Latest News: Forums Technical Wintering my recently purchased wooden Wayfarer 455

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  • #4366

    Hello all. I have recently purchased a wooden Wayfarer 455 in particularly good condition. I am new to the Association having joined yesterday and new to sailing I obtained my Basics 1 and 2 last year at the ripe old age of 63!! which was last year.

    At this stage I am trying to improve my skills as a novice sailor and sail my Wayfarer solo. The boat is moored on a fresh water lake of about 40 acres in the middle of Mote Park in Maidstone and my questions are related to what I need to do to ensure that the boat gets through the winter well. It has been anti fouled and the hull painted recently. It is moored to a buoy and covered with a very thick plastic/pvc covering which is in very good condition but quite difficult to put on whilst the boat is on the water and gets very wet underneath from condensation. Should I purchase a canvas type cover as seems to be the recommendation? The dinghy has self bailers which don’t seem to work and could possible be allowing water in. Is there any sort of check that can be done to see if they are operating correctly?

    I do realise that it is not the best option to keep a boat on the water through the winter but I really don’t have the option at this stage.

    Any hints and tips about general regular maintenance of a wooden Wayfarer would be most appreciated.




    Obviously the ideal way of storing the boat is on a trolley ashore, but for singlehanded sailing this can be a pain. I dry sail using the car to recover the boat but presumably this is not an option for you? I would still suggest that if there are going to periods of a few weeks when you know that you won’t be sailing, you should try to get the boat out of the water.

    If the boat is painted rather than varnished it should stand up a bit better. Frost is, in my experience, the biggest enemy, and really shows up any poor workmanship!

    PVC covers don’t breathe at all, but it ought to be possible to arrange for some sort of ventilation by having an opening fore and aft. I don’t know what the weather is like at your location, but I wouldn’t use a cover on a moored boat due to the increased windage. I would just leave the boat open and visit her at least once a week to bail. Or perhaps fit a wave-action bilge pump.

    I used to have a composite boat and the amount of work required to keep the varnished deck in good condition eventually made me switch to a World.


    As I am also the owner of a wooden boat, I would say that you should try your best to get the boat off the water, onto a trolley and stored in the dry, particularly when it is frosty. I have just brought mine home from the sailing club and shall store it in a barn until next spring.


    If I were you I’d seriously think about finding a farm somewhere and hire some barn space. Your wooden W needs to be stored inside over winter. Be patient, spring will arrive sooner than you think. Read up on the theory meanwhile. The cover you describe is not for your boat, try selling it to someone with a GRP W, and then invest in a polycotton cover. If you do find somewhere to store your W then you will not need to cover. I’m not sure if you are a member of a club, but usually there are club boats that you can practice on meanwhile? Another option might be to store your W upside down and raised off the ground ( I do mean on land).


    Hi all. Thanks for your replies vis keeping my boat on the water this Winter. I really do not have a choice this year but to keep it outside on water but next year will probably be better. My sailing club is being redeveloped and there will be a secure enclosure built so that boats can be taken off the water over Winter. The lake is very sheltered and does not suffer from extremes of weather. My intention is to bring the boat in each week during the Winter to ensure that any settling water is bailed and that generally as far as I can make sure the boat is ok. I seem to have fixed the self bailer so only rainwater is getting in a little. Any other appropriate maintenance tips would be gratefully received.



    Dave Barker


    Great to know that you’ve discovered the joys of Wayfarer sailing.

    So far, this has been a mild and fairly dry winter, but I would urge you to try to find somewhere to keep your boat ashore for the next 2 or 3 months. If it gets wet and cold the boat could literally be ruined by Easter.

    A Wayfarer fits nicely inside a steel shipping container, which some self-storage firms use as one of their s/s options. If there’s a problem with trolley/trailer availability I’m sure we can find someone who could help out. Even if the boat is stored outdoors with a decent, ideally breathable, cover, that would be better than nothing.

    I have a sailing friend living near you (GP14 – nobody’s perfect) who may be able to help, with suggestions for storage sites or possibly even with a suitable spot at his place of work. Please consider this, and send me a PM or email (dbpianos[at]gmail[dot]com) if I can help in any way.


    Hi Dave

    Thanks for you reply and you have certainly given me food for thought. I will try and arrange for the boat to be taken off the water and I know that the centre where I keep it moored has trailers I can use to do this. Thanks for your offer of help though. When you say the boat will be in a poor state by Easter what do you mean? Is it because it is a wooden boat and vulnerable to weather and cold etc? I suppose that is an obvious question!

    I have already sailed my boat this year and it seems to be taking the outdoor life pretty well so far. I am sailing again tomorrow. At the moment I am only sailing on a small inshore lake in Kent.



    Bob Harland

    if the varnish and paintwork is 100% intact then your boat will be ok. But any places where the varnish or paint is broken can allow moisture to get to the wood.
    You will have standing water in the bilges, plus dampness under the cover where it is on contact with the boat. And since the boat is afloat any imperfections in the exterior paint will let water get to the wood.
    With no chance of this drying, by Easter it will spread under the surrounding varnish/paint. It then becomes a much bigger job to strip and varnish/paint the area effected.

    If you cannot store the boat inside – ashore upside down chocked off the ground would be a lot better than afloat.

    hope that helps
    Woodie 7658

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