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
Above: Pat Heppert and John Dennis with the first place Wisconsin Skeeter Association Paul Krueger Trophy.
The 2019 Wisconsin Skeeter Association (WSA) trophies winners have been selected based upon regatta results. After consultation with WSA officials, the United States Geological Survey, and the final say of WSA Director of Competition, Greg Whitehorse, the regatta starting and finish lines were determined to be on the Wisconsin side – even though the ISA and Northwest regattas were launched out of the Minnesota side of Lake Pepin. These trophies will be awarded at the 4LIYC Spring Banquet on April 27th at Springers. You still have until Sunday night to make your reservation. Banquet details here.
B Skeeter Champion Steve Schalk
2nd Northwest Regatta
2nd 2019 ISA Regatta
Tied 2018 ISA Regatta
Also in acknowledgement of his
work as ISA & NIYA Secretary and
his support for the B Skeeter fleet.
Sunday Series 1st Place
The Tom Hyslop Trophy
aka “Yellow Boat on a Swivel”
Many thanks to Pat for helping
PK set up and tear down,
and most importantly,
ensuring all the pins and bolts
are stored in their proper places.
Started all races
and honoring an
incredible come back after
a year of recovery.
Daniel Hearn addresses sitka spruce and the C Skeeter steering system with a little help from friends.
Stopped by McCormick Lumber over my lunch hour Friday to pick up the one additional Sitka board I needed for the two 20 foot chines on the port side of the hull. I was greeted in the parking lot by the Global CEO of the conglomerate, Andy McCormick, who was returning from a high-powered business lunch. He was still sucking Diet Coke through the straw in the Hardee’s cup. I considered Andy a friend, but witnessing that he’s destroying our oceans still using straws, I may have to reconsider. He escorted me to the yard, probably concerned that I would slap as many boards as I could on top of the Swagger Wagon and tear off without paying. I asked him if he could close the overhead door as I searched for the fastest board, as I was a little cold. He asked me if I always wore my wife’s skirt on Fridays?
Saturday morning, thinking my neighbors probably wouldn’t appreciate the sweet howl of my planner in the driveway at 6:30 a.m., I made my way to my office to get the job done in our storage area. Since I don’t have a garage, I’ve sort of commandeered the space. It’s become an ice sailing junkyard; rather appropriate, as the room also harbors our building’s dumpsters. They don’t stink too bad(ly), and it’s a short throw for getting rid of the sawdust. Bonus. I’m probably supposed to put the $10-per-board-foot waste in a bag before depositing it in the non-recyclable dumpster, but we contract with a private service. They’ll pick up anything, unlike the City of Madison that will leave my carts stranded at the curb like a blind date with a nice personality, if they see one leaf poking out of the lid. With the first job of the day complete, back home for breakfast.
Next stop, Nordhaus Boatwerks. Arranged to meet up with Jim to compare different steering systems. After discussing pros and cons, I decided to go with a Renegade style system, but with a wheel (which is not allowed in the Renegade) and extra purchase achieved by attaching blocks to the steering post flanges and dead-ending the lines that go to the steering wheel sprocket back into a bulkhead. Maybe using Spectra rather than cable. I kinda sounds like I know what I’m talking about, right? Well, truth be told, before my remedial session with Professor Nordhaus, I was as clueless and a redneck in a woman’s studies class.
I was also rather uncertain about how I would ultimately attach the decking to the sideboards, so on my way back from church Sunday I gave Jerry Simon a call. It was 10:25 a.m. I was hoping he might be able to stop by my shop in the next week or so. He said, “I can be there by 11:00.” All Jerry needs is an app, and he could be like Uber. Before the eleventh bell faded, the doorbell chimed in and there he was in his well-worn sailing cap, jeans and work boot style shoes. Cheerful as always. I suspect Jerry is on Lombardi time—”if you’re on time, you’re late.” But he probably backed it off a bit for me, seeing as how it was Sunday, and all. And Palm Sunday, no less. Those services go on forever. No need to document with a watch. Every kid squirming in the pew is evidence enough. Of course Jerry didn’t come empty handed. He came bearing gifts of tools. A pneumatic staple gun in a plastic box with every component and staple size precisely labeled. He provided a detailed tutorial that would rival any YouTube sensation, and then showed me how I would put it to work for no-bubble decking and proper scarf joints.
My consultants weekend wouldn’t have been complete without a call to the Heppert Hot Line. All along I’ve thought it was a Call Center in Kingston, but I’m beginning to think the guy on the other end sounds more Minnesotan, than Jamaican. “How in the heck do I get a six foot level to touch three bulk heads on the sides of a curved boat,” I asked. “You don’t,” the guy said, “that’s only by the top rear spine. “Oh,” I replied sheepishly, thinking that maybe I had already sanded a little too much off the small section I had started with. Oh well, may have to shim out that one bulk head some to maintain the smooth curve. He went on to explain something about the flat spine transitioning into compound curves. “Ah…what,” I thought? But for the record, I never took any women’s studies classes.
(Photos below of steering in Meade restoration project at Nordhaus Boatwerks. My C-Skeeter steering will be similar).
Daniel Hearn brings home the second most important part of any iceboating program, the trailer and sees the C Skeeter hull emerge from the parts and pieces.
Frosting For Frozen Fun
When I eat birthday cake (never with ice cream, but I love ice cream…I know, weird) my fork surgically targets the cake part first, leaving mostly frosting for a super sweet, sugar-filled finish. Flower? Corner piece? Ah…yeah…both, please.
It was all frosting at the Spaight Street Syndicate last weekend. Picked up my new C-Skeeter hauler in lower Michigan Saturday morning. Great little trailer company willing to sell direct to consumers and build custom quite economically. On the way there, dropped off a DN mast for repair with Bob Rast. Going to a newbie I assisted getting into a good entry level program. Welcome to the fleet, Vince! Had dinner with my oldest daughter in Chicago and spent the night at her place. I did eat meat on Friday during Lent. Since the Lord can walk on water, he’s certainly an ice boater, so I’m counting on him cutting me some slack.
On Sunday, I got to start dry fitting pieces. It’s been pretty much all cake since I started—planning, ordering, cutting, gluing, carboning, bending, sweeping, swearing, apologizing (to my wife for the excess dust; I don’t think she hears me cussing like a longshoreman). But all of a sudden ,“poof,” it looks like a boat! Frosting for frozen fun is good for my psyche.
Damn, I’m one board short! There I go again with my potty mouth. I’ll have to pay a visit to Andy at McCormick Lumber this week. He’s an Irishman…he won’t mind my language.
The Spaight Street Syndicate C Skeeter build continues. Here’s the latest from Daniel Hearn.
YOUR PLANK NEEDS WORK
I was in NYC last weekend visiting my youngest daughter, Sheridan. She took me to one of these trendy fitness clubs staffed by overly cheerful, Lulumon-clad trainers whose smiles conceal their fondness of torture. It was called The Fitting Room. Their e-blasts ever since will never let me forget.
“Locker room straight ahead,” said the ethnically ambiguous receptionist with the blue buzz cut, plentiful piercings and ink. Admittedly, I was a little groggy, having stayed up way past my embarrassingly early normal bedtime, taking in a comedy show at a club often used by big names for trying out their new material. Chris Rock didn’t show that night.
As I wondered in, there standing right in front of me was a shapely young woman with nothing on but lacy black panties and a party bra. (Not that I was looking, of course, I was with my wife and daughters). As I desperately scanned the area for the silhouette of the guy wearing pants, all I saw were more women. Women in various states of dress. Certain that I had wondered into the wrong locker room, I sheepishly turned to exit trying to be invisible. It must have showed on my Midwestern face as another woman said, “don’t worry, it’s a coed locker room.” “Hmm, I thought, temporarily relieved, until I started thinking about exposing my tighty-whiteys to total strangers, and most of them women. My ladies know I’m a dork, but these women…scratch that…they probably took one look at my dad jeans and concluded, “dork.”
Our class had two wirelessly mic’ed instructors. Not very far into the workout, I became a “project” for the instructor with the British accent and tightly trimmed beard. He said to me, “ Daniel (at least he didn’t call me sir), your plank needs work. I thought to myself, “dude, you have no idea!” Maybe I should send him the pictures?
Monday was a busy day for Ken Whitehorse and Paul Krueger at the Skeeter shop. Via Ken Whitehorse:
Work continues. Had much trouble pulling halyard and sail up. Went to Menards and got the ACME mast tube clean-out reamer.Some assembly needed. Kit included a 3/8ths 4ft long threaded rod and 2 30 ft long heavy galvanized wire. This allowed for two people to seesaw the barbed rod and thus ream out the glue in the mast tube. Also 180 psi of air helped! Smooth sailing now. Will bring the ACME mast tube roto -roorter to the meeting so other iceboaters can borrow.
Attention Nite National sailors and 4LIYC members: During this weekend’s regatta and club racing, Ken Whitehorse is holding a mini-fund raiser for the Mary B Stern Steerer Foundation by giving you a chance to help name his new Skeeter (formerly Bob Kau’s Skeeter). For only $1, you can suggest a name for the blue Skeeter and all the money will go to support the Mary B Stern-Steerer Foundation. See Ken on the ice this weekend for more information.
