Iceboating featured in sailing museum

Published on November 23rd, 2021

In March of 2019, the National Sailing Hall of Fame purchased the historic Armory Building on Thames Street in downtown Newport, RI, and relocated all operations to the Northeast. Shortly after a partnership with the Herreshoff Marine Museum was formed that will bring an America’s Cup Hall of Fame experience to the same space. And so, The Sailing Museum was born.

This new home will preserve the heritage of sailing and honor those who have shaped the sport we know today. In a welcoming and inclusive setting, visitors will be invited to explore the interactive exhibits and immersive displays that will share sailing like never-before.

Over the last two years, the property has undergone extensive renovation and restoration to both the interior and exterior in preparation for its’ future use. With a planned opening in Mary 2022, exhibits are being installed, artifacts mounted and volunteers and staff recruited and trained.

Ever since Buddy Melges’ induction in the first class in 2011, ice boaters have numbered among the elite sailors honored by the National Sailing Hall of Fame. Other hard water inductees include Peter Barrett, Olaf and Peter Harken, Jan and Meade Gougeon, Bill Bensten, Herbert Lawrence Stone (who authored books and articles), Bill Mattison, and Jane Pegel.

The sailing community’s full recognition of the sport of ice yachting has culminated with an iceboat to be among the features when the museum opens.

When visitors enter the impressive interactive exhibition hall, they will notice six boats hanging overhead from the exposed wooden rafters with one of those six to be an iceboat representing those who live to “Think Ice.”

While the museum had hoped to hang a Class A Skeeter, the wide plank would have taken up too much space, so they chose one that would fit – the most popular iceboat globally, a DN.

Peter Harken asked that the boat not be a “fixer-upper” but a fully fitted racing boat, with Doug Kolner filling the request with the donation of his modern DN.

The DN’s natural wood hull and plank, built in a small garage in Monona, Wisconsin, are true to the roots of the DN’s humble beginnings at the Detroit News hobby shop in the 1930s. Kolner built the boat using standard DN plans, and it symbolizes all the iceboat builders who enjoy kicking up some dust and mixing epoxy in their garage shops.

 
Source: Deb Whitehorse, The Sailing Museum

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