NIYA

Northwest Ice Yachting Association An iceboat regatta first sailed in 1913 in Menominee, Michigan.

Stern Steerers

The NIYA was originally a stern-steerer regatta organized to determine ice yacht supremacy in the Midwest. A,B,C,& D stern-steerers continue to compete in the NIYA.

Skeeters

Class E Skeeters first raced the NIYA in 1936 when Lake Geneva sailor Harry Melges won in MICKEY FINN.

DN Class

Skip Boston of Detroit was the first winner of the NIYA in the DN class in 1954.

Renegade

First sailed as a seperate class in 1958 and won by “Mr. Iceboat”, Elmer Millenbach.

NIYA Centennial

The NIYA celebrated 100 years of iceboat racing in 2013 on Green Lake in Wisconsin.

2020 Northwest Ice Yacht Racing Association Information

March 13-15,2020
Lake Waconia, Minnesota

Iceboat Swap Meet Mega Weekend- Nov 2-3

Looking to attend an iceboat swap meet? We’ve got you covered across iceboating country, from east to west. If you are new to the sport or a seasoned veteran, swap meets are the perfect place to kick the tires, shop for parts, and meet ice sailors. Have a boat or parts to sell? Take them to your local swap meet.

EAST:
New England Ice Yacht Club
Saturday November 2, 2019
10 AM with lunch at noon
Hudson-Concord Elks Hall
99 Park Street, Hudson, MA 01749
More information.

CENTRAL:
West Michigan Swap Meet at the Muskegon Yacht Club
Saturday, November 2, 2019
9 AM – 1 PM
3198 Edgewater St, Muskegon, MI 49441

WEST
Skeeter Iceboat Club Swap Meet
Sunday, November 3, 2019
9 AM to Noon
Lucke’s Cantina
220 N. Elkhorn Rd. (WI Hwy 67), Williams Bay, WI.
More information

FAR WEST
Minnesota Ice Sailors Swap Meet
Saturday, November 2, 2019
9 AM – Noon
Sailcrafters
7450 Oxford St., St. Louis Park, MN 55426
More information

2018 SIBC Swap Meet: November 4, 2018

iceboat-swap-meet

Get them fresh and hot!

Another milestone that brings us closet to the season! If you are looking to buy an iceboat, don’t miss this important event.
Via Jane Pegel:

Skeeter Ice Boat Club: 33rd Annual Swap Meet

Date: Sunday, November 4, 2018
Time: 9:00 to noon
With a free raffle at 11:30 a.m.There is no charge for participating.
Location: Lucke’s Cantina
220 N. Elkhorn Rd. (WI Hwy 67), Williams Bay, WI.
Map

For more info, email sailing19@charter.net

This is the day to swap, buy, and sell new and used iceboats and equipment. Boat builders & hardware manufacturers will display new products. Breakfast and/or lunch will be available at Lucke’s.

Display area:

Items for sale can be set up on the black top parking area at Lucke’s
and in the vacant lot to the south of the old Sailing Specialists building.

Please do not park your cars in the display area.
Please do not park or set up your displays adjacent to neighboring businesses. A short distance to the north there is a municipal parking lot located at the intersection of Elkhorn Rd. and Stark St. (on the north side of Stark St., opposite Burrough’s Floor Coverings).

4LIYC Fall Ice Sailing Event

For well over 50 years, this iceboat club has kicked off the season with some sort of fall gathering to get iceboating back on everyone’s minds. For many years, we’ve hosted picnics. Two years ago, we held a very successful iceboat show at Dick Lichtfeld’s property.
This year, we are excited to announce an event in conjunction with Hoofer’s Sailing Club at the famous University of Wisconsin Memorial Union. (Sailing iceboats on Lake Mendota to the Union for lunch is part of what makes Madison a unique ice sailing center.)
DN ice sailor Dideric van Riemsdijk H467 from the Netherlands (where it all began) will present a program on the annual ice sailing regatta that takes place every spring at one of the planet’s most remote places, Lake Baikal in Siberia. We will have iceboats set up in historic Tripp Commons on the 2nd floor of the Union.
Please join us on Sunday, October 14, 2018 for this free event where you can meet up with old friends or learn about the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club and how to get started in the sport. All are welcome  including area iceboat and sailing clubs. The planets have aligned (at least here in Wisconsin) because there’s no Packer game that Sunday. 

