YouTube clips of ice yachting in Holland

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Ice yachting in Holland

Dominic von Stösser has emailed to point out another intriguing YouTube clip, this time showing ice yachting in Holland:

‘Hi Gavin!

‘Seems USians aren’t the only ones sailing on ‘hard water’ — I found a YouTube clip of ice sailing in Holland:

I’t looks like they’ve just strapped their gaff-rigged ‘soft water’ skiffs onto runners!

‘I can’t help but wonder what a Bolger Light Schooner would be like on ice…

‘Cheers –


Many thanks Dominic! I doubt the boat-shaped ice yacht fuselages could possibly sail with those huge rigs, but it’s fun to imagine.

Dominic’s email piqued my interest in what else might be around on YouTube, and searching revealed this sequence, which includes graphic evidence of what happens when one of these ice yachts falls through the ice:


Accident on the ice

PS Jaap in Holland has made some interesting comments – see the comments link below – and included some splendid links. If you’ve interestede in ice sailing in particular, you definitely should not miss this one in particular: and – amazingly, they’ve got a ice yacht that goes back to the 1830s.

Now, I have a historical question: was it the Dutch who taught New Yorkers to sail on ice?

6 thoughts on “YouTube clips of ice yachting in Holland”

  1. Gav,

    Excellent clips….It does lead nicely into a pub quiz question.

    What's the only sailing boat which has its rudder at the front?

    keep up the good work


  2. Well, ice sailing isn't restricted to the US, in fact it is a known activity in Holland since the first half of the 17th century. Anyone interested might take a look at too.

    Unfortunately last January the ice wasn't thick enough for the traditional ice boats, so only the DN's saw any action.

    (except for the daring, among whom some unlucky ones who found out the cold way)

    For traditional Dutch craft these ice boats aren't very much over rigged really.

    In the "wetted" version, a typical Dutch (Frisian really) open "jacht" (were would you guess the word yacht originates from) of 15'9" LOA would carry 300 SQft of sail. As an old skipper I knew as a boy would say: "Boats that do not need a reef at 10 kts wind, are under rigged at 5."

    Some background links:

    @Gavin: perhaps the traditional "schouw" could be of inspiration for one of your future designs. (basically the mouse family would be considered "schouwen" in Holland)

  3. Nice links, Jaap!

    As for the over/under-canvassing matter: What's to stop the intrepid Dutch boat owner from owning a summer and a winter rig? Doesn't one of Gavin's own designs have two rig options?

    1. It certainly does – though Ben Crawshaw, who built the boat, hasn't used it as far as I know.

      He seems to prefer to reef sails on both masts, and I'm sure he's right to do this since he now knows far more about the Light Trow than I do.


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