Author Archive

Ice Tease….

Fresh Ice in Norway Today – DN North America

Fresh Ice in Norway Today – DN North America

Black ice, the holy grail of ice conditions with miraculous powers treasured by DN sailors, made an appearance i…

And don’t forget the annual NEIYA Swap Meet is right around the corner-
Come on out and bring anyone you think wants to have a taste of the Kool-Aid….

Swap Meet and Event at the Thompson Motor Speedway Golf Course Next Saturday, October 24th. 10:00 am. We will have lots of outdoor space for the swap meet, Lunch, and our Annual Meeting. You don’t have to come inside if you are not comfortable doing so but everyone should meet up in the parking lot. You do not have to be a member to attend the swap or other activities.

For a preview of items for sale check out the Classified Section and remember to reach out to the individual seller via their published contact info. Replies like “is it still for sale” and other questions will not be published so send the seller an email or pick up the phone.

Thompson, CT. 205 E Thompson Rd, Thompson, CT 06277. Use the Golf Club entrance. Map Link We have a big parking lot for boats and other stuff and plenty of space. there could be a couple landsailors too.

Sign up on the NEIYA website


Raceway Golf Club

★★★★☆ · Golf course · 205 E Thompson Rd

September Runner Tracks

Hey Gang-

Better late than never I hope…. The September issue of Runner Tracks is out and as ever is a good read!

Take a look here:

September 2020 Newsletter Runner Tracks Published – DN North America

September 2020 Newsletter Runner Tracks Published – DN North America

Runner Tracks The Online Magazine of the International DN Ice Yacht Racing Association Current Issue: September …

Wanna Join A Gang?

If you are a DN type be sure to click the link and join the IDNIYRA-

It’s easy, cheap, and good to be part of the crowd. Plus you get to do the big regattas if you want- And you earn some good karma points for supporting a good organization!

Click and sign up here!

DN Ballot On The Way-

Hello All- If you are a DN class member there is another set of proposals that need to be voted on coming up-

Click the link and read up. Keep an eye on this site for some opinions and editorializing in the next day or so….

Ok, ballot stuff here

And details in this issue of runner tracks

And if you have a DN but aren’t a member of the class join up! Good to be part of the gang and it doesn’t cost much at all:

Good DN Article

Hey Gang-

This is an article that noted DN sailor and Harken engineer Steve Orlebeke wrote for Seahorse magazine a month or so ago-

I could not find the text online but if you can blow the attached pics up it is well worth the read!

And for those of you who haven’t heard of it be sure to check out Seahorse magazine- THE BEST sailing magazine out there!

Online at: and use the code TECH20

Or via email:

Or for iPad simply download the Seahorse App at the iTunes store

Iceboat Exhibit- take a look!

The Oyster Ponds Historical Society in Orient has a display of iceboating photos and memorabilia. The late 1800’s Orient Stern Steerer “Red Bird is on display with many OIYC and earlier photos. Doug Hardy, Richard Gluckman and I participated in a Q & A session this morning and were able to talk iceboats and iceboating. Richard had his DN set up outside. It was a nice way to get back in the swing of things. Mike


Take a moment, folks.

Spare a thought for the victims, responders, survivors….

Ice In Duluth…

….kind of anyway. Mike Bloom sent this photo of frost on a windshield out in Minnesota…. tune up, kids….

Canadians At Work….

Must be getting cold up there…. Andre, Robin and Jacek have their boats out and we can only guess at what they are up to….

Time to get cracking!

James “T” Thieler
12 Channing St.
Newport, RI. 02840

401 258 6230

Labor Day Video

Hey Folks- Hope everyone is having a safe and happy Labor Day. Winter sailing season is right around the corner, and this video should get you fired up if you aren’t already- click and enjoy! T

Landsailing In Two Weeks

Hey Gang- If you are ready to hit the road and get in on some wind-powered fun take a look at the CIBC website-

Bill Bucholz has been organizing a landsailing event up in Maine, should be a good one!

Check the link and keep an eye on the CIBC site for details-

Iceboater Fingerprints…..

If you are ever in Osterville MA there is something to be seen….

