Here’s a scrapbook page filled with 1948 Northwest photos from Lori Klein-Clossen’s grandfather, Evron Kline. Evron was a member of the Battle Creek, Michigan Ice Yacht Club.
The 1948 NIYA was likely the first time an iceboat regatta caused traffic jams as spectators hunted for parking spots between Fontana, Williams Bay, and Lake Geneva. The FRITZ, a 4LIYC Class A Stern Steerer, was the boat to beat. A young Bill Mattison crewed on 18-year-old Jim Lunder’s FRITZ to win the A-Class title. New Jersey’s Art Siebke won a tie-break with Elmer Millenbach to take the Skeeter championship. Menominee, Michigan’s Dick Sawyer, and Sam Wells took Class B honors in RITA. Class C championship went to Bud Stroshine of Oshkosh, WI, sailing SUSAN JO, and Don Ward’s ROSEMARY won Class D.
If you missed last night’s presentation on the history and future of the Skeeter iceboat class by Henry Bossett, Dan Clapp, and Pat Heppert, don’t worry! The entire session has been recorded and is now available on our YouTube channel. Whether you want to relive the insights or catch it for the first time, dive in and increase your Skeeter iceboat knowledge. Watch it at this link: Skeeter Summit
The Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club thanks Henry Bossett, Dan Clapp, and Pat Heppert for sharing your expertise and passion for the Skeeter fleet with our ice-sailing community. Your dedication to preserving and advancing the Skeeter class will have a lasting impact on future iceboaters.
Bill Mattison Archives Jack Ripp Archives
Two highly respected Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club members, Bill Mattison and Jack Ripp, defined our club motto as “Home of the Champions.” They not only shared a passion for building and sailing iceboats, they were born six days apart in August 95 years ago. (Bill beat Jack in that race!)
Be it resolved that August 11-17 is an official holiday to celebrate the lives and accomplishments of Bill Mattison and Jack Ripp during their birthday week.
Jack, Bill, and Paul Krueger are seen here with buckets of Gougeon epoxy to build a new hull for the world’s largest iceboat, the DEUCE, back in 2005. Note Bill’s shirt from the 1992 America’s Cup victory, where he helped make the boat go faster.
Read about “A New Hull for the DEUCE” here.
Paul Krueger M165, Ken Whitehorse M197, and Bill Mattison M143. Class A Skeeters, c. 1980s
The subject of sailing on Lake Koshkonong, about 30 minutes south of Madison, came up recently on the 4LIYC Facebook page. Koshkonong looks inviting as you drive past. It was a reasonable question to ask, why not Koshkonong?
Well, 4LIYC members and other ice sailors just “know,” and here’s how:
C Skeeter sailor Pat Heppert remarked, ” When I lived in WI, I spent years driving by and checking it. So tempting many times when it looked like glass ‘from the road.’ But whenever you walk it, all sorts of WTF problems show up. I finally gave up and concluded Koshkonong is just not meant for iceboats. The root source of the problem is the highly variable water level, which causes all the subsequent problems.”
The definitive proof came from a Mattison-Krueger-Whitehorse adventure on Koshkonong back in the 1980s.
Ken, Bill, and PK
There was a big setup area. PK and I went tearing out to the lake. We saw spring bubbles to port and starboard. It was a gauntlet of spring water bubble-ups, like aerators. There were so many we could only turn around once we found a big area. As we sailed back to shore, we couldn’t follow our old runner tracks too closely because we had already busted through the ice on the way out. Bill Mattison said he was ready to push off and shook his head. ” I tried to tell you guys about this place, but you guys shamed me into it. “But How Would You Know”
We had a 24′ rake back mast, so we only needed 3 to set up the Skeeters. We considered ourselves so fortunate to get out of there that no one said a word about it as we went into the smoky tavern for a dipper.
The second part of Carol Cronin’s Bill Mattison article in Seahorse Magazine has been published. “Carol Cronin continues her look back at the extraordinary life of a very extraordinary ‘yachtsman’… though such a plain description does not begin to touch the sides.”
The magazine is subscription based and you can purchase the December edition in print or digital format here.
Decades of continuous improvement
An unattributed quote in the book that Bill Mattison’s daughter Lynn produced for him puts the whole sport of iceboating into perspective. ‘It has been rumoured that iceboating is 75 per cent building them, 10 per cent talking about them, 10 per cent waiting around on the ice for the right conditions and five per cent actually sailing them.’ And her father enjoyed all of it. Continue reading.