The people are speaking: time to publish Wayfarer Dinghy plans

We realized that we have been running this blog for over four years now. This is the second iteration of it, as of last Winter, so our analytics are incomplete. It is the case for the last several months, however, – and we promise that it has basically always been the case – that one of our first posts, on the Wayfarer Dinghy, is the most popular on the whole blog. Specifically, we called out the poor decision on the part of designer Ian Proctor’s descendants and the various Wayfarer Dinghy associations to not publish plans for the Wayfarer so they could be built at home.

We find it interesting that this post has had such legs and dare to think that it might mean that we are not alone in searching for the plans. Want more evidence, over the same period (3/14/09 to 12/14/09), one of the top search terms that brought visitors here was “wayfarer dinghy plans.” We think there is unmet desire here and it is time to publish the plans. Again, we are all for fair one-design racing, and we also think that issues raised by home-built boats in this context could be mitigated (e.g., validation by the association at the owner’s expense). We just don’t find the reasons for holding back compelling.

22 Comments for “The people are speaking: time to publish Wayfarer Dinghy plans”

Troy

says:

Some people are selfish, I just want sail and have fun. Can’t have a ragotta here in Eugene Oregon, there’s no Wayfarers… Would love to build a club from the ground up, just need plans.

Steve Nickles

says:

I found an ad for a “wayfarer kit” some years ago, I still have it, and I thought it was a beautiful craft, it’s lines were calling to me, “build me”. I thought, if I ever have the time to build a boat, that’s the one I would build. Now that I have the time, I find there’s no plans available. Oh well, maybe I’ll build the “Conga”, still available free plans at “polysail international” the “Sunray” and “Super sunray” are also pretty boats, and share similar characteristics with the “Wayfarer” Good Luck to all homebuilders.

says:

Thanks for visiting, Brad. Seems like a bunch of folks would like those plans, but let’s keep it legal.

clay

says:

I know this is an old thread, my understanding of copyright and design law in the US is that hulls built prior to 1998 are not protected by the “anti splashing” laws passed by congress. the plans would possibly be copyright (arguably not as a boat is a device, and hence falls into patent law)
http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/IPCoop/89boni1.html
Unless Brad had made a specific legally binding agreement not to use the plans again, then he cannot be prevented from re-using them. It is also perfectly legitimate to create a plug from a previously built wayfarer, of course then you would need the knowledge to properly outfit it.
You would also be unable to market it as a wayfarer.

Jonathan Davies

says:

Like many others, I would like to build a Wayfarer from plans. Stumbled across this blog looking for a source for the plans. The fact is that a Wayfarer is not much different in design to an Enterprise (just scaled up from 13’3 to 16′) and building an Enterprise is not that difficult. So the argument that it would be too difficult for the amateur is spurious. Nothing to stop you buying an old scrap heap job and doing it up though. Jon

Al

says:

Indeed guys!
The concept that became the wayfarer as I understand was briefed to be an affordable and easy home build kit that could be made from x (4)? Sheets of standard ply and fit in a car sized (uk) garage….

Richard

says:

I have been sailing Wayfarers for over (off and on) 24 years. I have sailed and rowed many miles in my Mk 1. You have to realize that you are dealing with people who have improved the models of Wayfarer to where it is of little use to serious cruisers and IAN PROCTOR’s original idea of a dinghy that could be easily daysailed, raced and cruised with no changes in the boat.
I have seen the insides of what they are selling and aside from the hull and sails it is NOT a Wayfarer. It is only good for daysailing and racing. And since everything seems to be run by racers…racers make the decisions for us.
They don’t want the Mk 1 (wood or fibreglass) to compet

Hannes van Tonder

says:

If there is anybody out there who has plans or templates available
Please let me know – I ‘ll be interested .
It is common knowledge that the meassuring argument is a non valid excuse
not to sell the plans – but to force anyone who wants a Wayfarer to buy it at inflated prices from the so called lisenced builders.
A lot of people ( i suspect most of them) who wants to build a Wayfarer doesn’t want it to race but rather to cruise and sail for the sake of sailing in a legendary boat.
So please – any help would be appreciated – i am sure the design can be adapted without too much trouble for the stitch and glue way of building – if the estate keepers had any business sense , they would have had this done years ago and would have had cnc cutting files for the plywood developed so that the wooden hulls made from these kits would measure perfectly for racing as well .-
As for myself ? no problem if it doesn’t measure perfectly – there is anyway no Wayfarer class racing in South Africa where i live – i know of only one Wayfarer in my country.
Anybody’s help in this regard would surely be greatly appreciated
thanks , Hannes

