Things to look out for when buying a used Wanderer in no particular order....

1. Floorboards - Lift the floorboards [marine ply] and check for flaking varnish or paint and any resultant rot - especially at the aft end where the clearance from hull to underside of board is least and most water collects when under way. While in this area check for missing board clips/screws that keep the floorboards secured in place.  If you are handy with a jig saw and can source some appropriate ply then it is possible to make your replacement by using the old one as a template. [How]

2. Hull Condition - Obviously inspect the entire hull surface for any damage that might threaten the hull's integrity.  Cosmetic scratches can be repaired relatively easily. With boards out of the boat examine the inside of the hull for damage from a badly set up road trailer, this manifests itself as small hairline 'star' cracks on the bottom of the boat radiating out from a common point in that region where the port and starboard road trailer rollers come into contact with the underside of the hull. The boat's weight should be carried along the line of the keel with the trailer's side supports only lending stability rather than supporting weight - if set up wrong with weight on the side supports you can get damage to the hull.  Severe cracking might require attention.

3. Bungs and Buoyancy - Check the condition of all the bungs to the forward/bow chamber, side tanks [if not an MD version] and transom - early boats had rather un-inspiring push fit bungs, not expensive to replace. Water in these may indicate either a major structural problem somewhere or, in the case of the bow chamber, more likely, a) the sealant around the screws holding the keel band in place has perished and needs replacing or b) there are keel band screws missing in the region from stem-head to front of centre board - easily replaced and re-sealed.  Buoyancy tanks should be filled will closed cell foam, polystyrene or at least stuffed with empty plastic fizz bottles to ensure 'unsinkability'. There is a possibility that the very early Winton built boats have no foam or the wrong foam - if in any doubt arrange for a buoyancy test to be carried out. Make sure you check for the presence and condition of the aft compartment lid gasket - if this is perished, has gaps [i.e. does not completely and continuously seal with the entire perimeter of the compartment] then there is a risk that this chamber will fill with water in a capsize.

4. Bailers - Check that the self-bailers open and close and appear in good condition. You can get service packs to replace seals if they leak. Again WD40 will often ease a sticking bailer.

5. Rig - With regards to the rig - Jib halyard wires can fray and fail, especially where they bend round fittings, check the blocks in the foot of the mast and head where the jib and spinnaker halyards emerges from the mast are all in good order and free to rotate. All these blocks can be replaced by a competent DIY'er and WD40 helps free a sticking block. It has been reported that some early Winton built boats were not fitted with a 'highfield lever', this is used to tension the genoa luff and rig through the jib halyard. Lack of rig tension really compromises the performance and handling of the boat, without a highfield lever you will be struggling to get enough tension on.

6. Mast - Sight along the mast for evidence of kinks, look over the spreaders to make sure they are in good nick and there's no evidence of serious corrosion where they mount to the mast. Shrouds should have no kinks and no fraying with terminals in good order.  Be aware that the Wanderer mast is sometimes supplied to be 'broken-down' into two parts for towing. If presented with a two part mast check the union/joint for a smooth friction fit and presence of fixing screws. Check all fitments to the boom for general condition, lack of excessive corrosion and wear.  Be aware that some booms where foam filled.

6. Sails - Lay the sails out somewhere flat and clean, check the seams, batten pockets, mast buoyancy pocket [if fitted to the main], also around the windows and eyes to see that the stitching is secure.  If you are sailing with family a mainsail with the standard reef about 100cm or so deep is fine. Slab reefing is usual and convenient. Roller furling (not reefing) on the genoa is useful to rapidly reduce sail area and to help with calmly coming ashore.

7. Lines and Sheets - relatively easy to replace but modern non-stretch line for halyards can be surprisingly expensive. Check for excessive wear on the jib sheets where they are cleated off, if wear is excessive the sheets tend to slip or jump out the cleat when under load and especially when wet.

8. Foils - It is hard to check the centreboard with the boat on its trailer.  However you can make sure the ss pivot bolt and lock nut are in place.  It may be possible to get sufficient movement on the board to see if the friction adjustment is set up correctly, if not this is fairly easily adjusted but best done afloat. Check the condition of the rudder and stock. Examine the rudder surfaces for cracks, warping and for signs of repair [not easy if blade is painted].  Especially check the lower leading edge of the rudder blade for impact damage.  Make sure the raise and lower mechanism works smoothly and that the up and down haul lines run through OK. See item 9 for rudder attachment to transom checks.  Be aware that some boats may be fitted with steel centre-plates.  These add a further 85lbs weight to the boat bringing close to a Wayfarer's weight, plus extra lines and fitting to be able to raise and lower. The steel plate can be changed out for the standard wooden board so make sure this is included and in good condition.

8. Trailers & Trolleys - not all trailers/trolleys are equal... some are well built and properly balanced, others a bit floppy and difficult to use. All rapidly succumb to salt water. Look for models with a solid 'A' frame shape rather than the weaker T shape. A full width roller on the road trailer to help guide the trolley on is a good feature. Bearings should be free and not wobbly/noisy when the wheel rotated Check condition of trolley wheels and tyres, including any supplied spares, but especially the trailer road wheels and tyres which, of course, must be road legal in terms of tread depth etc. Check the mechanism that secures trolley to trailer for structural integrity and make sure any pins needed are present. If fitted with an adjustable mast support make sure this is able to be moved to a different position to suit your own vehicle - especially if high. Some people look for docking arms which stand up either side of the launching trolley and guide the boat on straight.

9. Jammers & blocks etc- these can wear out and seize up, check the transom track, main sheet blocks, jib sheet jammers, kicking strap (12:1 is maximum, 6:1 is fine) and all hull fittings especially if kitted out for a spinnaker. Especially check the rudder fittings where they attach to the transom, these are subject to high forces when under load - make sure all bolts are present and tight. Check the operation of the aft locker lid hinges and catches and gasket [see item 3 above].

10. Miscellaneous Extras - Some boats are offered with extras which may include - a) Outboard mounting bracket [check fixing bolts and condition of aluminium dovetail receptacle fitted to transom], b) Oars [check for equal length, cracked damaged blades and availability of rollocks], c) Furling Jib/Genoa [check swivel joints for wear/corrosion], d) Spinnaker [check sail condition and all associated rigging and hull fitments], Foredeck Spinnaker Opening [used to launch spinnaker - can let water into boat in a lumpy sea], e) Anchor [check point of warp attachment and for suitable warp and line length].

11. Price - this will obviously depend on age, condition, what extras come with it etc. Keep an eye on the WCOA website listings and see boats of comparable specification, asking price, which ones sell and take a guess at how much they haggled.

This is not intended as an exhaustive list but rather a set of common sense guide lines for the prospective purchaser new to the Wanderer dinghy.

Based on an original list provided by Tim Robertson and extended and modified by Terry Pullen. June 2009.

home ~ back ~ Copyright ~ No Navigation?