Liquid Ice Boating on Wawasee

The ice and snow is taking forever to melt. So, several on Lake Wawasee decided to make the best of the situation.

With over two feet of ice still resting atop the frigid waters of the lake, a group of men and women decided to brave the elements and set sail. While the Wawasee Yacht Club is still a couple months away from opening its racing season, ice boats sped across the windswept mass with similar ease.

According to Bob Fanning, “It was the best day I’ve ever had,” overviewing his day on the ice last Sunday. Fanning noted the 15-20 mile-per-hour winds helped the boats skim across the ice from Southeast Bay to Conklin Bay non-stop. The Skeeter, Fanning’s 30-foot, two-inch boat, reached 68 miles per hour. In the approximately 10 hours Fanning was on the ice, he traveled approximately 104 miles.

Several of the WYC summer sailors were out in the ice boats including Jeff and Chris Herdrich, Andy Allen, Rick Lemberg and his family among others.

Fanning noted there were several classes of boats out on the ice, including the Skeeter, Arrow, Gambit and Renegade. Ice boats are not mass produced or readily available, most being hand-crafted. The Arrow, which is a fiberglass boat, hasn’t been in production in nearly 40 years. The Gambit boats out on the lake were all hand-built by the guys in them.

Also on the ice were skiers like the Smith and Thystrup brothers, riding behind a pick-up truck and launching off hand-piled ramps.