4LIYC Sailors Take Off at Loring


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A substantial crew of Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club sailors made the trip to Limestone Maine to compete at the 2021 Eastern Land Sailing Championship at Loring Airforce Base on September 10-12, 2021. You’ll recognize many Eastern and Midwestern ice sailors in the competitor’s list. With 19 races in both the Blokart and Unlimited divisions, they’ll be tuned for the ice sailing season. Loring Airforce Base “was one of the largest bases of the U.S. Air Force’s Strategic Air Command during its existence… Loring was a heavy bomberaerial refueling, and interception facility for military aircraft, equipment, and supplies.” It was closed in 1994. The B52 bomber runways make for an excellent land-sailing track.
UPDATE: Just back from Maine and wanted to add to the original post that I wrote at 5 AM this morning before heading to the airport.  A big thank you to the guy who had the vision to see this through, Bill Buchholz of the Chickawaukee Iceboat Club. Be sure to read Bill’s write up on the Chickawaukee website.


Blokart Lightweight: 4th Milo Fleming (Chickawaukee Ice Yacht Club), 3rd Aiden Schmeidlin (4LIYC), 2nd Daniel Hearn (4LIYC), and 1st Steve Madden (NEIYA).

Blokart Medium Division: 4th Wayne Schmeidlin (4LIYC), 3rd Lars Barber (4LIYC), 2nd BB Hedrock (not pictured), and 1st Mike Dinning.

Blokart Heavy Division: 4th Dan Clapp (NSIYC) (not pictured), 3rd Geoff Sobering (4LIYC) (not pictured), 2nd Jim Nordhaus (4LIYC), 1st Dave Lussier.

Unlimited Division: From left 3rd John Stanton (NEIYA), 4th Dave Fortier (CIBC), 4th Pete Johns (IDNIYRA, SIBC), 2nd Bill Bucholz (CIBC), 1st Chad Atkins (4LIYC) with PRO Henry Capotosto (NEIYA) .

The fasted craft at the regatta, Chad Atkins’ modified DN created a lot of interest on social media. 

Maine Land Sailing Event: May 13-16

Via Chickawaukee Ice Yacht Club’s Bill Bucholz:


Thursday, May 13- Sunday May 16 at Loring Air Force Base, Limestone, Maine.

Loring AFB is a closed base with two 2mi long runways that are 300’ wide with many taxi ways between the runways as well as several outpost taxi areas that are sailable, including a large pad area suitable for large fleet starts. It is likely the best asphalt land sailing location on the East Coast of the US. Our leasing of the facility for the weekend includes usage of a large hangar that we can store all the boats in with our masts and sails up! There are also restrooms nearby in a separate building.

Free sailing, tuning and touring Thursday, racing Fri-Sat-Sun. Combination of short courses and the 7 mile full base long course. Starts to be dail-up or standing depending on wind. Bring a stop watch. Racing shall be governed by the NIA iceboat racing rules, as well as some that are specific to the BloKarts. Read more

The C in Connecticut

There goes another C-Class Skeeter ready for measuring and swage rigging. This one’s out East. Mike Acebo built the boat for George Nyssen, a Yankee and J14 skipper in Connecticut. Mike reports the Skeeter was a group effort. Bill Bucholz up in Maine made the mast, George made the springboard, plank, chocks, and seat, the Jeff Rogers of Airplane Plastics from the Midwest supplied the airplane canopy. Mike says, “the most important, Pat Heppert, for the fantastic plans and support. I know George will represent us well when all the pieces are together.”

Not Liquid Yet

Moosehead Lake in Maine on April 17, 2020.

The Ice-Out Fat Lady continues her quarantine. Congratulations to the Chickawaukee ice sailors up in Maine who eked another day out of the season to make it a six month run. Read Bill Bucholz’s report here.

If the Canadian border was open, Pat Heppert and his C Skeeter would be sailing Thunder Bay this weekend. Mike Madge reported 2 feet of ice there on April 16th and they appear to still be sailing. Follow along on the Thunder Bay Ice Boating Facebook page.

Weak Moment

The SSS “Pop-Up” Carbon Station Note: Newly installed hazmat barrier protecting laundry room. You’re welcome, honey.

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.

Edge-gluing outside plank lamination.

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.

Rough springboard, boom and plank middle “ladder” lamination. Ladder yet to be tapered with my planer. Maybe next weekend. Don’t tell my neighbors! Note: Hull “escape hatch” window above.

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!