News from the Spaight Street Syndicate
Look what appeared in the inbox this morning! An update from our other area Skeeter builder, Daniel Hearn, mentioned in yesterday’s post.
At the Northwest Regatta in January, I had the chance to sail the C-Skeeter “Drifter.” I’ve always admired the boat from afar, but resisted the temptation to look into it further. But then this very nice man named Pat (might be an alias) saw me checking her out. He must have sensed an easy target. I didn’t see his white van or puppy, but I’m sure he has both. And he smiled so warmly as he shared his chocolate. Next thing I know I had downloaded the plans and was purchasing Baltic Birch. If Pat is married, I hope his wife is not high maintenance, because Pat is now receiving more correspondence than Dear Abby. No doubt he’s already regretted giving me a taste, but it’s too late to turn back now.
First thing I had to do was extend my DN building table. Check. Now I’m at 20 feet and level. With one foot to spare on each end. Good thing I’m kinda scrawny. And good thing that window is where it is, otherwise this thing would be a permanent fixture in my basement. I measured twice. I’ll get her out. I think? Jack Ripp used to talk about “building in a closet.” Now I appreciate that.
The next thing I did was embrace my deficiencies. I know next to nothing about Skeeters, so I consulted the brain trust who knows everything. Pat Heppert and Bill Buchholz have openly shared their experiences building Pat’s design. And the A-Skeeter guys have shared lots of info with a guy who’s been playing around with those “toy boats” for some time. Many thanks to Jay Yaeso, Kenny Whitehorse, Paul Krueger, Bob Kau, Tom Nichols, Henry Bossett, Steve Orlebeke, Jim Nordhaus, Jerry Simon and others. With their help and tips, I might actually be able to do this. And one more thank you to my brother, Brian, who is providing a second set of hands and valuable structural input pulled from his experience as an architect.
Yesterday, I also had the pleasure of visiting with Bill Mattison, the man who probably knows more about Skeeters than anyone on the planet. Bill is on the mend from a little setback. When I showed up at his room, I met Bill Jr. and granddaughter, Abby, who live in Racine. Told them I love going there for regattas. When I mentioned Cupie Burgers, Well Brothers Pizza and Cliff’s for breakfast, I think they thought I was legit. Well, when I started talking iceboats with Bill, he lit up light the North Beach Harbor lighthouse. I showed him pictures and videos of what’s going on in the shops and Abby giggled when he struggled with the technology. Just listening to Bill exposed how little I know about the Formula One of iceboats. But I enjoyed every second. Bill Jr. said he hadn’t seen his dad so engaged for a long time. That was nice to hear! And what a treasure we have in Madison with so many elder statesmen of ice sailing!
So much for my rambling. Here’s what I’ve scratched off my list so far. With my limited building space, I started on the small stuff first, and when the weather is reasonably warm on weekends, I jump outside to disturb my neighbors making sawdust in the driveway. (Had a visit with a Madison police officer yesterday. Nice guy!)
- Mentioned to my wife in passing that I “might” build another boat. “Really,” she said, as she smiled lovingly. (That may have been a question, but I’m going to punctuate with a period. She’s the best!)
- Bulkheads cut out. (Twice, actually. Decided it wasn’t a good idea to try to make her shorter and skinnier). We’re not into “body shaming” on the near east side. Pretty much anything else goes, however.
- Four bulkheads surrounding cockpit covered with two layers of carbon. (Learned how to do it poorly on the first one. Will cover again to hide my ineptitude).
- Springboard formed, shaped and covered top and bottom with carbon.
- Boom covered with carbon.
- Middle “ladder” lamination of plank complete.
- Stringers and spines cut to size.
- Canopy located and ordered.
- Trailer designed and ordered.
- Sideboards and other plank laminations planed to size.
- Long list of potential names generated. (Class rule that Skeeters have a name on the side).
Next up—edge-gluing boards to get required height or width for sideboards and outside plank laminations. Then, gluing up the plank.
P.S. “Hint. Hint.” Got it, webmaster!
I simply walked over next door to the Krueger/Whitehorse Skeeter Iceboat Shop to ask if they’d be ready to sail next weekend if Kegonsa came in and was immediately tasked with helping Ken make some adjustments on the blue Class A Skeeter. Ken caught me up on the latest news from one of the busiest Skeeter shops in town. (Yes, there’s another which we hope will start sharing photos of their build. Hint. Hint.) The big news of the weekend was the delivery of massive Skeeter Class A size runner sharpener made by Bob Rast.
FAKE NEWS CORRECTION
Previously, it had been reported on this website that Steve Orlebeke designed the Skeeter cascade block system. Sources tell me that it was actually Jay Yaeso who figured out and installed this sheeting system 2 years ago.
