For a long time I have had a thing for the Wayfarer Dinghy. It started with a piece in the dearly departed Small Boat Journal about a guy cruising the coast of Labrador in one. I looked the look of the boat – and it was a wooden one – but the adventure really captured me. I was responding well to the designers intentions:
When Englishman Ian Proctor initially set about drafting the lines of the Wayfarer in 1957, his objectives were threefold. First, he wanted a boat that performed well enough to be suitable for competitive class racing. Secondly, the boat needed to be roomy and stable to make it an attractive family boat. Lastly, it was to be endowed with features such as large stowage compartments and other cockpit amenities, which would enhance its utility as a camping/cruising boat. All of this was with the view that the dinghy would be sailed for the most part in the rough, turbulent, coastal waters of the British Isles. Ian Proctor succeeded with remarkable genius in achieving all three of his goals.
Back then I wrote the U.S. Wayfarer Assn. about obtaining plans for building one. I was told, as is still the case, that they are not available. The various associations apparently keep strict control over the design to ensure even racing.
The Wayfarer sailing dingy was first produced in 1957 as a wooden boat. Since then the Wayfarer has gone through numerous versions in fiberglass. The hull shape and sail plan have been tightly controlled to keep all of the versions of the Wayfarer competitive.
OK, the ends are reasonable, but I just find it really lame to lock up a great design. It’s not like there aren’t ways to control the risks! They could just allocate a certain set of sail numbers to home builders and make those builders go through a certification process at their expense. Done – everyone wins. The associations’ approach seems draconian and – frankly – paranoid. Ease up, folks.
Here’s the design: