ISA

International Skeeter Association
The world’s fastest iceboats.

ISA Regatta

The ISA regatta was first sailed in 1940.

Innovation

The only rules for the Skeeter class are sail area and configuration.
This class thrives on the latest state-of-the-art technology.

Fastest Sail Powered Boats on the Planet

Skeeters are the “Formula One” in the world of ice yacht racing.

B Skeeters

B Skeeters maintain the classic lines of the wooden Skeeter.

Nite

The Nite class has competed as a separate class in the ISA since 1996.

Champions

Bill Mattison 4LIYC: 11 time champion
Dan Clapp NSIBYC: 9 time champion
Buddy Melges SIBC: 7 time champion

Commitment

“Sufficiently committed skippers find the greatest challenge in these boats,
where design, building, and maintenance skills share equal roles with sailing ability.” Charles Johnson

C Skeeter

Sail area 40-75 square feet and mast less than 20 feet 3 inches from deck to top of mast.

International Skeeter Association Regatta


The International Skeeter Association (ISA) was organized in the late 1930s and the first ISA regatta was sailed in 1940. Skeeters were developed on Geneva Lake in Wisconsin. They are piloted by a single skipper and steer from the front of the boat as opposed to the original iceboats which were crewed by two or more and steered from the rear.

The Skeeter is the “Formula One” of ice yachting, a wide open development class where state-of-the-art sailing is seen annually. The only restriction on the Skeeter builder is a 75 square foot sail maximum sail area. While the basic configuration for successful E Skeeters has long been established, significant design improvements have been developed within the Four Lakes fleet. Taller rigs and rear seat Skeeters designed and built by 4LIYC members Bill Mattison and Paul Krueger have brought world championship titles to Madison skippers. In 1989, New Jersey’s Dan Clapp took the ice boating world by storm with his first front-seater and dominated the ISA regatta during the 1990s. Skeeter builders are adept with high tech materials like carbon fiber, and Kevlar. The super powerful Skeeters are the fastest boats on the ice. Sufficiently committed skippers find the greatest challenge in these boats, where design, building, and maintenance skills share equal roles with sailing ability

C is OG

Daniel with Jerry Simon, another OG.

Daniel Hearn unveiled the C Skeeter’s new livery last weekend. Of course there’s a story….

Yo, Yo, Yo…What Up, Homies?

I’ve got less street cred than Mr. Rogers. Yet my kids call me “OG.” I know it’s actually to poke fun, but I’m perfectly comfortable with my dorkiness. Kind of like calling your iceboating buddy who’s last name is Davenport, “Couch.”

OG is short for “Original Gangsta.” To me it sounded like a good name for an iceboat. Yeah, it’s a skinny old white dude behind the bubble, but that’s what the tint is for. Perception is everything.

In Madison, we pride ourselves in “taking it to the man!” Early in their college careers, my kids were on board with that. Until they realized, “wait a minute, OG is “the man,” and that pays for my tuition. Maybe reality does trump perception now and then? (Not a political statement).

I was happy to have the Original, Original Gangsta, Jerry Simon, my brother Brian and the Global Communications Director of Ice Sailing, Deb Whitehorse for the assembly. Once I clearcoat the mast, align the runners, make an anti-mast flogging device and apply a few more decals, I’m ready for ice. Can’t wait!

“Consumables”

Activities at area iceboat shops are in full swing as everyone prepares for the upcoming season. Over at the Krueger-Whitehorse Skeeter shop, PK vacuum-bagged his Class A Skeeter plank last week. In this short video, they are removing the burlap skin. The plank will be seeing some red soon.

 

Introducing Black Ice

Black Ice from Sail Racing on Vimeo.

Explore Black Ice

In January of 2020, the Swedish high-performance clothing company Sail Racing sent their crew on an expedition to Lake Pepin on the Wisconsin Minnesota border to film Skeeters for their fall 2020 advertising campaign. They have filmed Skeeters in previous years including the 2013 International Skeeter Association Regatta (ISA) on Lake Kegonsa.  Skeeter sailors and the Sail Racing folks had hoped for another ISA but regatta conditions never came together. However, Lake Pepin’s ice provided conditions for C Skeeter sailors Daniel Hearn and Pat Heppert which enabled the Sail Racing folks  to complete their mission. Today they released the new line fittingly called Black Ice.

