Why does Hartley Boats believe that the Wayfarer is the best 16ft (4.88m) dinghy in the world? Simply because this is the most STABLE sailing dinghy of its size ever built.
The only dinghy that you can stand two adults on the side deck and the boat will still not capsize, this is due to the best dinghy Naval Architect in the world at the time Ian Proctor. His vision, to build the hull in a chined style method and to incorporate stability characteristics that would be unique and set this boat apart from all the other dinghies at the time of build and for many years to come. With a proven track record of over sixty years.
Successfully sailed in eighteen countries throughout the world, used by over 1,700 sailing schools, training centres and by many holiday sailing schools, with nearly 12,000 boats sold throughout the world. The only sailing dinghy to sail from the UK waters to Denmark, with numerous channel crossings and just last year three Wayfarers circumnavigated completely round the UK. This is a very special boat and we at Hartley Boats are very proud to be the builder.
In 1995 when Hartley Boats was founded, the first boat we started to build was the Kestrel Race dinghy. This was a safe and quick boat but, with a rounded hull it was easy to capsize. Several months later we were fortunate to be offered the Wayfarer Copyright, patterns and the tooling. This was an opportunity we jumped at, with a massive investment but we were determined to buy, an opportunity like this could not be missed.
As the deal would take several months to complete we decided we should buy a new Wayfarer from Moore’s, the existing builder and we should sail and test the boat to ensure we understood thoroughly all the qualities and benefits of the boat. The first sail was at a Wayfarer open race meeting in the Solent, big seas and strong winds, this was a good opportunity to test the boat. On the first gybe mark as novice sailors we capsized, we were too slow and allowed the boat to invert. We took a long time getting the boat back up and when righted we got the shock of our lives when we found it full of water, just like a bath. Trying to sail a bath in big waves with strong winds was horrifying for two novice sailors, this was the end of our race. I could only think “I have made a mistake and bought a bad boat”. Was I right with my views, with over 1,700 sailing schools and thousands of sailors, not just in the UK using the boat, who was Hartley Boats to criticise the number one cruising dinghy in the world?
Hartley Boats second sail was to sail the boat in medium winds, the boat was a joy to sail, light on the tiller, fabulous response and well balanced, we felt we could sail across the channel. The next step was to capsize the boat, so I asked my crew who was 6ft 5” and weighing 14.5 stone to stand on the side-deck, lean back on the shrouds and pull the boat over, the boat dipped then stopped! I was 6ft 2” and weighed 14.5 stone, so I stood on the side-deck with my crew and we went a little further down into the water and then stopped again. My crew and I had to swing off the shrouds to force the Wayfarer over, I was shocked and amazed how STABLE the boat was and I now knew why the boat was so successful. My joy, my whole view of the boat changed, this is the number one cruising dinghy in the world, if I could improve its bad points and weaknesses, I would have a world leader.
This special boat would need the best Naval Architect to achieve the very best results. This was an easy decision as we had previously worked with Phil Morrison. Having had time to compile a list of improvements and benefits we would like to see implemented to the old boat, we would meet Phil and convince him of the changes required and get him cracking with the list of changes.
The changes were, do not change the hull as this gives the Wayfarer a terrific advantage over any other sailing dinghy of its size, it is so STABLE and so forgiving. Reduce the buoyancy in the side tanks as with many other dinghies they float too high with too much air in the tank. You have to push under the water to right the boat, this is hard work, reducing the capacity would give a great benefit, being stable but not difficult to be righted and in-turn a much safer boat to sail. Remove the bath of water in the boat when it comes up, a couple of inches of water that can be easily drained would be great. Make sure you can still sit the Wayfarer on a mooring, we did not want to lose that key benefit.
We want a stunning boat with style that sailors would want to buy and own, flatten the foredeck, fit an easy to launch and retrieve spinnaker system, make the boat able to have an asymmetric or symmetric spinnaker system, make more room for the crew. Move the thwart further aft in the boat, drop the inner skin nearer to the outer hull skin giving more depth to in-turn provide more leg room and make the boat more comfortable, put the bailers out of the way under the thwart, fit rear draining tubes would be another benefit. Ensure it’s a self-draining floor with the minimum of boat maintenance needed.
Yes, get rid of that bulbous foredeck, make the boat stylish, sleeker and if we could incorporate the list of requirements and benefits, that would be great. At this point in the meeting Phil turned to address my whole team and said “my name is Phil Morrison not Jesus Christ”.
Phil Morrisons respect for the original designer Ian Proctor came through loud and clear, he had decided with our team that the changes had to be right for the long-term success of this special boat. All the changes and benefits have transformed and improved the boat beyond the dreams of Hartley Boats. We now have the most STABLE and safest 16ft (4.88m) sailing dinghy money can buy, the very best sailing dinghy of its size, designed to carry up to six adults or with fitting modification can be sailed easily and safely by just one person by leading the kicker, cunningham and centreboard controls to the centre of the boat, in order that the helm can fully control the boat without having to move from his seat. Launch and recovery is also made easy for a single-handed sailor with our simple ball-hitch adapter kit fitted to your launching trolley. Just hitch up and reverse your trolley into the water.
With an option of slab reefing main and a reefable genoa system the boat can be de-powered within twenty-five seconds following big wind changes, this makes the boat easy to handle, whatever the wind conditions. There is also the option to fit either, an asymmetric or symmetric spinnaker system and give the customer the choice of which option is the best for them. Additional options are back seats, a rear storage box to carry an outboard engine, dry clothes and of course the essential, cheese and wine. We can also fit oars to give that real flexibility for the sailor.
The new boat can be built to your specification be it to a limited budget or with all the bells and whistles, you decide your requirements with the knowledge that the Hartley Boats Team will give you sound advice to ensure you get the fit-out right for your needs.
The Wayfarer Class Association have a large fleet of cruising members with training weekends and cruising trips not only in the UK, but sometimes abroad. This is a friendly and family outing with the experienced members passing on all their experience and knowledge to other new cruising family’s. When a new owner buys a Wayfarer, a full year’s membership to the Cruising Association is offered, free. A new option offered by Hartley Boats is a tent, to convert your cruising Wayfarer to be able to sleep on-board, this will enhance your cruising experience.
We offer the choice of colour for the foredeck, cockpit and non-slip floor as well as the hull colour. The boat weighs 183kgs and is a doddle to transport and tow.
When we sell a new boat, Hartley Boats likes to complete a full boat handover. Not only to ensure that you understand how to rig your new boat but most importantly that you get the best from your new investment and enjoy sailing the boat and come of the water wanting to return and sail again.
We at Hartley Boats are very proud of our standards and build quality, to demonstrate that statement we are the only manufacturer to offer a 4-year guarantee. Should it be needed we are able to deliver.