Ice yacht

From Academic Kids

An ice yacht or ice boat is a vehicle for travel over frozen lakes and sea, driven by a sail.

Ice yachts are small, usually only for one person, and can reach substantial speeds (over 100 km/h). Ice sailing began in Europe in the mid 17th century, and ice yachts were long the fastest vehicle known.

There are usually three skate blades supporting a triangular or cross-chaped frame, covered with colorful aerodynamic skins. Most ice-yachts are rigged as sloops, though only the larger classes have jibs. Smaller boats steer the front skate, while larger ones have a rear rudder skate.

Ice boats move about five times as fast as the wind, with larger boats moving faster than smaller. Small boats can easily achieve 100 km/h (60 mph), while larger boats (such as the DN class) can easily exceed 170 km/h (100 mph).

Regattas are held regularly, including world championships. The most widespread class is the International DN, which was the winning design of a competition held by the "Detroit News" newspaper in 1936.

A problem in the U.S. is that it simply isn't cold enough to skate on lakes more than four to six weekends a year. However, the sport is so exciting that most practitioners say they treasure the time on the ice.

In the U.S. there are active ice-regattas on the great lakes from Detroit, MI, and Lake Winnipesaukee of New Hampshire.

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