4th of July Ice Sailing Celebration Begins Today

4th of July Ice Sailing Celebration Begins Today

Pete Johns at the 2021 DN Centrals in Michigan.

It’s time to kick off the long weekend to celebrate the 4th of July with two of the most patriotic iceboats in America. Hoping we can photograph these two boats together somewhere during the 2023 season. Happy 4th of July!

JD and his Class A Skeeter on Lake Michigan at Menominee, Michigan in March 2021.

Gretchen Dorian Exhibition: Sailing On Ice in MI

Gretchen Dorian Exhibition: Sailing On Ice in MI


Folks in the Michigan and Ohio area will want to put this on your calendars.  Gretchen Dorian’s ice sailing photos will be on exhibition at the The Ford House in Grosse Point Shores near Detroit, Michigan November through March 2022.  Make a reservation for the November 21, 2021 opening reception on their website. More information.

Join us for an opening reception and view our latest exhibition, Sailing on Ice, featuring ice boat photography by Gretchen Dorian.

The reception is free and open to the public, but space is limited to allow social distancing, and registration is required. The exhibition is in the Teague Gallery inside our new Visitor Center and runs through March 20, 2022.

Ford House requires masks inside all of our buildings, regardless of vaccination status.

About the Artist

Gretchen photographs iceboat racing competitions around the world. Gretchen lives and works in northern Michigan. She grew up sailing on Lake St. Clair. Her photographs have been published in Wooden Boat Journal, ESPN Magazine, SAIL, Sailing World, Lakeland Boating, BOAT US, Great Lakes Scuttlebutt, Michigan BLUE and Outside Bozeman Magazine. Online publications include the Wall Street Journal, TRAVERSE Magazine, Sailing Scuttlebutt, Sailing Anarchy, HARKEN and Seahorse of the UK.

Iceboats of Independence Day

Iceboats of Independence Day

JD and his Class A Skeeter on Lake Michigan at Menominee, Michigan in March 2021.

John Dennis’ Class A Skeeter colorful livery has signaled the Fourth of July holiday here for several years. Now, the DN class has its version in the form of Pete John’s latest boat. I’m hoping that next season there will be an opportunity to photograph these boats together. Enjoy the weekend and continue to Think Ice! You have 150 days until December 1 to sharpen those runners.

Pete Johns at the 2021 DN Centrals in Michigan.

Ending the Season On a High

Ending the Season On a High

Wisconsin Skeeter Association Trophy. Photo: Gretchen Dorian.

Ashwaubenon, WI iceboater Jay Yaeso doubled his racing time and fun by bringing his Class A Skeeter and Stern-Steerer to Menominee, Michigan, on March 5-7, 2021. Jay sums up the weekend in this report.  Scroll down below his recap to see a few of Gretchen Dorian’s Skeeter photos.

Skeeter sailing and Stern-Steering haven’t been exactly easy these past two winters. Mother Nature and COVID19 tagged teamed and put a beat down on us. That all ended abruptly the weekend of March 5-7, 2021, when a total of nine Class A Skeeters and eight Stern-Steerers landed at Menomonie, Michigan, courtesy of world-famous Renegade sailor Mike Derusha.

 

Mike spent countless hours evaluating the local conditions and determined it was green light go for all involved. He nailed it! Perfect landing and ice conditions.

 

The threat of the Mackinaw icebreaker coming through had us on red alert; however, the Coasties held off their icebreaking efforts the remainder of the weekend.

 

Day one Friday was all about the Skeeters. Conditions were perfect, a light 5-10 mph southeaster, and we completed four races.
John Dennis (JD) in the U194 and Ken Whitehorse piloting the M197 were the boats to beat. Both displayed blistering speed in this light condition. Most impressive is watching the legend Paul Krueger M165 sail at 81 years young! A true inspiration for any iceboater! Class act! The ice stayed hard all day with full sunshine. Rounding out the Friday fleet was Tom Hyslop V738, Leon Lebeau D888, and Jay Yaeso U311.

 

Saturday brought out three more Skeeters, Mark Isabell V30, Steve Orlebeke V500, and Alex Peterson V137. The day started with a light northwesterly, and Skeeters and Stern-Steerers shared a racecourse.

 

The Wisconsin Stern Steerers Association started race one of their championship regatta series. This race was by far the longest iceboat race I have ever experienced. My Stern-Steerer, HAYWIRE, was the only yacht to finish, and what a weird finish it was! She completed the race upwind as a 180-degree wind shift hit on the final leg. It was a grueling race that the Race Committee declared abandoned because of time limit infraction. The incredible wind shift made it easy on the Race Committee because the 180-degree wind shift flip-flopped the course.

 

The Skeeters sailed downwind and commenced race five of the weekend. Ken Whitehorse was hooked up and won the race. The fresh breeze locked in again from the southeast at 5-10 mph, which made it another great day. U194 and M197 were the boats to beat, with the M165 securing second place in race five and V30 showing much speed in race seven.

The Stern-Steerers plugged away throughout the day and managed to race three more races with the Class A boat MICHIGANDER sailed by Erik and Ritch Sawyer acing every race. Once again, proving a Class A Stern-Steerer is the ultimate ride! HAYWIRE chased the MICHIGANDER, followed up by the remainder of the fleet. Dave Lallier, Mike Kroll, Mark Weiner, Max Runge, Joe Terry and Class D winner Andy Gratton.

 

Upon completing the day’s racing, Wisconsin Skeeter Association’s morale Officer Ken Whitehorse presented JD the Bottle Trophy. All participants consumed some of Jameson’s whiskey bottle, which capped off a glorious day of Skeeter and Stern-Steerer racing. Following the Bottle Trophy celebration, the WSA gathered at Jozwiak’s Bar and Grill, home of the delicious and delightful hamburger know as the “Wabash” and killer homemade pizza.

 

Sunday arrived with light conditions with a forecasted south southeast wind at 10-15 mph. The light air gave the fleet leisure set up time. When the clock read 11 AM, we had 11 mph of wind which kept building all day. The Skeeters finished their series with the final race deciding who won the weekend series. JD prevailed with Kenny on his heels. Great to see newcomers Leon Lebeau and Alex Peterson join the Skeeter fleet! We are all looking forward to racing with these guys!

 

The WSSA wrapped up their championship with the MICHIGANDER winning race five, and HAYWIRE launched and sailing on two runners most of race six for the final race win. Great to see all the familiar faces with lots of new ones. We now can put the Skeeters and Stern-Steerers away fast and ready for the 21-22 season.

 

A weekend like this happens with a lot of behind-the-scenes help. Special thanks to Deb Whitehorse for all her support, to WSSA Race Committee Ann Gratton, and Mary Jane and Steve Schalk for tabulating and posting all results. Thank you to Mike Derusha for inviting us all up to Menominee. Thank you to Schoelgels Bayview restaurant for letting us drive through their parking lot and lawn to access this great sheet of ice, and Ken Whitehorse for all his work as WSA morale/trophy officer. Not to forget all competitors, thank you to everyone who showed up put in a tremendous effort to make this a most excellent weekend of sailing. Thanks for the incredible memories!
Jay Yaeso U-311 C-47

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