ICE SAILING LAKE BAIKAL

A Free Program & Iceboat Exhibit Sponsored by the 4LIYC and Hoofer’s Sailing Club
Date: Sunday, October 14, 2018
Time: Noon to 3 PM Program at 1 PM
Location: University of Wisconsin Memorial Union, Tripp Commons, 2nd Floor of the Union
800 Langdon St, Madison, WI    MAP

DETAILS
Parking: Helen C. White Parking Garage  MAP
State Street Campus Parking Garage MAP
Food:
Your favorite Wisconsin beverages and food will be available for purchase at Der Rathskeller and other restaurants located in the Memorial Union.
Questions? Please email us: debwhitehorse@iceboat.org

4th of July Ice Sailing Celebration Begins Today

Pete Johns at the 2021 DN Centrals in Michigan.

It’s time to kick off the long weekend to celebrate the 4th of July with two of the most patriotic iceboats in America. Hoping we can photograph these two boats together somewhere during the 2023 season. Happy 4th of July!

JD and his Class A Skeeter on Lake Michigan at Menominee, Michigan in March 2021.

Magic Bones

World’s earliest wind surfer? “Ollerus traverses the sea on his magic bone. 16th-century woodcut. Olaus Magnus, “Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus.” 

Summer Solstice is behind us; we are on course for the next ice sailing season. Nordic countries have marked Midsommer since Pagan times when Thor and Odin ruled the north. I stumbled upon Ull, a Norse God who was the fastest deity around and patron of our favorite time of year. Ull could transform the shield he carried into a boat and bones into skates. With that much power, it’s not a stretch to believe his bow was basically a mast. Put his boat, bone skates, and mast together, and that’s an iceboat. In some Norse mythology accounts, Ull married Skadi, the Goddess of winter and cold. It’s five months until the Western Challenge, the season’s first fun DN regatta. Sharpen those bones!

Paul Krueger’s Class A Skeeter on Lake Monona, March 2022.

June 22, 2022: Nite in WI

Nite
Very good condition
2 sets of blades + chocks
New seat padding
Sail is in very good condition as well as all lines
All covers good
More photos available
$3800
Located in Pewaukee, WI
414-350-8453

Iceboat Virtual Hall of Fame: John Buckstaff 1888-1960

Carl Bernard, Camp Van Dyke, John Buckstaff, and Andy Flom sitting on the DEBUTANTE on Lake Winnebago in 1934. John Buckstaff is holding the Stuart Cup.

John Buckstaff Archives
If iceboating had a hall of fame, Lake Winnebago sailor, John Buckstaff would undoubtedly be among the first to be nominated. Buckstaff’s Oshkosh roots go back to his grandfather, who was born in 1799 and came from New Brunswick, Canada, to Oshkosh in 1850 and started a sawmill.

An early mention of Buckstaff in the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern newspaper was in 1903, when he was 14 years old and recognized as a skilled scow sailor. “His first experience was gained, when as a boy in knickerbockers, he constructed an iceboat and sailed it on the frozen surface of Lake Winnebago. Here he learned to be quick and certain with the tiller and to handle the sail and tack.”

Buckstaff was in Menominee, Michigan, when the Menominee, Marinette, Wisconsin, and Oshkosh ice yacht clubs formed Northwest Ice Yachting Association in 1913. The morning after a banquet at the Hotel Menominee, where 200 ice yachtsmen gathered for a feast, they organized the Northwest, which they patterned after the Inland Lake Yachting Association, a soft-water scow regatta still going strong today.

In addition to his Northwest victories, Buckstaff won two prestigious stern-steerer titles, the Stuart and Hearst Cups. In 1903, The Kalamazoo Ice Yacht Club in Michigan persuaded F.A. Stuart, maker of Stuart’s Dyspeptic pills, to donate a trophy for ice yachts carrying 850 square feet of sail or less. Later that year, a Kalamazoo club member wired newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, asking Hearst if he would donate a trophy, in his name, for the ice boat race. Hearst complied and deeded a gold-lined silver cup.

