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  • #3803

    Just interested to hear everyone else’s opinions on how well the Wayfarer handicap works for them at their venue.

    I’ve sailed my boat on Windermere for 3 seasons now, and been heartily disappointed by my results in handicap racing. Now I’d be the first to admit that my tatty old MK1 GRP is hardly the quickest W in creation, but we do have a reasonable fleet of a dozen or so Wayfarers of various marks and in various states of tune, yet it seems no-one’s ever won a handicap race in one in living memory!

    When it’s light and shifty (the predominant conditions here) the National 12s, Enterprises, Lasers and OKs clean up, due to their light and easily driven hulls. When it’s windy the Flying Fifteens go well, and when it’s really windy anything with a good boat-handler at the helm is in with a shout.

    The problem we seem to have is that there never seem to conditions that ideally suit Wayfarers. When it is light they have too much wetted area, when it’s windy they are hard to depower, and when it’s shifty they aren’t maneouverable enough.

    My suspicion is that the conditions a Wayfarer could hold it’s own in are a steady medium breeze with big waves, where it’s big chines and general seaworthiness could come into their own. Unfortunately we never get those conditions on a lake!

    Does anyone else have any experience of successfully sailing a W in handicap racing on inland waters? Is it just us, or is there perhaps a case for developing a different PY for these circumstances?

    By way of illustration, this season an old Flying Fifteen came up for sale very cheap at our club which I have bought. After a couple of weeks fiddling with it we can now win races on handicap, particularly when the wind gets up.

    So W1642 is now on ebay, as indeed are the new racing sails which were used just 4 times, and though the boat was totally transformed by them we still couldn’t sail it anywhere near its handicap.

    I still ponder about buying another one at some time in the future and doing a bit of coastal / estuary cruising, but in all honesty I have to say that as a lake boat I’ve found it a big disappointment.

    Bob Harland

    We sail on an inland lake – but probably quite a bit smaller than Windermere.
    We are very competitive against Lasers, Enterprises, Laser Vagos but Solos give us a very good run for their money. Years ago we sailed on Bala in Wales in a different (slower) Wayfarer, again we felt we were always competing with the other classes.

    There’s no doubt that the most difficult conditions are very very light winds when the smaller boats will get moving and we just sit there. But anything else is fine.


    I have just returnd from “the Bosche 5” races where Dirk Olyslagers won the over-all trophee. Among his competitors were two of Europe’s finest Laser sailors. Some other boats that competed were a 49-er, O-dinghy’s, Hornets and a few other really fast types. I don’t think there is anyting wrong with our PY number. The only comment I heard this weekend was that it may be too high….

    My speed secret is sail, sail, sail, three evenings a week if possible. Visit as much Wayfarer events as possible. Be on the water every chance you get. And trust me, that is the only secret of all top sailors in our class.


    As a primary yardstick,my understanding is it cannot be easily changed.
    One top helm has been heard to remark that the introduction of the center board gasket was equivalent to two points faster on handicap.
    Who knows, but it must be faster !



    Hi, we sail W 7045 (Mk II GRP) at Bala (Wales) and have found we do best in light to medium winds, at the moment we are laying 1st in the Saturday Autumn Series. That said I think we would be classed as a light weight crew ! having read somewhere that the ideal weight is Kg. 180 +- 10%.


    @John1642 wrote:

    When it’s light and shifty (the predominant conditions here) the National 12s, Enterprises, Lasers and OKs clean up, due to their light and easily driven hulls.

    Although I am Asst Racing Secretary of the UKWA I have to confess that I still keep my Enterprise ‘The Old Grey Fox’ for racing on the river at Kingston-upon-Thames. The Enterprise was designed on the River Thames at Putney by Jack Holt and it is a perfect river boat. Yet, friends of mine who sail Enterprises on big lakes and on the sea report that the Ent has no chance on handicap against more modern classes.