On your way to Crosby’s Yacht Yard (72 Crosby Cir, Osterville, MA 02655) you’ll see a big red boat in someone’s back yard. It will look familiar and yet out of place, odd to see a boat that size in a back yard.

A closer look will reveal that it is Il Moro De Venezia, the 1992 challenger for the America’s Cup. She was the fifth(!) boat built by that syndicate and won the challenger series by a nose from the New Zealand challenge. The Kiwi campaign was notable that year for a boat with a twin keel and a bowsprit. She showed flashes of speed but the Kiwis just couldn’t get her dialed in enough to edge out the Italians. There were some amazing moments along the way, with some races being decided by a matter of feet.

As you pull away, scratching your head and making a note to look these races up on YouTube you will next be taken aback by the boat Il Moro met in the Cup final that year, Bill Koch’s America3 (“America Cubed”). The boat sits on the grounds of the Nauticus Marina (339 W Bay Rd, Osterville, MA 02655). She was the end product of a massive, science-driven, spare no expense campaign. They went through several design iterations, tried out dozens of crew, went through several skippers, developed a totally new sailcloth (known as “cuben-fiber”), and recruited the best builders and technicians available.

Two of these were Bill Mattison and Jeff Kent. Bill had worked on the Heart Of America campaign in 1987 and had been building and racing soft water and hard water boats in Madison, Wisconsin for decades prior to that. He is a legend in the Skeeter class and among any type of iceboater. In fact, he is going into the National Sailing Hall Of Fame this fall (see my earlier post about him). His years of building and sailing Skeeters helped develop the skills needed to be a key part of the shore support team for the delicate, highly strung IACC class yacht. His fingerprints are all over that program….

We all know Jeff Kent. He started messing around with carbon fiber in the early 1980’s, making parts for DN iceboats and Tornado catamarans and who knows what else. He was drawn into the A3 program to build spars, spinnaker poles, jockey poles, steering gear, and miscellaneous other bits. His fingerprints are also all over the place on that boat….

One of the key bits was a kelp cutter on the leading edge of the keel. The kelp in San Diego was all over the place and frequently would get caught on the vertical leading edges of the keel fins. Crews would try to dislodge the strands with poles, poking at them as the boat sailed along. The extra drag was bad enough but the distraction had to be even worse. As I understand it Bill and Jeff went to work and developed a system that would slice the kelp off, basically a utility knife blade that slid down a VERY narrow groove on the front edge of the keel fin when pushed down by a crew member on the boat. It worked like a charm and certainly was a factor in the close races!

So congrats to Bill and Jeff for being part of that. Another iceboater that was involved was a guy named Buddy Melges, another Wisconsinite who sailed scows and Skeeters a bit….

Of course he is yet another legend and he was the man who steered during the races. No doubt the scows and skeeters prepared him well- The proof is in the final score! His fingerprints are there too- And I’m willing to bet that even in the middle of an America’s Cup race his mind was on winter sailing here and there….

Well done boys!

Check out the photos-
First is A3
Second is the top of the keel fin- look closely and you can spot the tube that housed the rod used to push the knife blade down the leading edge- you can see the groove in the leading edge as well
Third is the deck of A3
Fourth is Il Moro on somebody’s lawn….
Fifth is the head on view
Sixth is looking in from the stern, traveler track and steering wheels

Bill Mattison In Hall Of Fame!!

Wisconsin iceboating legend Bill Mattison is one of nine people going into the US National Sailing Hall Of Fame this year. Great to see an iceboater getting some well deserved recognition!

Congratulations Bill, we are all proud of you and excited for you!

Check out this link and see Gary Jobson’s tribute to the man. And take my word for it, the sailing stuff is only a part of his extraordinary life story-

Class of 2020: Bill Mattison >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

Class of 2020: Bill Mattison >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

The U.S. National Sailing Hall of Fame selected nine people in 2020 to join the 81 previously-recognized individ…

Aniela Graczyk- All around Champ!

Great vid here about Aniela Graczyk, and up and coming sailing hot shot and iceboating rock star-

Her father, Robert, is one of the top DN sailors in Poland and it looks like the skill set has a genetic component….

