Wayfarer (dinghy)

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Current Specifications
Walloping Window Blind
Crew 2
LOA 4.827 m (15.84 ft)
Beam 1.855 m (6 ft 1.0 in)
Draft .203 m (Template:Convert/And0)
1.169 m (3 ft 10.0 in)
Hull weight 169 kg (370 lb)
Mainsail area 8.83 m2 (95.0 sq ft)
Jib / Genoa area 2.78 m2 (29.9 sq ft)
Spinnaker area 13.5 m2 (145 sq ft)
RYA PN 1099

The Wayfarer is a wooden or fibreglass hulled Bermuda rigged sailing dinghy, often used for short sailing trips as a 'day boat'. The boat is 15 foot 10 inches (4.82 m) long, and broad and deep enough for three adults to comfortably sail for several hours. Longer trips are undertaken by enthusiasts, notably Frank Dye who sailed W48 'Wanderer' from Scotland to Iceland. Wayfarers' size and stability have made them popular with sailing schools.

Not only a versatile cruising dinghy, Wayfarers are also raced with a Portsmouth Number of 1099. Although best suited to larger stretches of water and stronger winds, their stability and seaworthiness has led them to be used as family boats in a wide variety of locations.

From the original design by Ian Proctor in 1957, many subsequent versions of the Wayfarer have been produced [1]. Wayfarers can be identified by the W symbol on their sails.


Over its history several versions of the Wayfarer have been developed, as follows.

Mark I Wood

This was the original wooden Wayfarer designed for construction by both amateur and licensed builders, with a hull and deck made from plywood. Frank Dye's famous W48 Wanderer was of course of this type, a testament to its robust construction. The boat can be seen at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth. Other boats of this model are still racing after 30 years, and new ones could still be purchased in 2004. The hull is of a 'three plank' construction, that is with two chines. This provides a good compromise between stability and ease of construction. Both forward and aft buoyancy compartments are fitted with large watertight hatches and this provides ample stowage space for cruising. The large floor space with flat floorboards and good clearance under thwart makes the Mark I a comfortable boat for two people to sleep in, when a boom-tent is erected for shelter. The mast is held in a tabernacle, which when rigged with a tackle on the forestay allows the mast to be lowered to pass beneath bridges. This feature was retained in subsequent models, as was the hull shape.

Mark I GRP

A Glass Reinforced Plastic version was introduced in 1965 and was similar in layout to the wooden boat. Over two thousand copies of this model were made and many are still in use through the world. In contrast to other GRP models, this version has a large hatch to the forward buoyancy compartment useful for stowage when cruising, and a forward bulkhead extending right up to the foredeck level. The Mark I has no side buoyancy, and consequently does not suffer from a tendency to invert when capsized that plagued later models. The Mark I was also available as a composite model with a GRP hull and bulkheads but plywood fore- and side-decks.


The Mark II was introduced in 1974 supposedly as an improvement. The front and rear buoyancy tanks were built into the hull before bonding on the deck. The forward buoyancy compartment has a gap above it and under the foredeck. This would have been useful for a spinnaker chute, but class regulations of the time did not allow that. The forward compartment had a small circular inspection hatch thus removing much of the useful dry stowage space. Side buoyancy compartments gave this model a tendency to invert, and those owned by sailing schools soon sported socks filled with polystyrene to provide a righting moment when capsized. Reduced clearance under the thwart made this boat uncomfortable to sleep in.

A version with a self draining cockpit, the Mark II SD, was introduced in 1986. This was especially suitable for boats kept on moorings. However the buoyancy sealed in the floor increases the inverting tendency, and when righted after a capsize the trapped water causes instability. To help overcome this drain tubes through the aft tank were later introduced.

Mark 1A

This GRP model was introduced in 1987, combining the structural improvements of the Mark II with greater storage space in the bow. A horizontal bulkhead divides the bow buoyancy tank, and both the upper and lower sections have large access hatches creating secure stowage spaces.

Wayfarer Plus S

First produced in 1991 the Wayfarer Plus S was made with a sandwich construction for the hull and chines. This produced a boat that could compete with the original wooden boats in stiffness and weight, while having the maintenance advantages of GRP. The forward tank has a full height bulkhead like the Mark I. The cruising version has a large hatch in the bulkhead to allow the tank to be used for stowage.

Wayfarer World

The Wayfarer World was introduced in 1997 and was designed as a collaboration between Ian Proctor and his son Keith. Made in GRP with no woodwork it has a removable aft storage tank, a self draining cockpit, and a spinnaker chute. The rudder stock is of aluminium alloy. Until the MkIV this was the only version with an asymmetric spinnaker, although it can not be used in class races [except in the UK]. It has proved successful in both racing and cruising, including a North Sea crossing 1998.

Wayfarer World S Type

The Wayfarer World S Type is generally similar to the Wayfarer World but is made using the same foam sandwich construction as the Wayfarer Plus S.

Mark III (North America only)

Built by Abbott Boats in Canada, production stopped after a fire in 2006.

Mark IV (Hartley Wayfarer)

Introduced in 2007 the MkIV was designed by Phil Morrison. The design is intended to be more modern and spacious inside, and easier to right and drain after a capsize. This version was also designed to be "as fast as but no faster than the fastest" of the older Wayfarers.


  • Frank Dye, Ocean-crossing Wayfarer, David and Charles (1977), ISBN 0-7153-7371-4.
  • Lee Hughes, The Biggest Boat I Could Afford, Random House NZ (2004), ISBN 1-8694-1608-2

External links


da:Wayfarer (sejljolle) is:Wayfarer no:Wayfarer