Sailboat Windigo

73' yawl Sparkman & Stephens design
By lee m withey


back in the days when boats were made out of wood


Wonderful Fantastic Exciting


Unpredictable Beautiful Wet

lakes and seas

Small to Large Tranquil to Fierce  


REMINISCING about family friends and the good old days
Photo of sailboat Windigo under sail

windigo coming home

When I first looked at this photo I noticed the "square deck house" therefore I believe that this is the Windigo that we had. There were two Windigo's. They were both very similar although the deck houses were different. It's easy to tell the difference. Anyway, this is interesting stuff.

photo and story source
Windigo Architecture and design

So what is a Windigo?​You may find many Windigo stories; however, not all are as poetic as the one we like to tell…​Windigo was an ancient Native American god who, when prayed to before battle, would ensure the wind was at a warrior’s back, thus carrying his arrows farther than those of his enemies. Flying against the wind, the enemies’ arrows would fall short of their mark.​In the spirit of the legend and of competition, the name Windigo was adopted for a 73-foot Sparkman-Stevens yawl commissioned by our company founder’s father, Walter S. Gubelmann. His racing yacht earned many titles in the 1950s and 60s in the waters off the U.S. and Europe and made the cover of Sports Illustrated in June 1955. Windigo became a legend in the sailing community.​The Gubelmann name is also a legend unto itself. Our founder’s grandfather, William, was a prolific inventor in the early 20th century. Some of his most notable inventions are the backspace key for the typewriter and the coaster brake for bicycles. Altogether, he had more than 5,000 claims granted on his patents and, in 1951, was called the father of all calculating machines by the magazine Popular Mechanics. Locals may know of The Abbey in Morristown, which once served as William’s estate and laboratory.​Inspired by his grandfather the inventor and also by his maternal grandfather, architect James Greene, James “Jimmy” Gubelmann launched Windigo Design Works in 1976. With an assembled team of architects, engineers, artists, industrial designers, and graphic designers, Windigo became a company that could design and create almost anything.​Windigo retains a strong connection to its yachting roots, embodied in a passion for the sport and a design philosophy that is influenced by the physics of sailing. A sailboat's movement arises from the interplay between the manmade built form and nature, at a moment when they balance and work together. We believe that the vitality of a building exists at this same intersection of form and natural forces.​​​

Windigo painting by artist Bert Boerema Holland Michigan 1969. Oil paint on stretched canvas 20 x 30 inches.

a few pictures many memories

this group of friends spent years sailing together on the great lakes
A broadside photo of sailboat Windigo under sail with crew

Windigo and friends Lake Michigan

Windigo, Lake Michigan- Photo taken by J.C. Abbott Grand Rapids Press.  My Dad Doc Withey is standing under the boom looking at the camera.. It looks like C. Bissell leaning against the Mizzen mast. J. Chamberlin is standing by the main mast looking at the camera and P. Brown, wearing the white hat, is leaning on the boom. E. Taylor wearing black is standing at the starboard aft side of the deck house.

Photo of Mack Woodruff talking to B. Campbell on board sailboat Windigo.

Mack Woodruff

Wonderful memories of special times. Mack Woodruff, "Uncle Mack" October-1971 talks to B. Campbell

Photo of sailboat Windigo under sail on a breezy day.

Windigo Coming Home

When I first looked at this photo I noticed the "square deck house" therefore I believe that this is the Windigo that we had. There were two Windigo's. They were both similar although the deck houses were different. Anyway, this is interesting stuff.

Windigo in new york

Photo of sailboat Windigo's forward deck area

Getting ready for the trip to the Great Lakes from New York

windigo on a cool day

Photo of sailboat Windigo heeling over with crew on the deck.

P. Brown is wearing white jacket and C. Brown is wearing a white sweater and sunglasses. C. Bissell stands on the stern.

Brown smirks janet laughes

Photo of Brown and Janet on board sailboat Windigo.

P. Brown wearing sun glasses. Aunt Janet is on the left laughing as usual

windigo, lowry keeler bissell

photo of sailboat Windigo with B. Lowry at the helm and C. Bissell operating the winch.

Windigo, B. Lowry at the helm, M. Keeler tailing the winch, C. Bissell operating the winch and P. Brown in the white jacket.

mack woodruff, what a day!!

Photo of Mack Woodruff at the helm of a sailboat.

My Uncle Mack, Lee Mackie Woodruff loved sailing and always smiled.

c bissell left and b lowry

C. Bissell and B. Lowry on board sailboat Windigo.

I think this is when they saw a whale swim by with a chimp riding on it's back.

Erie Daily Times

Newspaper photo of sailboat Windigo. Erie Daily Times May-15-1969

Detroit News Press

Detroit News Press image of Sailboat Windigo July-15-1939  Staff photographer Nagel

Sailing yacht Windigo- July 15 1939 Press Image, Detroit News, Staff photographer Nagel.

windigo sept-1969

Photo of sailboat Windigo sailing fast Sept-1969

Wonderful stuff- Most of the Windigo, Sept-1969

Grand Rapids press 

Grand Rapids Press photo of sailboat Windigo June-20-1969