This was Hartley Boats hardest decision, would a similar sized boat to the Wayfarer affect the long -term sustainability of the Wayfarer’s future?
After many discussions we decided to go ahead with this 15.5ft (4.7m) rotor-moulded boat and in fact, we decided to look at its competitors first. The Wayfarer, the number one training boat found throughout the Country and shipped all over the world, together with the other rotor-moulded successful training boats.
We had the test results from the Wayfarer but needed to test and sail other rotor training boats to find out their strengths and weaknesses. After several months of testing we had our list of strengths and three difficult problems we needed to overcome. Having talked to many sailing schools, their general opinion was that when the boat was capsized the centreboard was too high making it difficult to right the boat in big winds, the shrouds flex and then load the genoa with far too much power, making it very difficult to control. Finally, a large rotor-moulded boat with large flat surfaces after several years of work, numerous cracks appeared.
These problems had to be thought through and solved, plus, we would take all the benefits from the number one training dinghy, the Wayfarer, with over 11,000 sailing and if we could find the team to design and incorporate all our requirements into this new H15 rotor-moulded boat, we would have a winner.
We found Glen Trustwell and Naval Architect Dan Holman who had worked on the Bahia and who were specialists in rotor boats. We produced for the H15 a requirement and benefits list taken from the Wayfarer Trainer and if we achieved the list, the H15 would become a world leader.
Hartley Boats requirements were, a STABLE boat to give confidence to a novice or established sailor. The boat should carry and be tested for 2 to 5 adults, comfortable seating, good depth to the floor and with plenty of leg room. A very high boom with a fitted Gnav to ensure all the forward space in the cockpit is clear, no boom problem on a tack or gybe, a self-draining cockpit with plenty of room for the helm to steer and drive the boat, but give more room for the crew so they have ample space to work and enjoy their sail. To ensure the boat shrouds would never flex and load the genoa in big winds, a special bar was introduced and fitted right through the boat from shroud to shroud, this has been a game changer and has been very successful.
With a maximum hull weight of only 139kgs this boat is easy to tow and makes launching and boat recovery a doddle. The requirement for an easy to use slab reefing main system with an internal roller furling genoa system, allows you to sail in very windy conditions but still be safe and very much in control. Fitted with an option of an asymmetric or symmetric spinnaker this puts the boat through its paces.
As with the Wayfarer the boat is at home in big seas and waves. It is a pleasure to helm this 15.5ft hull with its wide beam, it’s a joy as with the Wayfarer to sail.
Together with providing that extra stability should that learning mistake happen, it’s a very forgiving boat. For training, capsize drills are easy, the centreboard is easy to reach and one adult is able to safely right the boat.
The boat is very stable and two 18-year olds crossed the channel in 2019 in varied winds of up to 30mph, they found it exciting and reported the boat was fun to sail and would plain easily with great instant response. A great deal of time and effort was put in to make the H15 hull and deck in order that we produce a sleek and good-looking boat.
Being put through its paces for six months by the Royal Navy in their desire to replace the mighty Boson, which had given over 50 years’ service, we were delighted when the Royal Navy selected the H15 as its replacement. We have exported the H15 to many Countries and with the decision to buy a fleet of H15’s by Rockley Sailing School in Poole, together with many of the UK Sailing schools, many Sailing Centres and Holiday Companies then followed their lead. The H15 has also been bought by many private buyers who want no or little maintenance and, a boat that will be a dream to sail. It will last the rigours of time and take those little bumps and knocks. The H15 was designed and built with a great deal of curve through the deck and the floor to stop the boat cracking on flat surfaces and this has cured the problem.
When we sell a new boat, Hartley Boats likes to complete a full boat handover to ensure that you understand how to rig your new boat but most importantly that you get the best from your new investment and enjoy sailing the boat and come off the water and wanting to return and sail again.
We at Hartley Boats are very proud of our standards and build quality, to demonstrate that statement we are the only manufacturer to offer a 4-year guarantee. If you need your boat to be delivered, we can accommodate.