keeping their husbands out of the bars. I bet it was Bob’s wife because he didn’t name the boat after her”.

Back of photo

In a related story, a few years ago, Harry Allen sent a link to this Lake Minnetonka Magazine article written about the iceboating scene on Pepin and Minnetonka in the 1890s. The story details a race between the Pepin and Minnetonka stern-steerers with the winning skipper of the race being a 17 year old girl, Nancy Bassett.

Pegel Slide Collection: Frank Trost & TUSCARORA

Frank Trost TUSCARORA III

Frank Trost, along with his neighbor William Perrigo, was another legendary E Skeeter sailor from Pewaukee, WI. Trost and Perrigo captured the 1953 Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant the first time the race was held in the Midwest after Fox Lake’s Eddie Rollberg won it out east in 1952. Trost was part of the winning team that went on to win it another 3 times.
Frank Trost gave one of my favorite descriptive quotes about ice boating to a Russian reporter in 1960:

From “Sailing In the Cold Region“, a Russian magazine article published in 1960:
Frank Trost, Perrigo’s neighbor, describes even poetical a ride on his “Tuscarora”:- Iceboat comes alive, he begins to talk to you. Was I somehow on Lake Delavan. Gusts crosswind reached 80 km / h. I didn’t feel under itself, but the “Tuscarora” didn’t obey. It seemed to fly through the air; only the wind howled in the wires and whistled – people standing on the bank told us that the boat roared like a jet plane – and in my helmet was a rumble that I have not heard the creaking of the runners. After the arrival, from flying in all directions icicles Trost’s face was covered with hundreds of tiny cuts. But the little things it did not disturb. As many iceboat sailors, he doesn’t recognize the face masks. He argues that in order to determine the speed of a good sailor should feel the wind on his face and trap slightest changes, skillfully using them to speed up the movement. It is worth and cause injury to the blood!

read more…

Triple Twins

an experimental iceboat with two masts

An experimental iceboat. Photo from the World Ice & Snow Sailing Association Facebook page.

Iceboating appeals to dreamers. This twin-masted bow steering iceboat comes from the Facebook page of the World Ice & Snow Sailing Association. One of their members in Canada built the boat. This is one of the more unusual twin-mast concept iceboats because the wings are on the plank. Here are two more twin-masted iceboats, one in the from of an oil painting by Harry Whitehorse, and the other from Brian Reed who saw it ten years ago on Orange Lake in New York.

 

 

Pegel Slide Collection: Elmer & Cora Millenbach

Renegade iceboat

Elmer Millenbach rounds the weather mark in RENEGADE I on Geneva Lake. Note the film crew standing bravely at the mark.

Elmer Millenbach was one of the most influential iceboat builders in North America. Hamilton, Ontario ice sailor, Rob Intini, went so far as to stencil “We All Plays Elmer’s Tune” on his Class-A Skeeter boom as a reminder of Elmer’s iceboat innovations. Elmer designed the bow-steering Renegade and along with his wife, Cora Lee, created a successful one-design class. Cora Lee also served for many years on Race Committees and spent hours on the ice handling scoring duties.
Elmer designed the Renegade because the newly created DN Class couldn’t make up their minds on specifications.
From Renegade Reflections, an interview with Elmer Millenbach:

…. We no sooner got comfortably started when the Detroit Ice Yacht Club rescinded the allowable changes and reverted to the originally modified plans. That was it, as far as I was concerned! The three of us were stuck with sails and material for 3 boats, but I just couldn’t bring myself to build to the original plans. I told my two companions in the project that I was going to design my own boat and left it to their choice to do as they chose.
Read the entire article here.

NOTE: There are two steps to view photos at full size.
1.Click on photo, another page will open.
2. Click on the photo again and you will be able to see the full sized version.
Pegel Slide Collection Series Webpage

 

Skeeter Iceboat Club Honors

Photo: August Greidanus

Via SIBC member Jane Pegel:

The Skeeter IBC 85th annual trophy dinner took place on May 5th.
Winner of the various completed series were presented their trophies.

Boe Craft B Skeeter:
Championship Series – Steve Schalk
Saturday Morning Series – Rick Pappas
Wednesday Series – Steve Schalk

DN Saturday Series – Pat Fitzgerald

The Nite fleet did not have a completed series, but Kyle Navin was recognized
as the winner of the races that had been sailed.

Two former Commodores were granted Life Membership status –
Chuck Kaye and Steve Schalk. They both have performed outstanding
service to the Club as equipment maintenance men, ice checkers, rescue team, and as members of the sailing committee.
The current existing Life Members who were present to express their welcome to Chuck and Steve included
Burly Brellenthin, Bud Melges, and Jane Pegel. Life Member Spark Lundberg was unable to attend the event.

That’s All Folks…

A 12 second PSA from iceboat.org. Let the summer building season begin! Check back here periodically for more posts about iceboating history and to learn how iceboaters keep busy in the off-season.

