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.

NEW LOCATION: Off Broadway Drafthouse!!  4LIYC Meeting: February 20 Info
DN Gold Cup and North American Championship February 16-23 Info
Tropical Party February 23 Info
4LIYC Banquet: Save the date! April 27

4LIYC Ice Check Friday Feb 8

What will they see? 

In one week, the Madison area has seen the temperatures swing from -27F to 40F along with every known precipitation type. It’s raining and sleeting as I type this. What that means is the lakes are in a constant state of change as far as iceboating is concerned.
On Tuesday, 4LIYC members took a look at Mendota, Monona, and Kegonsa with the hopes of finding decent ice for the Nite Nationals. The snow had turned into a rough slushy surface. There were dark patches on Lake Mendota that looked unsafe. Monona looked like it had the best potential but it was rough.
Club members will meet at the Olin Park landing on Friday at noon to assess Lake Monona. Stand by for news.

In The News: Bill Bucholz

Bill Bucholz and Pat Heppert at the 2017 ISA in Battle Lake, MN

Our good friend, Maine iceboater and iceboat builder Bill Bucholz, was recently featured in an article in the Portland Press Herald. Bill made the long drive to the ISA in 2017 with his C Skeeter and we look forward to his next regatta visit.

Maine’s only commercial ice-boat builder has a passion for his craft

In the fringe sport, Bill Buchholz enjoys making boats.


CAMDEN — Bill Buchholz builds ice boats for a living, a trade that sets him apart.

He built his first in 2007, and in the subsequent years turned his Camden company, Apache Boatworks, into a business that specializes in ice boats, sleek usually one-person crafts that can skate across frozen ponds and lakes at speeds of up to 50 mph.

In a boat-building community of some 5,000, Buchholz is the only full-time commercial ice-boat builder in Maine, and one of a small number – some estimate it around 200 – in the country. Continue reading.

Junior World Ice Sailing Championship: Day 1

Photo: Michał Skawiński “Kornik” POL 333 P-339

Provisional Results IDNIYRA Europe

The 2019 Junior World DN & Ice Optimist Championships got underway today on Lake Siemianowka in light air and sticky ice. Ron Rosten reported that the wind shut off during the day’s last race and they tore down their boats in the dark. Ron also praised Estonian DNer Rasmus Maalen C20, currently in first, who “went out of his way to give Thor [Rosten] advice and offer encouragement.”
Rasmus Maalen, it should be noted, won the first race of the European Championship 2 weeks ago and finished 6th overall. Another junior who competed at the Europeans, Zuzanna Rybicka P119, is in second place just 2 points behind Rasmus tonight.
In the Ice Optimist fleet, Estonian sailor Lisbeth Taggu C1 holds first with Poles Mateusz Gigielewicz P89 and Anielka Graczyk P375 tied for second. Aneilka’s father, Robert Graczyk, won the Polish Championship last Saturday. There are a combined total of 80 skippers registered for the regatta. Youth iceboating is doing well in Europe.

Previous: Junior Worlds See the World
Previous: 2019 Junior World Championship Begins

Regatta Watch: Nite Nationals Postponed

Nites line up to race at the 2019 ISA                           Photo: Pat Heppert

Nite Nationals has been postponed to the weekend of February 16 & 17, 2019. Ice checkers in Madison and Pewaukee found that even with the recent thaw, ice conditions are not quite ready.

Next announcement will be posted on the Nite class website on Friday evening, Feb 10, 2019

Junior Worlds See the World

Junior DN & Ice Optimist sailors at Lake Niegocin in Gizycko, Poland                   Photo: Mihkel Kosk


“Double ice [the Europeans’ name for shell ice], not frozen slush, and snow drifts” on Niegocin means the juniors are on the move today to greener iceboating pastures on Lake Siemianowka at Poland’s border with Belarus. Opening ceremonies and racing for the Junior World DN & Ice Optimist championships are scheduled for Wednesday Feb 6th.
Previous: 2019 Junior World Championship Begins

SAILING Magazine: “Ludicrous Speed On Hard Water”

JR Francis US807 Photo: JH Peterson

Pick up a print or digital February issue SAILING Magazine for a feature story with high quality photography by JH Peterson about our favorite sport. Steve Orlebeke, Harken, mentions of the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club and Skeeter Iceboat Club, Jane Pegel – I could go on but the author has covered all the bases on the Wisconsin and Minnesota iceboating scene.

4LIYC Meetings Move to Off Broadway Drafthouse

A sign of excellence seen on the wall at Off Broadway Drafthouse

Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club Moves Meetings to
Off Broadway Drafthouse

We are excited to announce that the 4LIYC will meet at Off Broadway Drafthouse for the remainder of the season. Thank you to Joe and Rita Klinzing and the Off Broadway staff for accommodating us on short notice. OBD is a friendly neighborhood pub with a way above average menu. An enlargement of the historic photo (posted above) covers an entire wall there! We look forward to Jack Ripp letting us know some history on these boats.

Off Broadway Drafthouse
5404 Raywood Rd, Madison, WI 53713

Table service for food and drinks will begin at 5:45 PM. We will meet in the room behind the bar which is to your left as you enter.
The meeting begins at 6:30 PM.

Remaining Meeting Schedule

February 6
February 20 4LIYC Business Meeting
March 6
March 20

2019 Junior World Championship Begins

Thor Rosten at the 2018 Junior DN World Championship

EU IDNIYRA Junior News

The 2019 DN & Ice Optimist Junior World and European Championships were called on for Lake Niegocin in Gizycko, Poland for February 4-8. 4LIYC DN sailor Thor Rosten and his dad, Ron, are there and again traveling with the Swedish team.  Ron reports that they may be looking at an alternative site because of a snowfall during the night. The opening ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday, February 5 at 10:00 with racing to follow. Stay tuned!

Regatta Watch: Nite Nationals Called ON

Nite Skippers
Nite Nationals has been tentatively called ON for February 9 & 10, 2019.
Potential locations are:
Madison area (Mendota, Monona or Kegonsa)

Southern Wisconsin has experienced thawing conditions during the past 24 hours with another 12 hours of above-freezing temps and rain. Current forecasts call for a hard freeze and below freezing temps beginning on Monday. We expect that this may produce sailable ice on one of these four lakes. Ice scouts will be out the next few days and also Wednesday and after their reports and careful review of the forecasts we will make a final regatta call on Wednesday, February 6, by 9 PM CST.

Please check the class website for more updates.
Pre-register for the regatta now on our class website and save the $10.00 late registration fee that will be charged those who register after 12 noon, CST on Friday, February 8.

Regatta Dates 2019



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National Iceboat Authority Web Page

Click for 4LIYC Meeting Dates


  • November 14
  • November 29 THURSDAY Elections, Elect Fleet Captains. Vote on ISA & NIYA Agenda Items
  • December 12
  • December 27 THURSDAY
  • January 9 Honor Roll Nominations
  • January 23 Deadline for By-Law or Racing Rules Amendment Submission
  • February 6
  • February 20 Business Meeting
  • March 6
  • March 20

Location: Off Broadway Drafthouse 5404 Raywood Road Madison, WI Time: 6:30 PM (Come earlier for dinner)



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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