The Wayfarer class cruisers built upon the lessons of the Antares class, providing an affordable cruiser design which was well suited for independent patrol and exploration duties.
The design by the independent designer, P.T.Riley was a compact looking ship with a deflector mounted in a recess in the front of the saucer section, with a tapering elongated primary hull with upward swept nacelle supports.
Compared to the Antares class it was far more warp dynamic, giving much better cruising range despite utilising the same power plant.
USS Wayfarer commissioned as NCC-1535 as the ranges of construction contract numbers were spread across four yards, meaning the highest numbered batch actually commissioned first.
The Wayfarer was notable for a wide range of variations of the design:
2238 – USS Wanderer (NCC-1512) was fitted with a secondary hull in the dorsal position for use in trials of the design intended for the Vagabond class, the ship retained this hull until she was lost without trace in 2253
2241 – USS Pathfinder (NCC-1541) had its nacelle mounts flipped over as part of trials which led to the Anton, Tyrannis, Surya and Coventry classes. Pathfinder retained these mounts until 2245
2245 – USS Pathfinder had additional hybrid nacelles mounts added to produce a four engine variation of the class, following the trials of the USS Nelson Four additional craft were converted to the configuration for use as long range exploration cruisers.