Northwest Ice Yachting Association An iceboat regatta first sailed in 1913 in Menominee, Michigan.

Stern Steerers

The NIYA was originally a stern-steerer regatta organized to determine ice yacht supremacy in the Midwest. A,B,C,& D stern-steerers continue to compete in the NIYA.


Class E Skeeters first raced the NIYA in 1936 when Lake Geneva sailor Harry Melges won in MICKEY FINN.

DN Class

Skip Boston of Detroit was the first winner of the NIYA in the DN class in 1954.


First sailed as a seperate class in 1958 and won by “Mr. Iceboat”, Elmer Millenbach.

NIYA Centennial

The NIYA celebrated 100 years of iceboat racing in 2013 on Green Lake in Wisconsin.

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.

Learn more.

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.


Regatta Watch: Northwest Called ON for March 16-18

Via Northwest Regatta Chair Tim McCormick:

The Northwest Regatta is tentatively called ON for March 16-18. The primary sites are in Upper Michigan but we need some melting there to clear up the ice. Final determination will be Wednesday, March 14th at Noon CDT.

Regatta Watch: NIYA & ISA Postponed

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.

Regatta Watch: NIYA & ISA Tentatively Called ON For March 10-12

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.

NIYA Regatta Postponed

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.

Regatta Watch: NIYA & ISA Postponed

Photo: Gretchen Dorian

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.

ISA & NIYA: Nines!

Via Tim McCormick


The racing format for the NIYA, ISA, and Renegade regattas has changed from five races to nine races.  Three races are scheduled for each day (Friday through Sunday) and races may be made up if missed on prior days.  For example, if only one race is completed on Friday, then we may sail up to 5 races on Saturday.  Here’s hoping for smooth ice, fair winds, and lots of good racing soon!

Kenny Krieder in POON, a classic rear seat Class A Skeeter

Regatta Watch: NIYA Tentatively Called ON for Feb 23-25

2008 Northwest    Photo: Geoff Sobering

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.

1950s Lake Monona Ice Sailing Photos

Two legends, Bill Perrigo IOU and Elmer Millenbach RENEGADE III

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

Regatta Watch: ISA & NIYA Postponed

Photo: Chris John    Sailing legend Buddy Melges takes a first place finish in his Skeeter at the 2007 Northwest sailed on Green Bay in Menominee, Michigan

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.


Regatta Watch: NIYA & ISA Postponed

DEUCE at the 2004 Northwest on Lake Monona, Madison, WI. Photo: David Travis

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.


Northwest Regatta Called ON for Jan 26-28

Photo: Joe Stanton

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.”

A New First

PIKE an early Skeeter iceboat owned by the Goes Family

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

Wisconsin State Journal, Feb 23, 1933. The “mosquito class” is now known as the Skeeter class.

Regatta Update: Northwest Called On for Jan 19-21

Via NIYA Race Committee Chairman Tim McCormick:

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.

Northwest Ice Yachting Association Update

NIYA Homepage
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

Steve Schalk Acting Secretary of ISA & NIYA

Steve Schalk at the 2015 ISA at Escanaba. Photo: Gretchen Dorian

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).”

Paul Krueger pushes his Class A Skeeter as Dave Nelson watches. This may be the first rear-seat Skeeter that Paul built. The design went on to become highly popular because it improved visibility. Photo: Gary Whitehorse

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!

Burly Brellenthin: Fast Again

Burly removes the cover from his B Skeeter in preparation for the 2013 Northwest Regatta on Green Lake. Photo: Gretchen Dorian

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.

Burley’s Boecraft Skeeter ON THE ROCKS next to the DEUCE at the 2004 Northwest on Lake Monona in Madison, WI. Photo: David Travis

ECLIPSE on Monona

ECLIPSE on Lake Monona. Photo: David Travis

Now here’s an eclipse you can look at without damage to your eyes! It’s not hard to tie just about anything into ice sailing. Here’s the Class A Stern Steerer, ECLIPSE, sailed by Eric and Chip Sawyer at the 2004 Northwest on Lake Monona in Madison.


%d bloggers like this: