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    Hi, being new to Wayfarers, I iwomder if anyone can help me please.

    I rigged 8311 for the first time last weekend and noticed two problems

    1) The mainsail did not go all the way to the top of the mast (about 12-18″ short

    2) Beacuse of this, teh boom was almost touching the traveller at the stern.

    I assume 1 is connected to 2. How far up should the sail go?.

    Is there a common fault that stops sails being pulled up fully.




    Sails tend to get smaller as they get older so this can result in them not being at full hoist.

    Did you hoist the main without the boom on the gooseneck? If not do this first then attach the boom, you’ll find it much easier to get the sail up higher.

    Dave Barker

    Is it definitely a Wayfarer mainsail? 12-18 inches is quite a gap.


    Thanks for the answers so far, the boom was attached and seemd ok, although to lock it onto the mast, i could only see a cord to wrap round and lock off in a jammer.

    Sorry to sound ignorant but i’m used to teh rigging set up on my gaff rigged.

    THanks again




    Looks like you might just have inadvertently used the Cunningham to ‘lock the boom to the mast’. On the W, you are better off hoisting for the very first time with nothing connected to the boom, then when the sail is up to the top of the mast, attach kicker, and if you really want, the cunningham.



    Now to sound really daft. The sail has the red W and my number 8311 so i’m assuming it is a wayfarer sail.

    When rigging, i attached the boom to the mast where the metal “peg” sticks out horizontally, and secured the corner ( where the foot & luff meet) of the sail with a split pin to stop it moving when i pull on the outhaul.

    I think this is where i may have gone wong, how has averyone else attached the boom to the mast, and is the foot kept in place with the split pin please? .

    Sorry for the stupid questions, but this is all new.



    Dave Barker

    That all sounds perfect!

    You have a Wayfarer sail, and you’re rigging it correctly.

    It is just possible that the sail is a slightly smaller “cruising” or training sail, but you can check that in due course.

    The peg sticking out of the mast is the gooseneck, by the way. The boom just slides onto that and is held there partly by the luff sitting in the mast groove and partly by the kicking strap pulling the boom forward (and downwards). Some boats have an adjustable gooseneck, but it’s unlikely on a Wayfarer of that age I would have thought.

    The tack (where foot and luff meet) is indeed held by a split pin, normally on a short lanyard for safe keeping.

    The technique described previously involves hoisting the mainsail with boom dangling, i.e. not on the gooseneck and with the kicking strap very loose. The hoist will take the boom several inches too high (apparently), then when you have cleated the main halyard you pull down on the boom and shove it onto the waiting gooseneck, which always points exactly in the right direction for this 😉 . It’s a good way to maximise luff tension, but don’t overdo it – there shouldn’t be a vertical crease parallel with the mast, but ideally the head of the sail will be very near the top sheave. If not, it may be time to check the dimensions of the sail and/or mast.


    And, if the boat / sail has not been used for some time, you may well find that the bolt rope (the bit that slides up the track of the mast) has shrunk.

    You can “unpick” the lower end of the bolt-rope (just near the cunningham eye / rope) and then re-adjust the length, and then sew it up with a couple of stitches. This may well help the sail to be raised the last few inches to the top of the mast.

    But, as everyone else has said, the important things are:
    – slide the sail onto the boom.
    – Make sure the kicking strap is very loose.
    – Attach the pin at the tack (forward, lower corner) and the “string” / outhaul at the clew (outer, lower corner).
    – Pull the sail up the mast: the helm / stronger does the pulling on the halyard, while the crew does the feeding to ensure it goes up the track smoothly. (Someone will have put the boat head to wind before this point!)
    – Make sure the kicking strap is very loose, otherwise you wont get the sail up far enough.
    – Leave the boom swinging free. Pull the halyard up very tight: to get the sail as far up as possible, and to remove any stretch in the halyard.
    – Fasten the halyard off. Then pull DOWN on the boom (sometimes this is a 1 person job, sometimes it takes 2) and put it onto the gooseneck (that sticking out bit of metal on the mast).
    – Then attach the kicking strap. Or this might be already attached, and just needs tensioning a little.
    – Do NOT tension the kicker too much – allowing the boom to raise when the wind blows helps to stop the boat rocking about too much before you are ready to sail.


    Many thanks to you all for the answers, I see now that i have gone about this in reverse order.

    I raised the mainsail first before attaching the boom 😳

    I’m back up to Windermere on the 21st so will re-rig.

    It’s now considerably clearer.

    The previous owner was superb and a pleasure to deal with, I have the current Wayfarer book, and she was in even better condition than the photos suggested when i finally saw her.

    Thanks again, i wil let you know how I got on after the 21st



    Just in case your next attempt does not get the mainsail up all the way there is another possibility, that the halyards have got crossed over inside the mast eg if they have been recently replaced prior to sale.

    But the last bit is the hard bit normally anyhow ………..you might want to wrap the halyard around a bar a few times and then you can pull harder without the rope cutting into your hands…..but make sure the sail is not caught on anything as it could tear….


    Many thanks to all, I managed to sort everything out and although the boom is not completely horizontal it’s considerably further up than it was and a good time was had.

    Thanks again


    Dave Barker

    Hi Tim,

    Glad to hear that you had a good time in the boat.

    Did you get the leading edge of the mainsail tight this time? If you did but the boom was still quite low at the far end then the mast may be raked back too far. You can correct this by making the shrouds a bit longer, always assuming you have adjustable fittings where these join the side deck. When the jib is tightly hoisted the mast will be able to come more upright, angling the boom up with it.

    All these adjustments can be checked with a tape measure, and there are plenty of other useful tips for setting up the boat in the Wayfarer Book, as you know.

    Windermere is a beautiful place to sail – I’m envious.


    Pull the jib up very tight before trying to hoist the main. This will help pull the mast more upright.
    What is “very tight”? Some people get the crew on the front of the boat and pull the forestay away from the jib with both hands and a foot on the bow. This allows the jib to be fastened as tight as possible.

    Also: The bolt rope shrinks, so if the main sail is not right up to the top of the mast (check from outside the boat) you can “unpick” the lower end of the bolt-rope (just near the cunningham eye) and then re-adjust the length, and then sew it up with a couple of stitches. This may well help the sail to be raised the last few inches to the top of the mast.


    Been through similar problems with my ancient mainsail too. Some useful thoughts and observations:

    1. As others have mentioned, a shrunken boltrope may be a problem. We eased mine out a couple of inches and re-stitched it and this helped.
    2. Is the masthead sheave in good nick and running freely? After many years use the pin that the it runs on wears thinner so that the sheave binds or seizes as soon as you put a heavy load on it – like you do when the sail gets towards the top of the mast. Mine was seizing up when the sail was 2 or 3 inches short. I removed the sheave box from the mast and was able to renew the pivot pin. Sail now goes all the way up with very little effort. If you have to pull really hard to get the sail to go up the mast generally then have a very careful look at the sheave boxes.
    3. Compared to more modern dinghies Wayfarer booms are very low. I went down the route of raking the mast further forwards but all I succeeded in doing was creating savage lee helm which made it virtually unmanageable in strong winds! Since then I re-raked the mast as per the measurements in the Wayfarer book and just live with the low boom – it’s character building!

    Windermere is indeed a v. beautiful place to sail, though blessed with unbelievably fluky winds due to the surrounding hills, especially at the southern end where we’re based.


    Again, many thanks to all, I wil keep trying, she looks a little better but not quite horizontal yet.

    It sounds a bit picky, it’s just that all teh pictures i see have the booms out horizontally.



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