    The answer to the problem is to analyse a full series of club results on computer using a programme such as and play around with the PY Number until you get the results that you want.

    This is exactly what I have done in my role as sailing secretary at Minima Yacht Club. We have three main classes, Merlin, Solos and Enterprises and we want to ensure that the club trophies are shared fairly equally between the best sailors in all three classes over a full years sailing.

    As a result of this analysis we have kept the Ent PY number at 1116, but our Merlins sail off 1060 (as opposed to 1019).

    This is perfectly legal. All you have to do is to put the PY numbers you have decided on for club sailing into your SIs (it helps if you have an autocratic sailing secretary like Minima YC has).

    Has anyone conducted an exercise like this on Wayfarer PY numbers?



    @Roger Medway wrote:

    As a primary yardstick,my understanding is it cannot be easily changed.

    You can easily change the yardstick for club racing, if you want to and you can get your sailing sec to agree(see my previous post).



    At shoreham ( open sea-sailing ) Merlins race off 982 – and still win frequently !!!!

    Colin Parkstone

    And this is why I gave up Handicap racing long ago,at least with class

    racing your in the same race as the rest of the boats your racing against.

    Nearest I get to this is a pursuit race, so when your over taken you know

    you have been beaten!!

    I am so lucky to be sailing in class races !!!



    Sadly this is why I am now considering changing class from W to F15. Although we have 63 Wayfarers at our club, very few seem inclined to race and we sail in a Medium Handicap Fleet. Our club sets its own handicaps: W 1106, RS200 1106, Fball 971, Merlin 1023, Stratos 1023 etc Same handicap as RS 200 seems a bit unfair, but all depends on course set. I would much prefer class fleet sailing like you Colin, but only options at our club are Flying 15, Rs 700 or Solo. I am a bit too large and not old enough for a Solo yet, hence F15. Having said that I would be very sad to part with Fantasia after nearly 10 years.


    An alternative would be to join Shoreham – we will have four ( perhaps 5 )- Hartleys next year . Come down as my guest any time . Invitation applies to all



    Hi John, if you are interested in evening races then come to Warsash! 😀

    On Wednesdays we have between 4 and 7 Wayfarers out and usually 2 or 3 on Fridays.

    If you like to race at weekends I would however look elsewhere 😥


    Fantastic to hear so many Hartleys going to Shoreham. Now that we have enoyed sailing ours at Starcross for several weeks (and we love it, best boat we have ever had!) I envy you the prospect of racing in close company on those waves.
    The Hartley boats are superb in a blow as you will discover.
    Good luck and look forward to doing battle anew in 2009. Just make sure the waves are ready for us at your Open. Don’t want any more flat water and jelly fish. So put in an order for wind next time you say a prayer[/img] 😈


    Thanks Liam – you’ve obviously guessed that one of the Hartleys will be mine named Loch Inn . Decided to discontinue the alcoholic theme !!

    Glad to see from Rogers posting that we are rerunning the Southerns at Warsash in 2008 !!!!!


    Hi guys
    My opinion may not be that acurate for this topic as i dont race Wayfarers i actually race a laser in a handicap fleet that is labled as : Fast handycap at my club , this class is any sailing dinghy with a PY of 1180 or below , this fleet regually races with 2 rs 400 , 1 solo , a couple of radiels , somtimes a full rig , and 3 or 4 4.7’s. Now a usual race involes the 400’s speeding off and then it is a good race between the rest of the fleet , appart from for the 4.7’s because of there handycap i cant see a way (appart from the best sailor in britain) they can beat the 400’s lets face it , it will probably never happen and i think this is quite a similar for the wayfarer class and the only way round this i have come up with is that fleets need to have closer boundrys on PY but then you have the problem that most clubs (i think) dont have enough boats for this -there are only 3 400’s alltogether at our club – so maybee clubs changing the handycap is the best way ? i would like to hear from anyone elce who races with this problem not neccaceraly just wayfarers but to conclude this is why i have been put off handycap racing .

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