Latest News: Forums General Should I downsize?

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  • #4620

    Having learned to sail in Ws, and now owning my second one, I am starting to think of downsizing to a Wanderer. As I am only 10st and usually have my wife as crew (who is even smaller than me) the boat is pretty big for us, both in terms of the effort it takes to launch and recover, and in handling on the water. I worry quite a lot about how hard the boat is to right after a capsize, and my wife has even fallen off the side because she is too short to reach the foot rest in the middle of the boat. I also tend to feel that when singlehanding I just end up with the boat going on its side all the time.

    I am used to sailing without safety cover, in the Minch and Atlantic (west of the Hebrides)… the Wayfarer obviously handles this just fine- but will its smaller cousin be up to the task?

    Colin Parkstone

    With the questions your asking I feel your not enjoying your sailing as much as you should be which is a shame.

    It is a sport after all !!
    A smaller boat will be easy on you both but will it do what you want it to when it comes to the big open sea it sounds like you go for on your own, small will not always be right in these seas but your maybe able to handle small better.

    Capsize is something dinghy sailors should be prepared for and be able to get up from themselves, and with the help of masthead devises ect one can up to a point.

    We owe it to ourselves, our crews and loved ones to be safe and admit when we feel we cannot do it anymore with safety.

    Also, if the safety and the hard work is praying on your mind I would say your not going to enjoy Dinghy sailing much ?

    So maybe take on fewer big trips and sail a smaller boat you feel you can handle well. You will maybe then carry on enjoying the sport you have loved for a longer time which you sound like you want to do. 🙂


    Well I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I’m not enjoying sailing the Wayfarer- most of the time it’s great, but I’m aware that my wife and I are below the recomended minimum crew weight. I’m wondering if we will get on better with a Wanderer where we are closer to the designed crew weight, and will be able to balance the boat better throughout the wind range. And of course I’m expecting to notice a difference in launching/recovering the boat, which the two of us struggle to do.

    Another reason for considering the switch is that we used to have a wee local scene going, which was all Wayfarers, with a bit of racing from time to time. However we’ve moved to a new area where we are sailing on our own so it doesn’t really matter what class the boat is, so long as it is fun to sail, manageable on land, and above all safe.

    Is there really a big difference in seaworthiness between the Wayfarer and Wanderer? I guess that’s a hard question to answer but it would be interesting to hear from people who have experienced both boats.

    Colin Parkstone

    Surface area and waterline length of the Wayfarer being greater than the Wanderer must help in bigger waves, its just that it comes with the added weight which helps on the water and not when its out.
    You are going to get tossed about more in the bigger waves but will you be sailing in them anyway?
    Im sure you don’t but do you hang onto the greater sail area to long, I ask only to include the question as an after thought?
    All round the Wanderer will be easier but your likely to miss the size a weight of the Wayfarer.
    The Wanderer can be bought very cheaply so maybe you could own both for a time, just an idea.
    Good Luck.


    I have sailed both boats and like them equally. Yes the Wanderer will be a bit easier to handle off the water but not much as it is still very heavy and only around 25Kg less than the Wayfarer. Goes without saying it is a little less seaworthy and righting it in bad conditions may not be a whole lot easier than your existing boat to be honest, especially singlehanded. My advise would be to go for a keel. I recently took the plunge and haven’t looked back. There are plenty of small open dayboats with a keel or even consider a small yacht. Even better kept on a mooring. Older ones can be bought for the same money as a decent dinghy. As long as it is self righting your worries are over. If you can’t dump the cold damp exposed dinghy sailing completely then you could try something like a Stratos keel which is a self righting dinghy to be honest (the centreboard version is, in my opinion, dangerous).
    Hope this helps, Dave


    I hear what you’re saying but maybe I need to fill in the background a bit more…
    We actually have three boats altogether- a 27ft cruising yacht, the Wayfarer, and my wife has a 12ft plywood Graduate.
    The Grad is a huge amount of fun but it’s definitely a wetsuit job. Just launching it usually involves getting wet to the waist. By the time you factor in getting changed, getting showered afterwards, and washing and drying the wetsuits, a ‘quick wee sail’ in the Grad takes several hours!
    The Wayfarer gets used in the winter when it’s too cold to faff about with wetsuits, but the weight of it makes it more of a pain to launch/recover. And as I have said I worry that we are underweight for it.
    The yacht serves a completely different purpose- still a lot of fun to sail, but it’s a bit like comparing a motorhome to a motorbike…

    I’m wondering if a Wanderer would do the job of both our current dinghies. To earn its keep it really needs to be simple, easy, and quick to get out sailing.
    On paper, the Wanderer is 25% lighter than its big brother- that has to be a good thing!


    Interesting thoughts, just passing on a few things I’ve heard from other people:

    Proctor was possibly the best dinghy designer ever – and a look through his other creations is interesting and quite inspiring. I gather that the Kestel is good and well behaved on the sea, only slightly smaller than the W but 50kg less hull weight.

    But the Wayfarer is really hard to beat, surely?

    The guy who convinced me to go for the Wayfarer when I was wavering showed me his launching trolley which had a winch on it – he just engaged the front of the keel on the roller and winched his W in (I have a photo of it if you want -PM me). If you are always launching and recovering from the same spot could you have a set of blocks and rope set up ready to hand to help you up the slip/beach with the boat once it’s on the trolley – we do this at our club to recover our safely boats.

    Lastly two thoughts of my own – can you reef the boat down to your weights easily, and is your W itself overweight for any reason?

    good luck with the decision



    Well I’ve now purchased a tidy wee Wanderer with a good combi and a furler. My oars from the Wayfarer fit snugly aboard and I’m itching to get out on the water and try it out. This weather needs to cheer up a bit though.
    So far, I can report that the smaller boat is far more manageable just humphing it around my driveway/garden. And I can tip it back by sitting on the transom, which is useful to drain water at times. I don’t know how anybody sleeps aboard one, though- the space beside the centreboard case is really narrow, I can physically fit but I’ve seen roomier coffins.
    The Wayfarer is not up for sale just yet- I’ll compare the two boats before I decide- and will report back.

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