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

Spaight St. Syndicate: Bubble Baby Skeeter Got Back


Daniel Hearn continues to work like a mad scientist while building his Class C Skeeter in his basement laboratory.
Previously at the Spaight St. Syndicate

Baby Got Back

The little hussy is no longer prancing around leaving little to the imagination.  I call it the Lulu Lemon Effect. Much to the delight of testosterone-filled young men across the country (OK, the old guys don’t mind either), stretchy pants have become acceptable casual wear, formal wear and everything in between for young women.  I’m dying to know how they wear them without ANY undergarment lines showing.  I’d ask my wife, but that would be a dead giveaway that I might occasionally look.  All three of my daughters pull this off, as well, but I decided I probably really don’t want to know.  But know this, young men—big daddio is watching.  He may not be all that big, but he’s Pitbull-mean and fights dirty.  Eyes on the horizon, Bevis.

 

She’s still got her tramp stamp showing, however.  I’m pretty sure she’s intentionally leaving the small of her back exposed, like she’s proud of her decision to deface her body for life.  You’d think spending time at a waterpark would be enough to demonstrate that these things don’t end well.  What she doesn’t know is that I’ve tipped off her mother.  Yesterday will be the last time the base of her spine sees the light of day, unless she’s wearing a swimming suit.  Which is going to be NEVER, because iceboats and swimming don’t go together.

RAMBL’N Red



Paul Krueger’s Class A Skeeter RAMBL’N is sporting a new coat of paint today in the traditional colors of the 4LIYC, red and white. Paul’s daughter asked Ken Whitehorse if all the recent modifications on PK’s boat would make him go “too fast”. Ken told her not to worry, he went for the pretty paint job instead of the fast one. Paul said, “We waited for a west wind so there were no complaints from the neighbor on over spray”. [Hey, there’s only one neighbor, iceboat.org headquarters!- Ed.]

That Thing Got A Hemi?

You’re about the find out.


Are you ready for another Spaight Street Syndicate installment? Daniel Hearn’s C Class Skeeter build enters the “sweeeet” phase.
Previously at the Spaight St. Syndicate

No hemi, but all sorts of other, hopefully, go-fast stuff under the hood.

Springboard attachment brackets. Not fast if your springboard falls off. First time I ever sailed an iceboat was Donny Anderson’s Nite on Lake Kegonsa. Springboard fell off. I didn’t know there was hazing before I joined the fraternity.

read more…

ENTERPRISE III: Ahead Of Its Time

One of the earliest front-cockpit Class A Skeeters in iceboating, designed and built by Harry Whitehorse, c. 1976. Photo: Gary Whitehorse

Gary Whitehorse recently came across this previously unknown photo in his collection. “Came across this negative looking for something completely different. My Dad, Harry’s, front seat “A” Skeeter, Dad in foreground , 1976ish. Not many pictures of it, so I was happy when I found it.”

He posted it on the 4LIYC Facebook page and it solicited a lot of questions and comments.  ENTERPRISE III was an aluminum-hull front-cockpit Class A Skeeter designed and built by Harry Whitehorse in the mid 1970s. Gary’s brother, Greg Whitehorse, remembers that it was heavy and “…even today’s front-seaters are on the heavy side. Could have used a wider plank and a less drafty sail. It did ‘kink’ the aluminum skin on its initial cruise (which if I remember, was on rough, snow covered ice, and a windy day), but the kink didn’t get worse. Another interesting thing about this boat was the sheeting system. My Dad wanted to steer it like a race car, with a steering wheel. So he made a cleat on a traveler and track that he could operate with his legs and feet. It really was kinda neat. He said it worked good.”

“Left Alone With Big Fat Fanny”

The Fat Bottomed Girl gets some knickers.

Previously:
“A Space for Cowboys:
“The Inspector”
“Building In The Big City”
“New Ways to Shave”
“Heavy Metal Lightweight”
“It’s a Bubble”
“Simon Says”
“Frosting For Frozen Fun”
“When Your Plank Needs Work”
“A Weak Moment
Hang on folks, here we go with another Spaight Street Syndicate report from Daniel Hearn:


I was just a skinny dad

Never knew no good from bad
But I knew life before I left my shop dusty
Left alone with big fat fanny
She was such a naughty lassie
Heap big woman
You made a bad boy out of me

I was focused on her bottom last night when Spotify served up a classic. Coincidence? I think not. Just me and my fat bottomed girl havin’ at it in the basement. And my wife doesn’t seem to care, unless things get too loud, but even then she just calmly asks, “can’t you do that when I’m not home?” Reasonable request. She walked in on us a couple days ago when I was nailing her with the pneumatic gun. I apologized profusely for that indiscretion, as I appreciated that it can be shocking when not expected.

