I first got involved with the Wanderer having just bought the Copyright from the Proctor family. I was asked by the builder, Ian Porter (Porter Boats) to attend a committee meeting with the Wanderer Class Association. At this meeting the whole committee raised their concerns regarding the build of the new version of the Wanderer and many of the committee were not happy with the new boat.
The main areas of discontent were the floor, which was very slippery. The boat was difficult to right after capsize and it came up full of water, this made the boat difficult to handle in heavy winds. In short, it was not a very good first meeting, “what had I bought?” I had spent thousands of £’s buying the Copyright, the patterns, moulds and tooling to now be told I had bought a bad boat.
The previous Wanderer was a successful boat with thousands of Wanderer’s cruising and sailing throughout the UK. It left me very disappointed and uncertain. Following that disastrous meeting, I turned to Ian Porter and asked him to find me a Wanderer and Hartley Boats would test the boat, maybe the committee were wrong and this was a great boat. I loved the size of the boat being 14ft (4.27m) it was ideal for small family sailing or single-handed sailing, weighing only 135kgs and much lighter than the Wayfarer, this had to be a great alternative to offer in the Hartley Boats stable range of boats.
The big day for testing the boat came, sunshine and good winds, Carsington Sailing Club was our destination. What would Mark, my son and I think? After a few minutes of sailing the boat we began to smile, the boat handled so well, it was a dream to sail, so stable, forgiving, responsive on the helm with superb balance. A long beat was followed by a reach, the boat came up on a plain and again it was a joy to sail, so steady and stable, it just gave me more confidence in the boat. The run was very stable and the boat felt just like a lighter Wayfarer to sail. Time to capsize the boat! “Mark, you stand on the side deck and capsize the boat”, Mark is 6’5” and 14.5 stone, the boat just went further down in the water. I then at 6’2” and weighing 14 stone stood on the side-deck with him, the boat just went further down, then stopped. It was only when we grabbed the shroud and lent back together that the boat capsized. I was amazed, how could this be in a 14ft (4.27m) dinghy, it was so stable, my confidence and view of this boat had changed.
Mark and I found righting the boat difficult, but when righted the boat was full of water, which then made the boat impossible to steer, full of water, just like trying to sail a bath. I then slipped on the floor and hit my head on the transom, we found trying to sail the boat and clear the water impossible so we went ashore.
The committee were right, this fantastic Wanderer had been destroyed with the newly designed interior. We decided we would not build this newly designed Wanderer as this was a boat we did not want to sail ourselves and we would not be happy to sell to our customers. I rang Phil Morrison, our Naval Architect who had designed and helped us improve the Wayfarer, he would be the right man to sort the Wanderer. We were delighted with the sailing qualities of the Wanderer, if we could sort the problems, we would have a world leader.
With the requirements and benefits list completed and at a meeting with Phil Morrison, we delivered our list of requirements. The changes were, do not change the hull, this gives the Wanderer a terrific advantage over other sailing dinghies of its size, it is so stable and forgiving. The chined designed hull by the best Naval Architect Ian Proctor is unique. The buoyancy in the side-tanks as with many other dinghies had to be reduced as this made the boat float too high, with too much air in the tank. You have to push under the water to right the boat and this is hard work, by reducing the capacity this would give a great benefit, STABLE, and not difficult to be righted, in-turn a much safer boat to sail. Remove the bath of water in the boat when it comes up, a few inches of water that can be drained would be great. Make sure you can still sit the Wanderer on a mooring, we did not want to lose this 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 and give customers a choice. 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 more comfortable. Put the bailers out of the way under the thwart and to 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 and sleeker and incorporate all these requirements and benefits would be great.
Phil Morrison’s respect for the original designer Ian Proctor came through loud and clear, he decided with my team that the changes had to be right for the long-term success of this stylish boat. All these changes and benefits have transformed and improved the boat beyond the dreams of Hartley Boats.
We now have the most STABLE and safest 14ft (4.27m) sailing dinghy money can buy. The very best sailing dinghy of its size designed to carry up to four adults or, with a few simple modification can be sailed easily and safely by just one person by leading the kicker, cunningham and centre board to the centre of the boat in order that the helm can fully control the boat without having to move from his seat.
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 and 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 gives the customer the choice of what is the best for them. Additional options of back seats, a rear storage box to carry an outboard engine, dry clothes and that essential cheese and wine, or to fit oars to give that real flexibility for the sailor.
We offer the choice of colours for your hull, foredeck, cockpit and non-slip floor. The boat weighs just 135kgs and is easy to transport and tow, which makes launch and recovery a doddle.
The new boat can be built to your specification whether on 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 Wanderer 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 new cruising family’s. When a new owner buys a Wanderer a full year’s membership to the Cruising Association is offered, free.
When we sell a new boat, Hartley Boats likes to complete a full boat handover. 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.