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I was impressed with the Hartley Wayfarer. For all the chuntering and concerns about the impact on second hand values, the Class had to make a bold step forward or else begin a long and painful decline. I believe Phil Morrison has breathed some life into the boat with a design incorporating features which make upgrading a worthwhile option. We now have a boat which looks good, should go well, suits racers and cruisers alike, is a genuine self drainer and thus your race is not over if you do have a capsize. It offers equal opportunity for all who race it, by levelling the playing field and making it more likely that if you are at the back you have only yourself to blame.
It seems the Sailing Schools are interested. This should be a cause for celebration. We have the opportunity to see our Class moving forward with a product which makes very good comparison with any of the plastic tubs coming from the mass producers.
All this is conjecture of course. We will not know the truth until we see the likes of Ian Porter, (who incidentally was a very relaxed Ian at the show), and Mark and Richard Hartley, take to the water and demonstrate how good the new boat is.
I was at the show all weekend representing a different class. The new Wayfarer was the talk of the show. The incorporation of design features which other classes are considering made it of interest to many.
If expectations are matched, I think we will see many out there on the water and a new batch of members to reverse our dwindling Association numbers. What other craft out there has the potential for loyalty from beginner to highly competitive fleet racer, from fun dayboat sailor with family and dog on board to cross channel lunacy.
Key to all this must be an Association working as a team in support of progress. Please don’t dwell upon the past and cling to fear of change, the latter is like a lifebelt from which the air is fast escaping.