The ice yacht

Ice yacht
We sailors sometimes find ourselves washed up on a winter shore somewhere when the opportunity to sail south for the winter slipped.
A nifty solution to get some sailing done – right there on the deep frozen waters, is an ice boat or yacht. A wonderful creation that offer not only wintry sailing, but does it with a large dose of speed that gets any adrenaline freak craving for more. These things are fast! Without the friction created between hull and water, the ice yachts are flying ahead in crazy speeds.

Ice boating takes many appearances, all from just regular skates and a piece of cloth for a sail to more elaborate vessels, like the one above and of course more modern renditions of dragon, kite, skate and optimist-sailers etc.
Picture above is borrowed from Jakobstad’s boatyard, Finland, who built this beautiful ice yacht, Papagena, after prints from 1907. With 15,6 meter she is apparently the largest in the world. Another one in the same class are the 50 foot, recently restored, The Rocket, out of New Jersey. Originally built in 1888.
(Here’s an article from the NY times about her.)

Just imagining how fast The Rocket can go, with her 900 square feet sail, makes my socks fly off. I’m not a speed demon, but hey, these are gorgeous vessels that just happens to go very fast.

Ice yaccht rockets with sails set

For a resourceful site about ice yachts, see, available in Swedish, English and German.

For some cool pictures, check out Stockholm’s Ice Yacht Club.

And most importantly, here’s a cool blueprint for a nice ice boat from Popular Mechanics, 1931.
This is a little bigger then an afternoon project, but sometimes we hope to build one on the farm. Crossing the lake on this magnificent craft, slide into a perfect – hand brake style – parking right next to the court where the kids playing hockey.

Daydreaming will have to do, for a while.


2 comments on “The ice yacht

  1. Ulf Carlsson says:

    Nice reading. Ice yachts are litle as catamarans. Pity ther is hard to find frozen ice without snow on top.

    • Fo'c'sle says:

      We were just talking about that Ulf, you need ice without snow, if you’re not doing like these guys on the lake Siljan. 🙂 Seems to be sailing a little dutch botter, right on the snow. Nice!

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