The Windfall Yachts - A Legacy of Goodwill by Michael Cudmore
The yachts were built in Germany in the 1930s to provide training for the German armed services. They were owned by the German Government and after the war were taken by the British Government as reparations. The majority were then sailed to England, where they were promptly dubbed Windfalls and initially allocated to Navy, Army and Air Force of the British and Commonwealth Services.
The yachts varied in size from 85 ft to 32 ft and included some very fine large craft. During the 1940’s the Windfall fleet was mainly condensed to three main classes: 100 square metre (sq m), 50 sq m and 30 sq m, with an overall length of 55 ft, 42 ft and 32 ft respectively. Virtually all are now under private ownership, sailing as classic boats and much admired at classic boat rallies or Tall Ships Races.
Despite being built for use in the Baltic they have since sailed far and wide, cruising extensively and racing in most of the Northern Hemisphere offshore races including the Fastnet, Bermuda and Trans-Atlantic Races. That they were very well constructed is amply demonstrated by the fact in 70 years not one has been lost at sea due to stress of weather.
In addition to the yachts there were several hundred small craft, mainly dinghies. These, while appearing on the lists of craft taken by the British, were never described as Windfalls, a term which has always been limited to the yachts.