This Regatta Shouldn’t Have Happened

Published on March 19th, 2019

We are in annual awe of the iceboating community as they balance passion, patience, and persistence to pursue their love of hardwater sailing. In this report by John Hayashi, he details how it all came together at last.

No one thought the 2019 Nite Nationals (March 16-17) would pull off because of the huge rains, unstable shorelines, slush, sun, and high temperatures during the days leading to the regatta in Kegonsa, WI. The regatta on Lake Kegonsa probably shouldn’t have happened, but we all kept the faith. Call it a miracle… call it what you want but we pulled it off.

Ice sailors had been keeping a close watch on the venue, located a few miles south of Madison, WI. It had escaped the heavy snow cover of the area’s other lakes, and we all knew that a Zamboni event – a rain that polishes bumpy ice followed by cold – would get us back on the ice.

However, the week leading to the regatta was nerve wracking because nature’s Zamboni was putting in a little too much overtime. There was 24″ of solid ice, but too much rain can destroy the ice at landings necessary to roll on the boat trailers. But the ice and shoreline held and the regatta was called on.

The Nite Nationals was the last regatta of the season yet to be sailed, and the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club had yet to hold one club race. Lake Kegonsa was the last chance saloon for both. In their tradition of supporting ice yacht racing, the Four Lakes club made sure the Nites had the best ice and provided logistical support, foregoing their own club racing.

The conditions came through as well, with the ice being hard and the winds being mid-range. With a solid fleet of 31 boats registered and two fleets sailing, the competition was awesome and the sailing very rewarding.

After two days of the best spring sailing temperatures any ice sailor could ask for, Tom Nordlie of Minnesota was crowned the new national champion. He sailed a great six race series. In the silver fleet, Dick Grota won the crown again, and was the most senior of all the competitors. With a great mix of ages and abilities, the Nite class continues to provide fun and great racing.


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