Sailing doesn’t require open water. Here’s a sport for those seeking a sailing alternative.

YOU MIGHT BE AS surprised as I was to learn that ice sailing (also known as ice yachting) has been around for almost 300 years. Iceboats were traditionally built as adaptations of sailboats but with blades and runners and were used for transportation and racing. Sailors attached a wooden plank to the front of the vessel with a fixed runner at both ends, as well as a steering runner in the back.

Since then, iceboats have taken on a more modern appearance. Starting in the 1930s, the boats started getting smaller and quicker, and many adapted enclosed cockpits. The “Skeeter” and “DN” models are still used today. While ice sailing has become largely a hobby, competitive ice-sailing is still very popular in Canada and the U.S., including New England and the Great Lakes.

The following video, found on The Outside Blog, follows some sailors and their homemade ice boats on Bellport Bay in Long Island, New York.


Have you tried ice sailing? Give us some feedback.