The Rear-Seater Skeeter Era

The Rear-Seater Skeeter Era

Say farewell to the A-Class Skeeter rear-seater era in the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club. Ken Whitehorse’s WARRIOR was the last rear-seater to sail competitively in our 4LIYC races, International Skeeter Association races, and Northwest regatta races. The above photo of Ken hiking on Geneva Lake appeared in the Janesville Gazette several years ago. Ken recalled that day of scrub racing. Skeeter Ice Boat Club’s Buddy Melges was the judge/flagman on a mushy, slushy track. Ken remembers that the boat “was a real mudder that day, WARRIOR came up and out of the slush to win 4 races!” Ken’s looking for a good home for the boat and listed it for sale on the Buy & Sell page.

More on the boat: Bill Dale gave Ken a super wide mast-pole 14″ from top to bottom and also gave him a super-full 2″ draft sail. (The kind of sail Dave Clapp and Tom Nichols used to use on the Navasink River.)

Paul Krueger developed the rear-seat Skeeter back in the 1970s. Here’s an excerpt about rear-seat Skeeters from the 4LIYC History page.

The Appearance of the Rear Seater Skeeter
By Greg Whitehorse

In 1975, Madison skipper Paul Krueger was involved in a serious iceboating accident while competing in a Northwestern Regatta on Lake Winnebago. Krueger thought that part of the cause of the accident was the limited vision one had while sitting under the boom when sailing a Skeeter. With that in mind he designed and built the first rear-seater Skeeter for the 1976 sailing season.

Not only did the skipper not have to duck under the boom on each jibe or tack; he also enjoyed a much larger field of vision. The new design also allowed the gap between the boom and deck to be closed. In other words, when fully trimmed, the boom was now pulled down to meet the deck This greatly enhanced the performance of the already potent Class E Skeeter iceboat.

Paul Krueger’s A Class Skeeters spanning 40+ years: From left, Ramblin’ c. 1970, Ramblin’ c.1980, Ramblin’ 2015 ISA

Krueger’s new design dominated the competition for the next few years. He won win two ISA World Championships, in 1976 and 1979, along with a Northwestern Regatta title in 1979. The dominance of Krueger’s Rambl’n forced others to change to a rear seat design in order to keep up. With Krueger’s and Bill Mattison’s help, most of the 4LIYC Skeeter fleet was converted to the new design.

Outside the 4LIYC area some Skeeter sailors were not real happy about having to make yet another change in their yachts, even though no parts off the old boats were made obsolete with Krueger’s new design. The hull was fairly easily converted to rear seat dimensions, and the existing boom only needed to be made a little wider.

Soon all serious contenders in the Skeeter fleet were sailing rear seaters. In 1977 Ken Whitehorse sailed a Krueger reconfigured Skeeter to a Northwestern Championship, becoming yet another 4LIYC member to win a major regatta.

Paul Krueger and Ken with the boat on the trailer a few weeks ago. Paul is the builder of this boat.

On The News: Skeeter Iceboat Club & Buddy Melges

On The News: Skeeter Iceboat Club & Buddy Melges

Brighten up this gloomy, rainy, warm Sunday with Buddy Melges as he talks iceboating. Video

(WKOW) — An ice boat by definition is built similar to a sail boat, but fitted with skis or runners to sail over ice instead of water.

South eastern Wisconsin lakes are some of the best places to see them in action.

“It’s well-known as the ice boat center of the world,” Harry Melges, Jr., an ice boater said.

SIBC Iceboat Swap Meet: November 3, 2019

SIBC Iceboat Swap Meet: November 3, 2019

Via Jane Pegel of the Skeeter Iceboat Club:

Skeeter Ice Boat Club 34th Annual Swap Meet

Date: Sunday, November 3, 2019
Time: 9:00 to noon (Central Std. Time)
Location: Lucke’s Cantina
220 N. Elkhorn Rd. (WI Hwy 67), Williams Bay, WI.

There is no charge for participating.
Free tickets for the annual raffle.
For more info, email

This is the day to swap, buy, or sell new and used iceboats and misc. equipment. Boat builders & hardware manufacturers will display new products. Breakfast and/or lunch will be available at Lucke’s.

Display area:
Items for sale can be set up on the black top parking area at Lucke’s and in the vacant lot to the south of the old Sailing Specialists building. Please do not park your cars in the display area.
Please do not park or set up your displays adjacent to neighboring businesses. A short distance to the north there is a municipal parking lot located at the intersection of Elkhorn Rd. and Stark St. (on the north side of Stark St., opposite Burrough’s Floor Coverings).

Williams Bay Centennial Celebrates Ice Sailing

Williams Bay Centennial Celebrates Ice Sailing

Skeeter Ice Boat Club ice sailor Jane Wiswell Pegel.

Via Susie Pegel:

Williams Bay, Wisconsin (“Iceboat Center of the World”) is celebrating its Centennial in 2019. It has been 100 years since being incorporated as a village. Four booklets are now on display at the Barrett Memorial Library in Williams Bay:
1)”Iceboating and the Skeeter Ice Boat Club”
2)”Jane Pegel—Iceboat Champion”
3)”The Williams Bay Sailing Club”
4) “Dr. Clifford Y. Wiswell—Town Doctor”

A series of special events will be taking place during the year culminating on October 19 with the big blowout celebration including food, beverages, entertainment, bike parade and more!!

SAILING Magazine: “Ludicrous Speed On Hard Water”

SAILING Magazine: “Ludicrous Speed On Hard Water”

JR Francis US807 Photo: JH Peterson

Pick up a print or digital February issue SAILING Magazine for a feature story with high quality photography by JH Peterson about our favorite sport. Steve Orlebeke, Harken, mentions of the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club and Skeeter Iceboat Club, Jane Pegel – I could go on but the author has covered all the bases on the Wisconsin and Minnesota iceboating scene.

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