Buckstaff was a stern-steerer man and would point BLUE BILL, FLYING DUTCHMAN, DEBUTANTE III to victory on the ice at the Stuart, Hearst, and Northwest regattas. FLYING DUTCHMAN has remained on her home lake of Lake Winnebago with Dave Lallier. DEBUTANTE III is in Menominee with Mike Derusha.

DEBUTANTE III was a Hudson River-style stern-steerer built in the famed Poughkeepsie, New York iceboat shop of Jacob Buckhought. The “DEB” with 600 square feet of sail was considered the most lightweight iceboat in the world per square foot of sail carried. DEB was the first iceboat to use aluminum runners, a much superior material than the cast iron runners traditionally used. The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern reported that the “DEB” held a speed record of 119 miles per hour clocked on Gull Lake in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

John Buckstaff passed away on the morning of Sunday, January 10, 1960, the weekend when the iceboating community gathered on Lake Winnebago for the Northwest, the regatta he had helped to begin. In a movie-like ending, DEBUTANTE III, skippered by E.W. Stroshine, won the Class A championship trophy that same day.

John Buckstaff Obituary

Northwest Class A Stern Steerer
1923 BLUE BILL, J. D. Buckstaff
1926 BLUE BILL, J. D. Buckstaff
1939 BLUE BILL II, John Buckstaff, Owner; Tom Anger, Skipper

Hearst
1932 (December) FLYING DUTCHMAN, OIYC, J. C. Van Dyke, J. D. Buckstaff (skippers)

Stuart
1920 DEBUTANTE III, OIYC, J. D. Buckstaff
1939 DEBUTANTE III, OIYC, J. D. Buckstaff

 

 

Wisconsin State Journal. February 14, 1935. A time when sports columnists followed the stars of ice yachting and rooted for the home team. The 4LIYC’s FRITZ with Carl Bernard at the helm won the Stuart that year. 

 

Sydney Royal Yacht Squadron’s First Iceboat

Previous: Sail Australia in Montana
“I’d Like to Get Into Ice Sailing”
In November 2021, Australian sailor Michael Dunston emailed me about continuing his ice sailing journey, which had begun in the Netherlands.

I’m from Sydney, Australia. I have grown up sailing all my life. I tried ice sailing on a DN for the first and only time last winter opportunistically in the Netherlands, and I loved it. This year I moved with my family to Bozeman, MT, which is where my wife grew up. I would like to find a way to do more ice sailing!

If there was an inexpensive, entry-level ice boat (a DN, or similar), then I would be interested to buy. Naturally, it would also be great to connect with some like-minded folks. Is there a club or a group that sail on Canyon Ferry MT that I could connect with?
Michael Dunstan

Michael is one lucky sailor, having been in the Netherlands 2021, the birthplace of our sport, for their few days of ice sailing, then landing at Canyon Ferry, a place of legendary North American ice.

I forwarded Michael’s email to Canyon Ferry iceboaters Dale Livesey and Dave Gluek, who welcomed him into the community and pushed him off the line.

I wanted to update you on Michael Dunstan, the Australian sailor. He’s an awesome guy and a good addition to our fleet. He purchased Dale Livezey’s DN and is a quick learner. He has been fun to sail with. Mike’s Dad is visiting Mike this week, and we sailed a Nite in big wind the other day. Both of them are accomplished sailors! Thank you for introducing us.
Dave Gluek

Michael’s mother, Judy, wrote an article about their visit to Big Sky & Ice country for their yacht club’s newsletter, the historic Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. In addition to receiving a British empire Royal charter in 1862 and challenging for the America’s Cup in 1962, the RSYS has added Michael’s DN to their Squadron Yacht register in 2022.

Hard Water Sailing by Judy Dunston

June 6, 2022: Iceboat Trailer in MI

All aluminum box drop camper hauler. Multi function hauler/camper. Roof rack, windows with screens, lights in and out, battery, switch panel, heater/fan, side door, full lift up back door, air mattress, mis.c camping equipment, wheel lock, non slip floor, built in storage bins with netting, etc. External power connection port. Side mount spare. I’ve used it to camp in, haul kayak and paddleboard, iceboat and equipment, sheets of 4×8 plywood, go kart, etc. Easily haul 2 DN’s and all equipment
Lightweight and Easily pulled 1300 lbs.
7500$
231-421-1466.
Rob Wallace Traverse City Michigan

Mystic Arrow

Arrow iceboats push off to race at Red Banks, New Jersey. Photo via Dan Clapp.

