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.
In 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. The smaller size of the Wayfarer and its more warp dynamic design meant that recently developed M1 could provide the required level of computer power. After successful trials four additional craft were converted to the configuration for use as long range exploration cruisers entering service from 2248 onwards.