Wharram Builders and Friends

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I'm currently reading 2 girls 2 catamarans again, James has a lot to answer for.

I've always liked a bit of a challenge, and I really want to sail the Atlantic, U.K to Caribean.

After a couple of missed opportunities to do it on other peoples boats, I keep coming back to doing it solo in a small boat. Reading about Cooking Fat hasn't helped to discourage me, in fact it just gets me more fired up.

  So the big question, what size Wharram would be a reasonable boat to do it on. I recently looked at a 28' Tannenui which looked like plenty of boat to be comfortable on.  So probably smaller would be possible.

I'm not looking at setting records less than 6' boats don't interest me, but I also don't want to spend 10 years building a boat that's more than I need. Bearing in mind this might be a one way trip for the boat, sell/burn and fly back kind of deal. Don't think I can afford to take too much time off work and away from the family etc.

thanks for looking

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A wise person once said you take yourself with you wherever you go.

True, you can't run away from yourself.

Or as my wise old father-in law used to say, when he worked in the beautiful Cayman Islands - "Different toilet, same old shit"


Not sure I understand.  Actually, I am not sure I want to understand.  

Depressed mentioned far to many times in article.  Definitely in the glass half empty camp I think.

There is a quote I like, sorry if not accurately repeated.  Something like  "happiness is learning to appreciate the things you have rather than aspiring to gain more and more".  

That said, the dream and the journey can be as important as arriving at the destination.  For those of us still waiting for the time we can realise the actual dream, the planning and day-dreaming are very real day to day pleasures.

Ask me in 5 years if reality matched expectation!!

Whatever YOU find at the end of your dream boat rainbow, I can tell you that I certainly found deep and abiding spiritual peace here on PEACE IV.  I have always found good friends living interesting lives out here on the water, even when I sailed along in my old monohull before I met Nev.  And since Nev joined me and we built this boat together, we have continued to meet hundreds of fantastic people who have become friends for life scattered all around the Atlantic where we have sailed.  Nev is the most wonderful person I have ever known and it was boats and the ocean that introduced us.  He is a great day dreamer still as he pushes 80 and when we snuggle at the end of the day, I think we both imagine each other as we were decades ago back when we had muscular bodies with no arthritis etc.  Dreaming can erase old age and is a worthy activity - never underestimate the value of your dreams!  Ann and Nev

Ahoy Ann and Nev,
     What a beautiful and great post.  What a great boat you made and your adventures, they will create a dream for many others.  The Pirsig article was from 1978 and I had read it a long time ago, but ran across it while looking for a quote of his, "cruising isn't an escape from reality, it is reality".  He is now 85 and has done a lot of sailing himself.
     What can I say, he is a philosopher...  But it is true that there are many who have run off to build their own boat, only to either abandon the project or get it out to sea and then abandon that.  There are so many different kinds of people and they react to the wild outdoors differently.  I think it is in our blood to be near the sea.  My own name means "seawater", so I have the least excuse of anyone.  We all know of someone who has given up the sea.  There is still a statistic that something like 85% of mankind lives near the sea.  Sea side real estate is the most expensive and the most sought after.  Where do you want to live?  Why build a house somewhere, when a few years later you will wish you were somewhere else.  Gee, I liked Sint Maarten, but Webb Chiles likes New Zealand so much...  If you have a boat instead of a house, you can go wherever you want and change the landscape and seascape whenever you want, and change the seasons too.
     Ann and Nev, you have the right idea and have proved it out.  North in the summer and South in the winter.  Stay out of the Bay of Biscay.  You have made so many friends along the way.  I hope you can accept my best wishes for your current voyage to the harsh tradewinds.
    The reason why I posted the link was that there are many who are drawn to the Wharram idea who might be better served if they get some first hand information and a little caution.  My advice would be to make a gradual transition and get a boat to sail in without a great investment in time or money, get some time on the water, then make the transition.  If you are going to build, build a small dinghy that you can use later on a bigger boat, and learn how to work with the building materials.  Get down to the waterfront and help someone else sail their bigger Wharram boat, hopefully an older Polish man who really needs it.  Too many try to build too big a project with too little money or too little time or manpower to do it.  The dream can become reality, but there is no fairy godmother to "poof" make it happen overnight.
     If a big boat project has to be abandoned, then perhaps it is for the better, it an go to the next one who can complete it, or, in my case, to the third one.  The boat is a living organic thing that needs attention all along the way, and maintaining its needs is a holy thing.  Someone asked me, "Is the water vehicle in control?".  Of course it is.  They have Polynesian Mana, spirit, we give birth to them with a great deal of effort.
     I think someone should take Pirsig out on a Wharram catamaran and he would change his point of view a little.

