A Brief Overview of Northwest Regatta History
Welcome to the home page of the Northwestern Ice Yacht Association Regatta. This historic regatta was first sailed in 1913 in Menominee, Michigan. Skeeters, DNs, and Renegades weren’t even invented back then when the big stern steerers ruled the ice.
Dateline January 13, 1913. Wisconsin State Journal. “Representatives of Oshkosh, Madison, Menominee, and Marinette met at the Hotel Menominee this morning and discussed future of the new NIYA….. LF Porter, of Madison, a man who has been connected with several water and ice craft organizations, gave some timely and instructive suggestions in regard to the proper manner of conducting the association. He proposed having two delegates from each club present at a future gathering and from a constitution and by laws at that time.”
In 1913, Menominee skipper E. Peterson won the first Class A championship in “Square People”. Madison, Wisconsin’s Emil Fauerbach won the 1914 championship in the famed Princess II, a boat that went on the win the Hearst International Trophy.
Other notable Class A winners throughout the years include John Buckstaff of Oshkosh, Fritz Jungbluth and Carl Bernard of Madison in the Fritz, Harry Melges of Lake Geneva (Buddy’s father), Carl Bernard again in the Mary B, the Debutante currently owned by Mike Derusha, and Buddy Melges in his Ferdinand the Bull. The DNs were first recognized as a separate class in 1954 when Skip Boston won the inaugural NIYA DN championship. Other notable DN champions include William Sarns in 1956, Jane Pegel who first won in 1960 and went on to capture another nine championships. Class E Skeeters first raced the NIYA in 1936 when Lake Geneva sailor Harry Melges won in Mickey Finn. Elmer Millenbach took the 1949 trophy sailing his Renegade II back when the Renegades and Skeeters sailed together. Other famous ice boating names who’ve won the NIYA Class E championship include Bill Perrigo, Howard Boston, Frank Trost, Jack Ripp, Dave Rosten, Bill Mattison, Lou Loenneke, Buddy Melges, Bob Pegel, and Paul Krueger. The Renegades first raced in the NIYA as a recognized class in 1958 and of course, Mr. Ice Boat, Elmer Millenbach won his first of many NIYA Renegade Championships in Renegade III and went on to win every regatta until 1984. Other winners include Arlyn Lafortune, Lorne Sherry, Jack Ripp, Tim McCormick, Roger Derusha, Don Anderson, and Mike Derusha.
Video: ABC’s Wide World of Sports video from the 1966 Northwest Regatta on Geneva Lake
Bill Mattison visited his old friend, Jack Ripp, for the last time. Jack’s son, Jim, was there and shared this poignant moment and the video on his Facebook page:
Jack Ripp wins the Skeeter Class E National Championship on Wide World of Sports with 2 firsts and a second. Dad is M149 and his best buddy Bill Mattison is M134. Buddy Melges comes in 3rd.
Bill sat and held Dad’s hand at hospice on Friday, talked to him and told us all stories of racing and building iceboats as well as stories of him and Dad in Korea. Made Dad smile and chuckle a few times. Both 90 years old, born a few days apart. Lifelong friendship at it’s finest. One of the most touching moments I have ever witnessed. Thank you Bill.”
Enjoy the artistry of how iceboats look from an eagle’s point of view. Thank you Steve Brown for sharing your video of 2019 Northwest regatta on Lake Pepin.
Mike Peters (with crew Terry Reynolds) won the C Stern Steerer division at last weekend’s Northwest regatta. Mike is asking if those who attended could check to see if they mistakenly took the C Stern Steerer keeper trophy last Sunday. He saw it on the trailer before the awards ceremony but then it was gone. Please get in touch with Mike or myself.
Iceboat photographer specialist Gretchen Dorian made the 9 hour drive from northern Michigan to photograph the Northwest, one of her favorite regattas. She set up camp at the weather mark in brutally cold conditions on Saturday and somehow managed to keep the batteries and cameras working. Her first set of photos have been posted on her website. Take a look and stay tuned for more.
There are a thousand little stories that happen at a Northwest regatta. Watching the magnificent stern-steerers take to the stage brings us back to the roots of this sport. Here are a few random stories from the regatta. And hey, you should plan on going next year!
I’ll post more photos and commentary tomorrow.
Regatta like the Northwest do not happen without the time and work from volunteers like the following:
NIYA Secretary/Treasurer Steve Schalk
NIYA Regatta Chair Tim McCormick
NIYA Race Committee members Jay Yaeso, Andy Gratton, George Gerhardt, Chip Sawyer, and John Davenport.
