Hints and tips on buying a secondhand Wayfarer:

This ‘all-purpose’ dinghy has a strong second-hand market, with older boats maintaining their price for any subsequent re-sale. There are a number of variations to the internal layout of the boat, mainly to suit those who have a particular preference for either racing, cruising or day-sailing. Racers generally prefer the latest Mk IV made by Hartley Boats or the stiffer hulls of wooden boats and the ‘Plus S’ GRP model, whilst cruisers and day sailors tend to prefer the Mk 2, or the cruising version of the Mk IV. The ‘World’ model and the Mk IV incorporate self-draining.

A Wayfarer is a very stable dinghy making it ideal for training, family, and sea sailing. Any difficulty in manhandling it on land can largely be overcome by fitting a winch to the launching trolley.

Most damage to a Wayfarer hull is caused by the boat being supported on a trolley by the two (side) bilge keels, which can cause the floor bearers to come away from the inner hull, and distort the shape of the underside (easily visible). Remove the floor boards to check the floor bearers. When on its trolley the hull should always be supported along its central chine, and should slightly rock from side to side on the trolley supports for its bilge keels. The Mk IV has a specially designed launching trolley which cradles the boat.

It is important that the front and rear buoyancy compartments should be virtually watertight (some seepage is allowable), which should be tested before sailing (see ‘Maintenance & Repairs‘). If there’s a problem, check the rubber seals on the hatch covers first, and replace if necessary. Adjust all hatch clips to secure the hatch cover tightly. For other leaks, panels may need replacing on older wooden boats, while GRP boats can usually be sealed with epoxy.

Check wooden boats for leaks around the around the centreboard housing. Older (wooden) boats may need to have the centreboard housing replaced completely. GRP boats can usually be repaired without too much difficulty.

The Wayfarer is a very solid boat which can take a great deal of punishment before it is put beyond repair. Most older secondhand hand boats have crazing on the gel coat surface in various areas which have been heavily used. This is generally only superficial damage, and does not affect the integrity or seaworthiness of the boat. Of much greater concern should be the presence of a number of obviously major repairs to different parts of the boat.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT IDENTIFYING BOATS – All Wayfarers should have their boat number recorded on their hull. This is how a boat is identified. The number is either carved on the inside of the upstand of the transom (wooden boats) or on a metal plaque (usually, but not always, fixed to the aft slope of the centreboard case). This number should correspond to the number on the sails, but, if the numbers differ, it is the number on the boat which is the boat’s official number. A boat without a plaque/carved number may not officially be raced as a Wayfarer. Potential purchasers should be aware (with wooden-hulled boats in particular) of the fact that not all boats have been measured in the past. Some hulls that have been measured may have been altered and therefore may need to be re-measured and any alterations might need to be corrected. Boats are not permitted to race in national events without a Measurement Certificate.

The UKWA would be pleased to put a new member in touch with someone locally who could provide them with more specific advice and guidance. If you need help please contact our secretary.