Dunnville ON’s David Janzen is Building Biggest Iceboat in the World

SinC Biggest Iceboat Janzen

November 2, 2022

David Janzen and the boat in front of the barn/workshop in Dunnville

With files from Deb Whitehorse, iceboat.org.

Iceboating has attracted dreamers and creators since some guy in Holland first thought about attaching iron skates to a canal boat back in the 1600s. This past summer, David Janzen of Dunnville, Ontario, achieved his dream of building the biggest iceboat in the world.

An iceboat that big needs big ice, and in the winter of 2023, Janzen plans on trailering it to Thunder Bay, ON to learn how she sails.

“This isn’t just low budget; this is NO budget,” Janzen quips relating how he salvaged a number of spent 8-person rowing shells to build the hull and fabricated the 53’ spar out of abandoned shorter spars. The next step is sails and Janzen is currently in conversation with Bay Sails in Hamilton to get that solved.

SinC Biggest Iceboat Janzen 4 400From the bow

Online info tells us that the current Guinness record holder is Icicle. “Icicle was built for John Aspinwall Roosevelt for racing on the Hudson River, New York state in 1869. It was 21 metres (68 ft 11 in) long and carried 99 square metres (1,070 sq ft) of canvas. The yacht is still, over 140 years later, recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as a world record. John A. Roosevelt (Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Uncle) was the first Commodore of the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club (1885) at Poughkeepsie, NY. His ice yacht, “Icicle”, required a railway flat car to transport.

By comparison, Janzen’s baby is 70’ long with a 37’ plank. Fortunately, it can be collapsed to 35’ for transport and Janzen is currently building a box trailer to accommodate it.

Janzen began his sailing aboard a plywood Thunderbird 26 in Port Dover, so he knows homemade. Since then he has had a hobby DN and other iceboats. His anticipation is that this new endeavour will be able to pass the 100mph barrier. In the past, speeds have been assessed with radar, but GPS accuracy means it will need to be genuine speed to make Guinness. Stay tuned.


SinC Biggest Iceboat Janzen 2 400SinC Biggest Iceboat Janzen 3 400

Related Articles

  • The Big Picture: Foiling Hard

    The Big Picture: Foiling Hard

    Nov 29, 2023 Canada SailGP Team helmed by Phil Robertson lead Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team helmed by Ben Ainslie on Race Day 1 of the Spain Sail Grand Prix in Cadiz, Spain. October 14th, 2023. Photo: Felix Diemer for SailGP. Image supplied by SailGP. Canada has been mixing it up on the course lately… Read More…

  • Sail Nova Scotia Evening of Excellence and Fundraising

    Sail Nova Scotia Evening of Excellence and Fundraising

    Nov 29, 2023 Bill Haliburton was the high bidder of the first four Premium tickets for the ROCKWOOL Canada Sail Grand Prix Halifax. He is flanked by Canada SailGP Team sailors Jareese Finch (L) and Billy Gooderham (R) – both now call Halifax home. The Nova Scotia sailing and boating community from across the province gathered Friday evening (November… Read More…