The Ice Boat Foundation, Inc.
Mission statement: The Corporation is organized to preserve the stories, records, and photos of iceboating, and to restore and preserve historical iceboats themselves. Our primary effort now is the restoration of Mary B a legendary ice boat.
Goal: We are seeking people interested in our efforts and funding to maintain the Mary B.
The Mary B Timeline:
In March of 1949, a remarkable iceboat was first set up on the frozen surface of Lake Mendota. During her racing career, the Mary B traveled to regattas in Wisconsin and Michigan solidifying Madison’s reputation as one of the major iceboating centers of the United States. She won every major iceboating regatta, time and time again. In the 1950s and 60s, hundreds of spectators came out to watch the Mary B roar across the ice, notching another victory and cementing the connection between championship ice boaters and Madison.
In January 2016, a group of Madison ice boaters organized the Mary B Foundation to purchase, restore and display this legendary piece of Madison history.
WHY IS THE MARY B SPECIAL? The Mary B is Madison. She was designed and built by Frank Tetzlaff and third-generation ice boater and boatbuilder Carl Bernard. The Mary B was the logical extension of everything Tetzlaff learned from another Class A iceboat he built around 1930, the Fritz.
The Mary B was the brainchild of Madison electrical contractor O. T. Havey. In 1947, he commissioned Tetzlaff and Bernard to design and build a boat that would set the iceboating world on its ear. Havey spared no expense, ordering a carload of Sitka spruce so that Tetzlaff would have plenty of perfect lumber for her 39-foot hull and 36-foot mast. Named after his wife, the Mary B was the last of her type ever built in Madison. Havey never skippered her in a race and probably never took her tiller at all. Instead, like the owner of a fine racehorse or Formula 1 car, he left that to Carl Bernard. Havey asked for a champion, and that is what he got. Nothing could catch her. Clocked at speeds of 100 miles-per-hour, the Mary B captured six Class A Northwest Ice Yacht championships (NIYA) (1949-1954). She also won the William Randolph Hearst Challenge Cup in 1950, ’52 and ’53 and the Stewart International Ice Yacht Trophy in 1951 and ’54. A perennial winner, Jim Payton skippered her with equal success, winning the Hearst in 1957, the Stewart in 1964 and the NIYA championship in 1969.
While many of her contemporaries have fallen victim to the ravages of the elements, the Mary B is relatively intact, having been stored in a warehouse near Pewaukee for the past 15 years. It’s now time to bring her home to Madison.
WHO: The Mary B Foundation is led by well-known Madison-area ice boaters who together have more than 150 years of iceboating experience.
OUR PLAN: The Ice Boat Foundation will bring the Mary B to at least six events every year including: two iceboat regattas, two local festivals and two wooden boat shows. There, she will carry the stories of classic Midwest iceboating and Madison’s role in this great sport to lakes and cities across Wisconsin. It will be a major way of introducing new people to iceboating
HOW: The nonprofit Mary B Foundation proposes to raise $50,000 to purchase, restore and operate this historic iceboat.
Memberships and donations will help us achieve this goal.
Memberships and larger donations may be made by check or credit/debit card.
Checks can be written to “The Mary B” or the “Ice Boat Foundation, Inc.”, and sent to Jerry Simon, 3788 Highridge Rd. ,Madison, WI 53718
Debit and credit card payments can be made through the (www.CleanLakesAlliance.org) website donation link for the Mary B.