Hull No: HMCo. #425

1892 Half-Rater Fin Keel

Length Over All: 23' 10"
Length Water Line: 16' 3"
Draft: 3' 0"
Beam: 4' 6"

WEE WINN was a radical and futuristic design in 1892. With its bronze plate – essentially a fixed centerboard – and lead bulb keel, WEE WINN is totally unlike any other vessel on display in the HMM collection today.


HMCo. built almost 50 fin keel boats between 1891 and 1900, ranging from 20 to 65’ feet in length. The half models for these boats are immediately recognizable on the south wall of the N.G.H. Model Room because they appear not to have any keels at all! Because the keel was a thin bronze plate bolted to the bottom of the hull, there was no reason to include it in a carved model. The shape of the lead bulb fastened to the bottom of the plate was very significant to the boat’s performance, however, and if you look closely at the top of Captain Nat’s roll top desk in the northwest corner of the model room you can see a whole selection of carved half models for these lead bulbs. 


WEE WINN was owned and raced on the Solent in the U.K. by Miss Winifred Sutton. She and her sister Maude were both avid sailors, and in WEE WINN’s first racing season, Miss Sutton took 20 first places and 1 second place in a total of 21 races. Miss Sutton’s decision to go to an American yacht designer in 1892 may have been influenced by her brother’s experience attempting to race against American yachts just a few years prior: in 1885 Sir Richard Sutton had challenged for the America’s Cup – and was soundly beaten by the Yankee boat.

More in the Hall of Boats