Sailing Continues All Winter Long - Ice Boating on Arrows

Sailing Continues All Winter Long - Ice Boating on Arrows

Arrows are sailed recreationally, and not raced a whole lot.   Commonly these  boats are two-seaters so you can sail with a spouse or friend.   So if you are just looking for something to go flying around just having a good time on your own, the Arrow could be a great fit for you.  (Google the keywords “Ice Boat Arrow”).  They are roughly the same size as a DN.

Arrow Ice Boats appear to be an eclectic group of boat owners.  Most others think that only four of these exist, but as the ice gets better and better, more of these start showing up coming out of the shacks, garages, sheds and out from underneath the tarps.  There’s not much information about them online, except tons of advertisements from people selling them.  You already know what that means, it means its a buyer’s market and you can make a good deal.  It has been suggested that the Arrow has the fewest number of boats built today of the common classes of ice boats.

Most Arrows are steered by a tiller connected to the front runner, a few are steered by foot pedals, so both hands are free to trim the sail.

If you want to go thrashing around a race course, it would be best for you to get your own gang together with tons of friends, criss-cross the region and have your friends buy a fleet of Arrows.

For safety’s sake, Ice Boaters wear warm winter clothing that can handle exposure to high wind speeds, goggles, spiked shoes to push off with, helmet (motorcycle type), an inflatable life jacket and 2 ice picks.

What are those last two items for?  A few times each winter someone will sail into open holes in ice into the freezing water.  You need to be able to pull yourself back up onto firm ice.  While tests are performed on ice for thickness, water springs and birds can keep water moving in spots which makes ice thinner in those area.  You can’t test the thickness of a whole lake.

Using Ice Picks to Quickly Get Out of the Water

Where would you start? Where would you see if this is for you? Where would you find a decent Arrow to buy for yourself?

  • An Ice Boat Swap meet is November 2, 2013 at Gull Lake Ice Club holding it at Gull Lake Country Club, 9725 West Gull Lake Drive, Richland, MI 49083  from 10am – 3pm EDT.  There will be boats on display, history pieces, lunch and a raffle.  An ice boat parts vendor and a mast builder will be there to help anyone out.
  • On November 3, 2013 at the Ice Boat Swap Meet between 9-12 Central Time (note – clocks “fall back” the night before) at Lucky’s Cantina, 220 Elkhorn Road, Williams Bay, WI 262-245-6666.
  • Another way to do this is simply show up on a day at the lake that they are ice boating.  How?  On a Friday, call this phone number 608.204.9876 and get a pre-recorded message where the Ice Boaters are meeting up that weekend to go sailing and drive there.  Go out on the ice, and strike up a conversation.  Explain that you would like to give a sailing on an iceboat a try, many will loan your their boat on the spot.  Ask how you can get some help buying your own boat.

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