Jonathan Davies

says:

Once again, 7 1/2 years after my last post, I have stumbled across this site! I have just bought a woodie in quite atrocious condition which will need complete renovation.
That aside, I want to suggest a spot of rebellion. In short, tell Hartleys and the Proctor family that we want the plans for the wooden Wayfarer. If they wont comply (we know they won’t), then let’s loft a set of plans from a woodie that measures and build them anyway. If it proves impossible to register them as Wayfarers (which it will), fair enough. Lets start a brand new class for wooden wayfarers (old and new) and call them Woodies. A genuine one design class which has no wish to be overtaken by glassfibre and greed!

Clay Baxter

says:

Jonathan, dont know if this is near you but worth a gander http://www.wayfarer-canada.org/

Jonathan Davies

says:

Hi Clay. Thanks for your reply. I live in UK on the Essex coastline. I’m a trained boatbuilder but spend most of my time doing carpentry and joinery projects for people. That way I get to enjoy my boatbuilding instead of it being a 9-5 chore!
Your link to the Canadian Wayfarer Association was really interesting. I went to the site and looked at the boats for sale. The Woodie No 286 is the way I hope mine will look when its finished, right down to the gloss black hull paint and the tiger stripe sapele decks. Mine is of a similar vintage.
Clay, what Im advocating is a call to arms aimed at people who own Woodies. The vast majority of woodies are very old (mostly pre 1965). Since then, the odd ones have been made for people who are able to afford them and who do not want a glassfibre version. It stands to reason that without a considerable amount of tlc these boats will literally rot away and consequently fall out of the supply chain which is (in my estimation) exactly what the Proctor family and Hartleys (registered boatbuilders) want to happen. I dont know what the rules are in Canada, but here in UK even the extent of the repairs to Woodies is sanctioned. As I understand it, the removal and repair (or replacement) of bulkheads, transom, hull planks etc is only permitted if carried out by the nominated builder. What a load of tosh. As long as the repair is carried out properly and the boat “measures” once the repair is made, it is immaterial who carried out the work.
Furthermore, look at what has happened to the Wayfarer since its launch in 1957. A wooden boat that a number of boatyards in the UK were building, and also available as a kit to build at home. Apparently 60 years ago the general public could be trusted with building a Wayfarer. It seems the Proctor family and Hartleys would rather sell you a brand new glassfibre boat today.
Fine, so let us, Woodie owners, take our boats outside the Wayfarer Class and start a new class dedicated to maintaining the ongoing fleet and encourage the building of new ones by boatyards and amateur builders alike.
I have a huge problem with being told what I can and can’t do with my own property, particularly when the motive is greed. I agree that the boat has to measure and that it needs to be seaworthy, but beyond that, I will decide who repairs my boat, not Mr Proctor’s family or Hartleys boatbuilders.

Clay Baxter

says:

Agree with all you say. Am surprised competition laws in UK permit such a monopoly provision on repairs,, we have a similar situation in NZ with the much loved p-class, similar to the wayfarer originally a class built around home built dinghys for kids to learn on, now a highly restrictive class run by one very rich yaucht club as far as plans et-al. In the so called name of competitiveness now into kevlar etc etc. Competitiveness of the parents wallet more like.

Maybe its time for a university that does marine design engineering to set students the task of meeting the breif of a bunch of home builder designs from say p-class style knockabout learner to something similar to the hartley 16 trailer sailer. As part of the class rules any commercially built boat would have a time penalty racing.
Sadly my home build abilitys are more of the kayak line, where there are some really nice plans available for the home builder.
It would be interesting to dig into the applicable copyright law in the UK to see what is and is not an issue.
Otherwise the only other thing I can think of to obtaing “Woodie” plans would be hunting through various libraries at Uni’s, or perhaps does the UK have anything like the library of congress which requires all publications to be submitted.