Take a look, show this to your kids, and make this the year to get them involved in iceboating!

Aniela Graczyk: All Around Champion – DN North America

Aniela Graczyk: All Around Champion – DN North America

Meet Aniela Gracyk of Poland. She’s an accomplished Ice Optimist sailor who is following in the runner tracks o…

Landsailing Event On The Way-

The gang from LI wants us all to know about this- if you need an excuse to hit the road this could be it! Read on….


It’s less than a month away.
There’s still time to make a land yacht and get your rig ready.

Bill Buchholz has done an EXCELLENT JOB! setting up this event.
Thank you, thank you, Bill.

This is a great venue and there is even a discounted lodging on-site .
This sure beats going out to Ivanpah Lake CA, just south of Las Vegas
which has got to be an expense$$$ trip.

This could turn out to be a great annual event.
The president of Blokart from New Zealand expressed a great interest
in coming, but his country has restricted any travel.
He claims that Loring Air Force base is the largest air strip venue in
the WORLD at which a land sailing event will take place.
Once the word gets out about the venue, you’ll probably wind up on
a waiting list just to get out there and enjoy the main 2.78 mi runway

that is 314 ft wide. Oh, BTW, there is more than one runway.

There is a reason why the Air Force placed a base in
this location, and it’s called FAVORABLE WIND!.

Join us and you could be part of this inaugural event.
There is a land sailing class for everyone.

All will be included no matter what craft you bring.
Even if you do not have a land yacht come anyway.

Check out the Maine Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Exempt effective June 12, 2020:

– New Hampshire

– Vermont
Exempt effective July 3, 2020:
– Connecticut
– New Jersey
– New York

Check out this website with all the developing and latest news.

2021 IDNIYRA Rank List Is Out!

Take a look gang- see how you did, where your friends/rivals are, start thinking about how to improve for next season, and SWEAR TO HIT THE CIRCUIT!

The NEIYA and the East in general represented well with four DNers ranked in the top ten group. Not bad at all!

Happy reading, be safe, and keep fingers crossed for a good season to come….

2021 IDNIYRA Rank List Published – DN North America

2021 IDNIYRA Rank List Published – DN North America

The 2021 IDNIYRA International Rank List has been published. Many thanks to our North American tabulator, Ann Fo…

Lessons From 1983 America’s Cup

Hello All-

Hope everyone is getting through this rather unique summer without too much trouble…. We live in interesting times indeed.

But if you need to take your mind off of everything for awhile and learn a bit about long term strategies for improvement, tuning, campaign management and identifying strengths, weaknesses, victories and mistakes take a look at this article.

It is an interview with the late, great Tom Blackaller, one of the great personalities of sailing. He was loved or hated but never ignored. He could be verbose, in fact this interview is mostly “Blacky” doing the talking. The guy had no filter- he never pulled any punches when speaking and if he had an opinion on something, you were going to hear it! He was also an outspoken rival of Dennis Conner and had plenty to say about “Big Bad Dennis” as he called him.

The two locked horns on the race course many times over the years in several types of boats but the most public battles were during the 1983 and 1987 America’s Cup campaigns. Blackaller was the skipper of DEFENDER in ’83 and came back in ’87 with USA, an innovative 12 Meter with fore and aft rudders for lateral resistance and a giant lead torpedo on a strut for righting moment. They met Conner in the semi-finals but that’s another story…. Great book about that campaign here:

Dennis Conner of course skippered LIBERTY in the summer of ’83 and took the Cup match to the bitter end against AUSTRALIA II. An amazing match to be sure and this interview offers a ton of insight into the techniques, politics, strategies, and everything else involved in the Cup defenses of the day. Interesting to see where things went right and where they went wrong….

Of course a lot of it will be relevant to any iceboater who wants to gain some insight about two-boat tuning and how to measure and make progress. Whether you want to do better on the race course or cruise farther and faster this article will help!

Click and enjoy America’s Cup: Looking back on 1983 >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News Think Ice!!

America’s Cup: Looking back on 1983 >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

When Australia won the seven race series to claim the 1983 America’s Cup, the New York Yacht Club would finally …

Bill Mattison In Hall Of Fame!

