the Mini Skeeter Ice Boat Version on Flathead Lake
- Length: 120" (unless extended for taller people)
- Max Beam: 82" (plus wheels)
- Springboard or wheel extension approx. 30''
- Sail Area: 5.5m2 or 4m2
- Mast Height: 17'
The Mini Skeeter Dual Sport
by John Eisenlohr
It occurred to me that small iceboats allow for much more iceboating to be done. In 2014, I set out to build a small good performing iceboat. I went to a traditional wood iceboat look. The fuselage is about 10' long. All up weight is around 155lbs. The Mini Skeeter only needs about a half mile plate of ice. I could transport it in my little truck and set it up in no time.
It's made out of Okume plywood, and the deck is strip planked with solid spruce. It uses a 5.5 sm and a 4 sm sails. The mast is a carbon fiber wind surfer mast with an aluminum stiffener at the base. The rig is a simple unstayed rig. I use 30'' plate runners like the DN iceboat. I made all the hardware on the boat, including the runner chocks out of aluminum. There are only 2 welded items on the mast socket. Other than that, everything aluminum bolts together on the iceboat version. I used West System throughout and wrapped the fuselage in 4oz cloth.
So far, the Mini Skeeter has surpassed my expectations. It sails great in light air. It is usually is one of the first iceboats to sail. Last iceboating season, I achieved 60 mph in less than perfect ice. Compared to a DN iceboat, it's much more comfortable and warmer due to the nice seating arraignment and enclosed cockpit. The rig is much less expensive than a DN's. It also eliminates the need for a hound stays, stay adjusters and other typical stayed rig items.
I've had a lot of compliments from others about the Mini Skeeter. Since then, I've drawn up plans so others can build their own. About halfway through the second season on the ice, I decided to experiment with a springboard extension. It acts as suspension and makes the overall ride more stable. I have incorporated the springboard in the updated plan.
Within a years' time, I've sold about 30 sets of plans all over the World. Now I have 8 more Mini Skeeters to sail with on my local lakes. All were built or partially built at the Montana Wooden Boat Foundation in Lakeside Montana.
We decided we wanted to make the Mini Skeeter into a landsailer to use on dry lake beds. We made conversion parts. The spring board and runner plank unbolts. They are replaced with components that allow wheels to replace ice runners. I incorporated the wheeled conversion into the new plan. The metal components for the wheel conversion can be purchased as well if need be. The landsailing version worked great.
We brought 5 Mini Skeeters out to the annual Americas Landsailing Cup at Ivanpah dry lake on the California Nevada Boarder. We had enough entered in the regatta to race as our own class. I let people sail the Mini Skeeter after the regatta. Everyone that sailed it bought plans. Next year I expect 10 to 15 Mini Skeeters to be competing at the Americas Landsailing Cup. The boats performed wonderfully. Speeds in the upper 50's were achieved in the racing.
The plans have cut sheets and in-depth drawings. The plans have links to the vendors for the proper rims, tires, front end conversion and rear axle assemble, ice runners, blocks, sail and mast, etc…. The plans have a fastener list for each ice or land version. The original fuselage fits a person about 6' tall. If one is taller than 6', the cockpit area can be extended. For a large person, I include a plan for Mini Skeeter L. It is 1'' taller and 2'' wider. The cockpit can be extended on that version as well if need be.
In addition to the plans, I've made an 8 part Mini Skeeter Building tutorial on You Tube. The first in the series is here.
I also took still pictures of the construction process and posted them here.
Here are some videos of the Mini Skeeters in action.