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.
Via NIYA Regatta Chair Tim McCormick:
The Northwest Regatta is tentatively called ON for February 23-25, 2018. We don’t currently have racing conditions, but we have a major weather system moving through the area early this week bringing warm temperatures and rain followed by colder temperatures Tuesday night. We’ll inspect ice conditions Wednesday morning and make the final call by Noon CST, Wednesday February 21st. Potential regatta sites include Madison, Green Lake, and Fond du Lac.
Our club had an unexpected visitor at last week’s meeting who brought us some classic photos. Long time Madisonian Dick Brandt shot these on Lake Monona back in the 1950s. Many thanks to Dick and to Peter Fauerbach for taking the time to scan these important historic photographs. My guess is that many of these were from the 1952 Northwest Regatta which was sailed on Lake Monona.
UPDATE: Skeeter Iceboat Club’s Jane Pegel has helpfully identified some of the boats. The skipper sitting in the MICKEY FINN Skeeter is in question. Jane writes, “I think Mickey Finn may be Buddy because his sail number is I-180 (Harry C. Melges, Jr.) but perhaps his father was sailing the regatta in Mickey Finn.”
Click here to view more photos
The International Skeeter Association (ISA) and Northwest Regattas are postponed because all of Wisconsin and Michigan are snow covered. Next update for both regattas is Sunday, February 18.
The International Skeeter Association (ISA) and Northwest Regattas are postponed because all of Wisconsin and Michigan are snow covered. Next update for both regattas is Sunday, February 11.
The Northwest Regatta has been postponed. Next update is Sunday, February 4, 2018.
Via Northwest Ice Yacht Regatta Race Committee chairman, Tim McCormick:
The NIYA has been postponed. Next update is January 28.
Via NIYA Race Committee Chairman Tim McCormick
“The Northwest Regatta is tentatively call ON for January 26-28. The primary site is Lake Winnebago and we’re holding Madison and Green Bay as backup sites. Final confirmation will be made by Wednesday, January 24th at Noon CST.”
From the Skeeter Iceboat Club on Geneva Lake, Jane Pegel sends this photo with a note:
Here is a photo of Chris Goes sailing January 12, 2018, on Delavan Lake in the Beau Skeeter “Pike”. This boat has been owned and given loving care by the Goes family since 1935. With Harry Melges, Sr. at the helm, “Pike” won the Northwest in 1935, the first year that Class E Skeeters raced in the regatta as a separate fleet. This is what the boats looked like when the Beau Skeeter Ice Boat Club (now the Skeeter Ice Boat Club) was organized in 1933.
Jane’s information puts the Skeeters in the Northwest one year earlier than records had indicated, a date confirmed by this Oshkosh Northwestern newspaper article from 2-28-1935. That’s not the end of the story because it appears the Skeeters first sailed the Northwest in 1933 at Oshkosh but that regatta was cancelled for reasons likely related to weather. The Northwest regatta officials must have embraced the new Skeeter class the same year it was organized at Lake Geneva.
Related: Northwest Regatta Winners
Via NIYA Race Committee Chair Tim McCormick:
The Northwest Regatta is postponed until January 26-28. The next update will be on Sunday, January 21st at 8pm CST.
The Northwest Regatta is tentatively call ON for January 19-21. The primary site is Madison, WI but we’re expecting a snow event for the next 24 hours so we may postpone as soon as Monday, January 15th. We’ll keep you updated. Final confirmation will be made by Wednesday, January 17th at Noon CST.
Via Acting NIYA Secretary Steve Schalk, documents for the 2018 NIYA regatta tentatively scheduled for January 19-21, 2018. Next update January 14, 2018.
January 19-21, 2018 is the first weekend that the regatta can be sailed IF THERE ARE CONDITIONS. The regatta will be postponed on a weekly basis until there are optimal conditions for all classes. Keep informed by visiting this website and by calling the Iceboating Regatta Message Hotline: 608-204-9876
Skeeter Iceboat Club B-Skeeter sailor Steve Schalk is now the acting Secretary and Treasurer of both the Northwest Ice Yachting Association (NIYA) and International Skeeter Association (ISA), He will be the acting Secretary/Treasurer until the Officer elections at both annual meetings.
Steve along with his wife, Mary Jane, recently met with the retiring Secretary/Treasurer of the NIYA & ISA, Paul Krueger, and began the process of transferring files, a daunting task considering how long Paul has been an officer for the organizations. If you have a question or comment for Steve and his “helper”, Mary Jane, please email to them.
The iceboating community thanks Paul for his amazing legacy and dedication to the sport of ice yachting. He’s been taking care of the business of the ISA and NIYA since the 1960s! Greg Whitehorse said it best on a Facebook post:
“PK is definitely one of the most influential figures in our sport. A designer, builder and championship winning sailor, along with being an important administrative officer on a regional and national level. And he is still yanking the go fast rope in his A Skeeter, Rambl’n (not sure what number).”
