Make a plan to show up at the Edgewater Hotel on Lake Mendota this weekend (February 5, 2022) for this year’s edition of the Clean Lakes Alliance Frozen Assets festival.
In addition to all of the activities, displays and exhibits, you’ll have a rare opportunity to see the MARY B where she belongs—on the ice! Volunteers from the Ice Boat Foundation will be there to show her off and tell you everything you want to know (and more) about this legendary icon of Madison’s long and storied history of iceboating. MARY B was designed and built right here in 1948 by Carl Bernard and Frank Tetzlaff for O. T. Havey. Skippered by Carl Bernard and Jimmy Payton, she was the fastest thing on the ice.
This photo is another “rabbit hole” find, and hey, it happens to be Throw Back Thursday. I came across this marvelous photo of 4LIYC club members enjoying some spring weather (no gloves!) while searching for something else. It originally appeared in the ISA News and Views in either the late 1950s or early 1960s. The gang is relaxing in PIRATE, my father, Dave Rosten’s, Class A Skeeter.
With the Fat Lady past her sell-by date, the focus is again back in the shop and reviewing iceboating history. Don Sanford sent this photo of an unidentified UW Madison student who was the 1927 Prom Queen posing on an iceboat on Lake Mendota. LIBERTY was a Madison-style iceboat built by 4LIYC member, William Bernard. She won the 1925 Northwest Regatta Class B title and made the local newspapers quite a bit in the late 1920s and early 30s because of her winning record. See the full image here.
Greg Whitehorse posted this on the 4LIYC Facebook page.
Mid-70’s Northwest Regatta on Lake Mendota.
You are looking at just one side of the starting line, so I’ll guess there are probably 28, maybe more, Class E* Skeeters in this race. M-54 is Gary Sternberg’s “So What,” but I think Vic Whitehorse is at the helm for this race. That would be Dave Nelson’s M-150, “Tuff Ship” lined up next. Racing in the Skeeter class with 30-40 boats on the line was a blast back in the day.
Between the late ’60s and early ’70s, I believe club members helped build ten or more Class E Skeeters in Dave Rosten’s basement. It wasn’t unusual to see Dave, Paul Krueger, Bill Mattison, Jack Ripp, the guy who the boat was being built for, and a host of others all helping out. It was an incredible time.
Skeeter Ice Boat Club’s Sparky Lundberg aced out Paul Krueger for the Class A Skeeter win that year. It may have been the first year for PK’s rear seater.
1976 NIYA Regatta Winners:
Class A: No entry
Class B: WINTER BELL, B. Herman
Class C: TWIN BEDS, Bill McCormick
Class D: RED WITCH, Dick Slates
Class E Skeeter: Sparky Lundberg
DN Class: Jane Pegel
DN Class Junior:Mike O’Brien
Renegade Class: Elmer Millenbach RENEGADE III
*The Reason Class A Skeeters are called Class E Skeeters in the Northwest Regatta
The International Skeeter Association designates bow-steering Skeeters Class A as “Single place yachts, or two-place tandem Whose mast, when measured along the mast, does not exceed 28’-6″ from the deck to top of mast, including all mast and deck hardware.” Class A Skeeters carry a maximum of 75 square feet of sail. However, when Class A Skeeters sail in the Northwest regatta, they are listed as “Class E.” (When I was a kid, I thought the E stood for “Experimental.”)
Class A Skeeters turn into Class E because there was already a Class A, B, C, and D in the Northwest, and those designations applied to Stern-Steerers. Skeeters got the left-over E. It reminds us that the Northwest regatta is a Stern-Steerer regatta, organized in 1913 by ice yacht clubs, which only sailed Stern-Steerers at the time. 1936 marks the year that the Northwest recognized Skeeters as an ice yacht class.
Well you have to figure that since Paul and Ken had their boats set up on Lake Mendota, they’d be obligated to give sailing a try. Paul reports that he “got a little ride, and the snow was too sticky to make it around a racecourse.” Ken said, “The snow was only an inch, yet the razor-sharp quarter-inch runners couldn’t cut through it. Paul got a ride with his draft sail. A special Kau- Bossett design. I pushed back to the pits. Thumbs up to the race committee for canceling racing this weekend; they knew more than the skeeters fleet!”