 

NSHOF Virtual Induction Ceremony

If you missed it last Saturday night, the National Sailing Hall of Fame has kindly made available the induction ceremony on YouTube. The embedded video begins with Peter Harken’s introduction of Bill Mattison. You’ll see many familiar faces in the photos and hear from Bill’s wife, Mauretta, a driving force supporting Bill’s passions for the water and boat shop.

 

Shop Day: Plank and Fire-pit

Paul trimming a little carbon off of his Class A Skeeter plank.

Paul Krueger and Ken Whitehorse were back in the Skeeter Shop on Saturday preparing for the upcoming season. Paul focused on the runner plank while Ken welded up a portable fire pit. Is there room in the trailer for a portable fire-pit? A fire on the ice at the end of a sailing day could be the answer to the social-time dilemma that COVID has presented.

Ken utilizing his blacksmith skills. Wait, what’s that in the background, a Skeeter bus? 

“Millennium Factor”

Bill Mattison & HONEYBUCKET, an oil painting on canvas by Harry Whitehorse

“Millenium Factor”
For our final installment of Bill Mattison Week, we go back to the 1992 Harken catalog where another National Sailing Hall of Famer, Peter Harken, talks about Bill, Paul Krueger, winning the Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant, and building MILLENIUM FACTOR QUATRO in the Willy St. Boat Shop.
In normal times, the 4LIYC would have thrown a party for tonight’s National Sailing Hall of Fame induction ceremony. There will be much to celebrate when we can gather off-ice again including Bill’s induction and Greg Whitehorse’s 4LIYC Honor Roll induction.  In the meantime,  follow Bill’s example and get busy in the shop making dust and preparing equipment for the upcoming season.

Previous: 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

“The Icing On The Lake”: More Wisdom From the Shop

“The second you think you’ve got it all figured out, somebody’s going to knock the socks right off you,” Mattison says.

“The Icing On The Lake”
Welcome to Day 4 of Bill Mattison Week at iceboat.org. Today’s feature article written by the late David Medaris ran in Madison’s local paper Isthmus in 1988 when Bill had just finished HONEYBUCKET VIII. Bill explained how he built Skeeter iceboats “to the average” and talked about his roots in Madison. Click here to read.

Previous:“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

“Fast Forward Since Birth”: In the Shop with Bill Mattison

“At age 9 he built a model circus. Since then, Bill Mattison’s creative energy has never flagged.”

SAIL: Fast Foward Since Birth
Get your masks on because Day 3 of Bill Mattison week takes us into the dusty lair of the Willy Street Boat Shop in this 1992 SAIL article by Knowles L. Pittman. You’ll learn more about Class A Skeeter development and Bill’s role in the 1986 America’s Cup. Click here to read.

Previous:“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

Bill and Peter Harken repair HONEYBUCKET VIII at the Willy St. Boat Shop.

“The Hard-Water Gang” with Bill Mattison at the 2001 ISA

 

“Seven or eight guys show up to help with the process [gluing up a mast]. But they disappear real quick when it comes to sanding.”

The Hard-Water Gang
Previous:
Shooting the Breeze with Bill Mattison
Bill Mattison Inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame
Iceboaters Fingerprints

Welcome to Day 2 of Bill Mattison Week at iceboat.org where we revisit the 2001 International Skeeter Association Regatta on Geneva Lake. Josh Adams’ article in SAIL featured interviews and quotes from a who’s who of iceboating at that time. Peter Harken and Buddy Melges were there and though he wasn’t at the regatta, Dan Clapp and his revolutionary Skeeter ATTITUDE were there in spirit. A full page was devoted to Bill’s Skeeter building history and philosophy. Click here to read the article.

Photo by Craig Wilson

“Shooting the Breeze” with Bill Mattison

“How far would I go to sail a regatta? Siberia, if they have ice.”

Shooting The Breeze

Previous: Bill Mattison Inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame
Iceboaters Fingerprints

It’s Bill Mattison Week at iceboat.org. In honor of Bill’s September 12 induction into the National Sailing Hall of Fame, here is the first of a series of articles that will be posted every day this week. “Shooting The Breeze” was written by Barbara Sanford and was published in Madison Magazine in 1980. Click here to read.

Big Tip of the Helmet to Don Sanford for sharing these articles and being the driving force behind Bill’s NSHOF nomination.

