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.