Know Your Wisconsin: Ice Boating Across Wisconsin

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By definition, an ice boat is similar to a sailboat but fitted with skis or runners to said over ice instead of water. The lakes in southeastern Wisconsin are some of the best places to see them in action each winter. Some ice boaters are even capable of hitting top speeds of 110-120 miles per hour depending on several things including the boat and the weather.

Ice sailing was first developed in Europe and before the late 19th century it was used for the transportation of goods however, today it’s mostly a sport. Because of the high speeds, iceboat racecourses are established around fixed markers in a one-way route. The courses are deliberately set in a straight line upwind and downwind, though the boats have to tack back and forth to advance throughout the course.

The traditional stern-steerer boats were largely replaced by front steering boats in the 1930s, following the development of this style by Walter Beauvois of Williams Bay, Wisconsin in a boat named the Beau Skeeter. This boat led to the “Skeeter” class and adopted the logo of a mosquito on their sail since then it has evolved into a very efficient aerodynamically clean machine, reaching speeds of up to 137 Knots or 158 miles per hour!

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