Marcy Grunert recently sent a couple of vintage images that I had never seen from the first Northwest regatta, shot by photographer Arthur M. Conant of Menominee, MI. Arthur Conant most likely shot these pictures using a Kodak Folding Brownie 3a, which created a 3.25 x 5.5 inch postcard image. (The first Northwest was sailed on Lake Michigan at Menominee in 1913. The Northwest was a competition to decide boat supremacy among the ice yacht clubs of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. Stern-Steerers ruled the ice back then before the bow-steering boats prevailed in the 1930s. Stern-Steerers and bow-steering boats still compete for the trophies of the Northwest.)
Marcy’s photos brought back memories of the late Bill Korsgard, a Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club member and postcard collector. Around 2000, Bill acquired a group of Arthur Conant 1913 Northwest postcards on eBay. The postcards offered a fascinating glimpse into the regatta through the eyes of a young Menominee man named Finn, who had written detailed explanations about the boats to a friend in Chicago. I have posted a few of these in years past, but Marcy’s photos motivated me to post the entire collection along with Finn’s notes. Click on the red icons to reveal Finn’s notes.
SIRIUS “No need of telling you what boat this is. I don’t know what’s the matter with her this year. She can’t do a thing. I think it’s because Ed., working at the shoe factory now, can’t get out and give her his attention. Quimby ran it in the races. Parker pulled a corker off on Quimby at the minstrel. He told Harmon, who was interlockter (?) that an awful accident happened at the race that afternoon. Harmon asked him about it and he said they had to get out a searching party. Harmon asked him what for and he said to go out and find Jimmy Quimby.”
“Of course you don’t know this boat, but I’ll bet you’ll guess. This will answer your questions about the guys. It sure helped. She don’t raise anything like she did last year. The plank is a lot better now too, having some give. The trestle supporting the martingale broke and you can see how I wired it together.”
“All the different cups. Menominee, Menekaunee, and N.I.Y.A. The big one in the center is the world championship cup SQUARE PEOPLE put up and won.”
PRINCESS II, a Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club boat built by William Bernard for Emil Fauerbach “There is a brace on the spar on this boat take notice. Hello Lewis, this is the best I could get of the Madison boat but Bob is trying to get some better ones and if he does he will send you some. Notice where they have the runner plank on.”
REDBIRD “Redbird Oshkosh. She took the Association Class B Cup. The boat has solid wrought iron runners about 1/4 inch thick. They were just the thing for the snow we have and have yet.”
“Note the nose and [?] also the double set of pulleys. They didn’t work very good forward like that, so I moved the lower ones back to the pencil dot [?] but I haven’t been out since to see how they worked. The name I got on her is FLYAWAY. I could think of nothing better but just as soon as I do, I’m going to change it.”
“The COLD WAVE came in first in Class B the first of the three days but was beat out by the RED BIRD on Friday and didn’t finish Saturday. It was thought she would have won out if it hadn’t snowed.”
SQUARE PEOPLE, designed and built in New Jersey by Dr. Stanborough for the Petersons of Menominee, MI. SQUARE PEOPLE was the name of their furniture company. Finn’s note on the postcard conflicts with newspaper accounts that mention the boat was made in NJ along with the Menominee boat AURORA. “Menominee types. Strictly Menominee designed and Menominee made. This is the boat that is all the noise this year. She goes through snow and everything. The way that PRINCESS II beat her Friday is as follows: Along by the crack the ice was almost clear, the wind having blown the snow way over the crack. Peterson wasn’t wise to this but Fauerbach was. I guess the guy on the YELLOW KID must have told him. It was one tack against the wind and he had to run almost straight into the wind to make it but he made it all right and beat Petie out on that race.”
3 CLASS A
“PRINCESS, YELLOW KID, & SQUARE PEOPLE. Three boats in center with sails up.”
A CLASS START
“Note the plank on the PRINCESS II just above the word wind.”
MERCURY “She’s a lot like the SIRIUS. The Sunday that they were here there was a hell of a big wind blowing, but the Oshkosh boats wouldn’t race as it was against the rules of their club. They went out though and run around the course a couple of times and it looked as though she was putting it over Peterson [SQUARE PEOPLE] but I couldn’t tell for sure. She went some though. She’s coming back when the PRINCESS comes when the ice is good and is going to race for the big World Champs Cup.”
“STORM KING CLASS A: Oshkosh type. Backbone extends about a yard beyond lower boom. Heavy frame.”
PRINCESS [Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club boat, Madison, WI. Built by William Bernard for Emil Fauerbach.] “Madison-style boat built as light as possible, with as little iron, steel and wire on as possible. Runner plank set far back and spar leaning back as far as possible. She’s some boat. Looks as though she might be a light wind boat, but she beat out Peterson [SQUARE PEOPLE] on the stormiest day. On the first day, she bumped into the Egg, I mean Lotha Smith Jr. and smashed her backbone right in two. Next day they got her fixed up just in time for the race with as pretty a backbone as she had when she came. Note how her spar, as well as the YELLOW KID [Class B boat built by Wm. Bernard] and how far back her plank is. She’s built as light as possible. Only one stay on each side. No guards to the back runner. I’m enclosing a rough sketch to show how she’s built. It’s not a very good picture but it will give you an idea of her.”