More information from Mystic Seaport Museum.

May 29, 2022 UPDATE: Long time friend of Prescott Shreeve, Tom Nichols, emailed with some of his memories. See text below.

The exhibition, Story Boats: The Tales They Tell, opens today at Connecticut’s Mystic Seaport Museum. One of the story boats is WHISTLING WIND, an Arrow iceboat owned by Herbert Prescott Shreeve. He was president of Lake Hopatcong Ice Yacht Club in New Jersey.

The Arrow iceboat holds its value (they sell rather quickly on the Buy & Sell page) and remains one of the most popular cruising boats, though east coast ice yacht clubs have racing fleets. The Boston family in Michigan developed the Arrow in their sail loft. Martha Boston Youstra recalls, “The Arrow, as I remember, was 16-feet with a 12-foot runner plank. The first boats were gel-coated by Judd Harrell and later sub-contracted to Custom Flex in Toledo, Ohio. Bill Sarns made the hardware, and we added the finishing touches at the loft. We had a trailer that held ten boats. The molds were sold to someone in Michigan’s thumb area and left to rot. [I’ve heard the molds are now in New Jersey. – Ed.] Originally they sold complete for $350. Some current boats have springboards added, and some now are selling for $5k. I believe Dad wanted a lighter-weight boat as he aged, yet with Lolly in mind. Her boat was called ICE TEA. Howard and his third daughter Sue won the first Arrow Nationals. I raced one time with Bill Mattison at the helm. That was awesome. I can’t remember how we placed. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the exact year, thinking 1964. I do have a couple of photos of our family fleet. Red Bank, N.J., had a large fleet, and Erie, PA, had a small fleet.”

I knew “Press” and his wife Madge very well. They always came together to sail. I don’t think I have ever seen a couple more devoted to each other. Press was active during the “Golden Age” of the Lake Hopatcong Ice Yacht Club. I believe he was one of the original founding members. He sailed a stern steerer for most of his ice boating career. He got into the Arrow when they realized the Stern Steerer was just too much for them handle. The Stern Steerer runners were just too much for Madge to carry.

He bought the arrow in the late 1960’s, I think. He was an excellent sailor on both hard and soft water. One year, the Arrow Nationals came to Lake Hopatcong. I do believe that Press beat Skip Boston in a couple of races. Jack Andreson from Greenwood Lake won the regatta. I think Press might have been third.

Press did not build the Arrow from a kit in his living room but that was the workshop for his ice boat parts. I am sure Madge never complained a bit. Press was a very competent and meticulous craftsman. His equipment was always in first class shape.

Press and Madge were very devoted to ice boating and almost always were on the ice wherever the club was sailing. I those days the club “traveled” together. DNs, Arrows, Yankees, Skeeters all showed up at the same lake. Press and Madge loved the sport and never looked for an excuse not to go sailing. They realized you had to be there when the ice was ready, not necessarily when you were ready.
Tom Nichols

From the exhibition program. Courtesy of Mystic Seaport Museum.

Dutch Iceboat Art School

Dutch engraver Claes Jansz Visscher, 1608

While researching for another article, I reacquainted myself with the iceboating art collection of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. Along with being the first to add runners to a boat, the Dutch appear to be the first to document the beauty and grandeur of ice sailing visually. Wikipedia says about those early days, “Dutch painters, especially in the northern provinces, tried to evoke emotions in the spectator by letting the person be a bystander to a scene of profound intimacy.” The paintings and engravings in the collection date from the early 1600s to the late 1800s and can be downloaded from the Rjiksmuseum in higher resolution.

Don Sanford Recognized for Historic Preservation


4LIYC Nite sailor, author of On Fourth Lake, and producer of the MARY B, Madison’s Legendary Iceboat documentary (he’s a busy guy!) Don Sanford was recognized last night by the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation as a “Friend of Preservation.” Congratulations Don and we look forward to your next projects.

Don Sanford at the one block where it’s always busy with spectators and paparazzi.