Congrats to Bill Mattison on getting into the Sailing Hall of Fame! Bill is not only a central pillar of the Wisconsin iceboating universe but also an extraordinary boat builder, model builder, craftsman, veteran, and has a few America’s Cup campaigns on his resume as well.

Accolades rightly deserved!

RED ALERT: Bill Mattison Inducted Into the National Sailing Hall of Fame! –

RED ALERT: Bill Mattison Inducted Into the National Sailing Hall of Fame…

National Sailing Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Bill Mattison has been sailing iceboats with the Four Lakes Ice Yach…

The Little Things….

We all know it’s important to have the major elements of any iceboat ready to go when the lakes flash off in the fall; Perfect runners, plank and runners all aligned, all the bits and bobs in place….

But it’s also good to have the ancillary stuff taken care of- the little things that make traveling and transporting easier. Trailer modifications, car-top rigs, runner boxes, tool boxes, trailer hitches, all that miscellaneous minutia that always takes more time to do than you’d think.

In the never ending battle to be ready by Thanksgiving (keep dreaming, right?) there has been some serious noise and dust being made in RI-

Here we see runner holders being made- amazing how much “snow” piles up from cutting the grooves in the plastic. Have to say the finished product doesn’t look bad!

Also have some pit runners taking shape for NEIYA Secretary and scribe Karen Binder- the runners will be handy later but the poplar shavings from the planer are already mulching the bushes at the house.

Nice to tick these items off the list while it’s warm out. Nice to work outdoors and still feel your fingers. And I’m SURE the neighbors don’t mind the noise!

Think ICE. Days are getting shorter….

Stay safe gang!

Land Sailing Wednesday-

Landsailing on hot asphalt planned for Loring on Wednesday if the wind forecast holds. Anyone interested, call Bill Bucholz via the CIBC site. Regatta planned for September 11-13, details to follow. Pencil it in!

Cool Ice

Cool Ice

The ice at Baikall was less than wonderful this past season, but the photo below shows how perfect it can be. As…

Lockley For Sale

No, not a Skimmer but a summertime craft- Click the link and take a look!

John Pepper sent this along- Many thanks for this and also don’t forget to send any iceboat related web-page fodder my way-

Lockley sailboat – boats – by owner – marine sale


Lockley sailboat – boats – by owner – marine sale

This is a 12 ft sloop rigged sailboat. It was designed to be light enough to be carried on a car…

Think ICE!!

Montana Pebbles, Cont’d….

After the post about the Montana beach pebbles that hitch-hiked back to RI under my van last winter I received a few funny comments and suggestions-

The best was from Eben Whitcomb, who suggested I plant them in some good potting soil and see if I can grow some dental floss…. Had to laugh at that one and no, it isn’t a joke about my lack of dental hygiene (I hope).

It is yet another reference to the Frank Zappa song “Montana.” Like much of Mr. Zappa’s oeuvre it is very serious and somber. This particular piece relates the narrative of a young man who (like many) dreams of moving to Montana, getting a small horse, planting a crop of dental floss, and making a fortune. While wearing tweezers as jewelry.

Of course you could be a snob and say to yourself “What a cliche’. That same story has been told a thousand times.”

But do yourself a favor, click the link and have a listen. Enjoy the interpretation, subtlety and majesty of one of Frank Zappa’s better known works, “Montana.”

A Bit Of Montana….

If you made the trip to Glasgow, Montana for the DN NA champs you may recall the reddish brown stones and sticky mud at the launch site. Very tenacious stuff- I spent hours under the van with a pressure washer blasting it all off.

And now, half a year later, I’m still spotting these little nuggets in the driveway. Have to chuckle every time and also give thanks for a really fun season.

Here’s to the next one!


June 20, 2020. Solstice, baby.
Days will start getting shorter.
Nights will be getting cooler.
We all know what this means….
Think ICE….

On a slightly less cosmic note the Great Western Challenge is less than six months away…. get busy in the shop if you haven’t already!! Send pics and info on any interesting projects you have going- will post on the front page!

Hope all are having a safe and productive summer-