Reproduced from “Wayfarer News” Autumn 1996…

I have this year returned to Wayfaring, having learnt dinghy sailing many years ago in Cowes, where they of course used Wayfarers in their fleet. I did own a GRP model a few years ago, but unfortunately had to part with it. Recent determined efforts have allowed the budget to stretch to an old woodie, No 263 (now known as Fantastic Fox II). I berth it at Rollesby Broad SC, and am currently trying to re-learn how to sail.

However, I was most interested in your suggestion of a problem page. You see, the Fox leaks. Not a lot, about half a gallon per hour, and the source of the leak is around the centre-board case. The project for the winter, therefore, is to repair this, and I reckon I will have sufficient woodworking ability to carry this out myself. I would be more confident in my approach if I knew before I started, how the case is fixed into the hull, and I would appreciate any advice on this. I have been unable to find this information in the Wayfarer Book (2nd ed.) but would not have expected to.

I intend to cruise, but as Rollesby is a reservoir this might be a little restrictive, and other Wayfarers there are encouraging me to race. I might even change my mind, although I don’t expect to come first in the Fox!

I look forward to any comments.

Peter Lock.

I’ve experienced leaking Wayfarers too, usually when I’ve forgotten to close the balers, or sailed the boat so badly that the sea “leaks” over the gunwale. However the real leaks I’ve had have been around the centreboard bolt and the self balers, and have been easy to rectify. In the case of the centreboard bolt the rubber washers need periodic replacement, and you should check that the nut hasn’t worked loose (a lock nut helps). In the case of the self balers the rubber seal between the baler and the hull became compressed on my boat and the fixing screws needed tightening. Of course the balers need to shut properly and dirt and grit need cleaning out from time to time.

However it sounds as if the Fox has a more serious ailment. Apparently almost all early wooden Wayfarers leak around the centre- board case because the screws fixing it into the boat corrode away (yes, this includes stainless). There are basically two solutions – leave it in or take it out. If the problem is not too serious you could try an epoxy fillet applied to the joints, but the wood must be thoroughly dry first. However water is likely to still be seeping into the centreboard struc ture and possibly also into the end grain of the plywood forming the bottom of the boat. 

For this reason it is preferable to make a proper repair before more damage to the structure occurs. This involves removing the fixing screws (not easy – try using a really big brace & bit screwdriver), releasing the thwart (also not easy – but it does not actually have to come out of the boat), removing the case, cleaning and drying all surfaces and epoxying the case back in with new (bronze?) screws. The accompanying sketch illustrates this procedure. [This is missing, unfortunately – Ed]

Centreboard case fixing

It’s important to ensure that the shape of the boat is not altered when undertaking such major work. This will start happening if you cannot undo the screws and cut away the outer keel to gain access to their shanks, or if a new case is made and the curvature on the base is not identical to the original. Clearly only thoroughly competent people should attempt any of this. It is strongly recommended that you entrust such work to a licensed builder; or at least discuss it with one before you start.

Richard Readings, W1630 Obsession (with valued advice from Colin May and Roger Aps)

Last Updated on Saturday, 13 October 2007