Monday, June 18, 2012

The Very First Westerly

By: Dennis A. Rayner – Originally Published in Twin-Keeler Newsletter, Summer, 1999 (Paper-Edition) – Adopted by: Kenneth Butterly

How We Designed The Westerly

Customers’ Needs – based on experience – came first 


In this design we have done our best to get away from the normal appearance of a plastic boat. Two heavy teak rubbing strips on each side go along way towards achieving this aim. The decks, after special preparation, are painted with International non-slip deck paint. The toe rails, the cabin trunk and the cockpit are of teak. We believe that in Westerly we have made the best possible use of old

and new materials, and a really shipshape appearance is the result.

Westerly is a twin-keeled sloop, with full hydrofoil sectioned keels toed-in 2 degrees.  The twin keels and the skeg form a three-point landing so that she always settles easily when she dries out or is put on a trailer. The heavy mahogany skeg on which the rudder is hung is far enough away from the keels to avoid hydrodynamic interference between one keel appendage and another, The rudder blade is turned well up to avoid damage when grounding.  

The twin-keel design, with the ballast weights on the keels, ensures that Westerly makes very little leeway; also, it makes her remarkably stable.  The hydrofoil acts in the same way as an airplane wing; it develops “lift” towards the curved surface, and this produces a thrust to windward.  On the wind, Westerly’s performance is a great deal better than many keel boats, and when running, the twin-keels and long skeg hold the ship to her course; she always feels even larger than she really is.  Her great stability is a result of the high ballast/weight ratio attained by the use of glass fibre construction.  In the case of Westerly, this ratio is 42 per cent.  This should compare with the ration of most wooden cruising yachts which is more generally in the region of 33 per cent.  Westerly will heave to and she is so well balanced that she can be handled under either mainsail or jib alone.

Built to Lloyd’s series production schedule


  Everything about the hull and decks is built under Lloyd’s supervision and to their approval. The much-prized certificate can only be obtained after Lloyd’s surveyor’s closest inspection of the factory and of the boat during its building. Each hull is supplied with a Lloyds Certificate. This will be found in the future to have a very large effect on the second-hand value of any plastic boat built since Lloyd’s introduced this extremely worthwhile standard.

In the manufacture of plastic-reinforced laminates, the factory building itself, as well as the skill of the workmen, contribute to a satisfactory product. In our new building, thanks to cavity brick
walls and an insulated

roof, with fans and heaters which control both temperature and humidity, we achieve a standard of resin cure which cannot be improved upon by any other boat builder; for it is on the carefully controlled transformation of the wet mat into a solid laminate that success depends.

A good plastic laminate is stronger and lasts longer with less maintenance than any other boatbuilding material yet devised.  The Royal Navy now use it for all boats under 32 feet long, and, at both the Hamburg and New York boat shows in 1963, more than fifty percent of the exhibits were classed as of glass fibre construction.

We are always pleased to show perspective purchasers round our plant, where visitors are very welcome to see full details of the construction of Westerly both in drawings and in fact.

Fire risk reduced to a minimum

Image Detail

  There is no greater fire risk with glass fibre than with wood (and wood itself, when it has been built into a hull, is not easy to ignite). Fire at sea is neither caused nor prevented by the structure of the ship. It comes from what is carried in her and is nearly always the result of bad storage or faulty handling of inflammable liquids or gas.  There is no greater fire risk with glass fibre than with wood (and wood itself, when it has been built into a hull, is not easy to ignite).

Fire at sea is neither caused nor prevented by the structure of the ship.  It comes from what is carried in her and is nearly always the result of bad storage or faulty handling of inflammable liquids or gas.

We as designers, cannot prevent mistakes at sea, but we can at least build our boats with special and adequate compartments for the two most dangerous liquids – petrol and bottled gas. 

In Westerly we have provided safe storage in a way which we do not think has ever been done before in a boat of this size and price.  Two separate watertight and vented spaces have been built into the stern.  One of these will hold two gas bottles and the other a five-gallon petrol tank.  The floors of both compartments slope aft and have open drains through the counter so that any spillage or leakage can immediately escape outboard.  There is a great reduction in the fire hazard with this arrangement, which, in our opinion, should be obligatory on all cabin cruisers.


