1973: The First DN World Championship

1973: Ain Vilde, Estonia

49 years later, 2022: Robert Graczyk, Poland

In 1937, the Detroit News newspaper asked for volunteers to attend a workshop to create an easy-to-build, easily transported, and inexpensive iceboat, which came to be known as the DN. The DN’s popularity grew, and sailors organized a class and sanctioned the first North American championship in 1953, won by Jack Moran of Michigan.

The comparatively small boat found its way to Europe. The “Johnny Appleseed” of European DN sailing, Holland’s Wim Van Aker, traveled the continent, giving DNs to aspiring ice sailors with the instruction, “do something with these.” And did they ever.

North American and European class officers, including Wim Van Aker, Bill Connell, and Art Teutsch, organized the first world DN championship for the 1973 season. They set it up so that the World Championship alternates between Europe and North America. Michigan’s Lake St. Clair was the primary site, but, as can happen in this sport, the lack of ice conditions on Lake St. Clair forced a move.

DN sailors from America, Estonia, Poland, Germany, Switzerland, and Holland made their way to Gull Lake, Michigan. After dealing with less-than-ideal sticky snow conditions and several days without wind, the race committee and 41 competitors hung tough and finally completed the regatta. There are familiar names on the 1973 results list, with a few still racing. Estonian Ain Vilde won the first Worlds in a tight battle by two points over Gull Lake local Randy Johnson.

2023 also marks the 70th anniversary of the North American championship. Tim Woodhouse of Michigan won the 1973 North American Championship, held a few weeks earlier than the World championship.

The IDNIYRA will celebrate these anniversaries at the DN World and North American championships regattas in 2023. Western Region Commodore Chris Berger and the committee are in the planning stages to bring you a great regatta and commemorate 50 years of international competition. It’s time to start thinking ice!

Read more:
The DN Iceboat
A Brief History of the DN
The Blue Streak 60
North American Championship Records
World Championship History Records

2021 Polish Championships

The Polish fleet in bed on the eve of the National Championship in Krynica Morska, Poland. Photo: Henryk Kuczma

The Polish Championships start tomorrow, Saturday, 20 February, in Krynica Morska near Gdansk. This two-day event will be very competitive and have a Gold Cup-like atmosphere. The Poles take up about one-third of the list of 30 sailors with an international IDNIYRA ranking of 10 or less. If you’d like to follow along, check out these sites: 

PRELIMINARY RESULTS

Gmina Miasta Krynica Morska Facebook Page

Polish DN Class Facebook Page 

Polish DN Class Website
Now is an excellent time to review Robert Gracyk’s P31 short video on runner sharpening techniques from Lake Pepin in Minnesota in 2013.

Aniela Graczyk: All Around Champion

Meet Aniela Gracyk of Poland.  She’s an accomplished Ice Optimist sailor who is following in the runner tracks of her father, Robert Gracyk P31.  This coming winter could be the perfect opportunity to introduce your kids to ice sailing. Ice Optimists are specifically designed for junior sailors. Buy a used one or you could easily build an Ice Optimist as a family project. Learn more about the Ice Optimist and ice sailing for kids here. 

Video filmed and edited by Tomek Zakrzewsk P55.

Day 1: Polish Championship Photos & Video

DN Low Lunge: Chris Berger US5166       Photo Gwidon Libera

Results

 

 

The Polish  Championship is a major stop on the DN regatta circuit and attracts competitors from all over Europe.  This weekend regatta started today on the Zegrze Reservoir near Warsaw.  Like we saw last week at the European Championship, there’s a high level of competition at this regatta and in a few weeks, some of these ice sailors will be here for the Gold Cup.  Chris Berger US5166 extended his stay in Europe to sail in this regatta. The ice looks wet, fast and racy. Robert Graczyk P31 is in first place tonight. Chris Berger is holding his own at 5th. Stay tuned for the conclusion tomorrow. Photographer Gwidon Libera has again agreed to share his photos with us for which we are again grateful. UPDATE: Gwidon’s photos are avilable for purchase here.

Bonus video below of some rush hour traffic mark-rounding from Ark Gim’s Facebook page.