updated: 21 Jan 2016 at 1326 hrs

An excited Nick explains.

Impulse II in Midwinters action on Lake Eustis

More than 11000 Wayfarers have been built.

Lake Ontario race action

2011 North American Wayfarer champions
Richard and Mark Hartley
NP Boats' Impulsive Beginnings

I was introduced to sailing in 1967 when a neighbor took me out on his Wayfarer. I was immediately hooked on sailing and on Wayfarers. In 1968 I bought a glass Wayfarer and proceeded through the years to trade for a couple more glass Wayfarers. Then, in 1976, I acquired the wooden W864 which had been built in England in 1964. In those days the wood boats were, in my opinion, superior to glass boats.  This is no longer the case and has not been for some time.

I always considered myself a racer and wasn’t familiar with cruising. However in the process of rearing my family, we camped next to and sailed or raced on every body of water we could find in the US and Canada. We could do this because we had a boat light enough (under 400 pounds) to travel with and launch almost anywhere.  The six-foot beam and lots of freeboard forward also made it a boat that could be sailed anywhere. I have been in eight-foot waves with my Wayfarer and it handled them better than the 34-foot keelboat I owned at the time! Don’t get the wrong idea, this boat is not a tub. On East Grand Traverse Bay, my grown-up grandchildren and I wait for the wind to blow so we can go out and plane back and forth across the Northern Michigan waters.

In February 2011, I was a bit home-bound, having just had a few vertebrae fused together in my neck. I saw some e-mails passing back and forth about a free shipping deal for five boats being offered for the newly redesigned Mark IV Wayfarer being built by Hartley Boats Ltd. in the UK.  In my boredom, I joined in this e-mail chatter and after a few e-mails back and forth, I began to get excited about getting my hands on a new Mark IV.   Soon after I rang up Hartley Boats in England, I said I would like to speak to someone called Hartley… Bingo! The voice at the other end said “I am Hartley, the old guy, Richard Hartley, good afternoon! How may I help you?” We discussed my desire to get a new boat and the free shipping deal he was offering, I said I would like to place an order for a new boat and that I would find four other buyers to get my free shipping.

My dearly beloved was of course right at my elbow saying “Are you nuts? What if nobody else is ready to buy a new boat, It could cost you €4,000 to get that boat shipped over.” But the more I learned about the mark IV, the more I wanted one. I was determined to have one and soon, I even mused about insuring it for €25k and getting some cruising nutter to sail it over!  I was not going to be deterred by naysayers, so I got busy and very soon I had sold the idea and the boats to four other guys, enough to get all of our boats shipped for free!

By 2012 I had been sailing my new boat at every possible opportunity and was really loving it. In fact I was so thrilled with it that I began to explore the prospect of sharing the love. So I started looking at ways to get more Mark IV's over here to rejuvenate the Wayfarer class. That’s why, instead of simply retiring gracefully and seflishly (some might say justifiably) to the task of sailing my own new boat, I am now delighting in my new role as an importer of the Hartley WayfarerBy the way if you wondered what I named that boat, shipped free in that first container from Britain…well of course it had to be: Impulse.

Ian Proctor was one of the foremost sailing dinghy designers in England in the latter part of the 20th century, most of the boats built by Hartley Boats are modernized versions of the 1950s Proctor designs and I might add the designs are very well done. The Wayfarer, once the most popular sailing dinghy in England, is a prime example. This self-rescuing boat, which is great for both racing and cruising, is again gaining in popularity by leaps and bounds.  However, what has really kept people like Al Schonborn and myself in this class for more than 50 years is the people in it. The Wayfarer people are the friendliest and most welcoming group I have met in any of the classes I have sailed. To me they are like family and everyone who buys a Wayfarer will soon feel part of that family.

Happy sailing!  Nick Seraphinoff

The Wayfarer can sail nicely in less than a foot of water.

Hartley Boats History

It all started when as a pair of Kestrel sailors, we - Richard and Mark Hartley - were anxious about the future of our beloved boat. In 1998 the previous builder had ceased production and it looked as though the Kestrel had no future and was destined to fade away. But because we had enjoyed this boat so much, we didn't want to see it go, and we refused to just sit back and let this happen. We took the decision to invest in the boat, to redesign the interior and to bring the boat up to present-day standards and give it a more contemporary appeal. We wanted to give the Kestrel a new look and to produce it using more modern building materials and techniques in order to give it a new lease of life and a better future.

We set about the task of re-designing the Kestrel with the help of the renowned yacht designers, Roswell and Morrison. The aim was to make a new boat that would be appealing to both existing Kestrel sailors and to new generations of sailors. Modifications were discussed at length with the Kestrel Class Association and with the family of the original designer, Ian Proctor, before eventually being carefully implemented into the new design. The result was a resounding success.

Since our humble beginnings with the Kestrel, we have moved from strength to strength. We now build with pride, a wide range of beautiful dinghies including the Supernova, Wayfarer, Wanderer, Gull, Osprey, Rebel Skiff, Hartley 10, Hartley 12 and Hartley 12.2. Our boats reflect beautifully the touch of the master Phil Morrison's hand in their design. Phil has skilfully managed to update and re-design the classic Kestrel, Wayfarer, Wanderer and Gull, in such a way as to be much more appealing and modern in their look and performance while holding true to the original class designs.

In the successful wake of the re-designs, we have continued to work with Phil Morrison and Derek Clarke to design and produce a range of fine craft with the Rebel Skiff high-performance sports boat at one end of the scale and a full range of entry-level polyethylene fun boats, the Hartley 10, Hartley 12 and Hartley 12.2 at the other. We have come along way but we still love to sail our Kestrel. We actively participate in the racing circuit and enjoy supporting the clubs and class association of this and all of the other boats in the Hartley Boats range.

Looking forward to seeing you on the water, sailing one of our beautiful boats, soon!

Richard & Mark Hartley
At the helm of the Hartley Boats winning team.

NP Boats US
12810 Schmeman Ave.
Warren, Michigan 48089
Tel: NP Boats U.S. (586) 206-5900        Email: nseraphinoff@comcast.net

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