The Leader Dinghy

The leader sailing dinghy is a design dating back to 1961 by Gordon Pollard. The boat was built as a 14ft general purpose dinghy. If you want to know more about it’s history follow this link to the Leader Class Owners’ Association website.

Original advert for the Leader Dinghy

Our leader dinghy was built in 1991 so we are the same age. It is a fibreglass version with a wooden tiller and centreboard. We didn’t want to buy a Wayfarer. Everybody was telling us to, it became a running joke between us when planning our dinghy cruising adventure that ‘you just want a Wayfarer’. However, I would recommended a book which I’ve read that my uncle leant me called ‘Ocean Crossing Wayfarer’, where a sailor sailed up to Iceland and Norway from the UK on a Wayfarer. Not something that I ever intend on trying in an open boat myself but it seems it would be possible to survive such a trip.

Our 14ft Leader Dinghy at Derwent Reservoir, where we took it for a test sail before going on a dinghy cruise.

Finding the right dinghy for us

Anyway, after crewing on a couple of Wayfarers (16ft) it just seemed a bit luggy for us. As in heavy to move around when it wasn’t on the water. Also, considering we weren’t planning on crossing any oceans on anything smaller than a 30ft yacht, we decided to go for something smaller. So instead, we started looking for a Wanderer (14ft) which is very similar to a Wayfarer but just a bit smaller. In our search for a Wanderer, I came across this advert on Gumtree for a Leader dinghy. As it was only an hour away from where were staying on holiday in Weymouth at the time, we went the next day to take a look. It was a beautiful little boat and seemed perfect for what we had in mind and came in under our budget. A short while later, we had a boat, with a road and launching trailer, two sets of sails including a spinnaker and pole, and what turned out to be a very inefficient bailer. I didn’t choose it because of the colour, honest. We couldn’t be happier with this boat, the only thing I would change would be the name!

The advert for our leader sailing dinghy on Gumtree. “Lighter than a Wayfarer, faster than a Wanderer”.

If you want to know more about this boat check out this short book on the leader dinghy website which came as a hard copy when we bought our boat.

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