As many of you know, Paul had a rough summer because of health issues. The good news is that he’s back home focusing on getting stronger by the day. We all look forward to seeing him back in ‘RAMBLN as soon as he is able. Iceboaters are a tough breed!
No stranger to going fast, Skeeter Iceboat Club B Skeeter skippper Burly Brellenthin, makes the news as he takes to the skies in a B-29.
Tip of the helmet: Jane Pegel
WWII and Korean vet gets flight in B-29
Though many military men served in World War II from the cockpit of a B-29 plane, few veterans get the chance to fly in one in 2017.
Birdell “Burly” Brellenthin is the exception to this.
Brellenthin served as a navigator in World War II and the Korean War, spending over 300 hours in a B-29 during this time. Continue reading.
A Surprise in the Mail: Part 4
Here’s a sight you won’t see these days at a regatta, guys riding Stern Steerer planks during a race. The MARY B was originally built with a basket big enough for a skipper and jib trimmer. In a big blow, ballast was needed and there was only one spot for extra crew to ride – the plank. Eventually, two more baskets were added to the MARY B so that the crew would have a more comfortable and safer ride. The two guys pictured on the plank helped Carl Bernard sail the MARY B to win the Northwest that year in 1952.
A Surprise in the Mail: Part 3
Renegader Jerry Simon had a look through the scrapbook that I recently received and spent a few enjoyable hours identifying boats and putting the photos in context. We’ve concluded that the scrapbook did indeed belong to Herb Krogman who sailed Renegades and Skeeters with the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club in the 1950s. There are quite a few pictures from the 1952 Northwest which was sailed on Lake Monona. History records that Bill “Curley” Perrigo won the Skeeter title that year in THUNDERJET. The 1950s were a time of rapid technological development in the Skeeter class and a transition from Skeeter to what would become the Renegade class.
A Surprise in the Mail: Part 2
I’ve been going through the scrapbook that recently arrived in the mail and finding photos that are in need of stories to go with them. We are lucky to have iceboaters who are willing to take time to share what they remember. Jane Pegel is one of them. I sent her this photo and she wrote back with the following information:
O’ME O’MY was Chuck Edwards. An absolutely outstanding sailor and a very nice guy. Chuck’s family had a home on the north shore of Geneva Lake and Chuck successfully raced C scows beginning in the 1930’s.
Buddy [Melges] told me last winter that Chuck Edwards was the first person to realize that weight of the C scow was important.
In Skeeter Ice Boat Club records, I found Chuck —
1939, Season standings 5th
1940, winner of the Nye Trophy
1950, Season standings, 2nd.
Chuck and his wife lived in a gorgeous house on Lac LaBelle in Oconomowoc, close to the dam. When I was sailing in regattas at LaBelle I would stop in to chat with Chuck. Chuck’s son, George, had a rumble seat C Skeeter with a Nite mast and sail. The last time I saw Chuck and his wife was at Cuppy Goes’ funeral. Cuppy also was a C scow champion, actually had a fast sail that had originally been Chuck Edwards’ sail. Cuppy was born in December, 1917. I imagine Chuck Edwards was close in age to Cuppy.
A 30 mile gale added thrills to the Northwestern Ice Yachting Association regatta on Lake Mendota at Madison, Wisc. January 30, 1938. Here two machines are “hiking”, which is like “heeling” in a sailboat as H.V. Fitzcharles of Chicago, left, sailing High Voltage, and Harry Melges of Williams Bay, Wisc. at the helm of Fancy Flight put up a heated fight to head each other.”
I came across this photo on ebay from a company that specializes in original press photos and snapped it up. NIYA records show Harry Nye as the winner of the 1938 Northwest Skeeter class. Skeeters first competed in the NIYA in 1936. Skeeters didn’t have springboards at that time which must have made for quite an exciting ride in a 30 mph gale.
Let’s throw it back to 2010 Northwest regatta sailed on Lake Winnebago in Oshkosh. This was the first Northwest that photographer Gretchen Dorian attended. It was a challenge to pick two photos from each fleet because there were so many good ones to choose from. The 3 day regatta was typical because we waited for wind for a day and half and had to set up two separate courses on Sunday in order to get the required number of races completed.
Ran across this photograph a few days ago and it’s too cool not to post. It’s the 4LIYC’s Ken Kreider in his rear seat Skeeter POON sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s. The background looks like Lake Kegonsa near Madison, WI. Back in those days, Ken was a very competitive Skeeter sailor who loved high wind sailing and his weight gave him an advantage on light air days. Ken won the ISA championship in 1988. Pat Heppert sent along a note about POON: “…this is the boat that I sailed from about 2002 to 2014. When Ken got out of the Skeeters [he] sold everything to Dave Travis in Chicago, I then bought the POON IV hull and springboard from Dave Travis. I remember grinding off all the pink within about the first week of owning it because I just couldn’t even stand looking at it. Great memories. The boat is now owned by a recreational sailor in lower Michigan, who seems to be happy with it.”