It is now generally recognized that boats of glass fibre construction are more economical to maintain than those built of any other material, both in ease of maintenance and in freedom from large repairs.  Two people working for two weekends should be able to complete with ease the annual repaint and revarnish of the exterior.

(Editors Note: Sailors are still asking the same question.)

So much for the short-term view, but real economy should be considered over the normal useful life of any product.  In the course of years many wooden and steel boats develop defects which call for heavy expenditure if their fabric is to be kept in perfect condition.

The US Customs Authority has recently completed a ten-year trial and has reported exhaustively on three boats built of glass fibre to the same common design as their boats with wooden and steel hulls.  At the end of the ten-year period, the glass fibre hulls, tested scientifically showed no significant deterioration and carefully kept cost figures proved the remarkable economy in maintenance of the laminated plastic construction.  The maintenance costs of the three boats examined were in every case less than one fifth of the cost of wooden or steel hulls in comparable service.

In other words, glass fibre can offer, over the years, an 80 percent reduction in maintenance    cost.

Design for spaciousness

The feeling of space in Westerly’s cabin is a continual surprise to visitors.  In this boat, the space taken up by each item has been so carefully regulated by experienced designed that the cabin feels even bigger than it really is.  There are over 64 cubic feet of deep and easily reached lockers in the cabin furniture, besides four drawers, pan locker, galley, sink, cupboard and adequate

  hanging space. Our drawings give an overall impression of the lay-out and appearance of the cabin, but only a visit can really give an idea of the comfort aboard.

Westerly has two 6 feet 6 inch berths and two 6 feet 3 inch forward berths which can be made into a double by inserting an additional mattress between them. If required the forward

compartment can be made into a separate cabin, ensuring privacy.


A marine-type lavatory is fitted in the forward cabin, and a double-burner cooker and sink amidships. In the cabin, the ship’s side is paneled in foam rubber and Vynide to match the cushions. This keeps the cabin cool in the summer and warm at the beginning and end of the season.


In really cold weather, the cabin can be warmed by using the Calor-gas operated cabin heater which we have designed especially for use in our boats.

The cockpit

The cockpit is self-draining, with sea-cocks fitted to both drains.  All the woodwork, seats and floor are of African teak.  The seat backrest is deep and set at a comfortable angle against which to lean.  A lifting tiller is standard equipment and greatly increases the effective size of the cockpit.

Advantages of the outboard engine

  Now that outboard engines are so very reliable and those with rubber mountings so quiet, there are great advantages in adopting this type of engine for auxiliary yachts of medium tonnage.  After all, it is not only the machinery of an inboard engine that

takes up space; the stowage capacity of every compartment through which exhaust or petrol pipes lead is also reduced in some measure.

Again, it is not merely in the context of space that the outboard scores.  For sailing or at moorings, the propeller is lifted clear of the water.  There can be no drag from an outboard.  Westerly has been designed to carry an outboard, and has a well into which the engine-head may be tipped when not in use. The engine can be left locked on the counter throughout the year. Another material point: the very best outboard is a great deal cheaper than the fitted cost of even the cheapest inboard engine.

Choice of Rigs

The hull will take either a Gunter or the Bermudan rig with equal facility; both give very much the same performance.  The main advantage of the Gunter rig, in “family” sailing, is the ease in which it can be reefed without leaving the cockpit.  In this rig, all the halyards lead aft to pinrails within reach of the helmsman.  This is a big point for the man who may be at sea with his wife and children for crew.                                                                




We feel that the masthead Bermudan rig demands a stronger crew to handle the big working jib which is so much part and parcel of this rig; while in some peoples eyes the longer mast of this rig will give the boat a better look when at anchor than the shorter Gunter mast.  So we think this choice is a matter for the individual, who will know the strength of his normal crew.


A trailer not only enables you to visit new cruising grounds for holidays without fear that bad weather will prevent your return to base – it also allows you to take your boat home for the winter.  The small amount of servicing required by a glass fibre Westerly makes this a reasonable proposition even for a busy executive.

