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.

4LIYC Meeting on Zoom: 6:30 PM CST, Dec 8, 2021 More information.
March 2022: The Hard Water Summit, Ft. Peck, Montana More information

BURGEE: Order your 4LIYC Burgee

Buy & Sell Page Maintenance

Paul Krueger next door at the Past Champions Iceboat Shop works on a Class A skeeter plank.


iceboat.org’s Buy and Sell page has evolved to keep relevant over the past 23 years. In 2020, by popular demand, we added a “Sold” column on the Buy and Sell page so that you can get an idea of the interest in iceboating. The “Sold” column took up so much space, especially on mobile devices, that I created an archive page where all the previously listed and sold iceboats and components will live. A much shorter “Sold” column will remain on the Buy and Sell page with fewer listings and links to the Sold Archive page.


Sweden FIRST!

Photo: Dideric van RIemsdijk

Sharpen your runners! Breaking news from northern Sweden today. The Swedish ice sailors are first in the world as far as we know to pull the string on the hard-water and open the new season. Congratulations to our Swedish ice sailing friends.

At the Skeeter Corral

Crazy Kenny’s Closeout Corall
Via Daniel Hearn:
Merchandise was flying out the door this weekend at the Past Champions Iceboat Shop. A special invitation was needed from Crazy Kenny himself to gain access to the Closeout Coral, which is hidden behind a secret doorway cleverly disguised with hanging drop cloths. Once inside, new Michigan-based ice sailor, Tim Bellard remarked, “With all this red and white everywhere, I kept looking for the fat man in the velour suit. He never showed, but Christmas definitely came early.” Bellard took off with a 24 foot Sitka Spruce Skeeter wing mast that he purchased for a buddy who had an “unfortunate incident” last year. And Crazy Kenny even threw a sail into the deal and free delivery to the top of Tim’s trailer. Several other unsavory characters from the 4LIYC were around the shop witnessing the selling frenzy, but none was willing to publicly comment. “Maybe if we just stand here next to Kenny acting like nothing is going on, then no one will ask any questions,” suggested Sage PK. Due to their resounding silence, they must have all agreed.

Not to be outdone, Wonky Donny’s Discount Emporium across town was also dealing. He was all out of 10-speed bikes to entice Bellard to close a deal, but he was still able to send him out the door with a classic 4LIYC, red and white Renegade. Rumor has it that said Renegade was also loaded on the 12 ft. utility trailer, including mast and plank, directly adjacent to the Skeeter mast. Fearing that his insurance provider might yank his liability policy, Bellard requested that no pictures be taken of the impressively loaded vehicle. As yet, there have been no reports of flying ice boats on the east bound corridor of I-94, so all equipment must now be safely in their new home somewhere in the hand.

Sail Testing & 4LIYC Meeting News

Left to right; Ken Whitehorse, Kyle Koch, Greg Whitehorse, Paul Krueger.

Yesterday’s fine weather provided the perfect opportunity to set up Paul Krueger’s rear-seat Class A Skeeter in the Past Championships Iceboat Shop parking lot. Kenny and Paul hoisted four sails before finding the 26ft sail that fit the 26ft mast. On Facebook, Ken wrote, “It occurred to us that maybe we should mark the dimensions because we sure can’t remember anymore.”

The Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club bi-weekly iceboat meetings are kicking off tomorrow night, November 10, 2021, at 6:30 PM on Zoom. Members who are current in dues should have received an email with the login information. Would you please let me know if you didn’t get the email?

Black Ice Journey Continues

The Swedish company Sail Racing has released its latest Black Ice campaign, incorporating Skeeter class iceboats to market their technical clothing. Daniel Hearn’s C Skeeter, to be specific. Pat Heppert also makes an appearance in his C Skeeter on their website video.

1200 Year Old Boat Recovered from Lake Mendota

Photo: Don Sanford

Dejope (Four Lakes) is the territory of the Ho-Chunk Nation, the indigenous people who always have and continue to live here. The Whitehorses are Ho-Chunk Nation tribal members and long-time Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club members, including my late husband, Harry Whitehorse. I’ve always thought Native people had the technology to make iceboats. Harry told me that his uncle George Seymour built traditional snow sleds using deer antlers for the runners. Indigenous people could have made an iceboat using deer antlers for insert runners, woven rush mats for a sail, and a dugout canoe for the hull.

Yesterday, November 2, 2021, archeologists carefully removed an ancient dugout canoe from the bottom of Lake Mendota, where it had been resting for 1200 years. Looking closely, one could imagine a mast step and a steering chock hole.

