Monday, August 29, 2011

Doug Wollmar Restores His Westerly Nomad…

“The story about my Westerly Nomad named “Nomad”, began with my search for the proper boat for where I live here in Maine; a narrow body of water called the Jordan River Inlet near Mt. Desert Island. The Jordan River Inlet has a narrow channel of about 8 to 15 feet deep for a couple miles except for one place that goes as low as 3 or 4 feet depending on the tide. All keel boats are challenged by this shoal.

I learned of the Nomad when visiting a friend who had one in his yard, as well as a Centaur at the boat yard.  He said he was going to restore it, then things changed when his barn burned down.

All of his wood and metal working tools and artwork gone, as well as the mast, tiller handle, sails, standing and running rigging, and boom. 

The prior owner said he only wanted to see Nomad restored and back in the water.  And knowing I wanted the boat and knowing I had just looked at the boat Shelagh ended up buying, offered the boat to me for free.  That was last July.

I had a sacrificial 21' MacGregor with a swing keel at the time of the purchase and used various parts to restore the Nomad.  When all was said and done, I gave him $500 for his free boat, sold my stripped down MacGregor for $250 and kept the motor.  So I was happy!

Nomad’s damage was restricted to the starboard side; fire blisters to the gel coat mainly above the rub rail.  The worst of the damage was on the deck.  No damage down, near the waterline.

After the fire…

I spent about three weeks here and there working on Nomad and got her in the water August 18.

Of course, work still needed to be done topsides but figured I could work on her on her mooring, which I did, including  my changing the deck to a sand color as the dark green became too hot for bare feet!”

Doug’s Nomad picking up a mooring!

Editor's Note: The pictures currently displayed on Douglas Wollmar's – Nomad are from last year.  I’ve been told that additional pictures have be downloaded, including; additions to the interior, a depth sounder, vhf, stereo. Doug has also added a jib downhaul and new sails.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Did you ever wonder?

Did you ever wonder what your boat might look like if it sported a different rig?  How it might sail and change the way you sail?  I know I have.

When I purchased my Westerly Nomad, Francesca-Rose, I did so with the intention of cruising (shorthanded), lakes, rivers, estuaries and specifically, the US Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) between the west coast of Florida and the Chesapeake Bay. 

My wife and I enjoy shallow-water sailing.  I like the challenge and she feels more comfortable sailing close to shore.  And it’s always been my intention to sail-away part of my retirement with her.

Francesca-Rose was built in 1968 and came to me in a somewhat shabby state, and was equipped pretty much as when she left the factory.

From the beginning, I adopted changes to her rig to facilitate single handed sailing.  For example; all lines are led to the cockpit and downhauls are used for main and jib.  For Lake Michigan sailing the rig works fine, but in short-tacking situations as one might find on rivers, channels or canals, the original sloop rig, with baby-forestay, is just too much work for this old man.

Need an easy sailing rig.

From the get-go, I thought of changing her to a junk rig. 

I contacted Robin Blain at Sunbird Marine in the UK and sailboat designer and junk-rig aficionado, Tom Colvin in Florida.  Both men reviewed my situation and provided me with general plans, encouragement and quotes on hardware and sails, but, unfortunately, both expected me to do the work or find someone who could do the work for me.  Well, Chicago is not Poole or Annapolis. 

Then, while out in California a couple years ago, I discovered a new variation to an old idea, the Flying Lateen, (Animation) which proved to be a remarkably simple rig to sail in tight quarters.  After a two hour sail, weaving in and out among the moored boats and tacking back and forth across the channel, I was hooked.  And I still am.  Unfortunately, my circumstances changed a bit and I was forced to implement Plan-B; the purchase of a new main with three-reefs, a jenny.with reef-points and a new 4-stroke outboard.  The rig shown on the picture to the right.

So, what would Francesca-Rose have looked like had I implemented Plan-A?

Westerly Nomad - Flying Lateen - Color

Ok!  I know it’s a kid-level picture but what can I say?   I used Microsoft Paint to doctor up a drawing.  You do get the idea however. 

Simple lines, simple deck stepped rig, easy sailing.  

Shortcomings?  There are a couple for sure.  Not traditional!  Also, a bit more windage than when sloop or gaffed rigged.  Doesn’t point as high as a sloop either.  Finally, I found it slower to come-about requiring a little more planning on my part.  For the kind of lazy sailing I have in mind, none of these issues is a problem.

