While we wait for Wednesday’s announcement about the 2022 Northwest Ice Yacht Association Regatta, this newspaper clipping posted by Chris Smith of Michigan on the Iceboating Facebook group, is a timely reminder of this historic regatta, first sailed in Menominee, Michigan in 1913. The video link below his comes by way of Shirley Cross Fortune, from her father, Detroit Ice Yacht Club’s Wally Cross. Jack Ripp is pictured next to Jane Pegel and represented the 4LIYC with his second place in the Free-For-All. YOUTUBE VIDEO OF 1958 NORTHWEST REGATTA
FROM THE ARCHIVES OF JANE PEGEL DN805
1958 Northwest Regatta,
January 17, 18, 19
From Kalamazoo Gazette
REACH CLIMAX TODAY IN GULL LAKE ICE REGATTA
Elmer Millenbach of Detroit, favorite in the Renegade class, won his third and fourth straight heats Saturday to practically assure himself of a Northwest Assn crown. Gull Lake’s Bob Smith has a good lead in Class B over three Gull Lake foes and is a heavy favorite to sew up his division title today in his speedy “Alcoholic” after winning his fourth straight heat Saturday. Remi DeBlaer of Detroit has a substantial lead in the DN 60 class with three firsts and a second. C. H. (Skip) Boston of Detroit dropped out of contention after a first and two seconds when he disqualified himself in the fourth heat race. Weather continued perfect for the event with fast ice and a fine following wind for the fast boats — they reach speeds of 100 miles an hour or more — to cover the 1.3 mile racing course. There are several boats that dunked in a pressure crack near the island on Gull Lake Saturday and several relatively minor mishaps. One boat was badly damage, but none of the pilots were injured.
YACHTS SET FOR ANNUAL FREE-FOR-ALL
Final class Races to Open Program
Fate will play a big hand in determining at least two championships in the annual Northwest Ice Yacht Assn. regatta which winds up today at Gull Lake. Although the final heat race and the championship free-for-all race, matching the two top finishers in each heat race of the six divisions, still remain on the agenda, much of the doubt about class titles has vanished.
The heat race is at 10, the free for all about 1:30. The title contenders suffered boat failures Saturday in heat races to drop from title consideration.
Gull Lake’s Phil Wunderlin, after winning the first two heats of the Class C division handily, saw a broken plank in his boat force him from the third heat race and drop far behind his Gull Lake opponent, veteran Jim LaRose. And Jack Ripp, of Madison, WI, a prime contender in the featured Class E race, fell from title contention in that class when his boat sustained a spar failure in the fourth heat race.
Ripp, who entered the fourth heat race in a deadlock with Bill Perrigo of Pewaukee, WI, thus falls far behind his Wisconsin foe, who has a first, two seconds and a third entering the final day of competition. While Ripp and Wunderlin suffered sad blows from Lady Luck, three other favorites kept up their amazing regatta showing. Don Ward of Oshkosh, WI, who has won 10 straight Class D titles, stretched his heat victory string in the current regatta to four Saturday to take an ample edge of Gerry Sciott and Jack Smith of Gull Lake.
DIRECTOR OF ICE YACHT REGATTA DRAWS PRAISE (Notes on winter classic)
Busiest man at the Northwest Ice Yacht assn regatta at Gull Lake this weekend is genial Gerry Scott, Commodore of the Northwest Assn. Under Scott’s supervision the regatta has been run off in fine style, drawing praise from more than 90 entries from four Midwestern states.
But Scott probably would enjoy this year’s regatta more if he were able to compete himself.
Because of arthritis, Scott has been sideline from actual competition in this year’s regatta and has been forced to watch Jack Smith pilot his “Hiki-No” in a great battle for Class D division honors. Scott hopes to be back at the helm of “Hiki-No” in next year’s Northwest Assn. regatta.
Other notes from the regatta:
Next year Northwest Assn. regatta has been awarded to Oshkosh, WI…Chris Smith of Holland, an executive for Chris-Craft Co, commuted from Gull Lake to his office daily by plane, taking off and landing on the slick ice surfaces of the lake…
There’s a three-generation entry in this year’s regatta. Robert and Jean Zwicky of Pewaukee, WI, are entered individually in the E Class, while sons Henry and Bob are individual entries in the DN 60s. Kick Kidney, father of Mrs. Zwicky, serves as mechanic for the family ice yachts. He’s a former competitor….
Dave Rosten of Madison, WI lost his yacht “Trump” when it shattered after a collision with Chris Smith of Holland….A new point scoring system was approved by Northwest Assn. members at the annual business meeting. It awards first place finishers in each heat 1000 points, second place 910 points, third 834 and down the list comparatively.
The weather continued perfect at the regatta and many competitors found it hard to remember when the regatta was held on the first weekend scheduled in many years…Scott disclaims any credit for the conditions….Conrad Miller, Vice Commodore of local and Northwest units, was able to race in the regatta, but was out of contention entering the final day….His son, Mason, was another local entry….There were plenty of spectators on hand for Saturday’s races. The Gull Lake shoreline was dotted with fans and amateur photographers… The regatta attracted nationwide interest. It was covered by newspapers from most Midwestern cities plus at least one national magazine (Time) as ice yachting made its biggest hit here….The regatta probably won’t return to Gull Lake for at least five years. .