Channel 3000: 1200 Year-Old Canoe Pulled From Lake Mendota
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Via Tom Kneubuehl posted on the Historic Madison, WI Photo Facebook page:
“This dugout canoe was pulled out of Lake Mendota around 1:00 p.m. today. It could be the oldest known sunken boat/shipwreck in Wisconsin. It is about 1200 years old and was discovered by a diver in June when it happened to catch their attention. Apparently the diver contacted the State Historical Society and a chain of events happened which led to today. A cache of fishing weights were found in the canoe so apparently it was used by the inhabitants of that time to fish with weighted net. Note how small the canoe looks. They must have had great balance and were obviously smaller. The canoe is undergoing a lengthy preservation process to make sure it survives. I live close to the lake location where it was brought ashore so this information is from conversations with people at the scene. The number of people involved is long. City and state had a lot of archeologists and other key personnel there to direct and help the extraction. The Mayor was there along with other key city department leaders. Divers did the underwater work and brought the canoe to shore including from the Sheriffs Department. Anyone else who knows more details can add to the story in the comments but in summary it was a pretty amazing sight.”

Swap Meet Stories

Stuff changed hands, there were quite a few new faces, and Ron Rosten’s Runner Whisperer clinic was a big hit at yesterday’s Wisconsin Iceboat Swap Meet. Thank you to all who attended and to our host, Daniel Hearn. If you missed this one, there’s another swap-meet on November 7 from 10 – 2 PM at the Delavan Yacht Club in Delavan, WI. Information on the Midwest Hard Water Sailing Facebook page.

Kick Off the New Season at 4LIYC Swap Meet!

Kick Off the New Season at 4LIYC Swap Meet!

The big swap is on Halloween this Sunday, October 31. Ooooo….spooky! Feel free to come in costume. At Stephan Brady Strategic Marketing, 1352 E. Wilson St., Madison. Company parking lot is reserved for items for sale. There is plenty of street parking in the surrounding neighborhood, or you can park in the lot of the Chrysalis Building at 1337 Dewey Ct., which is directly behind the display lot.

Order of Events
9:00 – noon          Official Swap Hours
11:00                    Runner Sharpening Clinic
11:30                    BBQ Fiesta catered by Famous Dave’s Barbeque
$15/person (RSVP to debwhitehorse@iceboat.org and help us plan food quantity)
Beverages sponsored by the 4LIYC
9:00 – noon          Ice Sailing Videos on the big stream to get into the groove

Ron Rosten ” Runner Whisperer” Sharpening Clinic
Ron Rosten, of the legendary, Rosten ice sailing family will be sharing all of his secrets. When asked, he replied, “That would be like giving away US missile defense secrets to China.” An “authority,” who requested to remain anonymous, promised, “don’t worry, I’ll get you a pardon.” Ron is a champion ice sailor and talented engineer, who has fine-tuned his sharpening program to earn the title, “Runner Whisperer.” Find out why! And it’s FREE!

Iceboat Scale Models
New to the swap this year is Tim Bellard. He’s an ice sailor from west Michigan who has family in Janesville. Not only does he have a DN to sell, he will also be selling full models of various iceboats cut using a CNC router. Maybe the perfect Christmas gift for the Mrs.?

There is no charge for participating. This is the day to swap, buy, or sell new and used iceboats and misc. equipment. Boat builders & hardware manufacturers will display new products. For more info, email debwhitehorse@iceboat.org

Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club
36th Annual Southern Wisconsin Swap Meet (founded by the Skeeter Iceboat Club of Lake Geneva, WI)
Date: Sunday, October 31, 2021
Time 9:00 to Noon
Location: 1352 E. Wilson St. Madison, WI

M197 Looks Back and Forward

Via 4LIYC Skeeter skipper Ken Whitehorse

Back in the 80s, many 4LIYC Skeeter racers towed their rigs to the regattas in camper trucks. Some were M98, M96, M98, M161, M162, M1000, M150, M197, and many more. It was a rendezvous on ice! The wind was always moderate to heavy, and the ice was fast, clear, and deep. We enjoyed bacon and eggs at sunrise, and the flag was up at ten. Races were so plentiful there was a mandatory break for lunch and time to tune up your racer. I remember one time when Nelson M150 made lasagna for lunch. Her camper had an oven! Then we assembled back to our starting blocks after lunch at 1, followed by racing, tear-down, and smart-talk while sipping a few dippers at 4. Then the short walk to Norton’s for the Smoker and more smart-talk. As you see, I am making ready to experience those iceboat racing days again. See you all at the 2021 Western Challenge.
Ken Whitehorse M197

Regatta Dates 2022


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National Iceboat Authority Web Page

4LIYC Race Results

Click for 4LIYC Meeting Dates


  • November 18
  • December 2
  • Elections, Elect Fleet Captains. Vote on ISA & NIYA Agenda Items
  • December 16
  • December 30
  • January 13 Honor Roll Nominations
  • January 27 Deadline for By-Law or Racing Rules Amendment Submission
  • February 10
  • February 24 Business Meeting
  • March 10

Location: Online using the Zoom App Members please email debwhitehorse@iceboat.org for the link.

Time: 6:30 PM


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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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