Ice boat

An ice boat (often spelled as "iceboat", once called an ice scooter) is a boat or purpose-built framework similar in appearance to a sail boat but fitted with skis or runners (skates) and designed to run over ice instead of (liquid) water, known in the sport as "soft water." Iceboats commonly used for racing are usually only for one person, but several classes of two-seat iceboats are common. On some boats, a "side car" can be fitted to take others along for a ride.

Traditional iceboats from the late 19th century were used for transportation and racing. These boats reached lengths of 30 to convert|50|ft|m and were transported between sites on rail cars. Sailing was done in several locations where the sport continues today with active clubs, including the Hudson River, Long Island Sound, Detroit, Michigan, Sandusky, Ohio, Gull Lake, Michigan, Geneva Lake, Wisconsin, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Ghost Lake, Alberta and others. These older large "stern steerer" iceboats can seat several in their "baskets." Several of these boats are maintained and raced today. The Northwest Ice Yacht Association sponsors an annual regatta that includes classes for these boats. This annual regatta recently celebrated its 100th anniversary.

Ice yachting is the sport of sailing and racing iceboats. A related sport, land sailing, are iceboats with wheels replacing the runners. A sport mostly practiced in the United States on the western dry lake beds and in Europe, Australia and New Zealand on wide tidal beaches.

Ice boats have their history in wide, stubby, multi-runner vessels used in the 1800s. These early vessels were capable of operation on both water and ice and were used primarily for winter transportation and ice fishing. In 1869 the largest yacht ever was built for racing on the Hudson River, called the "Icicle".

Modern iceboat are supported by three skate blades called "runners" supporting a triangular or cross-shaped frame. Runners are sharpened to a fine edge which holds on the ice against the side force of the wind in the sails. The traditional stern-steered boats were largely replaced by front steering boats, following the development of this style in a boat named the "Beau Skeeter." This yacht appeared in the 1930s and became a class which adopted the logo of a mosquito. This boat led to the "Skeeter" class which evolved into a very efficient aerodynamically clean machine. Most ice boats are rigged as catboats, with a single sail, though some older larger classes are rigged as sloops (with a smaller jib sail forward of the mast).

Contemporary ice boats were originated around 1933. Walter Beauvois of Williams Bay, Wisconsin designed and built the Beau-Skeeter with just convert|75|sqft|m2 of sail. At this time the Skeeter Ice Boat Club forms on Geneva Lake. In 1937 The Detroit News sponsored a competition for the best ice boat design, which became the International DN. In 1968 Dick Slates of Pewaukee, Wisconsin designs and build the Nite with two wooden prototypes. The design was refined and fiberglass production began in 1970. Modern designs of iceboats move as much as five times the wind speed and often achieve speeds of 45 mph (72 km/h) and speeds as high as 100 km/h (60 mph) have been recorded on DN iceboats.Fact|date=February 2007 Skeeters and older large stern steer iceboats can exceed 170 km/h (100 mph). Rumored, but unconfirmed, top speed of an iceboat is convert|150|mi/h|km/h|abbr=on. The stern-steerer "Debutaunte," currently being rebuilt, was timed over a measured mile at 143 miles per hour on the ice of Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin in 1938.

Iceboats are not produced commercially on a wide scale, but remain largely the province of hobbyists and enthusiasts building with high quality wood and plywood and more exotic materials such as foam, carbon fiber, and fiberglass. There are no known governmental licensing or registration requirements. Several classes are organized and boats must conform to the rules of the classes in order to race.

The DN class is the most popular class in both the North America and Europe. It is a one-person wood boat twelve feet long with a cross "plank" eight feet long and carries a mast convert|16|ft|m high. Modern competitive DNs use flexible masts commonly made of composite materials. See [] or [] .

The Skeeter class is divided into sub-classes based on sail area and some one-design classes have evolved within the Skeeter class. These include the Nite, Renegade and J14, which have wide following, and several locally popular classes at iceboating locations. The International Skeeter Association holds an annual regatta to bring all the classes together to race. The skeeters have a limited number of rules, including a requirement for a cloth sail, and some restrictions on mast profile. Modern "E" skeeters are the fastest boats on ice. Some have fully-enclosed cockpits and mast heights up to convert|30|ft|m. The "E" class sail is measured at convert|72|sqft|m2, which is the area of the triangle between the ends of the boom and the top of the mast. The actual sail area is much larger, as the "roach" of the sail outside this triangle is unmeasured. Also, the wing-mast and large aerodynamic boom is also unmeasured.

