Last week's cold snap was sufficient to freeze Lake Wingra, the smallest of Madison's four definitive bodies of water. Following quickly behind was the first flotilla of the city's iceboat navy, gathering for their season-beginning Wingra Winger (a "family fun day on the ice") on Saturday, Dec. 9, and a second day of sailing on Sunday. Conditions were warm and somewhat windy, with temperatures slightly above freezing, winds variable from 5 to 15 mph from the southwest, and the ice four to eight inches thick. One fan shot video of the action on Sunday, noting that the iceboat's speeds reached anywhere from 20 to 60 mph.
The four-minute montage of the ice-top action follows below.
This video was created by Greg "Pepe" Giese, a Madison-based travel and cruise ship enthusiast who publishes Cruising Review. He is also an inventor, seeking an efficient method to convert carbon dioxide into a liquid fuel, as well as applying a laser engraver to create acrylic business cards and holiday decorations. Giese describes these and other ventures, writing:
Traveling is a great way to see the world and experience different cultures, as well as enjoy the amazing vistas that nature has to offer. Along the way you might discover some of the jewels that a journey has to offer -- like the Matterhorn peeking out from the clouds at sunset, or a full Moon lighting up the sand covered lagoon under the peaks of Bora Bora.
Another person observing the iceboats on Lake Wingra over the weekend was the pseudonymous blogger 'Madison Guy,' who published a brief photo essay about the new ice and the excited sail-skaters. He wrote:
With no major snow since it froze, the ice is inviting, sparkles in the sun and is smooth as a mirror, marred only by the cloud chamber tracks left by skates and ice boat blades. Oak leaves that fluttered into the water just weeks ago are now ruddy ghosts of themselves, entombed just below the surface.With temperatures warming, and the city officially closing its outdoor ice rinks until another cold spell, this might be the best look at local ice boats, at least for a little while.
More information about iceboating in Madison is available from The Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club, including photos from Sunday. Also, as reported by Isthmus staff writer David Medaris, the history of the sport in Madison is detailed in the scrapbooks of Carl Bernard, an iceboating champion in the 1930s, '40s and '50s.