If Darth Vadar Had a Land Yacht


Speed enthusiasts will have noticed yesterday’s unveiling of a sailing craft built to top Richard Jenkin’s GREENBIRD record set in 2009 at Ivanpah. The fastest names in soft-water sailing are leading the effort, Team New Zealand, winners of the 36th America’s Cup.
For comparison, HORONUKE is 10m high, 14m long, and 7m wide (32′ high,45′ long, 23′ wide), while the world’s largest ice yacht, DEUCE, is 51′ high, 54′- 6″ long, and 36′ wide.

From Rule69 Blog:
If Darth Vader was into land yachting, this would be his chosen vehicle. It’s a truly remarkable feat of boat building and engineering and gives Glenn Ashby every chance of smashing through the magical 126.1mph record set by Britain’s (indeed Lymington’s) Richard Jenkins over a decade ago.

…And crikey, when that weather window does come, it’s going to be full-on to eclipse the mark set. This is one of those records that has stood the test of time. The monumental effort that Jenkins exerted saw him chase the dream for almost a decade with the burning mark of Bob Schumacher’s [one of our own, a DN ice sailor – Ed.] 116mph run that was set in 1999 etched into his ambition.
Read more.

MORE: Team NZ Launch Land Yacht

Season Finale DN Newsletter

Oskar Svensson  of Sweden at the 2022 DN Worlds. Photo by Anna Pataki.

Are you missing ice sailing and dreaming about ice yet? Relive the season by reading the season-ending DN newsletter, Runner Tracks. Ron Sherry breaks down the DN US Nationals race by race. David Frost shares his adventures of the last-minute decision to attend the DN World Championships in Europe. Plus the best photography by Gretchen Dorian and Anna Pataki. Take a look.

RUNNER TRACKS IS AVAILABLE IN THREE DIFFERENT FORMATS:
Flipbook Magazine
Download pdf file (best for tablets)
Download single page pdf (best for phones)

A Life That Dreams Are Made Of

20′ banner made by Tim Stanton.

“He would have hated this.” Billy Mattison reminded the packed room at Gunderson’s Funeral Home about the humble nature of his father, Bill. The memories of Bill shared by those who had preceded Billy were unique and moving. It was a privilege to witness a group of highly accomplished individuals speak in awe of their friend. Here are a few highlights from the people invited by emcee Don Sanford to share their best stories.

Bill organized the building of a new hull for the world’s largest iceboat, Rick Hennig’s DEUCE. Rick recounted that experience with great affection and humor. When Bill saw the semi-truck full of Sitka Spruce roll into the shop parking lot, he turned to Rick and said, “That’s the stuff dreams are made of.”

Bill’s neighbor said that when Bill came over to watch him tinker in his garage, it was “like God himself coming to watch a mere mortal.”

“Yeah, I know a little about that.” America’s Cup veteran, Larry Malik, recalled Bill’s typically understated reply when asked if he could fix a photo processing machine during an AC Australian campaign. Larry shared the famous story of the day Bill took the film of the AC boat to the one-hour photo store, where he learned that the store’s processing machine was on the fritz. Bill fixed the machine and came back with the pictures.

Lon Schoor, Bill’s long-time Mendota Yacht Club A Scow partner, marveled at no matter how complicated the project; Bill was so organized in his thoughts that he didn’t have to write anything down and always made the deadline. He left us laughing with a story about how Bill schemed how they would sell the idea of buying an A Scow to their wives, Donna and Mauretta. Bill told Mauretta that Lon had purchased the boat, while Lon was to tell Donna that it was Bill’s boat.

Dr. Kyle Metzloff, a sailor, ice sailor, and UW Professor of Industrial Metal studies, spoke about Bill’s genius and ability to pick up new and complicated ideas. Having never dealt with computers, he learned to operate a mini CNC mill for creating scale model Mattison Circus parts. At an older age, Bill figured out computers.

Peter Harken shared his amazement at Bill and Paul Krueger’s work ethic. They never wasted a minute, not even in the bathroom where Peter assumed “they had a drill press installed.” Peter acknowledged those who traveled from afar, including New Jersey Skeeter sailor Dan Clapp and America’s Cup alumni from San Diego.