Thanks for the sign, Freddie. Enjoyed your movie earlier this year. Rock on and tell my dad I miss him.

The Fat Bottomed Girl gets some knickers.


Regatta Watch: TWO Western Challenges in Minnesota

Drone shot from the 2019 International Skeeter Association Regatta on Lake Pepin, Lake City, MN Photo: Steve Brown

It’s time to start thinking seriously about ice! The Minnesota Ice Sailors have announced back to back
fun-regattas (non-sanctioned events) for December 2019. Both regattas will take place on the best ice in Minnesota, location to be announced. Information will be posted on the Minnesota Ice Sailing website, iceboating.net.

DN WESTERN CHALLENGE
December 6-8, 2019
Location: TBA, best ice in MN
Mini-Skeeters are also invited to attend and join the party!

SKEETER WESTERN CHALLENGE
December 14-15, 2019
Location: TBA, best ice in MN
Classes: A, B, and C Skeeters

 

A Space for Cowboys

After a short break, Daniel Hearn is back in the saddle, so to speak, with his C Skeeter basement build.

Previously:
“The Inspector”
“Building In The Big City”
“New Ways to Shave”
“Heavy Metal Lightweight”
“It’s a Bubble”
“Simon Says”
“Frosting For Frozen Fun”
“When Your Plank Needs Work”
“A Weak Moment

Saddle Up, Cowboy

Yeah, I know, it’s been awhile since my last update. In between that work thing and summer pursuits, my time blocks for the shop are short and less frequent, but I’ve been chipping away at the iCe rocket. (No, that’s not the boat name, but it will be a subject of a future blog). My internal mechanicals are now complete, and I’ve been doing lots of sanding on the cockpit carbon to make it look all purdy. I’ll give you the full tour in my next blog.

 

My nightly ritual this week has been laminating carbon to form the “saddle” which will attach my rocket to the launch pad. At the center point of the plank I laid out a layer of peel ply, then formed the saddle around the plank. I lost track of how many layers, but it was a great way to use up my scraps of both uni and cloth, interspersed with full size pieces. My technical consultant advised that the saddle needed to be stronger than the hull itself, so I just kept adding layers each night until I got to a thickness of about 3/8”. Once there, I rough trimmed the saddle and cut a matching profile in the bottom of my hull to prepare it for glue on. After I glue it on, I’ll reinforce the attachment with carbon fillets on the inside and outside of the hull. The outside fillets will cover up the mounting plates for the titanium axle that holds my exit block in position.

 

It was noticeably cooler this morning for my sun-up open water swim. Ice is a good way off yet, but the seasons are starting to sniffle. This cowboy is excited to break in a wild mare branded M-177!

Weekend Deflection

The Krueger-Whitehorse Skeeter Shop was in full technical mode over the weekend measuring plank deflection and aligning runners.

The Good: Starboard side, 3.4 degrees, not canted.

The Bad: Port side, adjusting to 3.4 degrees, wooden shim is holding plank in position.

Kenny fine adjusting with digital angle finder.

Ken takes a plank measurement.

Plank comparison.

Kenny checking the runner angle on Paul’s plank.

Load test on Paul’s plank. Note the fresh coat of uni-carbon. The plank was load tested and then modified to match the blue plank’s deflection. Paul’s plank now matches identically with the blue plank deflection. 

 

Skeeter Multi-Tasking


Paul Krueger and Ken Whitehorse have been summer iceboating in the shop, working on their Class A Skeeter programs. Paul send this along:

We had to use the runner straighter jig to flatten Kenny’s stay tubing. It was the heavy wall.

Iceboat Midsummer: Gather Round the Mast Pole

Using Lake Baikal’s spring regatta and Minnesota’s Western Challenge as data points, this week marks iceboating’s mid-summer holiday.  Ken Whitehorse and Paul Krueger celebrated by setting up Paul’s Class A Skeeter, RAMBL’N, on one of the hottest days of summer to see how the newly built boom looked. Jim Gluek stopped over to look over and talk Skeeter sails.

