We are a proud sponsor of the
Copywrite 2007-2019
All information on this website is the property of Northern Lake Sailboats and may not be reproduced without permission and/or royalty

Why Sail a Butterfly?

Because it's designed to do so many things so well. Large enough to accommodate several people. Fast enough for serious competition. Light enough for launching by one person. And virtually maintenance free. The Butterfly has a strong National Organization and holds annual National Championship regattas. From a cottage boat to serious one-design racer - the Butterfly does it all.

You Sail "dry".
The generous beam combined with 15 inch depth, keeps the boat quite dry and gives her additional capacity. A spray rail across the deck helps keep water out of the footwell.

You sail secure.
In case you capsize, the Butterfly is swamp-proof because the footwell is molded into the deck, forming a completely airtight sealed hull. For added security there is enough foam inside the hull to float the boat and crew.

You sail comfortably.
The deep footwell measures a roomy 25" x 15". Mahogany handrails not only add classic beauty, but a secure hand and toe grip.

You sail anywhere.
Whether you tow it on a small trailer, or carry it on top of your car, with the Butterfly you can quickly get to the water, ready to launch.

You sail easily.
Easy handling and stability make the Butterfly ideal for young sailors. Many yacht clubs and camps use it as their junior training boat. With its large capacity and ample seating, it's also a boat the entire family can enjoy together.

You sail with quality.
Owners appreciate the quality of the Butterfly. Extreme attention to every detail, from the quality glass finish to the hand rubbed varnished woodwork, assures that the Butterfly is a boat the most discriminating sailor will be proud to own.

You sail in "class."
The Butterfly is a nationally established one-design class, governed by the National Butterfly Association. Both Single Handed and Doubles National Regattas are held annually, plus plenty of local and regional events, sponsored by dozens of fleets across the country. Even if competition is not your goal, you'll find Butterfly is a challenging and exciting boat to sail.


A Brief History

The Butterfly sailboat was designed in the early 1960's and was put into production in 1961. It was designed to be a fun, lightweight, small lake version of the ILYA C-scow. It is one of the pioneers of One Design sailing, meaning in a racing situation, all of the boats are identical, so the race is truly a measure of the sailor's ability.

The class today is virtually unchanged since 1962. Updates have improved only the overall quality of the boat, making new boats stronger and longer lasting than ever yet maintains the same level of performance. As such, the Butterfly is a regatta favorite and old boats and new alike sail together in the spirit of great competition.

Because of the Butterfly's small size, light weight, and extreme durability, it is a very popular cottage and vacation boat. If you're launching from a shoreline, it's important to have a boat that can be easily handled, even by the kids - after all, there's no point of buying a sailboat if it's just too heavy and spends most of it's life on a trailer.

The daggerboard and spring assisted rudder allow for the Butterfly to be launched and recovered from any sandy or grassy shoreline or off a trailer.

The stayed mast allows the sail to be raised and lowered. This feature allows the Butterfly sail to be easily hoisted - even by younger kids, and allows for the mast to remain on the boat when you're taking a break or done sailing for the day. If it gets too windy on the water or a sailor needs to take a break, it's an important safety feature to be able to lower the sail as needed. Many small sailboats do not enjoy this feature and have sails that fit over the mast and require removing the mast to take the sail down.

The Butterfly is a comfortable boat for the young, old, and everyone in between. The foot well is 15" deep - much deeper than most boats in it's size and weight class, allowing room for adults well over 6' tall to sail comfortably.

The Butterfly is found on most vacation lakes, and is a popular youth training boat. Many youngsters have enjoyed their first sailing experience on the Butterfly.

For a more complete history, visit the National Class Website history page.



Hull...Scow, sealed hull/deck with additional internal flotation
Length ................12'2" to extensions of rub rail
11'11" LOA exclusive of rub rail
Hull Depth................15"
Hull Weight........135 lbs
Crew Capacity....600 lbs
Sail Area............75 sq ft
Mast Length..............18'
(Mast breaks into 2-9' sections for travel/storage)
Nominal Draft.........26"
Designer...John Barnett
Year First Built.....1961
Number of Boats Built (as of 2006)............10,750
Builder............................Windward Boat Works