Jonathan Davies

says:

Hi again Cley. It would actually be dead easy to produce a set of plans of the Wayfarer. All you need is a Wayfarer that measures to use as reference to take all the offsets from. The crosssectional shapes at the various stations on the boat are a doddle because they are built into the boat. All you have to do is dummy stick the shape onto a piece of hardboard and then copy that shape onto a piece of 18 mm marine ply that you are going to incorporate in the new boat. I havent got a measurement form yet, but the first thing I am going to do is measure my boat before working on it.
The problem of course is the legality of so-doing and I have no knowledge or skills in that area.
Wouldnt it be great though to re-class the wooden version of the Wayfarer as a “woodie”, with its own rules and regs and “one design” ethos. Woodie championships, woodie events for racing and cruising and overall a renewed interest and passion for this timeless and inspiring boat that bears no relation to the glassfibre and foam sandwich racing machines of today.
I dont know if youre familiar with the Enterprise class, but in recent years they too have succumbed to the FRP revolution with the introduction of the “Rondar” version of the Enterprise. The cockpit bears absolutely no resemblence to the Enterprise of old, and yet this too is a one design dinghy. All I can say is that Rondar and Enterprise Association must have very good lawyers! But give the Enterprise class some credit. At least the plans for a woodie have always, and continue to be, available to anybody who would like to build one.
Clay, can you send a copy of our conversation to everyone you know who has a woodie or would like to build one. Lets try to get some movement for change going. Ill do the same at my end. Take care, my friend!

Clay Baxter

says:

I fell across the Wayfarer as a very heavy man that wanted something to learn to sail, that was forgiving of minor errors, and would fit me and the three sprogs in harbour waters. there seems to be no presence in Oz, and with the proctor families and Hartleys actions seems unlikely to occur. Racing here is either trailer sailer or skiffs for the most part, for various reasons neither particularly attracts me.
As the end user of the plans, if you have not turned a profit I cannot see the “copyright owners” being able to sue you, however if you made the plans pubic, perhaps.
I wish a good lawyer would take these mobs on in that you should not be able to enforce a copyright such that no copies are available at all.
Perhaps woodies fall into the same area that in the uk is referred to as industrial art, in which case the boats themselves are already out of copyright if not the plans.
For a boat builder I really can see the advantage in grp etc etc, however we are heading to a society where DIY except in home reno is a near impossible task.
Good luck with the measuring, I hope you start a revolution in the UK like occured in the 60’s.
I might just have a gander at the enterprise.

Sean Fitzpatrick

says:

There have been 11,000+ boats built and approx 800 are the Hartley mk4.The company is local to where I live and is very supportive of both the Wayfarer class and individual sailors.Far from being the Mr Nasty of the boat building scene they are a family firm who value there customers and produce a good product.I have a Wayfarer S plus.not a wooden boat but it has seats and rubbing strake and wooden trim.The obvious reason for not building in wood are its short supply and the unsustainability of the material.
For a class to survive and attract new sailors,it needs to offer the merits of the competition.The new mk4 takes a traditional design and offers a reduction in annual maintenance,and improvements such as asymetric spinnaker and shute. Realistically all previous designs can not be altered to reflect current change,my boat can not have a spinnaker chute,nor could a mk4 have wooden floor boards.The used Wayfarer budget is vast and caters for all budgets and there are several nice looking wooden boats in the UK at a fraction of there new build price that have remained unsold.As well as this there are lots of every versions available to suit every pocket and every purpose.Realistically have you priced the build cost of a wooden dinghy,fitting out and labour. Hartley build a mk 4 in about a week,including fit out.If your dad had produced the design how keen would you be to place the plans and his work into the public domain,and allow an uncontrolled number of builders to produce craft of there own specification and choice of materials? The licenced builder has worked in that the boats built have been of a good quality and have lasted so well.As for not being available in your region,fill a shipping container with them and start a fleet.If you ever get chance you might want to call into Derby and visit the Hartleys ,take a look round at the boats being built,meet the team.
These guys work hard,play hard and eat sleep,Sailing Dinghies.
Bring your gear they will even take you out in a few boats so you can make up your own mind about the product.

