1952 Hearst on Lake Monona

1952 Hearst on Lake Monona

MARY B draws a crowd on Lake Monona.  Photos: Earl W Brown

In January 1952, Lake Monona delivered and the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club hosted the Northwest regatta and the Hearst Challenge. (The Hearst trophy was donated in 1903 by newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst.) Lake Monona in the 1950s could be counted upon for sailable ice thanks to the soot pollution from the coal burning power plant on its northeastern shore. The downside for the Skeeters was that the coal dust very quickly dulled runners. Perhaps the coal cinders didn’t affect the big iron of the Stern-Steerer runners.

The three majestic Class A Stern Steerers that competed for the Hearst that year were 2 4LIYC boats and 1 from Oshkosh including the MARY B owned by O. T. Havey and skippered by Carl Bernard with crew Norm Braith and Charlie Johnson; FRITZ owned and sailed by Jim Lunder with Beauford Polglase; and FLYING DUTCHMEN owned by John Buckstaff of Oshkosh, WI and skippered by  Chuck Nevitt with crew Bud McDonald. MARY B was able to defend her title that year.The excitement of the regatta drew crowds and prompted the 4LIYC to set up a public address system at Law Park. Someone provided a play by play account during the racing.

These historic ice yachts are still with us today. Current owner of the FLYING DUTCHMEN, Dave Lallier in Fond du Lac, reminded me that FLYING DUTCHMEN is the correct name of the boat, not DUTCHMAN. The Van Dyke brothers from Milwaukee commissioned the FLYING DUTCHMEN in the 1930s, hence the plural designation. MARY B is back in Madison and owned by the Ice Boat Foundation while FRITZ is owned by Fred Stritt and is available for sale.

These color slides were originally posted on the Historic Madison, WI Photo Group Facebook page by the granddaughter of Earl W. Brown, the man who took them.

1947 Northwest

1947 Northwest

1947 Northwest: Post WW2 Boom Years Begin

After a 5 year hiatus because of World War 2, the first post-war Northwest was held at Oshkosh in 1947. 4LIYC’s FRITZ (with new owners, the Lunder brothers and Carl Bernard at the helm) won the A stern steerer trophy. Ed Rollberg, who would go on to bring the Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant to the midwest a few years later, won the E Skeeter title. Iceboaters who served in WW2 came back with new ideas about boat building, particularly the great Elmer Millenbach. More about Elmer next time.
Shortly before the 1947 Northwest, Eastern iceboater, Ray Ruge, wrote an in depth article in Yachting Magazine about the state of iceboating in North America. Read it here.

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