“The Hard-Water Gang” with Bill Mattison at the 2001 ISA


“Seven or eight guys show up to help with the process [gluing up a mast]. But they disappear real quick when it comes to sanding.”

The Hard-Water Gang
Shooting the Breeze with Bill Mattison
Bill Mattison Inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame
Iceboaters Fingerprints

Welcome to Day 2 of Bill Mattison Week at iceboat.org where we revisit the 2001 International Skeeter Association Regatta on Geneva Lake. Josh Adams’ article in SAIL featured interviews and quotes from a who’s who of iceboating at that time. Peter Harken and Buddy Melges were there and though he wasn’t at the regatta, Dan Clapp and his revolutionary Skeeter ATTITUDE were there in spirit. A full page was devoted to Bill’s Skeeter building history and philosophy. Click here to read the article.

Photo by Craig Wilson


CLANCY on Lake Monona near Law Park in Madison, WI c.1952

Craig Wilson found the above photo while looking through his dad J. Dale Wilson’s slide collection. (Craig is the aerial kite photographer who has been snapping our pictures for many years. See some of his work here on Flickr.) Craig figures the slide dates from around 1952 or 1953 and wondered if we knew anything about the yellow stern-steerer. I sent it off to Andy Gratton, Mike Peters, and Don Sanford.  Here’s what the collective stern steerer history brain trust found:

Via Don Sanford:
The gods of iceboating must be sending me a message…..

I believe that this is the Clancy. She was owned by the Oetking family. See page 81 of “the book” (mine). [On Fourth Lake]

I have been on the trail of these folks for years and during the past six weeks (pandemic) I had a chance to plow through the internet, sailing websites, and obits. This is a family of sailors. Last week, I finally connected with Curt Oetking. (Who also goes by “Pete.”) His dad, Pete, crewed for Carl [Bernard] on the MARY B in a few regattas.

I sent him a photo of the Clancy that Jay Payton gave me several years ago. He sent this message:

“Clancy which was my mother Clare’s nickname…..”

Armed with that info, I looked in the Bernard Slide index and found several entries that mention either “Clancy” or Oetking. Somewhere I have a statement that the Clancy was a scaled-down version of the MARY B. Andy [Gratton] told me that he knows where she is now.

As for the photo, I believe that this was taken on Lake Monona, just off Law Park. it’s the only place on either lake where cars can park that close to the water.

WSSA Secretary/Treasurer Andy Gratton reports that Clancy is still around and in the care of Jim Rettke in Marinette who has owned it at least 35 years or more.

CLANCY in front of the Ray Stroud residence on Farwell Drive in Maple Bluff, Madison, WI.


CLANCY from the Carl Bernard Slide collection.

A Winning View From Above

Craig Wilson Kite Photographer

Craig Wilson and his kite at the 2009 Renegade Championship on Green Lake, Green Lake, Wisconsin.

Long before drones became  prevalent, Kite photographer Craig Wilson recognized the beauty of boats on ice. He recently won an award from the country and museum where kite photography all began. Craig’s submission of a vintage stern-steerer  photo hangs in a museum in France!
Tip of the Helmet: Jeff Russell
From Craig’s Facebook Page, Kite Aerial Photography by Craig Wilson:

Craig Wilson Kite Photographer IceboatUsing a kite to lift a camera has been a thing for 130 years. Frenchman Arthur Batut is most generally accepted as the first person to accomplish that feat in 1888. This past summer a worldwide aerial photo competition was hosted in Labruguiere France with selected images shown at the Aurther Batut Museum.
At the end of the show I was one of the prize winners. Quite an honor to have some of my artwork selected to be included in the show and really amazing to be a prize winner in the birthplace of Kite Aerial Photography.
Craig Wilson