Sailing legend Buddy Melges came to the podium, fixing his steely blue eyes on Mauretta and the family for a full minute, not saying a word, holding the audience in his hand while he made us wait. Buddy spoke about their America’s Cup days and how remarkable it was for a guy who came from the Scow world; Bill could make a 12-meter sail faster. “He did not sail on it, but he made it faster when he worked on it.” (Later, I heard stories in the bar about how at least one of Bill’s modifications caused a stir with some AC engineers, but they calmed down when the boat speed increased.)

“He would have hated this.” Billy Mattison reminded the packed room about the humble nature of his father, Bill. The last to speak at Bill’s Celebration of Life, Billy had to follow some esteemed acts, giants of the sailing world, who had shared stories from the podium of the man’s genius. Billy’s poignant closing remarks emphasized the private family side of Bill and his devotion to his wife of 65 years, Mauretta, their children, Lynn and Billy, and their grandchildren.

“I think it is time for a dipper.”

On our way to Gundersons, Don Anderson and I delivered cakes to the Breakwater for the post-memorial reception sponsored by the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club and Mendota Yacht Club. The manager surprised us with the news that Mauretta had called with instructions that she would be picking up the bar tab. On Monday, unsure of the damage, the two yacht clubs offered to pitch in with the bill. Mauretta said no, adamant that Bill would have insisted on it. Thanks, Bill.
Debra Rosten Whitehorse

PREVIOUSLY
Home of the Volleyball(?) Champs
Nothing Fickler
Bill’s Circus Life
The Icing On The Lake”
“Fast Forward Since Birth”
“The Hard-Water Gang” with Bill Mattison at the 2001 ISA
Shooting the Breeze with Bill Mattison
Bill Mattison Inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame
Iceboaters Fingerprints
Willy St. Iceboat Shop Archives

Book Club: Fauerbach Brewing Company

“PRINCESS III in action” in front of Fauerbach Brewery on Lake Monona.

For over a hundred years, the Fauerbach family have been Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club members and officers. The epicenter of Madison iceboating ran across the isthmus from the Bernard Boat Shop on Lake Mendota to the Fauerbach Brewery on Lake Monona. Until the brewery was closed, 4LIYC members gathered in the brewery’s elaborately carved bar for a “cold dipper” to talk smart and conduct club business. Peter Fauerbach has written a book about his family, the brewery, the social history of Madison, and the Fauerbach’s iceboats. Peter’s book is a must-have for iceboating, beer, and Madison history fans.
Buy your copy online here.

4LIYC -Home of the (Volleyball?) Champions

Bill Mattison and Ken Whitehorse at a 4LIYC trophy banquet. Don Ermer in the background.

PREVIOUSLY
Bill’s Circus Life
The Icing On The Lake”
“Fast Forward Since Birth”
“The Hard-Water Gang” with Bill Mattison at the 2001 ISA
Shooting the Breeze with Bill Mattison
Bill Mattison Inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame
Iceboaters Fingerprints
Willy St. Iceboat Shop Archives

Here are two stories from Ken Whitehorse and Greg Whitehorse about Bill.

Did you know the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club had a volleyball team? The late Bill McCormick sponsored the team. Bill was a terrific ball player! (Me, not so much.) And yes, Bill Mattison was a fantastic spiker! He could pound the cover off the ball! We played in the city power volleyball league against younger teams, including university club teams. We were city champions in 1978.

After a match, while having a few dippers, we talked about how cold it was. “It was makin’ ice.” Bill Mattison recalled how bitter cold it was in the trenches while fighting as a soldier in the Korean War. It was deathly cold. Bill McCormick served on a combat ship off the Korean shore during those winters. Bill McCormick said, “You know I always felt guilty and sorry for all those soldiers in that bitter cold, day after day. Bill paused ….. He said he was grateful for the warmth of the ship.

Mattison brought the conversation back to iceboating. He told us that on his return trip from the war, he drew up the plans for Honey Bucket #1. They were full-size plans, and he laid them all out on the beck of the ship! I learned a lot from those two men. We weren’t just playing volleyball. Fair Winds All. Until we meet again in the bye and bye..
Ken Whitehorse

Greg Whitehorse shared this on the 4LIYC Facebook page.

