Wharram Builders and Friends

A Photo & Discussion Forum for Wharram Design Enthusiasts

In a recent post I said my heart was still in the days when Wharrams were built simply quickly and cheaply. Three ways of saying the same thing really.  Here is a link to a voyage that I just love. I love these guys ! And the singing lady ! It is not all about Owning The Perfect Boat ? Across Europe in a paperboat Not a Wharram in sight but perhaps lots of wharram spirit ? We might collect a few more links here for inspiration or long evenings ?

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Hello Glenn!.Were are you now?.

Hi Jake, I've been at Pohnpei in Micronesia for three years replacing manu lele's rotting crossbeams, platform and mizzen mast among other things. In only three weeks now I'm sailing for SE Asia though finally.

I had a thought on this discussion as well. The first piece about the paper boat was charming but not really without the $$$, considering its a motorboat trip, not a sail in sight. The foundation of attempting to be self- sufficient is getting rid of the internal combustion engine imho.

Right on Glenn!. I loved that movie on vimeo.It really reminded me of how simple it can be.Thanks

hallo glenn, god to read that you will finally leave pohnpei.i hope you will find SE asia as you remember it. but it changed a lot. if you stop in satawal. please send greatings to the chiefs and specially to the navigator francis... great people there and they will like you boat. if yolu have the chance, sail with them to west fayu...

take trading goods with you otherwise you will have to pay everywhere on the way...

we are in madagascar... really great here. best place i have ever been...

have a good trip and take care


Tell us more about Madagascar Hans.

Hey there Glenn and Hans,

I have a question for you guys, I have searched and failed to find relevant information on the making of the crab claw spars. Plenty of thoughts and opinions but little very little of "this is what I/we have used and found workable or otherwise".

I am at the beginning stages with a Tahiti Wayfarer and here in New Mexico bamboo is not all that common, any words of experience would be greatly appreciated.

And Hans, I second Paul's request for more about Madagascar.


And I triple to hear more about Madagascar, long on the wish list Hans. Thanks for mentioning how the fees went for you, but "trading goods" given away are the same thing. As I said before I see no reason to visit bad people at those islands.

Spars - I used  bamboo which I sawed open lengthwise cleaned out and epoxied inside, glued back together, and glass/epoxied outside. Laborious but very, very effective. If you really can't get bamboo here are ideas that I haven't tried. You might try coastal hibiscus, which is very light, has straight shoots, and very common in the tropics along coasts and rivers, and glass it. Or use some other heavier more structural wood without the glass. I seem to sail not just in the tropics but in the equatorial tropics where it rains everyday so I have to epoxy/glass every exterior surface of all wood. Another option would be to make fiberglass tubes, possibly incorporating carbon. There are newly instructions on the web. Avoid metal because they have to bend a lot and metal fatigues when worked that way. Glenn

Cheers mate, had not thought of splitting and reforming the bamboo, kind of like a very big fly rod I suppose. I can get bamboo poles sent in from the suppliers on the interweb but I was balking because they warn of longitudinal splits from their curing process, your methodology removes that concern, thank you!

Paul I think your quote may have just changed my life.

Shaun, some more details then. They definitely split unprocessed mainly because they dry and contract around the diaphragms inside which block shrinking radially so they have to split for the wood to shrink. So after splitting them remove the diaphragms but for a ridge around the sides. Also remove the powdery starch and abrade inside with a plastic wire wheel. I used fiberglass braided tubes outside which you can get on the web. This is more expensive but saved a lot of time. When sanding smooth the outside for the glass don't sand too much off at the nodes, just smooth but still swelling, the braided sleeves accommodate this. The bamboo I used for the spars was imported and fumigated; when I use local bamboo I treat it with Timbor solution to kill any bugs in them, before epoxy. Good luck! Glenn

Hey Glenn,
Thank you again, just received the shipment of plywood today and ordering the bamboo poles tomorrow. I feel like a kid at Christmas, cross beams and steering oars are near done and tomorrow the sheets start to get marked out and cut, holy dooley this is good for the soul!!

David Bennett said:

Paul I think your quote may have just changed my life.

It is a powerful quote Dave,one I return to more and more to keep on track of the big picture.

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