“Wooden shoe rather be iceboating?” Erich Schloemer on Facebook
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Every year, our friends from the Dutch ice sailing club De Robben undertakes a remarkable journey to Sweden. It’s become a tradition that brings together families and friends for a week of ice sailing. The historic Dutch iceboats steeped in heritage and craftsmanship are at the heart of this tradition.
This week, they are in Herrfallet, Sweden. New this year is one of the most spectacular iceboats I’ve ever seen, a wooden shoe! Club member Maarten De Groot writes:
We have some Dutchmen walking on wooden shoes. This skipper has a cheesemaker farm and a wooden shoe farm where he produces wooden shoes. He made this big wooden shoe for his farm and transformed it into an iceboat. He is sailing on this with his wife and two kids!
We have great conditions with 95 people and 67 iceboats!
No wind, no problem. Time for socializing on the ice.
Screen shot from USA: ICE YACHTING ON FROZEN RIVERS IN ILLINOIS (1949) British Pathe. Harry Melges sails a 4-runner Skeeter.
Previous: Iceboat Tech That Never Caught On
Early ISA 1941 – 1942 Video
Watch the 1949 Newsreel here
Iceboat researcher Henry Bossett has unearthed yet another interesting discovery: a 1949 newsreel chronicling the International Skeeter Association regatta held on Fox Lake in Illinois. This vintage footage, accompanied by newspaper clippings, documents the presence of a four-runner iceboat helmed by Harry Melges, who happens to be Buddy’s father and a member of the Skeeter Iceboat Club. Observe that the fourth runner was positioned at the stern, deviating from the standard practice seen in other configurations where two runners were typically placed at the front. Adding her own memories to this historical account is Jane Wiswell Pegel, a high school student at the time.
Jane Pegel remembers:
I think the 4-runner boat belonged to Bob Ferris. I was in high school. My first iceboat race was at the Fox Lake ISA. I was first at the windward mark in the ladies’ division in a 20 foot Mead (skeeter.) But I did not know how to sail downwind and ended up second in ladies overall. It snowed for the drive home.
Ben Lampert’s 4-Runner Skeeter Plan
Illustration from Wings On The Ice
Ban Lampert’s 4 Runner Skeeter from the Carl Bernard Scrapbook Collection
“Henry is starting his own class and Jack is working on a new futuristic design.” Mike Ripp
4LIYC Renegader Mike Ripp is keeping his boys, Henry and Jack, busy in the shop designing iceboats this summer. It’s never too early to start thinking ice!
Here’s another intriguing discovery shared by Henry Bossett. At the dawn of the age of composites, Popular Mechanics suggested creating iceboat hulls from repurposed jettisoned plastic Naval fuel tank shells.
UPDATE: Here’s a note from someone who actually tried this.
After seeing your last post about discarded fiberglass fuel tanks, I thought I would send you two pictures of attempt by two knuckleheads putting together five pieces of the discarded Navy tanks for soft water version of our boat, later to be converted for use on the ice. The plan was by two seniors in high school to launch our dream boat in Northbrook IL. To then travel down the Mississippi to New Orleans and on return, to add runner plank, mast, runners and sail for our great venture in to ice sailing. Alas, we only made our river trip as far as Wheeling, IL before our spring trip became the second version of the Titanic! All former plans canceled.
Nite 433 & 72
An unusual iceboat from the Richard Lichtfeld collection is up for auction on a website. Many years ago, Richard purchased the CRAWFISH from the Eibisch brothers in Columbus, WI. They presumably built the boat using plans published in a DIY magazine, potentially Modern Mechanics, in the 1930s or 1940s. Download the plans in a pdf file. The auction ends on July 19, 2023.