Harken’s latest newsletter is an ode to iceboating with articles and videos featuring Will Perrigo, Steve Orlebeke, Peter Harken, and a name we hope to read a lot more about in the future, Samuel Bartel. Sam is a student at UW Madison on the sailing team, and iceboating instantly clicked with him. Sam placed 4th in the Silver Fleet at last week’s DN U.S. Nationals in his first regatta. Many thanks to Hannah Lee Noll for pulling together these stories, videos, and photos highlighting the special place that ice sailing has within the Harken organization.
Bill Mattison points his Graflex camera at Mauretta who was filming him on Lake Mendota. Dave Rosten M160 in the background.
It’s always a good day when a surprise arrives in the mail, particularly when the package contains vintage ice sailing footage shot by Bill & Mauretta Mattison. Don Sanford recently had Kodak transfer the Mattison’s 16, 8, and Super-8 mm into electronic files which he burned to disc and sent off to me.(Speaking of Kodak, the Mattisons owned one of Madison’s premier film processing labs, Star Photo, for many years.)
Let’s begin by traveling back to the late 1950s/early 1960s on Pewaukee Lake. At first I thought this may have been the 1957 International Skeeter Association Regatta which was sailed on Pewaukee (Buddy Melges won) but a couple clues led me to believe that we are watching a Pewaukee Ice Yacht Club race. All of the boats, except for one, carry the Pewaukee designation V on the sail. The biggest clue is that Bill is filming from the weather mark. Bill finished 8th at the 1957 ISA so therefore, he would not have been filming at that regatta. The 1957 ISA newsletter regatta report and results are posted below the video. Stay tuned to the end of the video to see the spring ritual of carrying iceboats through a wet and deteriorating shoreline. Pewaukee friends, if you recognize any of these Skeeters, please let us know!
I’ll be editing and posting two more ice sailing videos from the Mattison archives in the coming weeks.
Bill Perrigo’s THUNDERJET IOU is easy to spot. Some other sail numbers and boat names I picked out were:
MISS PEGGY V50
SNOW GOOSE V4
V20 John Flanagan
V83 Al Sternkopf
William “Curly” Perrigo and son. Photo: George Silk
LIFE Ice Sailing Photos
As winter still tries to hang on here in the Midwest, take a look at this collection of photos from the great LIFE magazine photographer George Silk. He shot the famous 1962 LIFE cover shot (Excitement on the Ice) of Green Lake’s Joe Norton in his DN. The photo collection appears to be the out takes of Silk’s ice sailing work. Silk was a superb photographer and may have been one of the first to strap a camera to the top of an iceboat mast. If you recognize any of these ice sailors, please email and let us know! More LIFE magazines featuring ice sailing: 16 January 1939 23 March 1942
Tip of the Helmet to LifeSail Community Sailing Foundation Founder and Director Matt Schmidt in Marina Del Ray, California. Matt is coordinating an Ice Optimist build “implementing Reach, US Sailing’s STEM Program and Environmental Education Initiative aligned to National Education Standards, offering character and life-skill building activities to under-served and at-risk kids year round.” LifeSail’s Ice Optimist build is a great story, stay tuned for more on that.
4LIYC’s Dave Rosten and Pewaukee Ice Yacht Club’s Art Jark on Lake Mendota in Class A Skeeters c. 1970. NANCY E III was formerly one of Bill Mattison’s HONEYBUCKET Skeeters.
These slides date from around the time of the 1970 Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant. The 4LIYC had won ice yachting’s most prestigious title for 6 straight years but the 1970 challenge was a different story. Read Greg Whitehorse’s account of the 1970 IYCP below the fold. NOTE: There are two steps to view photos at full size. 1.Click on photo, another page will open. 2. Click on the photo again and you will be able to see the full sized version. Pegel Slide Collection Series Webpage
“One of Bill Perrigo’s last great ice yachting triumphs came in the Challenge Pennant races sailed on Lake Mendota in March of 1970.
The 4LIYC had won the Pennant in 1964, and successfully defended it for the next five years. Indeed, few thought that the Pennant races of 1970 would produce anything other than a 7th straight 4LIYC victory.
But the Pewaukee Ice Yacht Club had different ideas.
In their bid to wrestle the Pennant away from the 4LIYC, Pewaukee decided to send Art Jark’s lightening fast, ex-Bill Mattison Honeybucket, now named the Nancy E III, to Madison as one of it’s challenging yachts.
And Art Jark promptly tapped Bill Perrigo to steer it.
The Pennant title came down to the last race of the series that year. 4LIYC’s Dave Rosten, expertly piloting his Skeeter, Pirate, appeared to be headed for victory. But as the long, ten lap, twenty mile race wound down the wind began to pick up. The light snow that had fallen on and off throughout the day began to be blown around at the ice surface.
Soon the swirling snow built to almost surreal white-out conditions. All you could see of the boats racing around the course were the top four or five feet of the mast and sail. Finding the marks in these unbelievably dangerous conditions was next to impossible. On the last lap of the race Rosten could not find the top mark.
Somehow, Perrigo did.
A few minutes later the race scorers and other on-lookers were shocked to see Jark’s V-69, with Bill Perrigo at the helm, streaking toward the finish line.
The Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant of America went to Pewaukee.
Yeah… under the toughest of conditions Bill Perrigo proved how tough he was.