 

Minnetonka May Day Madness

Hooray Hooray, the First of May, Outdoor Ice Checking Ends Today

The idea sounded like a good one – ice sailing on May Day! The Minnesota ice sailors tried their best to make it happen today but Lake Minnetonka ice had deteriorated. Mike Bloom reported that they walked on the lake and found “lots of sketchy areas. Once again, Mother Nature proves who’s boss.”

 

Pegel Slide Collection: Classic DNs

690: L. Wohrle, 445 Bob Cave, 378 Eric Sternkoff, 294 Lou Lonnecke

Today’s subject is DN iceboats from the late 1950s to early 1960s. This class has changed with the times and allows for more modern materials such as carbon fiber in the masts.
Bob Cave and Lou Lonnecke, pictured above, remain active racers in the DN class.
NOTE: There are two steps to view photos at full size.
1.Click on photo, another page will open.
2. Click on the photo again and you will be able to see the full sized version.
Pegel Slide Collection Series Webpage

Pegel Slide Collection: 1970 Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant

4LIYC’s Dave Rosten and Pewaukee Ice Yacht Club’s Art Jark on Lake Mendota in Class A Skeeters c. 1970. NANCY E III was formerly one of Bill Mattison’s HONEYBUCKET Skeeters. 

These slides date from around the time of the 1970 Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant. The 4LIYC had won ice yachting’s most prestigious title for 6 straight years but the 1970 challenge was a different story. Read Greg Whitehorse’s account of the 1970 IYCP below the fold.
NOTE: There are two steps to view photos at full size.
1.Click on photo, another page will open.
2. Click on the photo again and you will be able to see the full sized version.
Pegel Slide Collection Series Webpage

Click here to read more

Excerpt from the BLADE RUNNER NEWSLETTER

HISTORICAL FOOTNOTES: THUNDER JET

The Greatest Name Ever Hung on an Ice Boat

Winter 2001, Volume 6, No. 2

By Greg Whitehorse

“One of Bill Perrigo’s last great ice yachting triumphs came in the Challenge Pennant races sailed on Lake Mendota in March of 1970.

The 4LIYC had won the Pennant in 1964, and successfully defended it for the next five years. Indeed, few thought that the Pennant races of 1970 would produce anything other than a 7th straight 4LIYC victory.

But the Pewaukee Ice Yacht Club had different ideas.

In their bid to wrestle the Pennant away from the 4LIYC, Pewaukee decided to send Art Jark’s lightening fast, ex-Bill Mattison Honeybucket, now named the Nancy E III, to Madison as one of it’s challenging yachts.

And Art Jark promptly tapped Bill Perrigo to steer it.

The Pennant title came down to the last race of the series that year. 4LIYC’s Dave Rosten, expertly piloting his Skeeter, Pirate, appeared to be headed for victory. But as the long, ten lap, twenty mile race wound down the wind began to pick up. The light snow that had fallen on and off throughout the day began to be blown around at the ice surface.

Soon the swirling snow built to almost surreal white-out conditions. All you could see of the boats racing around the course were the top four or five feet of the mast and sail. Finding the marks in these unbelievably dangerous conditions was next to impossible. On the last lap of the race Rosten could not find the top mark.

Somehow, Perrigo did.

A few minutes later the race scorers and other on-lookers were shocked to see Jark’s V-69, with Bill Perrigo at the helm, streaking toward the finish line.

The Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant of America went to Pewaukee.

Yeah… under the toughest of conditions Bill Perrigo proved how tough he was.

And damn good too”

By Greg Whitehorse

Regatta Dates 2019

Wisconsin Iceboat Hotline
608-204-9876

  • DN Western Challenge
    Dec 1-2, 2018
    iceboating.net
  • DN Western Region Championship
    Jan 5-6, 2019  DN North America
  • International Skeeter Association & Renegade Championship
    Jan 11-13, 2019
  • Northwest Regatta (NIYA)
    January 18-20, 2019
  • DN  European Championship
    January 20-25, 2019
    icesailing.org
  • DN & Ice Opti Junior Worlds
    February 4-8, 2019
    icesailing.org
  • DN Gold Cup & North American Championship
    February 16 – 23, 2019
    DN North America
  • WSSA Stern Steerer Championship
  • Nite Nationals
  • Baikal Ice Sailing Week, Siberia
    March 16 – 23, 2019

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Click for 4LIYC Meeting Dates

2017-2018

  • November 15
  • December 14 THURSDAY Elections, Elect Fleet Captains. Vote on ISA & NIYA Agenda Items
  • December 27
  • January 10 Honor Roll Nominations
  • January 24 Deadline for By-Law or Racing Rules Amendment Submission
  • February 7
  • February 21 Business Meeting
  • March 7
  • March 21

Location: Angelo’s 5801 Monona Drive Monona, WI Time: 6:30 PM alternate Weds. We meet downstairs and all are welcome.


YOU ARE SKIPPER NUMBER

TO ROUND THE MARK SINCE NOVEMBER 1999.



Lake Access Permits

A year-round permit required for designated launch sites in the City of Madison and Dane County Parks. Locations include:

  • Lake Mendota Warner Park Mendota County Park
  • Lake Monona Tonyawatha Tr. Olin Park
  • Lake Waubesa Goodland Park

Purchase Lake Access Permit Online.

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