A review of the Wayfarer dinghy and enterprise dinghy and GP14 sailing dinghy and Drascombe boats. Enterprise sailing boat dinghy camping drascombe lugger enterprise dinghy gp14 sailboat best family dinghy.
In the 1950s, Jack Holt, a designer of small boats, saw a need for an adaptable 'General Purpose' dinghy and consequently designed the GP14 sailing dinghy, with amateur construction in mind. During the austerity following the Second World War, this was the only avenue which opened up sailing to the populace. The GP14 sailing dinghy was sailed to an acceptable standard to race and became a popular class, but also a perfect dinghy and in turn was fitted with the smallest type of outboard.
The Jack Holt designed Enterprise sailing dinghy, was lighter, cheaper and sailed faster than the GP14, with its large sail area; it came to be seen as the ideal for inland waters, while the GP14 was suited to coastal waters.
The16-foot Wayfarer saailing dinghy was designed by lan Proctor, and has been unsurpassed as a general purpose dinghy for the last 30 years. The Wayfarer sailing dinghy is a sturdy, stable good performance dinghy which had new safety features including a large amount of built-in buoyancy consisting of large watertight lockers at either end of the hull which were used to store dry clothing, a picnic and camping gear.
The floorboards of the Wayfarer sailing dinghy are long enough to permit two people to stretch out and combine this with a tent cover, made it possible to use the boat as a camping cruiser. Some ambitious cruises over the years have been made in Wayfarer sailing dinghy including sea passages also becoming the most used dinghy for one-to-one sailing instruction by sailing schools.
Like the GP 14 and Enterprise, the Wayfarer sailing dinghy was designed to be constructed in plywood as can be seen from the chines that make up the hull. Over the years the construction of all three have converted to glass fibre construction, though plans for ply wood still exist.
The Drascombe Lugger, is a purely cruising type, appearing like some small fishing boat of yesteryear. The Drascombe Lugger is of an immensely strongly build and the one of most seaworthy boats of its size. The boat's appearance with the yawl rig means that the sails are small and handled easily, and with the sails being 'loose-footed' rather on a boom, makes it suitable boat for young children, where boom swing holds no problems.
The limitation to the Drascombe Lugger is that it is a heavy boat to pull out of the water after every trip, therefore needing a mooring and tender to get to the mooring. Being fitted with a centreboard makes it is suitable for the mooring that dries out at low tide, unlike fixed-keel boats that lay over on their sides.
A fresh look at this concept is with the Cruz, also a yawl, but being much lighter than the Drascombe Lugger it is quicker and easier to launch, though does not have the durability. Seamanship is a consideration with this type of boat, as the kind of short cruise that these boats are capable of is likely to be solo and out of sight of club and rescue boat.
Tide and weather must be checked for suitable sailing conditions and extra clothes and supplies should be packed. Being becalmed for a few hours or going aground, can be an adventure, but a disaster if the weather turns bad and you don’t have warm clothes and something to eat or drink.
Remember to tell someone where you are headed and have them understand that, a delayed return is not normally something to worry about.
Boats such as the Cruz or the Drascome Lugger make it wise to invest in a small outboard motor, 5 bhp is plenty for this size of boat. It increases the pleasure on expeditions knowing know that you will be able to return home without difficulty when the wind has died and allows exploration of small rivers and creeks where sailing is not an option. An over the boom cover is an extra that opens up the possibility of camping overnight.