PRO Joe Norton
Assistant to the PRO Scott Goetz (who also brought the 4LIYC ATV)
Tabulating from the Fontana Home Office: Mary Jane Schalk
Lake City Mayor Mark Nichols
The Residents of Lake City
The support that iceboaters receive from the entire town of Lake City is phenomenal. Mayor Mark Nichols has made sure that a porta-potty has been at the landing for the last 3 weekends. He attended our banquet. Saturday night and gave out 3 keys to Lake City (Steve Schalk, Joe Norton, and myself) that recognized our efforts as regatta volunteers. Not only that, but he sailed out to the course on Saturday in his DN and raced! Think about that, how many mayors do you know of that sail iceboats?
There are 4 of us who have attended all 3 regattas in Lake City this January (the DN Western Regions, the ISA, and the NIYA) : John Dennis, Jim McDonagh, Steve Orlebeke, and myself. JD & Jim McDonagh have spent more than half of January on Lake Pepin checking ice and sailing.
The Davis stern-steerer family never miss a Northwest regatta. John was thrilled to only have a 3 hour drive this year, the closest the regatta has ever been held to his home in Clear Lake, Iowa.
Daniel Hearn not only raced and did pretty well in the DN (1st) and Renegade (2nd) classes, he took up Fred Stritt’s offer to race Fred’s D Stern Steerer. Daniel was also seen test driving Pat Heppert’s fast C Skeeter earlier in the day.
Stern Steerer fanatic Mike Kroll gave soft water Minnesota sailor Gretchen Wilibrandt a ride in his D Stern Steerer. He handed the tiller over to Gretchen and she drove it like she owned it. Could there be a new stern-steerer sailor at the next WSSA?
Sunday morning’s bitter temperatures and no wind at the Northwest meant the regatta was called complete. Prize giving was set up in the parking lot. My phone’s camera did not appreciate the cold weather as you can see by the quality of the pictures. Congratulations to all who participated and to those who took home some hardware. Thanks to all who made the effort to come to this historic regatta which hadn’t been sailed in 3 years. Well done!
Provisional Results Back in from an an extremely cold day with light to moderate breeze, enough too power through the snow. It started out light and built throughout the day. All fleets now have 3 races completed.The Northwest had a first today, the mayor of a town where we are sailing joining in to race. Lake City mayor Mark Nichols races soft water boats and raced his first iceboat race today. Off to the banquet.
We were able to get 4 races in before the snow came. The DNs, Renegades, the A Skeeters, and the Stern Steerers sailed in light to moderate shifty conditions on 1/4″ snow covered ice. Visibility soon diminished as the flurries arrived and persisted causing racing to be postponed until tomorrow.
We are hoping the flurries end without ending the regatta. Stand by for tomorrow’s update.
During the regatta, Mary Jane Schalk will be continually uploading Northwest fleet results like she did for the ISA. Check the link often because she tabulates after every race. In the meantime, check out the list of competitors at the Results link.
Notice – Finishing Method Update for the NIYA Regatta
Please note that the finishing procedure for the One Design classes (DN and Renegade) and the Skeeter Classes must conform to their respective rules per the NIYA By-Laws. Since all of those Classes currently specify use of the Bart rule, that method will be used for 2019 and future NIYA Regattas. The Bart rule method of finish will not be used for the A, B, C, and D class Stern Steerers sailing in their combined race.
SAILING AREA – WHAT TO KNOW
There’s a fairly obvious pressure ridge about 1/3 of a mile south of the launch. Do not sail to the Willows because of open water. There’s about a 2 mile x 2 mile sailing area. Don’t go wandering off!
Willows on the River Condominium Resort
100 Central Point Road
Lake City, MN 55041
When making reservations you must tell them you are with the ISA regatta.
IMPORTANT: Must call the hotel directly at 651-345-9900 to get discount. No Expedia.
- Single condo rooms sleep 1 – 4.
Thursday is $125.00, Friday and Saturday are $87.50.
- Double rooms sleep 6 -8.
Thursday is $205.00 with Friday and Sat. $127.50.
- Single condo rooms sleep 1 – 4.
1615 N Lakeshore Drive Lake City, Minnesota
2 Queen room (no view) 89.90 + tx.
Single queen with a view $89.90 = tx.
2 queen handicap $89.90 + tx.
2 single King $99.90+ tx.
Suite with 1 king and 1 queen separate rooms $109.90 + tx.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Friday, January 18:
8:30 – 9:30 AM Registration at the launch
10 AM First race
Order of Rotation:
See Sailing Instructions for more detail.
- E Skeeter
- A, B, C, D Stern Steerers
- ISA B & C Skeeters
6 PM Annual NIYA Meeting at the AmericInn
Saturday, January 19
9:30 AM First race
Banquet at the Lake House Restaurant at the Willows.
6:30 PM cocktails
7:00 PM dinner and order off the menu.
