Latest News: Forums Technical Rear buoyancy Tank

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  • #35229
    Joe Portlock

    Hi all,

    I’m new to Wayfarer sailing so apologies if this topic is already covered.

    I recently bought a Mk2 Wayfarer and the rear buoyancy tank is filled with styrofoam sheets.

    I’m aware that you don’t want too much weight at the back, however it does seem like a waste of space especially when cruising.

    I am sure the tank is watertight after replacing the gasket and fittings so I am wondering if it is needed at all and If it is needed is there a neater solution such as buoyancy bags?




    It’s insurance Joe.  If you have managed to make the rear buoyancy chamber air-tight then well done you, but what if you capsize and a catch fails? If that chamber floods, even if you recover from a capsize or a swamping, the top of the centreboard slot will be underwater, meaning that you cannot bail her out.

    I think I have read somewhere that your Wayfarer needs to have 40 litres of buoyancy to prevent this situation, ideally fixed in somehow so any buoyancy blocks or bags don’t  float out if the lid comes off. Btw, make sure the lid is buoyant and tied on.

    Murphy’s law applies during a capsize, if it can go wrong it (probably) will.

    Joe Portlock

    Brilliant, Thanks for the reply.

    Bob Harland

    One of the original design requirements was that the boat would not sink even if the buoyancy tanks were compromised and the boat was completely waterlogged. So when the design changed from wood to GRP some permanent buoyancy was incorporated in the build. Typically this was in the rear buoyancy tank, glassed in under the deck, and some looser fitting polystyrene blocks under the side decks. Without these additions a GRP boat would sink if the buoyancy tanks flooded.

    If you have something else – perhaps added by a previous owner, it’s not necessary. The rear buoyancy tank is commonly used for storage when cruising.

    Hope that helps


    Dave Barker

    The amount of foam built into the rear tank by the original builder is quite a modest amount. There is no reason why you shouldn’t store stuff in there when cruising – it’s a good way to keep food cool, amongst other things. It sounds as if someone who only raced or day-sailed the boat has added extra foam as a sort of insurance policy in case of hatch failure.

    The front buoyancy tank is less accessible, and as you have the shelf on the Mk2 you may decide not to use the front tank for gear at all, so perhaps that would be a good place to add any additional buoyancy – sometimes people put old 5 litre plastic bottles in there, which would add almost no weight – but there’s probably no need to worry.

    Les Burns

    The aft tank on my Mk2 was hopeless even after replacing the seal. I suspect someone may have given up hunting leaks on your boat and filled the tank with foam.

    I replaced and/or  re-bedded all the hardware on the tank and hatch. I located a split in the joint between the transom and the gutter, just where the gudgeon is fixed. I built a buoyancy testing kit as described in the Wayfarer book and used that to apply positive pressure to the tank. Liberal application of soapy water to all joints around the tank revealed bubbles in this area. Repaired with epoxy and glass tape and it now passes the test.

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