“Iceboaters Fingerprints”


Previous: Bill Mattison Inducted Into National Sailing Hall of Fame

Scuttlebutt Sailing News: Class of 2020 – Bill Mattison

4LIYC’s Bill Mattison National Sailing Hall of Fame induction was formally announced on June 23, 2020. He and 7 others will be inducted in a virtual ceremony September 12, 2020. You can be a part of it all by registering for the virtual induction ceremony here.
New England DNer and America’s Cup aficionado James “T” Thieler puts the AC’s ties to iceboating in perspective with his article, “Iceboaters Fingerprints”.

Iceboater Fingerprints…..
If you are ever in Osterville MA there is something to be seen….

…Two of these were Bill Mattison and Jeff Kent. Bill had worked on the Heart Of America campaign in 1987 and had been building and racing soft water and hard water boats in Madison, Wisconsin for decades prior to that.

Continue reading.

Classic Video: Pewaukee Ice Yacht Club c.1960

Bill Mattison points his Graflex camera at Mauretta who was filming him on Lake Mendota. Dave Rosten M160 in the background.

It’s always a good day when a surprise arrives in the mail, particularly when the package contains vintage ice sailing footage shot by Bill & Mauretta Mattison. Don Sanford recently had Kodak transfer the Mattison’s 16, 8, and Super-8 mm into electronic files which he burned to disc and sent off to me.(Speaking of Kodak, the Mattisons owned one of Madison’s premier film processing labs, Star Photo, for many years.)

Let’s begin by traveling back to the late 1950s/early 1960s on Pewaukee Lake. At first I thought this may have been the 1957 International Skeeter Association Regatta which was sailed on Pewaukee (Buddy Melges won) but a couple clues led me to believe that we are watching a Pewaukee Ice Yacht Club race. All of the boats, except for one, carry the Pewaukee designation V on the sail. The biggest clue is that Bill is filming from the weather mark.  Bill finished 8th at the 1957 ISA so therefore, he would not have been filming at that regatta. The 1957 ISA newsletter regatta report and results are posted below the video.  Stay tuned to the end of the video to see the spring ritual of carrying iceboats through a wet and  deteriorating shoreline. Pewaukee friends, if you recognize any of these Skeeters, please let us know!

I’ll be editing and posting two more ice sailing videos from the Mattison archives in the coming weeks.

Bill Perrigo’s THUNDERJET IOU is easy to spot. Some other sail numbers and boat names I picked out were:
SNO USE
V112
MISS PEGGY V50
SNOW GOOSE V4
V20 John Flanagan
TWISTER V71
V83 Al Sternkopf

 

Happy Independence Day 2020!

JD at the start of a race.

It’s been a Fourth of July tradition around here for several years to showcase the red, white, and blue Class A Skeeter built by Tom Nichols and now in the capable hands of Minnesota’s John Dennis.

But wait, there’s more – as an added bonus this year, enjoy Charles Wysocki’s “Ice Riders On The Chesapeake” Americana-themed print. Hope everyone enjoys the weekend and continues to Think Ice! You have 150 days until December 1 to sharpen those runners.

Ice Riders on the Chesapeake Bay by Charles Wysocki 

 

Bubble Man


The Spaight Street Syndicate reports in from Florida where Skeeter bubbles are born.

Bubble Man

Made a quick trip to Florida to retrieve a replacement canopy for my C-Skeeter. A builder error caused the original to go airborne and shatter during a photo shoot for the launch of “Black Ice,” a new line of extreme weather clothing from Sail Racing International. The line will be in market this fall. Sail Racing

 

Meet Charles Stence, aka, Bubble Man. He runs an airplane maintenance service in Indiantown, Florida and makes canopies for experimental aircraft as a side business. If you need a canopy, give him a shout. He has exceptionally high standards, good pricing and is an excellent communicator. It was a pleasure dealing with him. Aerocanopy.

 

 

Canopy specialists

ISA Internet Era Archives

2019 Lake Pepin, Lake City, Minnesota

2018 Battle Lake, Minnesota

2017 Battle Lake, Minnesota

2016 Green Bay, Wisconsin

2015 Little Bay de Noc,
Gladstone, Michigan

2014 No Regatta

2013 Lake Kegonsa

2012 No Regatta

2011 No Regatta

2010 No Regatta

2009 No Regatta

2008 Geneva Lake

2007 No Regatta

2006 Mallet's Bay

2005 Geneva Lake

2004 Lk Champlain

2003 Lk Champlain

1975 Saratoga

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