Reply To: How stable is the Wanderer really…


Interesting discussion.

I am not a very experienced sailor and got the Wanderer because of it’s reliability to stay upright. Being part of the association has massively increased my exposure to advice to help. My previous boat, an old albacore, would plane nicely but was also quite tippy in a gybe and one had to be rapid about balancing the boat to ensure you didn’t go for a swim. After one too many of these dips I opted to sell and went for a Wanderer.

When I learned to sail dinghies My instructor told me that the mast head float has reduced serious accidents by something like 90%. I use a simple Ruk Sports one from amazon and a shackle to secure it to the top of the halyard.

Having had the Wanderer for four years I have never accidentally had it over (touch wood), not for want of trying, but I find my boat weather helms very quickly once the rudder loses steerage. Having said that I sail very “sensibly” and tend not to go out in anything over a 5.

As Mike (who I think has buried the lead in not telling you he is the Technical Secretary of the society) says there are many adjustments you can make whilst underway to lower the centre of effort in high winds, reducing likelihood of a capsize. Most dinghy reference books, I use the dinghy bible, have a guide as to what to adjust and when. I actually changed the Highfield lever for a cascade system – about which there’s an article in W125 – one tug adds rig tension and aids the flattening of the top of the main thus reducing tippiness. Richard Maltby, salty Whitstable basher, suggested it to me as the “safest change to the class rules ever”. He regularly sails in high winds and likes to adjust the rig.

Adding a furling jib also helps to reduce sail area. Philip Meadowcroft (events coordinator) said to me at the Laid back weekend in Salcombe 2019 that most capsizes he’s seen have been due to the foresail not being eased quickly enough so furling it whilst under way is also a handy way to quickly stabilise the boat.

Aeroluff also have systems for sale for reefing the foresails and mainsails whilst under tension, not just underway. Of course this should also be practiced whilst head to wind or hove-to, but there is an article on the Technical pages about this too.

Glad to see you have some different opinions.

Simon W716
(Association Editor and Website person)