Miss Wisconsin Chronology & Evolution

  • 1988 - Design and building of Pegasus, the prototype.

 

  • 1989 - First tests on Lake Mendota and Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin

 

  • 1990 - Tests continue on the ice of Lake Winnebago. Loran system is installed, to assist the navigator in blizzard conditions and a radar gun is purchased to prove the speed. A radar system is set up in a command center to track the progress of the boat and to warn of impending obstructions.
  • 1990 - The boat is fitted with wheels and trailed to Ivenpah dry lake in Southern Nevada. The lake is way too small for any serious record attempt. The officials of NALSA (North American Land Sailing Association) who are encamped there, in regatta, refuse to allow Kampo to sail. All he asks is to be able to sail on days when the wind is too strong for regatta activities. The committee responds by having a BLM warden insist that he remove his wheels. They further insult him by sending him several miles down the road to Roach dry lake. Roach is smaller than Ivanpah and Kampo realizes that this group has sent him on a snipe hunt. Undaunted, Kampo returns to Ivenpah and is finally able to sail on the day NALSA's permit expires and the regatta was over.

  • 1990 - The boat is trailed to the Black Rock Desert in Northern Nevada where the boat has been every Fall, Spring and Summer since. The Black Rock is huge and offers all the space this impressive boat needs to prove the velocities it was designed for. During one downwind run the chase truck is unable to keep up with the boat. The truck's speedometer is pegged at 110 mph. The winds here are legendary and every part imaginable on the Pegasus breaks and is rebuilt dozens of times. Wheels blow out and tackle breaks. The blacksmith at the gypsum mine is called on to fix the shredded rigging. Different sail configurations are tried and the size of the sail gets smaller. It is the perfect proving ground.

  • 1990 - December, trails to Canada in search of a massive body of ice to begin Winter trials. Lake of the Woods has broken up in an early Winter storm and then refreezes into a gigantic landscape of massive chunks of standing ice. The local ice fishermen are afraid to venture out on this unpredictable frozen nightmare, so Kampo heads North. Lake Winnepeg proves just as treacherous, so he brings his crew home to Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin.

 

  • 1991-1994 testing, breaking and trials continue.

 

  • 1995 - following four years of trials the mast is rebuilt. Kampo enlists the help of Darrel Lenz of EAA's Kermit Weeks Research Center to re-design the mast. The mast is lengthened and the wing control mechanism is redesigned to allow easier movement from aft rather than from the sides. The mast position is moved substantially aft to improve the overall balance of the boat. Ed Beson, ocean race boat designer, builds a manually operated hydraulic steering mechanism to provide a simple mechanical advantage for changing course. Following the advice of Master sailor Chuck Nevitt, the runners are re-machined to provide more "rock" in the edge reducing the contact surface with the ice.

 

  • 1996-1998 troubleshooting and a variety of sail configurations and rigging options are tested.

 

  • 1999 - following several more years of trials, it is determined that the two person cockpit is redundant and should be re-worked. The mast is repositioned further aft and the cockpit is reorganized and setup for one-man operation. These changes reduced the overall weight of the boat by 600 pounds which is an unexpected benefit. At the same time a drag chute is installed to help stop the boat if it becomes unstable. Additional streamlining is accomplished and a GPS unit is installed. The boat is re-skinned by Ted Mosman of EAA's Kermit Weeks Research Center. In celebration, the boat is re-christened Miss Wisconsin and the Power of Cheese is emblazoned on the side of the hull.

  • 2000 - back on the Black Rock the Miss Wisconsin enjoys, for the first time, a surprising new energy even in light air. The boat is starting to perform up to its potential. In heavier air, winds over 25 mph, the boat runs in the high teens, 118-120 mph. A GPS unit installed on the boat proves the speed and distance. Unfortunately, while parked on the desert, a government truck traveling across the playa at night hits the boat. The wreck is trailed back to Lake Winnebago for rebuilding.


  • 2001 - in test trials on the ice of Lake Winnebago the Miss Wisconsin with Geof Catlin at the helm, spins out on a tack breaking the runner plank and splitting the mast. This unfortunate incident is turned into an excellent opportunity as changes are made to the plank's design making it more flexible. It also provides an opportunity to stiffen and strengthen the mast. Back in the shop Geof lays up a newly designed plank. Runner chocks are manufactured by Dan Schmidt and a new set of wheels, with Nascar hubs and Timken tapered roller bearings, are installed. These new wheels will reduce the drag by at least 50%. At the same time, a drag chute is added to assist in stopping the boat in hurricane conditions. The boat begins its trek West for trials on the Black Rock. A videotape record captured by a lipstick camera, recording changes occurring on the GPS unit installed in the cockpit will provide proof of the accomplishment.


  • 2002 - After desert trials in Gerlach, it becomes apparent that the plank needs stiffening. The wheels must be removed and runners installed for ice. The mast and sail need to be re-worked and set-up for winter trials. Jim Stolla, one of the original brain trust who conceptualized the project, contributes as project engineer. While Geoffrey Catlin stiffens the runner plank, Jim comes up with a new approach to the way the runners are attached to the plank. Jim's design utilizes pillow blocks to cradle the runners. This innovation will put aside the traditional, 200 year old, method of using angle iron runner chocks. The new design uses pillow blocks to hang the runners from the plank. The blades will no longer bind in the chock and will be able to float free, creating a true linear track. Dan Schmidt builds the new chocks for the plank while Jim creates the new runners. Dan makes the winter changeover on the steering runner. The boat is ready to stand up to the frozen tundra.

 

  • Canyon Ferry Lake is located in Central Montana and provides excellent conditions for the sport of iceboating. Dan and the crew are very excited about the prospects of good ice and sufficient winds to allow the Miss Wisconsin to do what it has been designed for. The crew is anxious to meet all challengers for the title of fastest iceboat on earth.