Windmill (sailing dinghy)

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Windmill logo.gif
Class symbol
Draft1.28 m (4 ft 2 in)
Hull weight90 kg (200 lb)
LOA4.72 m (15.5 ft)
Beam1.43 m (4 ft 8 in)
Mast length6.18 m (20.3 ft)
Upwind sail area119 sq ft (11 m2)

The Windmill is a two-person one-design sailing dinghy designed by Clark Mills in 1953. It was designed to be inexpensive and buildable by amateur woodworkers, such as father-and-son team. Originally conceived as a follow-on to Mills' popular Optimist dinghy, it proved itself fast and competitive without the complexity of a spinnaker or trapeze.

Construction of the boat is somewhat unorthodox: design has no frames at all. The plywood hull is constructed on the jig with longerons[1] forming the hull shape; the longerons are in turn stiffened by two thwarts and the transom piece. The result is lightweight yet strong, quick-to-construct hull. This, combined with good performance of the boat has made it popular with homebuilders. Glass-reinforced plastic is also allowed as hull material.

The class has a strong membership with boats racing in a number of areas around the US, large fleets in the Ohio, New Hampshire, Chesapeake and Florida travel around the country to attend regional regattas. The class nationals are held at a different venue each year in July allowing racers to see new places. The class is often raced with family teams of husband and wife as well as father daughter teams. In 2012 over 25 boats attend the Nationals at Rock Hall Maryland.

Most recently 37 boats attended the 2014 Nationals at Hoover Sailing Club in Ohio. The class has a quality manufacturer of fiberglass hulls. Information and officer contacts are available on the class webpage: as well as the Facebook page Windmill Class Association.


  1. ^ A term usually referring to a major structural member of an aircraft fuselage, running from front to rear. In this case it refers to a box like structure forming the two sides of the boat hull.

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