Yes, that’s a sail from the quiver of Bob Kau’s blue Skeeter now owned by Ken Whitehorse (and will soon carry PK’s number, 165).

Bottles Up!

Pat Heppert, his C class Skeeter DRIFTER, and the Wisconsin Skeeter Assoc. Bottle Trophy

It took a while, but the Wisconsin Skeeter Association Bottle Trophy finally found its way to last season’s recipient Pat Heppert. Looks like Pat had the perfect bottle waiting for it! Pat writes:

 It is a great honor to be a part of the legacy of this trophy, and I am eternally grateful to be the caretaker of this for 2019. The artistry and imagination of every one of Harry Whitehorse’s creations are truly impressive. In the background you will also see the new expanded headquarters of the Heppert boat works!

4th of July On Ice

3 Nites and John Dennis’ (JD) A Class Skeeter on Lake Pepin at the 2019 ISA         Photo: Jann Klin

JD & Tom Nichols in 2012 

July 4th signals we’re climbing to the apex of the iceboating off-season (iceboat mid-summer is July 27, more on that later). It’s become an iceboat.org 4th of July tradition, ever since Tom Nichols built the boat, to post Class A Skeeter, EAGLE, in its red, white, and blue livery to commemorate the holiday. EAGLE was born in New Jersey, built and sailed by Tom Nichols. JD purchased the boat in July 2012 and brought her west. Below is a video of EAGLE’S first sail in Minnesota. Both Tom and JD have won the ISA regatta twice, Tom in 2005 and 2006 and JD in 2018 and 2019.

 

“The Inspector”: Spaight St. Syndicate C(bd) Skeeter Update


Previously:
“Building In The Big City”
“New Ways to Shave”
“Heavy Metal Lightweight”
“It’s a Bubble”
“Simon Says”
“Frosting For Frozen Fun”
“When Your Plank Needs Work”
“A Weak Moment

The Inspector

I imagined it would be like Frank Lloyd Wright stopping by to check out our Convention Center. He’d be wearing the half circle reading glasses occasionally glancing over the top and then returning to the precise plans which captured his vision. The pockets of his finely tailored suit coat would be filled with measuring devices—a digital caliper, a laser guided tape measure, an atomic plumbometer—all calibrated by NASA. He’d pace around the structure, all too frequently grumbling a seemingly agitated “hmmmm,” which could only be interpreted as, “did this epoxy sniffer really think THIS is what I had in mind?” I was prepared for a tirade.

The night before, I had that dream where you’re supposed to be taking the final exam, but you realize you never went to class. Not one time. Or read any of the books. I needed something to relieve my anxiety. As luck would have it, a CBD store opened in my neighborhood. The proprietor is an old hippie, who goes by the name “Moon Dart.” He somehow rationalized that cashing in on people’s physical and mental struggles didn’t make him “the man.” Looks and smells like a capitalist to me, but in my hood we’re even left of Bernie, so that’s worse than calling someone the other “c” word. Yeah, that one. I went right for the highest potency, figuring it was like DN runners—more is always better.

Turns out, my anxiety was completely unnecessary. Inspector Heppert was very kind. At least in-person. When he gets a few beers in him, he might have the entire bar giggling like 7th grade girls at a slumber party, showing pictures of my incompetence on his iPad. But at least I won’t be around to hear it. After I slap a bunch of carbon on the outside, most of my infractions will be hidden anyway. And I know a good painter. So, I’m counting on at least “looking” fast. By the way, Moon Dart says the CBD oil is great for stoning runners. He advises stopping at 420. Makes sense.

“Building In The Big City”: A C-Skeeter Rises

Pre-Glue Test Fit

Daniel Hearn elevates his C-Skeeter build.
Previously:
“New Ways to Shave”
“Heavy Metal Lightweight”
“It’s a Bubble”
“Simon Says”
“Frosting For Frozen Fun”
“When Your Plank Needs Work”
“A Weak Moment”

Building in the Big City

I’m going to need new business cards, After completing my pre-glue test fit, I realized I’m not just a “Builder” anymore. I’ve gone vertical, so I must be a “Developer.” My basement projects have consumed all the available horizontal space. Anything more and you might see me featured on an episode of “Hoarders.” Is anyone else amazed at the kind of crap people will watch on TV? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly what you’d call “highbrow.” My wife has been training the Oconomowoc hillbilly out of me for 35 years, with limited success. But come on, “Moonshiners!?” When subtitles are necessary to understand a show’s characters who are speaking something that resembles English, that might be a good indication of a waste of time.

