Milling Around

Tim BachmannFleet News, Hoover Sailing Club, Leadline

Why We Love Windmills-Fleet 60

So, why do we love sailing Windmills? The reasons are as varied as the sailors in Windmill Fleet 60.

For some Windmill sailors it really IS love, as in the case of Mike and Dixie Mickelson, who have been sailing together for decades. They love that the Windmill is small, inexpensive and spirited… and it doesn’t need a third crew.

“It began as a courtship in 1963. I knew it was love when I began checking on the wind conditions late afternoons. It steadily grew into a lifetime commitment to one design sailing in the family friendly environment at Hoover Sailing Club. Fifty years later, we are still looking forward to the summer ahead.” – Dixie Mickelson

“We have been active members of Hoover Sailing Club for over 50 Years. We still sail and race the Windmill, a small high performance sailboat, and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow sailors and the physical exhilaration of sailing and competition. – Mike Mickelson

Like the Mickelsons, Jim and Evelyn Ferguson are devoted Windmill sailors who have been sailing together for years at Hoover Sailing Club. One might think, the time they spent sailing together side-by-side all those years, on a small boat with one skipper…well, I digress. Why do the Fergusons love sailing a Windmill?

“Friends. It is definitely friends that we enjoy most about the Windmill. We have made numerous friends in the Windmill fleet over the past 30 years. Many have moved away; some are gone and many others still (remain) here. No question. It’s the friends that make the Windmill.” – Evelyn and Jim Ferguson

Hallie Bourne has been sailing a Windmill for 15 years. Her boat, Maggie the Non-cat, is Moorman Hull #4585, built by our own Mike Mickelson in 1970. So, why does Hallie love her Windmill? Here’s the good, the bad, the better….

“ I love sailing my Windmill because it prepares me to sail just about any other boat. The balancing skills required, even to sail a bad race on a Windmill, will go far towards making a good race on any other bigger, heavier (and therefore typically faster) boat!” – Hallie Bourne

Hoover Sailing Club is home to Craig Tovell, two-time National Windmill Champion, who when not sailing helps fellow fleet members tune and prepare boats for the sailing season. We know he loves competition, but why does he love sailing Windmills? In his words, “Why I love Windmills? They’re easy to work on, afford, handle and sail!” – Craig Tovell

It seems Jackie LaMuth agrees with Craig on why she loves her Windmill, “It’s easy to move around and handle on land … and water!”

Ed Yingling provides us with the “Top Ten Reasons” why he loves to sail a Windmill:

  1. I get to sail with my daughter
  2. I can rig and sail it alone (even stepping up the mast!)
  3. I can move the boat easily on my own
  4. Windmill Fleet 60 makes the best food in the sailing community
  5. We belong to the largest Windmill Fleet in the country (and world) right here at Hoover
  6. The Class is very family-oriented
  7. My boat reminds me of when I learned to sail in Oklahoma over 20 years ago… I moved my boat here from my original club
  8. It was designed as a family and performance boat
  9. Kids can skipper it without much experience
  10. It fits in my garage. – Ed Yingling

Over the years, Chris Bunge, who has sailed his Windmill since 1996, has developed a relationship with his boat, Anon 2. In the tradition of many sailors, he has conferred the female pronoun to his sailing vessel. “I love my Windmill sailboat. She has never given up on me. She is always up to the task of challenging me, whatever the weather conditions. She is agile and responsive.  She is not forgiving. Above all the strife, she makes me very happy. I love my Windmill.”– Chris Bunge

And to Tim Bachman sailing in a Windmill is like poetry in motion.

Crossing Caley’s Bridge I spy my Windmill’s mast moving in unison with the other Mills on the raft
The occasional whistle of the wind in the shrouds promises an exhilarating day of sailing.
Pulling back the thick canvas cover, leaning over to slip the rudder in place, hooking up the halyards
Pushing the centerboard firmly in place, and…finally…raising the sails.

A quick, nervous, mental last-minute check to ensure a complete ready-to-launch moment
Push off, and the wind catches the main, a fast tack and the jib comes alive…with more wind than I expected.
The boat heels into position as we move quickly to balance boat and ourselves.
Now the relative speed is all the moment. The water rushes past us splashing spray over the bow.

Yes, that last one. I’m definitely awake now!
Only minutes until the horn and we visualize the perfect spot on the line where we will pull in the sails
What! How did we end up on Port tact?
– Tim Bachman

So, what’s not to love? Windmills are a lightweight, responsive, easy-to-handle, inexpensive, high-performance one-design sailboats. Perhaps Tommie Miller has the perfect response, ”One of the best things about Windmills…is Windmillers!”

So, what’s not to love? Windmills are a lightweight, responsive, easy-to-handle, inexpensive, high-performance one-design sailboats. Perhaps Tommie Miller has the perfect response, ”One of the best things about Windmills…is Windmillers!”