Denys Rayner’s Westerlys, Information Page
Commander Rayner knew a thing or two about boats. He’d spent his life in them in all conditions and he loved them. He was also a great believer in staying safe on the water and so built this ethic into all of his early designs as best he could. He wrote a few books for small boat sailors which provide a great insight into the mans outlook on sailing, one’s called “Safety in small craft”. They make great reading and provide further proof for my theory that the way the early Westerlies sailed when new was carefully designed, and probably a million miles away from the way most people percieve them to sail today. I’m seeing great improvements yearly on how Macavity sails and am still in the process of restoring her. Some short films are going up on youtube soon as evidence, you should find them easily by searching for “Westerly 25″ or “Macavity sailing”.
By far the greatest improvement I’ve seen has been due to fitting a larger main sail and a longer boom to take it. This small effort on my part has totally transformed the old W25. She will now move along really well in light airs getting around four knots in a lowly force 2 . She will also point a hell of a lot better now, sailing 45 degrees off the wind by the compass on flattish water whilst still maintaining that speed of nearly 4knots. The critical thing seems to be hull speed. There simply wasn’t enough sail before to keep her moving above 3 knots, below this the keels seem to stall and allow her to drop away from windward by 10 degrees or so. Also, leeway increases dramatically below 3knots. I’ve no doubt that when she was new and her sails were crisp, this was less of a problem. Anyone with one of these early Westerlies now though, has probably inherited either a set of 50 year old sacks, or the wrong sails for the boat altogether. I was fortunate enough to buy a good second hand mainsail made by Jeckells of Wroxham for a Seaking 27. This is just over a foot longer on both luff and foot and it works really well.
Here is some old advertising stuff from Cdr. Denys Rayner’s Westerly of yesteryear. If anyone has anything else along these lines that they want to share, pearls of wisdom they feel like parting with, or any Westerly 22 /25 /30 /Windrush /Nomad stories, please email me or comment at the bottom of this page. I will try to post up anything I feel is relevant or interesting.