Iceboating's popularity is primarily limited to the northern continental United States and Europe, as few places elsewhere have ice thick enough to safely use the vessels for an extended duration. Despite that, regattas are held regularly, including world championships. It has been rumored that the 2014 Winter Olympics will include Ineboating as a demonstration sport. This rumor has been supported by recent Olympic Committee visits to the past two Iceboating world championships. Ms. Whiters, a two time American Iceboat champion, confirmed this rumor in a recent interview with Iceboat magazine. In the United States there are active regattas around the Great Lakes, and Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, to Lake Minnetonka in Minneapolis, MN, and in Wisconsin at Pewaukee Lake, Geneva Lake, Lake Winnebago and the lakes surrounding Madison, several lakes in upstate New York and several Western lakes. All are within the "ice belt" of approximately 40°N latitude to 45°-50°N latitude where it gets cold enough to freeze water to several inches thick before snow covers them. There is an active group of sailors on the Chesapeake Bay, where sailable ice appears irregularly. Once a thick snow fall occurs, iceboaters must wait for the snow to melt completely then refreeze or travel to another lake/area. The preferred condition of "black ice" is smooth clear ice that has no snow and has frozen in a state of smoothness. Thus, the far north cannot support iceboating well, as the snow comes early and does not melt, and further south the freezing does not produce safe ice.

External links

* [ Time line of North American Ice Boating]
* [ International DN Ice Yacht Racing Association]
* [ Michigan Iceboating and J14 iceboats]
* [ International Nite Class Association]
* [ Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club]
* [ Minnesota Iceboating]
* [ Elk Lake Michigan Iceboating]
* [ Lake Balaton - in the Hungarian wiki]
* [ The South Bay Scooter Club is the oldest Scooter club in the United States. Established in 1921 the club pursues active ice-boat racing in the winter-time.]
* [ European DN site]
* [ North American Landsailing Association]
* [ Stockholm Iceyacht Club - Sweden. Founded 1901.]
* [ Monotype-XV iceyacht - Europe, 15 m² and 2-seated.]
* [ Ghost Lake Iceboats]
* [ New England Iceboat Site]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ice boat — Ice Ice ([imac]s), n. [OE. is, iis, AS. [=i]s; aksin to D. ijs, G. eis, OHG. [=i]s, Icel. [=i]ss, Sw. is, Dan. iis, and perh. to E. iron.] 1. Water or other fluid frozen or reduced to the solid state by cold; frozen water. It is a white or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ice-boat — ⇒ICE BOAT, subst. masc. ,,Léger canot monté sur une sorte de traîneau et qui sert à naviguer au milieu des glaces flottantes (GRUSS 1952). Prononc. et Orth. : [ajsbo:t]. Plur. ice boats. Étymol. et Hist. 1879 (Yacht, p. 54 ds BONN., p. 75 76).… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • ice|boat — «YS BOHT», noun. 1. a triangular frame on runners, fitted with sails or an engine for sailing on ice at great speed. One runner, for steering, is attached to the front or rear of the body, and the other two are at the ends of a crosspiece. 2. =… …   Useful english dictionary

  • ice|boat|er — «YS BOH tuhr», noun. a person who engages in iceboating …   Useful english dictionary

  • ice boat — boat equipped with runners which glide over frozen surfaces …   English contemporary dictionary

  • ice boat — /ˈaɪs boʊt/ (say uys boht) noun 1. a fishing boat with an insulated hull with a capacity to chill and store large amounts of fish. 2. → iceboat …   Australian English dictionary

  • ice boat — noun an ice yacht …   Wiktionary

  • ice-boat — …   Useful english dictionary

  • ice|boat|ing — «YS BOHT ihng», noun. the sport of racing or sailing an iceboat: »Iceboating is the fastest of all winter sports (Time) …   Useful english dictionary

  • USS Ice Boat (1861) — was a vessel borrowed from the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by the Union Navy when the American Civil War suddenly broke out. She was placed in service immediately and kept in service until she could be replaced by Union Navy vessels,… …   Wikipedia

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