Sunday, January 20
9:30 AM First Race
Via Northwest Ice Yachting Association Race Committee:
The 2019 Northwest Yachting Association Regatta is tentatively called on for January 18-20. Lake Pepin at Lake City, MN is the primary site with Lake Petenwell near Necedah, Wisconsin as secondary site. This historic regatta, first sailed in 1913, is a three day event that includes the Stern Steerers, A, B, and C Skeeters, Renegades, and DNs. Final confirmation will be posted on Wednesday, January 16 by noon CT. Reminder: The Northwest is now a nine-race regatta.
Acting NIYA Secretary Steve Schalk has updated the Northwest Ice Yacht Association 2019 regatta documents. See the Notice of Race and 2019 NIYA Agenda over on the NIYA page.
The first possible dates that the NIYA could be sailed if conditions allow are January 18-20, 2019. Stay tuned for the next 2019 NIYA regatta update which will be on Sunday, January 13, 2019.
The Northwestern Ice Yachting Association is an affiliation of iceboat clubs formed in 1913 for the purpose of holding an annual regatta. Iceboat clubs constitute the membership and now is the time for club’s to pay their dues of $20. If your club didn’t receive a Notice of Dues in the mail, please download and return to the NIYA Acting Secretary, Steve Schalk.
January 18, 29, & 20, 2019 (Friday, Saturday, & Sunday) is the first scheduled weekend for the 2019 Regatta.Please return any new agenda items for the 2019 meeting to the Acting Secretary Steve Schalk by December 1st. These will be added to the agenda from 2018. The Regatta notice and new agenda will be sent out and posted on Iceboat.org no later than December 7th. The Race Committee and Nomination Slate remains from the 2018 season as no meeting was held.
“The chief difficulty in iceboating is the utter dependence upon the fickleness of the weather dispenser” Wisconsin State Journal 1918
Via NIYA Chair Tim McCormick:
The NIYA Regatta is cancelled for the 2018 season. Gladstone, MI continues to have a hard crust of snow. Shawano Lake has workable landings but the ice is too rough. Houghton Lake and Higgins Lake have holes. All other sites do not have sufficient landings. With the following weekend being the Easter Holiday, the NIYA Race Committee agreed we should cancel for the season.
The above quote in italics comes from this newspaper article published 100 years ago in 1918, a year when the Northwest was also canceled. In fact, it wasn’t sailed again until 1922. See you on the ice at next year’s Northwest!
Via NIYA Chair Tim McCormick:
The Northwest Regatta is tentatively called ON for March 23-25. The primary site is Gladstone, MI with Houghton Lake, MI as a secondary site. With all the warm weather this past weekend, we’re getting close! Final determination will be Wednesday, March 21st at Noon CDT.
Both the ISA and Northwest Regattas have been postponed. Next update for the ISA regatta will be Sunday, March 18.
Via NIYA Chair Tim McCormick:
The NIYA Regatta is postponed until March 23-25. Gladstone, MI is the most promising site but they still have 2” of hard crust snow and the wind forecast for this weekend is light. Ice thickness is more than 18” and trucks are driving on and off the ice without a problem. We need a moderate melt for that site to become good enough for a regatta and the forecast for the next week indicates that should happen. Next update is Sunday, March 18 at 8pm CST.
Both the ISA and Northwest Regattas have been postponed. Next update, March 11.
Via NIYA Chair Tim McCormick
The NIYA Regatta is postponed until March 16-18. Gladstone, MI is the most promising site but they still have 2” of hard crust snow covered by 1” of fresh snow. Ice thickness is more than 18” and trucks are driving on and off the ice without a problem. We need a melt for that site to become good enough for a regatta. Next update is Sunday, March 11 at 8pm CST.
ISA News Via Jay Yaeso:
The ISA is called on for March 10,11,12. Potential sites are: Escanaba,Mi. Elk Lake, Mi. and Newport, VT.Final call Wednesday, March 7 at noon.
Northwest Regatta News Via Tim McCormick:
The Northwest Regatta is tentatively called ON for March 9-11. We’re keeping our eyes on ice in upper Michigan and Elk Lake and will monitor the snow event Monday-Tuesday. Final determination will be Wednesday, March 7th at Noon CST.
From Tim McCormick:
The NIYA Regatta is postponed until March 9-11. The landings in Madison, Green Lake, Winnebago, and Green Bay will not support cars or large trailers so we’re keeping our eyes open for potential ice north of Suamico, WI for the regatta. Next update is Sunday, March 3 at 8pm CST.
UPDATE:ISA postponed as well. Next ISA update is February 25, 2018.
Via NIYA Regatta Chair Tim McCormick:
The Northwest Regatta is postponed until March 2-4. We have a number of potential sites which are close to racing conditions. Madison lakes have smoothed out nicely but they have shell ice; ¾” ice above 1-3” of liquid. Geneva has drain holes with skimmed ice over them. Green Lake is similar to Madison plus it has some hard 4” snow drifts. Lake Winnebago and Green Bay are getting smoother but are still too rough for a regatta. Next update is Sunday, February 25th at 7pm CST.