"Get some first hand information and a little caution" . Amen to that and thanks Andy.

Many businessmen invest in franchises. The standard advice is to talk to some of the successful entrepreneurs - and also talk to some for whom it did not work before parting with your money.

It is a sad fact but for every good news story like Ann 'n Nev's there is some boat abandoned and neglected. The dream works out only for some.

There are many forms of the dream. Reg. wants an "Everest" to climb. He does not even want to keep the boat once he has had his single adventure. Peter wants to make a new life afloat. Many simply want to exercise their woodwork skills. I will have the opportunity to make a voyage soon but I do not want to live afloat. I have a full life ashore and worry that I may miss it and that it may be difficult to pick up again after a long absence. This is reality and reality is the best basis for decision. Reality does not quench enthusiasm it reinforces it. It is not enough to collect only the good news. We must also find out where the major hurdles lie if we are not to fall down half way through.

I believe more people fail through lack of reality than lack of enthusiasm. A huge amount of enthusiasm is needed to tackle a big project, but also reality.

Two well known boats on this forum show this mixture for me - Ann 'n Nev and Wakatatea. Both had huge experience both built T45 in the same time -2 1/2 yrs and both are happily cruising.

Equally there are part complete boats here and perhaps not even so big that are years in the building with no realistic end in sight.

It is educational to browse the "for sale" also and see the posts these people put up only a few years ago about their plans. For sure no one posted "I am going to sell it after a few years for a fraction of what it cost me".  In what way really were these people different ? Why did it not work out ? How can I avoid falling into the same trap ?

A builder should have the answer to these questions before he starts.

I am living my sailing dream. It is a modest and realistic dream. I may take the opportunity to do more. I may not.

I hope reg. achieves his dream. Even though it is very different to what many of us want.


Some interesting posts coming out here.

Just to add a little more info on my own personal agenda and some of the reasoning behind it, and possibly a lessonn or 2 thrown in.

Coming from Cornwall I grew up around boats, and have a very long family history of working on boats.

I've never been interested in buying a house, and with my work I've never really settled anywhere long enough to grow roots, that is slightly changing with a young family to consider now.

 Now for the hard part, on the issue of unfinished projects, I have first hand experience of this very issue, we bought a 62' Danish trawler to convert to a sea going home, which unfortunately didn't get finished, I put my heart and soul for 7 years into this boat but it was not to be.  

 A few years have past and a lot of soul searching, I've come to the following conclusion on my failure.

 First you'll notice I said "my failure" the reason being, we both agreed to the liveaboard lifestyle, however my partner had never thought of it until we met and had no experience on boats at all, she trusted and fully supported me to carry out the project and despite all we've been through she still supports me today.

 The reason for the project failing, and I suspect this is true of many projects, was the lack of a target.

 Obviously your target will be different to mine but you really do need something tangible  and more importantly realistic to aim for, do not do as I did in my Cornish Dreckly  laid back manner, and think it will get done when it gets done.

A launch date is a good start, or I want to be in Fiji by a certain time, once you have this target then you can break it down in to more bite size chunks i.e build hull 1 by xyz, hull 2 by xyz, this will change, life does happen, but you will know why when it happens, don't beat yourself up about it.

The beauty of targets is it gives you a measure of your progress as well.

Another contributary factor in my project failing was my own expectations of my work, I wanted things to be the best I could do. e.g. when doing the interior varnish work, I would start with 2 coats of epoxy sanded flat then 2 coats of 2 pack poly varnish then sanded followed by wet sanding down to 1200 grit followed by rubbing compound and then polished, I am not exageraiting when I say the finish on the varnish work was better than most high end cars.

 This was completely over the top and distracted me from the real goal of wandering the seas. I have to try and not get too carried away with the minute details

Back to current daydream, I have shifted my focus to the end goal i.e crossing the atlantic solo, there are many ways to achieve this and I am putting certain abitrary restrictions in place to do this i.e. a wharram cat rather than a monohull etc.

Currently I don't have a date due to lack of knowledge on the "best" time to go. 

What happens when the goal is achieved is open at the moment but I'm sure a new goal will appear (life happens) burning the boat will hopefully not be the outcome.

P.S. I've just finished reading a biography on Moitessier and a comment in there hit home, after launching his boat and wandering the oceans for 17 years he wrote "the boat is finally finished".

Good luck 

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