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Mini Skeeter Iceboat

Category: Sailboats (other)
The Mini Skeeter sailing at Somers bay on Flathead Lake Montana

The Mini Skeeter was made primarily as a fun leisure iceboat that I could use on smaller lakes. The goal I was aiming for is a small, comfortable, warm iceboat that looks elegant. The fuselage is about slightly more than10′ long. The beam is 82″. The sails are 5.5 square meters and 4 square meters. All up weight is 157lbs. The fuselage uses plywood bulkheads and stringers to create the shape. The sides and bottom are 1/4″ okume plywood. The deck is strip planked with 1/4″ spruce strips. I wrapped the fuselage in 4 oz cloth. All the wood was glued with West System Epoxy. I also wanted it to be a “do it yourself” design as much as possible. There are only 2 welds necessary on the mast socket. The rest of the hardware is made from standard Aluminum you can buy. The plan show how to fabricate the rear and steering chocks. I bought the steel and aluminum from Online Metal Store. I bought the fasteners on line at McMaster Carr. I bought the blocks and ratchet block on line at Sail Care. Bruce Peterson at Sail Works has the sail plans on file and can duplicate one off my design. Sail Works also carries the proper carbon fiber mast to match the luff curve of the sail. I used a small 30 1/2″ long 1 1/2″ schedule 80 aluminum pipe as a sleeve inside the mast for extra strength. The plans show how to make your own boom with all the attachments for the sail and blocks.

I’ve been very pleased with the Mini Skeeters performance. It has excellent light wind sailing ability. I have been able to sail before most other iceboats have enough wind strength to get started. On good ice I can easily sail in 3 to 5 mph winds. So far my top speed has been 57 mph on ice covered with 2″ of snow. The 4 sq meter plan allows extended sailing ability in higher winds or a light pilot. It’s easy to store, transport and set up. It’s small enough to transport in the back of a small pickup truck.

The philosophy behind the Mini Skeeter is DIY simple construction in a fun compact package.

The Mini Skeeter has a building pictorial that helps explain the step by step process here:

The Mini Skeeter in action:

Links to supplies:

I’ve had some feedback from people building Mini Skeeters.

These are some related items that are brewing for the future. 

  1. DIY ice runner blanks and stiffener plans
  2. Landsailing conversion plans 
  3. Side car plans

John Eisenlohr
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