Latest News: Forums Cruising New to Wayfarers and dinghy cruising – advice

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  • #20298

    Hi all,

    We’re due to take delivery of our new Mk 4 later this week (very exciting!) and we have been reading everything we can online. There is a lot of good cruising advice out there and I have a couple of questions:

    1. Being a mk 4 we should be self draining with transom scuppers and floor bailers. Is there any need to carry a hand bailer as well?

    2. We were not planning on getting oars – a paddle to back up an outboard being the preferred option having talked things through with Ian Porter. Yet from what I’ve seen on cruising forums etc this is utter madness (!). I get the various reasons people give, but figure a lot of boats carry no spare engine and are too big to paddle or row – is it really that bad?

    3. We’re not getting a spinnaker initially, due to lack of experience with them. Would this be a problem in a group cruising context? ie will we get left behind!

    I’m sure there’ll be more questions arising soon – hope to meet up with some of you at events over the coming years.


    W11086 (in build)

    Dave Barker

    Hi James,

    Exciting times!

    I don’t see that you will necessarily need a hand bailer, but if you already have one it won’t take up much room in the boat…

    When it comes to oars there are those who just love rowing their Wayfarer. Don’t forget that your first means of propulsion is your sails, and unless you have badly miscalculated the tide you can usually get along – albeit sometimes slowly – using the wind. A paddle or two is really handy for manouevring, depth measurement, fending off, recovering airborne halyards, crew motivation, digging on the beach, playing cricket etc., but a tiring and fairly slow way to propel the boat for a long distance. Lots of cruising W sailors use outboards, but some are dead against them!

    Don’t forget an anchor on tidal waters – 2 kg plus a couple of metres of chain and plenty of 7 or 8 mm line for sheltered waters, Bruce (claw), Danforth, CQR (plough) etc, not a grapnel. If you can’t go at least you want to be able to stop.

    It’s fine not to have a spinnaker, especially to start with. Groups of boats should sail at the pace of the slowest, and even when there seems to be a gap opening up it’s amazing how little difference in speed this actually represents. It’s also often a smart move not to be right at the front, for all sorts of reasons.

    Main advice – enjoy your sailing!


    I wise man once told me: There is no better bailer than a scared man with a bucket.

    Having said that, a bucket has many other uses on a Wayfarer, provided it is tied to the hull:

    – Washing of the dirt after beaching.
    – Stowing the anchor, its rode and a towing line.|
    – Store a bottle of apple juice.
    – Serve as an emergency loo. (I know, real man will sit on the CB case. But imagine the horror if you sail in to the shallows)!

    I made a bucket from a square waste paper basket by throwing out the lid and adding a cupboard handle to its side. Because it is square it is easier to bail the boat. The handle rope is used to tie it to the boat.
    I suppose a normal bucket would work just as well, specially if your boat is already self draining.

    I haven’t tried this myself, but maybe a canvas bucket would work too?


    I forgot to mention yet two other uses of a sturdy bucket:

    – An improvised rudder
    – A make shift sea anchor or drogue

    Andrew Morrice

    Spinnakers are great, but need a lot of getting used to as you say.  Racing regularly is a great way of getting used to them, and “keeps you regular” through the winter months!

    The boat will make good progress downwind with the genoa goosewinged, so a jib-stick can be a useful addition – they can be cheaply made with nylon/plastic fittings and a length of 1″ dowel from the mouldings rack at the hardware shop (a standard broomhandle is a bit short).   fittings (for example) here and



    Great, thanks for all the feedback!

    Went on a trip to the Isle of Wight on Sunday with some chaps from HISC. I crewed with one of them and saw the benefits of various things. Interestingly, the performance advantage of a Spinnaker was not as great as I had expected. One boat flew one all the way back and only really started to pull out a lead over the other two from the halfway point, we flew one for the last 20% of the journey and made up a small amount of ground on a boat without one.

    Bucket will be bought soon, as will a small anchor as they were extremely handy when pulling up on the beach at Bembridge Sailing Club!

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