Whole Lotta Boinging Goin’ On

Here’s the latest Spaight Street Syndicate Update on the baker’s dozen Nite mast project:

Whole Lotta Boinging Goin’ On

Yesterday was boinging day at the Spaight Street Syndicate. With a baker’s dozen of Sitka Spruce Nite Racing Masts nearing completion, it was time to determine the boingosity of each. Freshly back from the American Magic camp in Barcelona, the smart person job was handled by Kyle Navin, while the old man (the reigning Nite National Champion) recorded the data. “Funny, but every time the weight needed to be hoisted onto the sling, the two old guys had “business” to conduct on their phones,” commented the junior Navin. Little did Kyle know, but this was actually a training session on the fundamentals of business management–the day’s focus being on delegation and empowerment.


Precise boing data was collected with a top secret amount of weight (it was 80 lbs.) suspended at the mast center, with readings taken at the bottom third, halfway and two thirds points. The builders were pleased to note that the boing was remarkably consistent from side to side, even prior to final tuning. Over the range of masts, centerpoint boingosity was recorded from 3.2″ to 5.8″. In the days ahead, comparisons will be made to other existing masts that have performed well on the ice in the past.


Key questions–
1.) How much boing is ideal?
2.) How much is too much boing before mast failure?
3.) Since we now have the option to lose the lead, are softer masts more practical? Inquiring minds want to know.

Kyle Metzloff 2023 DN World Championship Bronze Fleet Champion

Kyle Metzloff, right, with Bronze fleet top 10. Photo: Cathy Firmbach

Congratulations to the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club member Kyle Metzloff on his first place in the 50th DN World Championship in the Bronze Fleet. The 2023 DN North American Championship begins today on Lake Kegonsa. First race at 10 AM.
World’s Results

A Life That Dreams Are Made Of

20′ banner made by Tim Stanton.

“He would have hated this.” Billy Mattison reminded the packed room at Gunderson’s Funeral Home about the humble nature of his father, Bill. The memories of Bill shared by those who had preceded Billy were unique and moving. It was a privilege to witness a group of highly accomplished individuals speak in awe of their friend. Here are a few highlights from the people invited by emcee Don Sanford to share their best stories.

Bill organized the building of a new hull for the world’s largest iceboat, Rick Hennig’s DEUCE. Rick recounted that experience with great affection and humor. When Bill saw the semi-truck full of Sitka Spruce roll into the shop parking lot, he turned to Rick and said, “That’s the stuff dreams are made of.”

Bill’s neighbor said that when Bill came over to watch him tinker in his garage, it was “like God himself coming to watch a mere mortal.”

“Yeah, I know a little about that.” America’s Cup veteran, Larry Malik, recalled Bill’s typically understated reply when asked if he could fix a photo processing machine during an AC Australian campaign. Larry shared the famous story of the day Bill took the film of the AC boat to the one-hour photo store, where he learned that the store’s processing machine was on the fritz. Bill fixed the machine and came back with the pictures.

Lon Schoor, Bill’s long-time Mendota Yacht Club A Scow partner, marveled at no matter how complicated the project; Bill was so organized in his thoughts that he didn’t have to write anything down and always made the deadline. He left us laughing with a story about how Bill schemed how they would sell the idea of buying an A Scow to their wives, Donna and Mauretta. Bill told Mauretta that Lon had purchased the boat, while Lon was to tell Donna that it was Bill’s boat.

Dr. Kyle Metzloff, a sailor, ice sailor, and UW Professor of Industrial Metal studies, spoke about Bill’s genius and ability to pick up new and complicated ideas. Having never dealt with computers, he learned to operate a mini CNC mill for creating scale model Mattison Circus parts. At an older age, Bill figured out computers.

Peter Harken shared his amazement at Bill and Paul Krueger’s work ethic. They never wasted a minute, not even in the bathroom where Peter assumed “they had a drill press installed.” Peter acknowledged those who traveled from afar, including New Jersey Skeeter sailor Dan Clapp and America’s Cup alumni from San Diego.

Sailing legend Buddy Melges came to the podium, fixing his steely blue eyes on Mauretta and the family for a full minute, not saying a word, holding the audience in his hand while he made us wait. Buddy spoke about their America’s Cup days and how remarkable it was for a guy who came from the Scow world; Bill could make a 12-meter sail faster. “He did not sail on it, but he made it faster when he worked on it.” (Later, I heard stories in the bar about how at least one of Bill’s modifications caused a stir with some AC engineers, but they calmed down when the boat speed increased.)

“He would have hated this.” Billy Mattison reminded the packed room about the humble nature of his father, Bill. The last to speak at Bill’s Celebration of Life, Billy had to follow some esteemed acts, giants of the sailing world, who had shared stories from the podium of the man’s genius. Billy’s poignant closing remarks emphasized the private family side of Bill and his devotion to his wife of 65 years, Mauretta, their children, Lynn and Billy, and their grandchildren.

“I think it is time for a dipper.”

On our way to Gundersons, Don Anderson and I delivered cakes to the Breakwater for the post-memorial reception sponsored by the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club and Mendota Yacht Club. The manager surprised us with the news that Mauretta had called with instructions that she would be picking up the bar tab. On Monday, unsure of the damage, the two yacht clubs offered to pitch in with the bill. Mauretta said no, adamant that Bill would have insisted on it. Thanks, Bill.
Debra Rosten Whitehorse

Home of the Volleyball(?) Champs
Nothing Fickler
Bill’s Circus Life
The Icing On The Lake”
“Fast Forward Since Birth”
“The Hard-Water Gang” with Bill Mattison at the 2001 ISA
Shooting the Breeze with Bill Mattison
Bill Mattison Inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame
Iceboaters Fingerprints
Willy St. Iceboat Shop Archives

Skeeter Dimensional

Mad scientist (actually Professor of Industrial Studies in metal) Kyle Metzloff sent along these photos and an explanation:

Paul Krueger dropped off a old pattern for the Skeeter mast base. I will be making some castings, but redoing the pattern for future by 3d printing the pattern then casting in bronze.


Super Models

Bill Mattison’s HONEYBUCKET Class A Skeeter created by Kyle Metzloff

Previous: Model B
As our summer starts winding down, it’s time to start thinking more about the upcoming season. To help get you in the mood, take a look at some more iceboat models including a special one from the modern era, Bill Mattison’s HONEYBUCKET Class A Skeeter which was created by 4LIYC DNer and noted modeler Kyle Metzloff. Stern-steerer/Nite class sailor Mike Peters shares his collection along with some photos of other models he received from a friend.