The 15 meter (class “C” stern steer) ice yacht brought about during the mid-to-late nineteen thirties by the charter members of the King Ice Yacht Club of Toledo, Ohio. The design came about after competing at Detroit, Michigan and seeing a German or European 15 meter ice yacht at Lake St. Clair. It was pretty radical for the day — a fuselage style hull with a tandem at the stern, a narrow runner track, and a “cat rig”, by which is making a big comeback in Europe.
The stern-steering ice yachts of the day were rather large compared to today’s designs. They were overshadowed by the 200s, 250s and, of course, there were much larger, such as the 450s and more. These yachts were huge and cumbersome to transport and assemble. After much discussion and merit to build a smaller yacht around the European or German style, the members crafted their own version, literally, on a brown grocery bag at King’s IYC of what the next generation of ice yachts should look and perform.
In 1936, construction began on numerous “new” yachts. Some 200s were reconfigured to the “new class” and carried the same sail dimensions. Mind you, the DN-60 was born at the same time. Also, someone mentioned that these are not small boats!
The builders were consisted of a mixed lot of craftsmen that pooled together their experience such as boat builders and toolmakers for the hardware and patternmakers for the castings.
They scored a big hit! Thirty-four were registered (from what research has found) at a cost of 100 to 250 dollars! A large sum for the day. A long narrow backbone of 24-26 ft., runner track of 16-17 ft., a 28-29 ft. mast, 12-6 “boom”, “cat rigged” and a rake of 4 to 5 ft. with 154 sq. ft. of sail with peapod size cockpit. A cable framing system held this all together — hence, the moniker “cable boats”.
This design soon became a big winner with Toledo yachts domination the Detroit’s best and capturing the Pouliot Trophy which is still in TIYC’s archives. At home, they made legends of several of the local skippers and owners. Also, a smaller version came about the 10 meter.
The war brought much activity to a halt and interest started to wane. The Renegade and DN came to be. But the 15 meter still carries on to this day, a tribute to its design. Of the original 33 numbers, 10 survive.
Still sailing are:
- #5 WILD GOOSE
- #10 GREEN HEAD
- #11 SPARE TIME
- #17 ARCTIC
- #27 ARCTIC II
- #32 RED BARON (orig. QUESTION)
- #34 WINTERLUDE
- #35 ICE-MASTER
- #20 WALKING STICK (orig. WHAT FUN) has been located in Grand Rapids, Michigan fully restored.
The big drawing point of these yachts is that they can take a rider(s) and introduce countless others to the sport.
Set-up time now is about an hour and a half due to improved rigging, hardware and help. Yep, they’re still heavy – around 16 oz. per lb.
These “big” (?) yachts are a handful at times, but are easy to sail but get one “hooked up” and they are still competitive in the “C” class at the Northwest Regatta. The “WILD GOOSE” is probably the best known example of this elegant design and is considered the “Queen” of the Toledo Ice Yacht Club. Also the last class “B” ice yacht North Wind of TIYC was recently restored and sailed. With the dedication and desire, it requires getting to attract new and young interest; hopefully, these Yachts will be around for a long time to come.
If anyone knows the disposition of this fleet or want more information – please contact the TIYC web site.
Photo Credit to Bob Shapton current owner of Walking Stick