Now, I’ve also been reading a lot lately about older couples (much older couples) sailing their “trawlers” over the kind of waters I plan to sail.  What would a Westerly Nomad look like as a 22’ “trawler” for two?

Westerly Nomad - Trawler

Add a bimini and voila! 

Now, how would you change your “Rayner” to suit your sailing needs?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thank you for the warm response!

Well, I’ve got to tell you, things are moving ahead quite smartly. I am thrilled with the number of views so far.

That said, I must give special thanks to the Yahoo Westerly 22/Nomad Group  (Y22NG) site for that.  And if you go there, you’ll see a lot of chatter under “Re: New Rayner Blog”.

Here at Sailing Rayner’s Boats

As you can see, I’ve added two additional Non-Westerly sailboat models to the masthead and a few additional links to the side-bar.  I am learning more about Cmdr. Rayner’s designs and the people who own and sail them, every day.  Also, I’ve added new categories and links to the side-bar.  The number of links, I am sure, will grow as we move on this tack together.

One exciting link is the NewRayner Boats Restored or Under Restoration” category.  If you want to see a wonderful set of restoration pictures, click on Douglas Wollmars’s – Nomad at the side-bar. 

Now I know there are quite a number of you who have restored or are restoring and who have upgraded or are upgrading your Rayner boats.  One only need look at the great photo collection at Y22NG.  A few lines printed here and a couple choice pictures from your Y22NG collection could go a long way toward encouraging others to do the same.  Just a thought.

Just send me an email at kennethbutterly@sbcglobal or with your text (two, three, four paragraphs or more if you so choose) with attached or inserted pictures, is all it takes to publish your post here.  Of course, I’ll be darn happy if you do and so will your fellow readers, I’m sure.  Ultimately, the sharing of your experiences are the reason for publishing Sailing Rayner’s Boats.

Link Needed!

Need a link for Westerly 30 Sailboat.  At the moment I can not find a permanent link to attach so it takes the reader back to this site.  Help!

Lastly, have you ever wondered what your Westerly Nomad or other Rayner boat might look like sailing under a different rig (blasphemy you say); why you might think of doing it and what changes might be brought to your boating experience?  That’s the subject of my next post.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ownership history – D. A. Rayner’s fleet!

I recently answered a message regarding Rayner designed boat(s) ownership history. 

As Francesca-Rose’s second owner, I had not given much thought to who owned the boat prior to me.  Since starting this project however, I’ve come to understand how others might feel differently.  As a matter of fact, I’m getting excited (well maybe excited is way too strong a word), about presenting prior boat ownership information on this site; at least until we can figure out a better way to present this information.

So, let’s start with my boat as an example.



Boat Name

Owner Name

Years Owned





Kenneth Butterly















What do you guys think?

Friday, August 12, 2011

So who was Cmdr. Denys A. Rayner and why the Blog?

    Cmdr. Rayner - 1943

DenysRayner - 1943

When it comes to post World War Two English sailor/designer/inventor/writer/tinkerers, and there are a number of them, the names: Blondie Hasler, Michael Richey, J.D. Sleightholme, Maurice Griffiths and Charles Stock quickly come to mind.  However, I believe one can not complete this list without including Cmdr. Denys A. Rayner.

Now, I won’t bore you with a rewrite of Rayner’s interesting life story.  You can click on his name for that.  Of course you can click on the other names as well.  That said, under Rayner, Westerly produced five fascinating sailboats, one of which is my own Westerly Nomad pictured to the right, Francesca-Rose.

Why this site – and - how will it work?

The reason for developing this blog is my belief in a need for a specific site to share with others of like interest, cruising and sailing experiences aboard  Rayner designed boats.

I do not see it as an alternative to “users groups” or “bulletin boards”. 

Rather, I see it as a place to publish simple stories or high adventures (including pictures), lore written by those who lived them and who, for one reason or another, do not wish to take on the burden of a web or blog site to publish their story on their own. 

Now, adventures, little and large, happen every day; even if it only seemed like a maintenance chore to you.   Sometimes they include You Tube videos.  Like the one below.

Most of the time however, it’s going to be text and pictures.  Like the time I stupidly tipped that green dingy into the Calumet River; alone, fully clothed and without a life vest. Scary!


So, here’s the deal.  All you have to do is send me your story (and pictures or You Tube link) attached to an email and I’ll format the story and publish it here.  In the mean time, I’ll publish a story or two (of mine) over the next few weeks to kick things off.

Time to let others know how much fun you can have on our old boats!