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.
As reported yesterday, squalls made for some wild rides during the Racine Yacht Club’s HOOK Race downwind from Racine to Door County on the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan. Apparently there were 5 boats that lost rigs, including Jay Yaeso’s SHAZAM, proving again that sailing on Lake Michigan can be more challenging than ocean racing in big “sleds” – something 4LIYC Commodore Don Anderson who has sailed a few Transpacs related to me yesterday. SHAZAM’S mast “oil-canned” (compressed) Saturday afternoon during a 50 mph squall with 8 – 10′ waves. Thankfully, all crew were OK and they were able to pull into Sheboygan after 4 hours on the motor where they met up with Steve Orelebeke who had been sailing on PEERLESS. Steve and crew were forced to pull into Sheboygan because the waves pushed too much water into the hatch. I believe that race tracking did show that Fred Stritt and HASTEN made it to the end of the race. There were quite a few DNFs, possibly 18.
However, there was one group of ice sailors who made HOOK history and “absolutely shattered a Hook race record” by 3 hours, Rick Hennig (owner of DEUCE) and the crew of THUNDERSTRUCK. From crew member Eric Tobias’ Facebook feed:
20 hours, 20 kts of boatspeed, 47 knot peak wind speed, hurricane rain, lightning sky, one exploded spinnaker, one exploded jib, several wipe outs, one absolutely shattered Hook race record, a passage through Death’s Door and one incredibly wild ride. We made it to the finish safe with minimal damage and injuries. Thankfully we didn’t find a new meaning for our boat name (we didn’t get struck by lightning). Go Thunderstruck.
Expect to hear some stories about the HOOK race of 2020 during those times when we are standing on the ice waiting for wind.
UPDATE JULY 19: Andy Gratton checked in with the rest of the crew names that I missed. He also wrote with news that the rig collapsed yesterday during a squall which ended their race. He adds, “All are safe, no holes in the boat. We decided we did not want to do that again.”
Several area ice sailors are gathered this morning at the Racine Yacht Club for the 37th annual long distance Lake Michigan HOOK race from Racine to Death’s Door in Door County, WI. Pretty much every class of ice sailing is represented in this race including the Skeeters, DNs, Renegades, and Stern Steerers. 4LIYC Commodore Don Anderson, Renegader George Gerhardt, Stern-Steerer guys Andy Gratton, Mike “Wally” Waldo. and Erik Sawyer will be sailing with Jay Yaeso on SHAZAM (PHRF2). Skeeter and DN sailor Steve Orlebeke is on PEERLESS (PHRF2). Rick Hennig, who owns the biggest iceboat in the world, DEUCE, is sailing his new Farr 60 THUNDERSTRUCK (PHRF1). Stern-Steerer sailor Fred Stritt is sailing HASTEN (PHRF 4).
Jay Yaeso’s shop, the Area 51 of iceboat building, reveals his latest stealth project:
Something new out of the Suamico Skunk Works…
I have been so envious of Andy Gratton and Mike Kroll and their miles and miles of winter sailing. We decided to join them!
FROSTY… the Iceboat, is a “C” class rear steerer powered with a massive Skeeter wing spare. The remainder of the platform has been donated by the world famous ice yachter, Bob Kau!
MICHIGANDER on Pewaukee Lake for the 2018 Wisconsin Stern Steerers Association championship.
The biannual magazine from the makers of “what holds us together”, Gougeon’s (West Systems) Epoxy Works, highlights one of the finest Class A stern-steerers ever crafted, Eric Sawyer’s MICHIGANDER. Get a free print or digital subscription to the magazine here.