Back to development. As is typical with construction projects, my staging was a bit off. An unforeseen problem with my Sitka supply chain left me one board short. Not wanting to idle my high-priced labor and delay progress, I charged ahead with the available materials. Fast forward to today, and I’ve got a mostly completed frame, but nowhere to glue up my second side board. Hmm…what would a Developer do? Yes, that’s it, bring in the crane and scrape the sky!

At this point in my build, my mechanical equipment was collecting dust, so why not put it to use? With my Harken powered crane in place, I hoisted my frame out of the way and created the space I needed to glue up my second sideboard. Whoa…and when I cut her loose from the oppressive chains of the building table, if she didn’t go into an immediate hike, like she was rounding the top mark in a blow! This frozen filly may be a hard one to tame.
Daniel Hearn

Big City Building

“New Ways to Shave” a C Skeeter Plank

Final shape edge checks

Daniel Hearn shares another installment on his C Skeeter build proving again that iceboating attracts creative types!
Previously:
“Heavy Metal Lightweight”
“It’s a Bubble”
“Simon Says”
“Frosting For Frozen Fun”
“When Your Plank Needs Work”
“A Weak Moment”

New Ways to Shave

I’ve been receiving AARP mailings now for 8 years. To add to the insult, it started before I even officially hit the big 5-0. It’s a mystery how they even found me. When we were hunting Bin Laden, we should have put them on the case. If you were born before seat belts were required, they know where you are.

As we get older maybe we do get stuck in our ways. I’ve been shaving the same way for decades. Good News Plus razors with the lubrication strip and the cheapest cream on the shelf. Two blades were always good enough for me, and as far as I was concerned, any white cream would do the job. But shampoo? Nothing but the best for me. Not for what the fancy fluids do for my locks, though I’m sure you’ve noticed the sheen, bounce and manageability. But because when my daughters were all home, they would move on to the next miracle liquid before the last one was gone. I may have a lifetime supply of wounded soldiers. And I smell like a sorority house.

Before Amazon, my wife picked up my shaving supplies at an actual store. Now they’re delivered to my door with a single click. Making it easy has made Jeff Bezos 158.1 billion. But now Harry’s has made it even easier. And better. I don’t even have to click. Not one time. The blades just show up when I need them. They’re probably using a top secret algorithm to calculate the precise speed of my facial hair growth and the corresponding life span of each blade, based the Rockwell rating of my whiskers and my shaving frequency. I may be on the cutting edge of shaving (I’m slightly embarrassed about that pun), but I’m at the dull center of fashion. I still wear socks with my dress shoes. And see no need to sport pants so short that my ankles show. Who decided “floods” were a “look?” Plus, MY suit jackets actually fit ME. When did it become fashionable to look like the “oops” of a Catholic family–the boy who was last in line to wear the First Communion suit, when he was much taller than his older brothers at the same age.

The razors from Harry’s have like 17 blades and they stay sharp for a long time. MBAs who want to sound smart would call this a “core competency.” Me, well, my MBA is a Mop Bucket Attitude, so I’m thinking they should get into runners. Perfectly profiled and optimally sharp (or dull) for the upcoming conditions, delivered right to my door the day before the regatta is even called “ON”. This may be the next move for Amazon. I’d better call a patent attorney to protect my “intellectual property.” When you charge $900/hr., you have to use expensive words. Translation for those of you with an MBA like mine—my “good idea.” If I don’t, Amazon, Google or Apple will most certainly steal my good idea. And I think they’ve got enough money.

All the DN planks I’ve built were “close enough” planks. I’d bend them up following all the conventional wisdom, then start eyeball hand-planing until I thought they looked cool. Then I’d add glass in search of deflection that would match what the fast guys said would be calibrated to my weight, and called it good. But with my C-Skeeter project, I thought I needed to break from my old ways. So, the first thing I did was look up NACA foils. I don’t even know what that stands for, but I stumbled upon the section with foil shapes that were neither lifty or draggy. (These are highly technical terms beyond the scope of this recap). I sized one to the width of my plank, built a router jig to create shape reference cuts, estimated the declining depth of my cuts to account for the ½” tapering of the plank from inboard to outboard, then made lots of sawdust. Not as precise as a CNC router, but a sophisticated shave for me!

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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