International ice boat races take wind on Indian Lake

Indian Lake is the site this week of an international winter racing competition featuring boating enthusiasts from across North America and Europe.

ice races

Participants raise their national flags Sunday during opening ceremonies of the IDNIYRA championships on Indian Lake. (EXAMINER PHOTO | NATE SMITH)

The International DN Ice Yacht Racing Association stages its 2019 Gold Cup finals all this week on the north side of Indian Lake, near the state park.

Hundreds of competitors from all over the world have converged to compete in ice boat racing championships.

A few of the countries represented included Germany, Canada, Sweden, Poland and Russia, said Bob Foeller, a racing committee member, on Sunday ahead of opening ceremonies that featured the national anthem and a flag raising of each country represented.

Foeller, and his wife Ann, traveled from their home in Toledo on Lake Erie to help organize the competition. He said the boats will reach speeds in excess of 60 mph.

The course is a two-mile lap. An individual race will take between 10 to 14 minutes to complete, he said.

The site for the championship races was chosen only last week, Foeller said. Ice boat racing is so heavily dependent on weather conditions that organizers have to wait until just days before racing begins to determine the best location.

“Believe it or not, this here is the best ice in North America right now for ice boat racing,” Foeller said Sunday. “Committees across the U.S. were evaluating different lake-ice conditions and offered recommendations.”

He explained that because the ice on Indian Lake wasn’t totally snow-covered, and was relatively smooth it made for the best racing.

This marks the first time Indian Lake has ever hosted a championship of this sort, Foeller said.

This particular brand of ice racing involves International Detroit News boats that measure about about 12 feet in length, and feature a single-person 21-inch wide cockpit and a 16-foot mast.

The name “Detroit News” ice boats are named for the newspaper in Detroit where where the first ice boat of this kind was designed and built in the newspaper’s shop in 1936-37.

Read complete story in Tuesday's Examiner
CLICK HERE to subscribe today!