YELLOW KID, a Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club Class B Stern-Steerer built by William Bernard “She came in third in Class B each of the 2 days. She’s built like the PRINCESS. She looks as though she might be a pretty good light wind boat. She beat out Prescott and Jennings though in the heavy winds. They came in third and fourth Thursday and Friday. The RED BIRD was the only B Boat that finished as the snow was too hard and deep.”
YELLOW KID, a Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club boat built by William Bernard. “These boats it’s at the center of the backbone and these boats can go in some light wind. Then the [?] 2 x 6 connected from the end of the plank to the backbone and the 2 x 6 from the cockpit to the plank on each side. Although you can’t see them, Bob and I were out skiing with a couple of girls, had a great time. Finn”
STORM KING Oshkosh “She’s built with the cockpit sticking out past the end of the lower boom, as were all the Oshkosh boats. The RED BIRD doesn’t protrude past the back of her sail as much as the others though. They’re heavy weather boats.”
3 Class A Skeeters and the historic Stern-Steerer ROSEMARY on Lake Michigan at Menominee, MI.
In case you missed it, Gretchen Dorian has uploaded all of her spectacular Stern Steerer WSSA and Class A Skeeter photos from the Menominee ice sailing rendezvous weekend of March 6-7. Have a look! Stern-Steerers Skeeters
Wisconsin Skeeter Association Trophy. Photo: Gretchen Dorian.
Ashwaubenon, WI iceboater Jay Yaeso doubled his racing time and fun by bringing his Class A Skeeter and Stern-Steerer to Menominee, Michigan, on March 5-7, 2021. Jay sums up the weekend in this report. Scroll down below his recap to see a few of Gretchen Dorian’s Skeeter photos.
Skeeter sailing and Stern-Steering haven’t been exactly easy these past two winters. Mother Nature and COVID19 tagged teamed and put a beat down on us. That all ended abruptly the weekend of March 5-7, 2021, when a total of nine Class A Skeeters and eight Stern-Steerers landed at Menomonie, Michigan, courtesy of world-famous Renegade sailor Mike Derusha.
Mike spent countless hours evaluating the local conditions and determined it was green light go for all involved. He nailed it! Perfect landing and ice conditions.
The threat of the Mackinaw icebreaker coming through had us on red alert; however, the Coasties held off their icebreaking efforts the remainder of the weekend.
Day one Friday was all about the Skeeters. Conditions were perfect, a light 5-10 mph southeaster, and we completed four races.
John Dennis (JD) in the U194 and Ken Whitehorse piloting the M197 were the boats to beat. Both displayed blistering speed in this light condition. Most impressive is watching the legend Paul Krueger M165 sail at 81 years young! A true inspiration for any iceboater! Class act! The ice stayed hard all day with full sunshine. Rounding out the Friday fleet was Tom Hyslop V738, Leon Lebeau D888, and Jay Yaeso U311.
Saturday brought out three more Skeeters, Mark Isabell V30, Steve Orlebeke V500, and Alex Peterson V137. The day started with a light northwesterly, and Skeeters and Stern-Steerers shared a racecourse.
The Wisconsin Stern Steerers Association started race one of their championship regatta series. This race was by far the longest iceboat race I have ever experienced. My Stern-Steerer, HAYWIRE, was the only yacht to finish, and what a weird finish it was! She completed the race upwind as a 180-degree wind shift hit on the final leg. It was a grueling race that the Race Committee declared abandoned because of time limit infraction. The incredible wind shift made it easy on the Race Committee because the 180-degree wind shift flip-flopped the course.
The Skeeters sailed downwind and commenced race five of the weekend. Ken Whitehorse was hooked up and won the race. The fresh breeze locked in again from the southeast at 5-10 mph, which made it another great day. U194 and M197 were the boats to beat, with the M165 securing second place in race five and V30 showing much speed in race seven.
The Stern-Steerers plugged away throughout the day and managed to race three more races with the Class A boat MICHIGANDER sailed by Erik and Ritch Sawyer acing every race. Once again, proving a Class A Stern-Steerer is the ultimate ride! HAYWIRE chased the MICHIGANDER, followed up by the remainder of the fleet. Dave Lallier, Mike Kroll, Mark Weiner, Max Runge, Joe Terry and Class D winner Andy Gratton.
Upon completing the day’s racing, Wisconsin Skeeter Association’s morale Officer Ken Whitehorse presented JD the Bottle Trophy. All participants consumed some of Jameson’s whiskey bottle, which capped off a glorious day of Skeeter and Stern-Steerer racing. Following the Bottle Trophy celebration, the WSA gathered at Jozwiak’s Bar and Grill, home of the delicious and delightful hamburger know as the “Wabash” and killer homemade pizza.
Sunday arrived with light conditions with a forecasted south southeast wind at 10-15 mph. The light air gave the fleet leisure set up time. When the clock read 11 AM, we had 11 mph of wind which kept building all day. The Skeeters finished their series with the final race deciding who won the weekend series. JD prevailed with Kenny on his heels. Great to see newcomers Leon Lebeau and Alex Peterson join the Skeeter fleet! We are all looking forward to racing with these guys!
