Plucky Kids Beat Snobby Kids in 1922 Iceboat Race

Plucky Kids Beat Snobby Kids in 1922 Iceboat Race

SIRIUS at the 1913 Northwest Regatta at Menominee, Michigan. (See all the photos from that regatta here.)

One hundred years ago, a newspaper insert geared towards children, Golden Days For Boys and Girls, published this gem of a story in nationwide newspapers. The fictional action takes place around what appears to be the Lake Winnebago area. One of the boats in the story is named SIRIUS, and perhaps the boat with that same name from Lake Winnebago was the inspiration. Take a few minutes to read the story. (Click on the image to enlarge.) The author was not credited but the story would make a terrific movie.

Mystic Seaport Iceboat Zoom, August 4, 2022

Mystic Seaport Iceboat Zoom, August 4, 2022

ICICLE, the first iceboat of John Roosevelt, uncle to President FDR. Read more about ICICLE here.

UPDATE: If you missed the presentation or want to watch again, here is the link and passcode kindly provided by the Mystic Seaport Museum:

Passcode: U5S9h=C*

Please join Henry Bossett and me today on Zoom as we discuss the history and current state of North American ice sailing. Here are links to explore further some of the topics we will delve into today. I’ll add more after the presentation if necessary. You’ll find links to iceboat clubs and class organizations in the right sidebar (on a laptop) or towards the bottom of the page (on a phone.)

Mystic Seaport Museum Facebook Page
Let’s cool off

Ice boating experts, Deb Whitehorse and Henry Bossett, will discuss the sport of ice sailing on August 4, at 2:00 PM ET in a free virtual presentation.
Click here to register:

White Wings & Black Ice: Hudson River Ice Yacht History
Hudson River Shorts: Footage of VIXEN in action
Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant History by Ray Ruge

Bend It Like…a DN Mast
DN Ice Sailing World Portal
International DN Ice Yacht Racing Association
For the Glory DN Racing Video

Ice Sailing Speed Records
Ride the Runner Plank with Steve Orlebeke Video

How Does Iceboat Racing Work?
4LIYC Video Channel
DN North America Video Channel


Ice Sailing Zoom Presentation August 4, 2022

Ice Sailing Zoom Presentation August 4, 2022

Iceboat Race Committee

Previous: Mystic Arrow
Mystic Seaport Museum Facebook Page

In conjunction with their current exhibition, Story Boats, Mystic Seaport Museum is hosting a virtual presentation about ice sailing on Thursday, August 4, 2022, at 1 PM CT/2 PM ET. From Stern-Steerers to Skeeters, Henry Bossett and I will discuss the roots, social history, and development of North American ice sailing. Henry is a DN class champion and retired sailmaker who has spent years combing through newspaper and museum archives finding the stories that define our sport.

Let’s cool off
Ice boating experts, Deb Whitehorse and Henry Bossett, will discuss the sport of ice sailing on August 4, at 2:00 PM ET in a free virtual presentation.
Click here to register:

Magic Bones

Magic Bones

World’s earliest wind surfer? “Ollerus traverses the sea on his magic bone. 16th-century woodcut. Olaus Magnus, “Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus.” 

Summer Solstice is behind us; we are on course for the next ice sailing season. Nordic countries have marked Midsommer since Pagan times when Thor and Odin ruled the north. I stumbled upon Ull, a Norse God who was the fastest deity around and patron of our favorite time of year. Ull could transform the shield he carried into a boat and bones into skates. With that much power, it’s not a stretch to believe his bow was basically a mast. Put his boat, bone skates, and mast together, and that’s an iceboat. In some Norse mythology accounts, Ull married Skadi, the Goddess of winter and cold. It’s five months until the Western Challenge, the season’s first fun DN regatta. Sharpen those bones!

Paul Krueger’s Class A Skeeter on Lake Monona, March 2022.

Iceboat Virtual Hall of Fame: John Buckstaff 1888-1960

Iceboat Virtual Hall of Fame: John Buckstaff 1888-1960

Carl Bernard, Camp Van Dyke, John Buckstaff, and Andy Flom sitting on the DEBUTANTE on Lake Winnebago in 1934. John Buckstaff is holding the Stuart Cup.

John Buckstaff Archives
If iceboating had a hall of fame, Lake Winnebago sailor, John Buckstaff would undoubtedly be among the first to be nominated. Buckstaff’s Oshkosh roots go back to his grandfather, who was born in 1799 and came from New Brunswick, Canada, to Oshkosh in 1850 and started a sawmill.

An early mention of Buckstaff in the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern newspaper was in 1903, when he was 14 years old and recognized as a skilled scow sailor. “His first experience was gained, when as a boy in knickerbockers, he constructed an iceboat and sailed it on the frozen surface of Lake Winnebago. Here he learned to be quick and certain with the tiller and to handle the sail and tack.”

Buckstaff was in Menominee, Michigan, when the Menominee, Marinette, Wisconsin, and Oshkosh ice yacht clubs formed Northwest Ice Yachting Association in 1913. The morning after a banquet at the Hotel Menominee, where 200 ice yachtsmen gathered for a feast, they organized the Northwest, which they patterned after the Inland Lake Yachting Association, a soft-water scow regatta still going strong today.

In addition to his Northwest victories, Buckstaff won two prestigious stern-steerer titles, the Stuart and Hearst Cups. In 1903, The Kalamazoo Ice Yacht Club in Michigan persuaded F.A. Stuart, maker of Stuart’s Dyspeptic pills, to donate a trophy for ice yachts carrying 850 square feet of sail or less. Later that year, a Kalamazoo club member wired newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, asking Hearst if he would donate a trophy, in his name, for the ice boat race. Hearst complied and deeded a gold-lined silver cup.

Buckstaff was a stern-steerer man and would point BLUE BILL, FLYING DUTCHMAN, DEBUTANTE III to victory on the ice at the Stuart, Hearst, and Northwest regattas. FLYING DUTCHMAN has remained on her home lake of Lake Winnebago with Dave Lallier. DEBUTANTE III is in Menominee with Mike Derusha.

DEBUTANTE III was a Hudson River-style stern-steerer built in the famed Poughkeepsie, New York iceboat shop of Jacob Buckhought. The “DEB” with 600 square feet of sail was considered the most lightweight iceboat in the world per square foot of sail carried. DEB was the first iceboat to use aluminum runners, a much superior material than the cast iron runners traditionally used. The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern reported that the “DEB” held a speed record of 119 miles per hour clocked on Gull Lake in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

John Buckstaff passed away on the morning of Sunday, January 10, 1960, the weekend when the iceboating community gathered on Lake Winnebago for the Northwest, the regatta he had helped to begin. In a movie-like ending, DEBUTANTE III, skippered by E.W. Stroshine, won the Class A championship trophy that same day.

John Buckstaff Obituary

Northwest Class A Stern Steerer
1923 BLUE BILL, J. D. Buckstaff
1926 BLUE BILL, J. D. Buckstaff
1939 BLUE BILL II, John Buckstaff, Owner; Tom Anger, Skipper

1932 (December) FLYING DUTCHMAN, OIYC, J. C. Van Dyke, J. D. Buckstaff (skippers)

1920 DEBUTANTE III, OIYC, J. D. Buckstaff
1939 DEBUTANTE III, OIYC, J. D. Buckstaff



Wisconsin State Journal. February 14, 1935. A time when sports columnists followed the stars of ice yachting and rooted for the home team. The 4LIYC’s FRITZ with Carl Bernard at the helm won the Stuart that year. 


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