Oh, and to answer my original question if the Skeeters will be ready for next weekend, the answer is yes, PK’s boat is on the trailer ready to go and Ken will have the blue Skeeter ready as well.
4LIYC Skeeter sailors Ken Whitehorse, Paul Krueger, and Jim Gluek gathered at the Krueger/Whitehorse Skeeter Shop on Saturday. They brought and measured 8 sails and learned that all were less than 74 square feet. They also spent the day configuring a new Harken cascade pulley system designed by Steve Orlebeke for Ken’s new blue-soon-to-be-red Skeeter. Steve’s design is attracting a lot of interest including some from Daniel Hearn who stopped by to see it being installed. Ken reports that Tom Hyslop will also be changing his pulley system over Steve’s design which uses a combination of Harken block 3238, 3216, and 3215. Iceboat work never stops!
Jim Gluek took some of the photos and sent along this note:
Great day with two legends in our sport. PK and Kenny. Stories of the Skeeter side-car so Kenny could take a crew; two sets of chocks on the plank so you could move the runner in board. One of the most awesome thing about ice boating are the people and the stories over the years.
4LIYC Skeeter & DN sailor and head of Harken Engineering Steve Orlebeke explains why he’d rather be on ice in the Harken publication, At The Front.
Like a lot of us here in Pewaukee, I’m a lifelong sailor. Maybe less like most of us, my favorite sailing is done where you really hope you never get wet. For the last several years I’ve been working as hard as I can in the Skeeter and DN iceboat classes. I descend from a grand Harken tradition. Get them in the right moment, Peter and Olaf might let slip that they like iceboating best too. Read more.
Via Greg Whitehorse’s post on the 4LIYC Facebook page.
Down at the Whitehorse/Krueger Boat Works. Measuring up a spot for upcoming lettering on Ken’s new Skeeter. WARRIOR VI. Previous: Skeeter Swap Meet.
Some big developments at the Krueger/Whitehorse Boatbarn-
The Krueger/Whitehorse Boatbarn hosted a sort of swap meet on Saturday, January 26. Recent NIYA and ISA Class A Skeeter regatta champ, John Dennis, made the 5 hour drive from the Minneapolis area to pick up Ken’s Class A Skeeter, WARRIOR 5. This will double the size of the Class A fleet in Minnesota!
That frees up space on the trailer for Ken’s latest acquisition, a very fast modern Class A skeeter originally owned by Bob Kau and built in the attic of a Suamico Skeeter builder. Everyone has had their eye on Kau’s blue Class A Skeeter since its been for sale and the 4LIYC is glad that Ken decided to make the boat part of our Skeeter fleet. The paint schemes will switch up with JD putting WARRIOR 5 in blue and Ken changing the blue Kau Skeeter to the traditional 4LIYC red and white livery.
JD and PK talked at length about runner technology. JD shared his vast knowledge of the numbers on crown and flat. Much thanks and credit to Jay for coordinating the sale. All participants are very pleased with the exchange. The Skeeter fleet is growing!
The Skeeters are back on Lake Pepin this weekend to bring it on for the Northwest, including this boat, Jim Gluek’s A Skeeter Merlin. A Jim McDonagh video production.
2019 International Skeeter Association Regatta
January 11-13, 2019
Lake Pepin, Lake City, MN
Photos: Julie Jankowski
2019 ISA Results
It took a cooperative effort to make the ISA a success. Thanks go to the following:
John Dennis & Jim McDonaugh: Ice checking, course setting, race starting
Steve Schalk: ISA Secretary/Treasurer, course setting, flagging, and anything else that needed doing.
Jason Thompson & the rest of the SIBC sailors who helped in any way asked.
Mary Jane Schalk: Off site tabulation. She published race results at a blazing speed, even before the sailors had a chance to walk over to look at the line up sheets to see how they finished! She also contacted the hotels and arranged the banquet.
Julie Jankowski: Facebook video and photo updates which were much appreciated around the world.
Steve Brown: Lake City resident and licensed drone pilot who shared his videos and pictures with all of us.
Don Sanford: Flagging, race starting
Wayne Schmeidlin (Wayne’s Automotive on Cottage Grove Road, Madison) and his son, Adam, who not only tuned up our ATV but made sure my car was in good shape to haul it. We would not have had as many races without an ATV in good working condition.
The people of Lake City, Minnesota who welcomed ice boaters for the second weekend in a row. It’s heartening to see them come to the landing to see what we are up to, ask questions, and take pictures.
All four fleets for always being lined up and ready to race as soon as the last boat crossed the finish line.