Nite sailors Daniel Hearn, Dave Navin, and Nite Commodore Maureen Bohleber gathered at 4LIYC Renegader Damien Luyet’s shop last Friday to kick off a ten-mast build. Under the watchful eye of Jerry Simon, they spent the day using a table saw, bandsaw, and planer to shape Sitka Spruce boards into mast blanks. Brad Wagner, Jim Lafortune, and Don Anderson dropped in to check on the process of making sawdust. The mast blanks are now at Daniel Hearn’s shop for the next steps of routing for the mast track and production of metal components.
We had a packed house at last night’s Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club Awards Banquet at Springer’s, overlooking the lake that hosted the most iceboat racing in North America and maybe even the world.
It was a perfect mix of veteran and newer members. Long-time club members like “Admiral” Dave Nelson (Kegonsa is his private lake) and Mrs. Admiral Nancy came in the latest 4LIYC shirts, while Jerry Simon ensured the classic red blazer was present.
Banquet chair Lars Barber surprised the room with a sincere presentation highlighting the season and behind-the-scenes help that 4LIYC members provide to keep the show running.
Trophy chair Damien Luyet handed out the “pots and pans.” Because the club’s trophy engraver, Ray Karas, is no longer engraving, Damien and Donny Anderson had to devise a new way to get the job done. Ray was one of the last engravers we know about who could carve on a rounded surface. Damien asked that all trophy recipients make a base to make it easier for flat engraving.
The trophy base-building winner is Paul Krueger, who whipped up a base this morning for his Class A Skeeter trophy. Who will be the next person to make a trophy base?
When What Ifs Come True
After squeezing all we could from Lake Kegonsa two weekends ago, Four Lakes members tucked away their boats and winter gear because surely the season was over. Kegonsa’s shoreline disappeared, and Monona was never an option because of the many holes, or as Greg McCormick stated, holes so big they deserved their own lake name. We knew Mendota was solid but figured there might be holes and a weakened spring shoreline.
On Wednesday, March 15, Don Sanford helpfully checked ice from 10,000 feet as he flew back from Newport, RI. Kegonsa was a mess, but Mendota looked good from that altitude.
Mendota survived the warm temperatures?
Thursday’s rain polished the surface?
Friday night’s 10f hardened things up?
The shore was tight on the east end?
DN and Renegaders Chad Atkins (RI) and Chris Gordon (MA) flew into Madison this weekend to pick up their DN trailer and head east. On the way to pick up Chad Thursday morning, I took a five-minute detour to look at Mendota’s Warner landing and was surprised to see the miracle of a tight shoreline. A few minutes later, fresh off the plane, Chad saw the flat expanse of Lake Mendota’s ice. We alerted Renegader Don Anderson, who is game for any iceboating adventure. We agreed to keep an eye on things, hoping for the What Ifs to fall in place.
Thursday night’s rain gave us little confidence for Mendota. Chad and I stopped at the lake on Friday morning before picking up Chris, again surprised to see the tight shoreline. Later that morning, Donny arrived to see for himself. After walking out in the raging wind to scout Warner Bay, Donny, and Chad pronounced it sailable but urged caution because of drain holes and cracks—spring ice changes by the hour. Boats might leave a perfectly fine shoreline only to return to 20 feet of open water. They would have to carry their Renegades to the ice because rolling on trailers would weaken the shoreline.
The hook was set; they couldn’t leave if there were a chance to sail their Renegades on Warner Bay. Chad and Chris bought Renegades last season but need more seat time because they focused on the DN World & North American Championship this season.
The promised cold arrived Saturday morning to tighten the ice, but the winds were gusting to 40 mph, which meant another day of waiting. Chad, Chris, and Damien Luyet tried a few laps at 4 PM but quickly realized the wind was still too strong. A puff made toothpicks out of Damien’s Renegade mast. Thankfully, Donny has spares.
Their patience paid off. Chad and Chris were rigged at sunrise Sunday morning, set up marks, and sailed a short course for 5 hours. Donny and Damien joined them at a reasonable hour for some scrub racing before Chad and Chris had to load up and drive back to Jamestown, RI, and Nantucket, MA. Everything fell into place. Chad and Chris look forward to competing in the next Renegade Championship.
Even in cold temperatures, spring ice changes quickly. A large heave popped up towards the middle of Mendota, foiling Donny’s plan to scout ice for a sail to the University of Wisconsin Union. Donny, Damien, and Brett Hulsley took advantage of what was there and sailed for the rest of the day.
Is there a better way to cool off on a sweltering summer day than by streaming a film about iceboating? Strap on your virtual helmet and creepers and watch Mary B, Madison’s Legendary Iceboat on demand, or order the DVD. Details here.
The 43-minute documentary film, produced by Donald P. Sanford, Gretta Wing Miller and Aarick Beher for the Ice Boat Foundation, Inc., tells the story of this Madison icon, the men who built and raced her and the efforts of the Foundation to restore and preserve her. It uses recently restored archival footage and interviews with sailors and Foundation members.
The DVD and the download include these special features:
- The Stuart Cup
- The Hearst Cup
- On the Ice with Mr. Wright
4LIYC members Tim McCormick, left, and Ron Rosten, right, line up in the one and two blocks for the fourth Renegade race.
Sunday’s conditions were a paradox of wind with intermittent fog. The Nites were the first to sail, and Green Lake Ice Yacht Club’s Byron Hill won his first race of the day.
The wind picked up, which made for an exciting and competitive Renegade race won by Tim McCormick. The Nites were able to sail one more, again won by Byron Hill.
The Renegades lined up for race four which was a four-lapper. After two laps, a competitor pulled in and informed the Race Committee that the weather mark had fallen because he had hit it. Chief Judge and Nite Commodore John Hayashi, assisted by Pat Heppert, immediately decided that sailors fishing around for the weather mark in the ever-lower visibility was a lousy situation and black-flagged the race.
Congratulations to Jim Gluek for his second Renegade Championship and Byron Hill for his victory in the Nite Class. Thanks to John Hayashi, the Green Lake Ice Yacht Club, and Pat Heppert for all his help.
The celebratory braunschweiger and onion sandwiches provided by Green Lake Ice Yacht Club’s Debbie Biermann at the trophy presentation were much appreciated. Her husband, Dan’s, birthday is coming up, and he asked her to make them rather than a birthday cake. We all hope it’s a new tradition.
Class A Skeeter sailors Ken White Horse and Paul Krueger haven’t had the conditions to sail this season. Mike Ripp made sure Ken kept his racing skills tuned up and lent him his Renegade to race in the regatta. Paul Krueger joined Ken as a coach, pit crew, and ATV driver.
Thanks, Peter Sarelis, for traveling to the regatta from Michigan and representing the Gull Lake Ice Yacht Club.