TOWN OF FRIENDSHIP - This winter, the weather has not always guaranteed ice on local waters. The Wisconsin Stern Steering Association had to once again postpone its regatta on Lake Winnebago. It won't be this weekend either.
These ice boats glide along frozen lakes like sailboats on open water and about 200 sailers were supposed to show their skills in the Town of Friendship this weekend.
But Andy Gratton with the Wisconsin Stern Steering Association told FOX 11 the racing spot is unsafe.
"They found a lot of holes over there that had thin ice on them, some down to one inch thick," said Gratton.
Gratton told us it's not uncommon for weather to cancel the annual regatta, but that's tough on local businesses hoping to get extra bucks from boaters.
"It's three days before-hand 'do you have space?,' you know, where do you go? So everything's kinda spur of the moment," said Gratton.
But the weekend's not a total loss. A handful of ice boaters from Hudson, New York, brought three antique boats in to race. Instead, for now, they're showing off their skills, on a safe area of ice.
Each boat is about 100 years old and Dan Lawrence told FOX11 a ride on one is like nothing else.
"You can't explain it, but it's just exhilarating, exciting<" said Lawrence.
While the ride is exhilarating, the sailors say the best part is the history.
"I learned how to sail on an ice boat when I was about 5 or 6 years old and it just gets in your blood," explained Lawrence.
The oldest boat from Hudson is the Jack Frost. First built in 1892, Lawrence helped his father restore it in the 70's and seeing it is a treat for fellow ice boaters like Gratton.
"I don't know that that boat's ever left the Hudson River area where it was built and to have it come here and see it sailing is pretty impressive," said Gratton.
Helping to make up for the cancelation's let down.
If the bumpy ice and open water turns solid and smooth, the regatta will set sail next weekend. The Hudson sailors say if conditions start improving soon, they will probably stay to race.
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