The WSSA wrapped up their championship with the MICHIGANDER winning race five, and HAYWIRE launched and sailing on two runners most of race six for the final race win. Great to see all the familiar faces with lots of new ones. We now can put the Skeeters and Stern-Steerers away fast and ready for the 21-22 season.
A weekend like this happens with a lot of behind-the-scenes help. Special thanks to Deb Whitehorse for all her support, to WSSA Race Committee Ann Gratton, and Mary Jane and Steve Schalk for tabulating and posting all results. Thank you to Mike Derusha for inviting us all up to Menominee. Thank you to Schoelgels Bayview restaurant for letting us drive through their parking lot and lawn to access this great sheet of ice, and Ken Whitehorse for all his work as WSA morale/trophy officer. Not to forget all competitors, thank you to everyone who showed up put in a tremendous effort to make this a most excellent weekend of sailing. Thanks for the incredible memories!
Jay Yaeso U-311 C-47
The Skeeter group toasts JD for winning the “Bottle Trophy.” From left, Jay Yaeso, Steve Orlebeke, Mark Isabell, Ken Whitehorse, Paul Krueger, John Dennis (JD), Eric Hyslop, Tom Hyslop, Leon Lebeau.
As told to the Editor by Ken Whitehorse
The Madison-based Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club Skeeter Fleet of Paul Krueger M165 and Ken Whitehorse M197 relentless search for ice finally paid off this past weekend at Menominee, Michigan, where they enjoyed 3 days of racing and camaraderie.
Earlier in the week, they set up on the west end of Lake Mendota on Tuesday in 40 mph winds and a 20f temperature. They checked ice with the 4LIYC ATV, and Ken sent out the word to the other Skeeter guys that “all systems go, ice looks great” in anticipation of Wednesday racing.
Tom Hyslop V738 arrived Wednesday morning to find the launch quickly disintegrating. The lake ice was still holding, and Ken proposed that they take turns at the wheel in his boat. 4LIYC Commodore Don Anderson arrived with the orange marks and the club’s Nebulous flotation device. The Dane County Lakes Patrol warden visited the landing, and Ken said, “a long talk ensued.”
Ready to leave for Oconto and adventure.
Rather than trying to sail, Ken and Paul decided to pull off the trailer. Tom Hyslop and son Eric Hyslop assisted with boat disassembly and loading. When Ken hauled the trailer off the lake with his Mule ATV, the 8000# Bulldog trailer jack was damaged and bent. Ken remarked that “seven sets of Skeeter runners in the trailer might have been a bit much.” That afternoon, word came from Iceboat Central U311 Jay Yaeso about ice on Lake Michigan near Oconto, Wisconsin.
Bright and early Thursday morning, Ken went to the Past Champions Iceboat Shop and fired up his blowtorch to heat the trailer-crank cherry-red and fixed the roller wheel. Paul and Ken shoved off for Oconto to rendezvous with Tom Hyslop. Oconto’s ice was tremendous, but ice fishermen blocked access to the lake because the fish were hitting there.
Thankfully, Mike Derusha R188 called Paul and reported that Menominee, Michigan had plenty of ice and told them to “come on up.” The three ice seekers didn’t waste time making the 30-minute drive to Menominee. Mike met them at the landing with a big smile and welcoming arms. They thanked Mike for taking care of the Skeeter fleet. Ken said Mike’s response was, “M fleet helps us; we help you.” Ken texted Jay, informing him to spread the word that Menominee was the place to be. Tom ended the evening by holding up a PBR nightcap and uttered, “we ride tomorrow.”
The conditions at Menominee were perfect for three days of Skeeter racing. The Skeeters are grateful for Eric Hyslop’s help setting up the marks and helping the fleet. Thanks to Mike Derusha for providing trees. JD and Tom were instrumental in setting our racing courses. Thanks to Steve and Mary Jane Schalk in Fontana, WI for tabulating the scores.
The week started with just three Skeeter sailors getting together on Lake Mendota to sail before the ice went terrible. We chased ice, and we were lucky to find it in Menominee, where we experienced a club-racing-like atmosphere. We just happened to have a bunch of trophies to make it more fun. No one is in charge of the Wisconsin Skeeter Association. If there’s ice, the Wisconsin Skeeter Association racers will be there.
Stern-Steerers are one of photographer Gretchen Dorian’s favorite subjects to point her camera
Stern-Steerers are one of photographer Gretchen Dorian’s favorite subjects to photograph. Gretchen came over the bridge from Northern Michigan to photograph the great gathering of iceboats in Menominee, Michigan, over the weekend. She’s editing all the images and will have the high-resolution versions available on her website for purchase. She uploaded fifty photos to Facebook and has allowed iceboat.org to post them for those of you who don’t use Facebook. Here’s the first batch, the Stern-Steerers from their 2021 Wisconsin Stern-Steerers Association Championship. Gretchen would also like to thank Mike Derusha for helping her get out two miles to the Stern-Steerer race course.