Yard Numbers, Sail Numbers, and Hull Numbers
The Yard Number is the definitive way to identify a Westerly, because it is unique to each boat. It is the number on the plate in the hatchway. It is sometimes also found impressed into the hull (Storm's have been seen with it on the transom in the centre at the waterline) and into the deck moulding, usually in the cockpit well. It has also been found on cabin fixtures and fittings, written in pencil or wax crayon on the underside of removable wood panels such as locker lids, on various parts such as skin fittings, and it has also been seen in the forecabin moulding of a Tiger, so it pays to have a search.
The Yard Number consists of a letter then some numbers i.e. A123. The very early Rayner designs used a system that is slightly different from that used on the Laurent Giles designs, and the very late models used a slightly different system again. The digits represent the number of that specific hull.
The Sail Number is usually, but not always, a different number to the Yard Number. Some boats were registered internationally so weren't given class numbers (GK24s for example). Sail numbers were issued numerically and in series when orders were placed, but if orders were cancelled the next ordered Sail Number was issued to the next hull coming off the production line. As the hulls were coming off the production line in numerical order, the Sail Number issued to it was the next ordered and paid for Sail Number. In this way, Sail Numbers and Yard Numbers got jumbled up. A further complication to be added into the mix is that some designs used the same hull but different deck mouldings. In addition, it is known that some numbers were specifically requested by new purchasers, and Westerly granted those requests. And some numbers were just not issued - 666 being a good example. And, of course, over time sails are bought and sold, and it is not unknown to have Westerly's using a sail that was not supplied with the boat!
The Hull Numbers were stamped into the moulding of the hull on the stern of the boat on either the port or starboard side near the top of the hull. It is linked to the Certificate of Hull Construction number issued by Lloyds Register of Shipping and is in the form ABC 123456. The vast majority were issued by the Southampton office, so start with SOU, and invariably the last 2 digits indicate the year the hull was laid up. There is an example of a 1977 Centaur Hull Number here: . Early Centaurs (prior to 1973?....any advances on '73?) do not appear to have this.
If by chance your boat's Yard Number and Sail Number coincide, that is a rare occurrence on most Westerly's. Some did match - Corsairs for example, will match. More often than not the numbers do not coincide and a Yard Number 219 does not mean that the Sail Number is 219. For example the Renown shares the same hull with the Longbow, and the very first Renown built, sail number R1, has a Yard Number of O036. The original author of this submission owned a Renown that had a sail number of R129 but a Yard Number of O243 (note that is O as in Oscar).
You may find a reference to an ON number. This is sometimes on a wooden plaque in the saloon. The "ON" number is the official number from British Part 1 registration of your boat. It has to be renewed every 5 years. Additionally there may a plaque with an RT number, for example "RT 11 98/100. This is the Part 1 registered tonnage.
The Small Ships Register is an alternative and cheaper place to register your boat. If your boat is SSR registered it will have an SSR number displayed in large letters.