I remember stopping at the Willy St shop one winter day. Bill asked me why I wasn’t on the lake sailing the previous weekend. (I sailed in the Skeeter fleet back then.) I told him that I had broken my runner plank the week before. He said, “Bring it in. Let’s get it fixed”. I told him it was beyond repair. His next words were, “get some wood off that stack there (Sitka Spruce), and we’ll start on a new one. By the third day, it was edged, planed, glued, and shaped. Bill did the vast majority of the work. He even put a coat of epoxy on it. I brought it back to my garage, hung the hardware on it, and was on the ice the next weekend. I’m sure Bill had other things to do that week, but getting another boat on the line took precedence. What a guy!
Greg Whitehorse

Mattison Gathering May 7 @ Breakwater – Following Service

He built those! Bill Mattison and six Class A Skeeters on Geneva Lake, Fontana, WI in 1991.

Following Bill Mattison’s Memorial Service, the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club cordially invites the entire sailing community to gather with us at the Breakwater Restaurant in Monona, WI. (4-minute drive from Gunderson Funeral Home). We’ll celebrate the man who touched us all in countless ways, through our shared love of sailing, on waters both hard and soft. The man who’s workshop was always open to any sailor in need. The man whose legend is even bigger than his heart. Share your memories, share your stories, share some laughs, and undoubtedly a few tears. They just don’t make’m like Bill anymore.

Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club Remembers Bill Mattison
Date: Saturday, May 7, 2022
Time: 5:30 PM
Location: Breakwater Restaurant
6308 Inland Way, Monona, WI 53713
Link to Map

Bill Mattison Celebration of Life & Time of Sharing
2 PM – 4 PM
Service 4 PM – 5 PM
Saturday, May 7, 2022
Gunderson Funeral Home
5203 Monona Drive, Monona, WI
Link to Map

“Nothing Fickler”

Bill Mattison Obituary
Celebration of Life & Time of Sharing
2 PM – 4 PM
Saturday, May 7, 2022
Gunderson Funeral Home
5203 Monona Drive
Monona, WI
Map

Don Sanford assembled this video with photos, film, and voice over of Bill Mattison. Listen closely for one of his famous sayings, “nothing fickler than the wind.”
Youtube Video Link: https://youtu.be/8VH3cIK2zZc

Via Sailing Scuttlebutt

Bill Mattison, a legend in hard and soft water sailing, died April 25, 2022 in Madison, WI. He was 93 years of age.

When superstar sailor Buddy Melges needed help with his America’s Cup challenge in 1986, he asked his long-time friend, sailing rival and Korean War veteran, Bill Mattison for some help.

Bill had a lifetime of experience making boats like scows and ice boats sail faster and faster, and Melges’ Heart of America” 12 Metre was off the pace, but week after week his boat got faster as a direct result of Bill’s hands-on work.

He was a product of the Inland Lake region where Scows skate over the water at 25 knots and when the lakes freeze the sailors sharpen their blades and attain speeds of 100 mph on a variety of ice boats. As a perpetual champion in both scows and ice boats, he quickly adapted his impressive skills to the world of the America’s Cup.

“Whatever needed to be repaired, designed, or improved, Bill would quickly come with the solution and get it done,” said Melges.

Bill’s win list included being 14-time International Skeeter Class Champion, three-time Gar Wood Invitational Champion, 12-time Triple Crown Trophy winner, and winner of over 80 local regattas in A, E and C Scows. Most of his sailing was out of the Mendota Yacht Club in Madison, Wisconsin.

Peter Harken also noted Bill’s endless generosity. “H was always using his expertise and labor to help others get out on the ice or water. If a boat had a breakdown you could bet Bill would be there to help.”

Bill was recognized in the 2020 Induction Class of the National Sailing Hall of Fame, but his craftsmanship was not limited to sailing. He fell in love with the circus as a kid in the 1930s, and began building models of circus wagons.

Then, when he was 12 or 13, he ran away from home to join the circus. Though a career in the circus wasn’t for him, his model making earned him a spot in 2015 in the Circus Model Builders Association’s Hall of Fame.

A Celebration of Life is planned for May 7, 2022 at Gunderson Funeral Home, 5203 Monona Drive, Monona, WI.

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