Wharram Builders and Friends

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I won't swear here because this is a family forum.  But please know that I have been swearing for a couple of hours while we used some low quality douglas fir non marine plywood to build a locker for the cockpit our new boat.  Believe me, using low quality plywood is frustrating beyond belief and demoralizing to work with as well. And even more important, I believe it would lead to rot sooner than the higher quality Okume or Gaboon marine ply which we used to build our Wharram.  Do not be tempted to use poor quality plywood to build your boat!!!

Cutting the pieces out of cheap ply is not fun because it already looks cheap and feels cheap and it is cheap and not satisfying like high quality gaboon or okume was when we used that exclusively to build our Wharram Tiki 46 which launched back in 2002.  That boat was hard work to build, but not frustrating, the wood felt satisfying as it was cut and shaped, glued, screwed, fiberglassed, painted, and sailed over 50 thousand ocean miles in safety.  Thank God we did not cut corners and use cheap ply!

Here is the real difference as far as I can tell...  First of all, it starts our with all kinds of defects so working with it is kind of insulting like trying to play ball with grumpy team mates.  Second, it needs to be repaired so that takes time and extra materials.  Third, it soaks up the epoxy like a tramp soaks up beer and epoxy costs way more than beer and it leaves the boat heavy forever after.  Fourth, it continues to soak up epoxy after you glass it so you get a dry bond under the fiberglass and does not adhere the way it did so easily when we used good quality ply. 

Boat building is hard work and it is expensive buying all the materials.  But buying quality plywood makes a big difference.  I never would have finished a boat using poor quality ply.  The frustration and distrust of the material would have done me in.

Peace IV is now in Costa Rica and the young folks who bought her learned how to sail while they went along.  They are beautiful people, love the boat, and now Peace IV is getting painted up all pretty like a girl in a new dress.

Nev is doing fine with me sailing in our Cape Dory 300MS motor sailor which is 30 feet long and easy for us old folks to manage now that his balance is unreliable.  When we sailed a Wharram, everybody turned to look again and again at the beautiful boat entering the anchorage.  Nobody looks twice at the Cape Dory.  But we are back on the water and will be looking to see if there are any Wharrams in the anchorages we frequent from now on.  

Enjoy life and always be grateful for what you have.

Ann and Nev

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