Youth Sailing Report: After School Iceboat Practice on Lake Minnetonka

“After-school iceboat racing practice?” Common in Poland, now in Minnesota thanks to IDNIYRA Junior Sailing Director Sam Bartel.

Wow, the last 3 days have been incredible! I’ve had the pleasure of coaching 18 high school and middle school sailors from the Lake Minnetonka Sailing School race teams as they discover the thrill of ice sailing. Some of these kids tried iceboating with me earlier this year, and others just had their first rides recently. Seeing all these new ice sailors leaving with ear-to-ear smiles is priceless.

In addition to giving some kids their first rides, I’ve been coaching the more experienced ones on racing skills. Yesterday marked our first after-school iceboat racing practice, complete with 4 scrub races and 5 DNs on the line. It’s amazing to see the enthusiasm – some of these kids are really getting into it, asking tons of questions, sailing until after sunset, and coming back for more every day. A couple of them are even asking when the next junior regatta is scheduled… we need to bring these events back ASAP!

Our local high school teams are gearing up for a training trip to Florida next weekend. Between now and then, we’re planning to hit the ice every day, running more scrub races and helping more kids get into the sport. I feel very fortunate to have such great conditions at our home venue on Lake Minnetonka!

Samuel Bartel
IDNIYRA Junior Director US1011

Link to video

The Schmidt Family Ice Optimist Project

Dust collection tech Robin Schmidt readying his Ice Optimist for some clear coat. 

Youth Iceboating Page

Western Region DNer Matt Schmidt US5536  shares some family Ice Optimist news

My youngest Robin (4 1/2) is helping get his Ice Optimist ready for the first freeze! We were given an unfinished hull a few weeks ago and scrambled to build a plank and sort out steering gear. The second clear coat is on tonight. Hoping that he, his brother Caleb (7), and sister Sarah (7) will put it to good use!
Hoping for ice in Pewaukee,

In case you didn’t know, Ice Optimists were created specifically as a youth trainer, designed to be easy to build using commonly available materials and to keep costs minimal. It uses a standard Optimist dinghy sail plan (hence the name), so youth sailors can use much of the same equipment in summer and winter if they sail/race in both seasons. Learn more about Ice Optimists and the DN Youth program from our North American Junior Sailing Program Director, Sam

Runner Tracks Newsletter December 2023

Runner Tracks

The Online Magazine of the International DN Ice Yacht Racing Association

December 2023

It’s time to reveal the December edition of Runner Tracks and revisit the Western Challenge to discover why this event is one of the best in the world of ice sailing. There’s also a nice surprise photospread at the end from Michigan DNer and photographer Chris Clark US4789.

Whether you are an experienced ice boater or a newcomer, Runner Tracks is the ultimate resource for everything related to ice boating. Check out the complete online library here.

Flipbook Magazine
Download pdf file (best for tablets)
Download single page pdf (best for phones)


  • The Revival of Junior Iceboating in North America by Sam Bartel
  • DN Costing Thoughts by Warren Nethercote and Bob Cummins
  • Western Challenge: One of the best by Mike Bloom

Get this issue in a full color soft cover book for $20.

Junior Program Trailer Locked & Loaded

Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club Skeeter Sailor and Past Champions Iceboat Shop Trailer-Repair-Specialist, Ken Whitehorse

Junior Program Trailer Locked and Loaded
Submitted by Daniel Hearn

It’s an exciting day for ice sailing in the US of A! Thanks to 4LIYC’s Ken Whitehorse, with an assist from Paul Krueger, the chariot that will carry the next generation of American ice sailors into the future is ready to roll.

Can’t think of a better trailer for the job, as this one was formerly owned by the legendary, Jane Pegel, who always carried the torch for everything youth sailing. Now, the original aluminum frame, with high capacity rack system and dock box, is equipped with a new axle, bearings and leaf springs; new LED lights, a shiny new safety, new radial tires on new rims, and a new spare bias ply tire on a new rim.

Our new enthusiastic and visionary Junior Program leader, Sam Bartel, is now well equipped. He has gathered up an arsenal of DNs and Ice Optis which will ride on this trailer. And he’s got a back of newbie ice sailing kids lined up to give it a go at the Great Western Challenge. Pinch me, I must be dreaming!

Many thanks to Donny Anderson for the trailer donation for this cause. And to Dave Elsmo for the dock box donation. Think Ice! And let’s all help Sam refill the pipeline!

PK at the bench clamp

DN Junior Sailing Director Sam Bartel’s Presentation for Junior Iceboaters

Junior Sailing Page
Our new Director of Junior Sailing, Sam Bartel US1011, has created an engaging and informative slideshow tailored for potential junior ice boaters.
Don’t miss Sam Bartel’s informative presentation, whether you’re a novice, a supportive parent of an iceboater, or a seasoned veteran. Sam has already generated interest among junior sailors who are ready to try iceboating at the Western Challenge.