It is not necessary to have a special towing vehicle.  When on a trailer designed by us for your boat, a Westerly will trail easily behind an four-geared car of over 1800CC (an automatic gear change seems to make no difference).  Indeed, cars of as low a capacity as 1500cc have towed greater weights over selected routs without damage.

  Note:  For more information on Commander Dennis A. Rayner I recommend you visit: So who was Cmdr. Denys A. Rayner and why the Blog?   And: Wikipedia.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Rayner’s Boat’s For Sale…

I’ve created this page to help currant and future Rayner’s Boat owners connect.  Send me an email at describing the type of boat and brokerage or boat-list link to connect to.  Once the boat is sold, would appreciate some notification, so the entry can be promptly removed. Finally, the information displayed below was accurate at the time of entry - Ken. 
  • Corvette
  • Robinetta
  • Westcoaster
  • Westerly-22
  • Westerly-Nomad
  • Westerly-Windrush
  • Westerly-25
  • Westerly-30
Last updated: 03/07/2020

Press HERE to RETURN to Sailing Rayner’s Boats

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Finally, time to get back to something fun!

I can’t believe it!  155 days have elapsed since my last post.

Mea copa, I am sorry!

Now, I won’t give you a long story about my being out on a terrific sailing adventure, because no sailing adventure happened. Oh, I’d planned to take (trailer) Francesca-Rose down to Florida’s West Coast where I intended to sail the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) between Port Richey and Tampa Bay.  And if there was enough time, between Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor.

See what I missed?

Instead, this is my current situation.

 Francesca-Rose 01-31-2011  

As you can see, the boat is still behind my house - strapped onto the new trailer.

So what did I do for 155 days? 

I spent my time – blogging!

That’s right, I’ve just spent the better part of 155 days sitting in front of my trusty Acer Netbook, blogging on: Butterly on Senior IssuesI hope it didn’t turn out to be a complete waste of time!

On to the reasons for this post.

The primary reason for this post is to let you know I’m back.  

Also, it’s January 31, 2012 and the temperature in Chicago is a solid 55ยบ F, winds gusting to Force 5.  Perfect Rayner’s Boat weather! 

Right now, I’m looking out the window at Francesca-Rose. A mere 22 feet away and ready to go!

Francesca-Rose - Out the Window 

Over the weekend I attended the annual Strictly Sail  show at Navy Pier. For many Chicago sailors, this event marks the beginning of the sailing season.

In February, many of us attend the Chicago’s Maritime Festival:

Followed by St. Patrick’s Day, where Chicago turns its river green!

Followed then by Crowley’s Yacht-a-PA-Looza!  Sorry, no video!

Finally, a Chicago sailor knows IT’S TIME when April 15th (Tax Day & Harbor Opening) rolls around.

Well, all this writing about boats and shows and sea shanties and such has gotten me into the right state of mind to write about our boats; Rayner’s Boats!  

How about you?

Sailing Rayner’s Boats is your site! 

The purpose of the site is to share your stories and this editor needs your help

Look, I can tell stories of Francesca-Rose and whatever little adventures I might have on her.  And I intend to do that!  But this blog is not just about my Westerly Nomad. 

I can’t share your stories on this blog without your help!  So, come on, send me a few paragraphs and a picture or two or more if you like.  You can even send them to my personal email address:  Don’t worry about imperfections.  Remember, publishing your story is a team effort!  


Last weekend I learned that one of our rare W30’s, located in the Annapolis Area, is for sale.  This is a doable project boat that needs TLC and a good home.  Some of you have probably seen the notice on the WesterlyNomadand22 site.  See: 1968 Westerly W30 for sale

Michael Hunsicker, was kind enough to send me these pictures for my W30 page.  Of course, I would love more W30 pictures for the W30 page: hint, hint!  

Quite frankly guys, I believe it would be a shame for this boat not to be returned to active service.  It’s hull #43 of, if I have this right, a 46 boat production run.  W30’s are rare!   And rarer still in the US.  Again, this one needs a good home.  Michael Hunsicker, says $2,500 or less takes it!

Click on the picture for a closer view!

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Well, that’s about it for now.  


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?