Clay Baxter

says:

Dear Sean, many designers HAVE made plans available to the public for home builder use, and or made plans available at reasonable cost, this has lead to a huge proliferation of the fleets of these boats, the Hartley 16 as a home build project springs directly to mind.
In terms of a commercial operation, yes FRP is definitely the way to go, and to a degree a commercial operation is dictated by its main customers. From what I have read, Hartleys seemed to be aimed at the competitive sailor, and the cashed up experienced sailor.
There are admittedly many plans of varying qualities available at good prices over the internet, it says a good deal about Ian Proctor that the Wayfarer IS STILL considered an excellent boat.
That said, for the home builder glass/epoxy stitch and glue plywood is the only truly economical build material. To as you appear to state that the home builder has no place building sailing dinghys flys in the face of the huge revolution that plywood building created in the sixties and seventies.
New Zealand would almost certainly not be in the top echelons of world yachting were it no for the “P class” and “Javelin” hulls that both builders and designers cut their teeth on, not to mention the various 14 foot skiff classes that grace Sydney harbour on summer weekends with many wooden NS14s Still winning races.
The Hartley 16 is the perfect argument for the home builder to be involved, with many 30 year old boats still going strong, with yes a thriving second-hand market.
The Wayfarer fills a niche in that it is known as the best dinghy in its class and length without graduating to an enclosed cockpit.
So the question becomes does the Proctor Family and Hartleys wish to become involved in reviving a great boat, or will those still wishing the pleasure of building at home be forced to do it via a grey market lofted plan, or choose an inferior design and sit wishing they had been able to build a wayfarer.
Of note copyright and the patent system was actually created by the crown as a means of encouraging the dissemination of knowledge with a proper reward to the creator, not the modern usage which appears to be using it as a means to limit the availability of information to protect the livelihood of the few.
I would far prefer to have access at a fair price to the original plans, and specifications than to be working off of offsets produced from an old hull that may have altered slightly with aging.

Jonathan Davies

says:

Mr Fitzpatrick, you have contrived to miss the point of my argument by a country mile. As an aside, I do think that it is rather ironic that a so-called one design class can have undergone so may radical design changes over the years and yet still have the gaul to class boat no 1 and number 11,000 as both Wayfarers. It’s not, however, the reason for my frustration and anger.
With respect, I will decide if I have the facilities, the skills and the money to build a Wayfarer at home. I also have respect for the Wayfarer class as a whole, and would only expect my home-built boat to receive a measurement certificate and be allocated a boat number if it were seaworthy and complied in all respects with the measurement form, but it is not for you, Hartleys or Proctors to decide whether I am up to the task. It is (or at least it should be) down to me and the official measurer who measures my boat when it is completed.
There are many similarities between the Wayfarer and the Enterprise, and how they have developed over the years. They were both designed and first launched within a year of each other in the 50s and they were both originally available only in plywood. They were both either available from one of many builders or alternatively could be purchased in kit form or built from first principles by purchasing a set of plans.

Like the Wayfarer, the Enterprise was developed in GRP form in the mid 1960s, but the fact was, in both classes, that the wooden boat was superior, because in both classes they were both stiffer and lighter than the grp version, and thus faster. Hence why, the grp enterprise never really took off in the 1970s. The Wayfarer however achieved massive sails of grp boats via the simple expedient of withdrawing the plans from publication, and restricting the supply of wooden boats by making them exorbitantly expensive from just one supplier. So prospective Wayfarer purchasers were coralled into buying grp.

I do not object to there being a grp version of the Wayfarer (or, indeed, the Enterprise), but I wouldn’t want one myself. I do object when I am told by the class, that if I want to effect a structural repair on my woodie, that it has to be done by Hartleys, and I do object when, if I want to build a Wayfarer from scratch. I am denied the plans.

Oh, one final point Mr Fitzpatrick. Part of your argument for the promotion of the grp Wayfarer, is what you regard as its relatively sustainable effect (I presume you mean in relation to planet pollution and timber resources). I suggest you go and see your friends at Hartleys and ask f you can go into their mould room when they are laying up the hulls in glass, ot fibre sandwich, with polyester resin. It is said that, even using breathing apparatus that the fumes from polyester resin are more harmful to the lungs than asbestos.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *