Wharram Builders and Friends

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Hello Sea People!

I need some decision help here. I'm looking to start a build soon (March) if I can't find a boat willing to be owner financed. To build I would like to free up as much of my income as possible. To do this I am considering two options. 1) Move aboard Element  my Tiki 21 (I know it's drastic right!) or... 2) buy a 37' Irwin (Gasp!!! yes I know I said buy a monohull) that's here in my anchorage for cheap cheap and owner financed. Live aboard one of those build my Tiki 38 or Tangaroa MKIV (Haven't decided) then sell everything and leave. The only bonus (read potential curse... I'm staying positive) to the Irwin besides increased living space is that I'd have two boats to sell in the end and in theory more money to cruise with. 

I've posed this situation to many people (friends family and co-workers) none of whom are really qualified to give an answer. (They can't understand why someone would live on a boat) Soooo... I decided to post it here and see what my fellow Sea people would have to say. I'm all ears :)

I will add that I was contemplating this the other day as I watched a storm blow through our anchorage and while Element braved the wind and waves rather gracefully. Every mono out there looked like a washing machine with massive pitching and rolling. Not sure I'm interested in that.

Thanks for you time

Brandon 

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I haven't built Wharram, but I built a Lyle Hess Cutter......4000 hours of building.  Over time, over budget.....

 

Building a boat is no way to save money, or get you out cruising sooner.

 

This is my take.  If you were to find a boat that would owner finance, you wouldn't be out cruising anyway.  You would be using the boat as an apartment while you made payments.  There are always a few good used wharrams available.  Right now in Florida there is that Tangaroa "Forever Young" for around 50k +-.  You would be out cruising much sooner if you just cut your living expenses and worked at your normal job, and saved up to buy a boat with cash.  Hey if you feel the need to sand and paint, get a part time job painting houses.  Rent a room in someone's house to really get your overhead down if you have to.  Work 7 days a week like you would anyway if you were building a boat....and you will have enough to buy a used boat in no time at all. 

 

In the meantime while you are saving for your boat, learn about repairing watermakers, refrigeration, and engine maintenance, so when you get out cruising, you can get work and stay out as long as you want.  There are more and more rich, older cruisers out there, that need help maintaining their large boats.  If you're creative and have some varied skills, you'll never be strapped for cash.

 

When you get your used Wharram there will be plenty of little projects to make the boat "yours" to satisfy your boat building appetite.

 

Good luck,

Holy dooley Brandon, bet you did not expect such a Pandora's box!

So many variations of a common theme; common theme being do what it takes to achieve the dream and the variations from a comfortable abode to roughing it in a tent.

For me, while rebuilding my Hinemoa, I spent a year living from the back of our 4x4 delica van and cooking over an open fire brekky, noon and night, and showering under an old style canvas bush shower. During the rainy season I set up a 12x12 portable gazebo over the center deck area and a 40x40 foot blue tarp over that to cover the whole boat, cooked under there as well.

I am very fortunate because I teach outdoor education, specifically canoeing and sea kayaking, so for the last 15 years or so I normally spent more time under tarpage than in a house anyway and am very comfortable and relaxed in that situation/environment.

I guess the point being that the more simple/cheaper you can make your living environment and still maintain comfort and satisfaction the more effective your time building will be. We teach and guide people to step out and explore beyond their comfort zone, challenge themselves but always being mindfull to not take too big of a step and ruin the experience.

Also remember that with Element, if a storm front is on the way you could always up pick and sneak up a creek for a few days break surrounded by nature which is always good for the soul. I would do that in my canoe when the weather was becoming to uncomfortable under the tarp and have nothing but good memories of it.

For me a good barometer has always been, if at the end of a day or a segment of achievement you can sit and enjoy the glass of wine, whiskey or bonox and smile at where you're at in the world, you're on the right path.

Enjoy it mate,
Cheers,
Shaun
I'm loving this... so many voices telling me their hopes dreams and fears and woes. It stirs up my own desires and helps me find my way to happiness and my future floating home. For those who have replied so far. I work at a grocery store so I can bring food home from work. The marina near my anchorage offers a washer and dryer and a nice lounge area with WiFi and a TV.. so there's that. I haven't ruled out just saving and buying a used boat... still thinking and weighing ideas and learning. Keep them coming guys and gals I appreciate it

Hey Brandon...................many ways to skin a cat eh????? If you decide to live on Element - definitely make a  big deck tent to cover the whole cockpit if you haven't already. As Ann & Nev say........comfort is an issue to be able to hang in for the long haul. When I stopped to work and build up the cruising kitty in OZ, I booked Cookie into a marina so I could walk aboard, have lots of social times and easy shower & laundry access.

Personally I do take lots of pride in having created Cookie - but I am more of a fan of getting out and starting the adventures ASAP. Building a small Tiki takes long enough. Building a big one will be an immense effort of time and money. Many events can occur in that time that may force you to change dreams. - How many sad stories do we see of folks spending years on a build only to sell it unfinished when life forces the dream to fade. I am the biggest advocate of choosing the smallest capable boat to give enough comfort for your cruising needs. My dream boat is a Tiki 30. Yes I would love to build one, but realistically second hand ones are on the market for what the materials would cost to build. Choose the plan that gets you to live the dream as quickly as possible. 

Through it all - make sure you have lots of fun!!

Rory wow thanks for your advice! I have to say I've considered taking off on Element after reading or re-reading about your taravels. And who knows... the Bahamas aren't too far from here and they are constantly calling my name. As the very least I'll be keeping Element through the duration to keep sight of what I'm doing all of this for I moved here to sail and that's what I've been doing as much as I can... It's been great. More and more I think why not just move aboard Element... I have plans for a deck tent and have gathered materials and am working with a local seamstress that has an adventurous imagination... I'll be making something similar to "Star Catcher" a Hitia 17's tent from over on your side of the pond. I'm planning that more for my sail camping adventures but it will serve me well in the event that I move on board. Its soo funny because one min I'll be dead set on one plan of action and then the next morning it'll be something completely different.... but... that's why I'm working all of this out now and starting in March. Time to let things settle, and work out all of the details. Thanks again Rory for your say in things. I'm loving seeing all of the different thoughts, ideas, and opinions! That's one of the best features of this site is we can seek help from countless hours and miles of sailing experience and mostly on Wharrams at that... Thanks to all who've replied so far!

Really good advice here!


 
Rod Jones said:

I haven't built Wharram, but I built a Lyle Hess Cutter......4000 hours of building.  Over time, over budget.....

 

Building a boat is no way to save money, or get you out cruising sooner.

 

This is my take.  If you were to find a boat that would owner finance, you wouldn't be out cruising anyway.  You would be using the boat as an apartment while you made payments.  There are always a few good used wharrams available.  Right now in Florida there is that Tangaroa "Forever Young" for around 50k +-.  You would be out cruising much sooner if you just cut your living expenses and worked at your normal job, and saved up to buy a boat with cash.  Hey if you feel the need to sand and paint, get a part time job painting houses.  Rent a room in someone's house to really get your overhead down if you have to.  Work 7 days a week like you would anyway if you were building a boat....and you will have enough to buy a used boat in no time at all. 

 

In the meantime while you are saving for your boat, learn about repairing watermakers, refrigeration, and engine maintenance, so when you get out cruising, you can get work and stay out as long as you want.  There are more and more rich, older cruisers out there, that need help maintaining their large boats.  If you're creative and have some varied skills, you'll never be strapped for cash.

 

When you get your used Wharram there will be plenty of little projects to make the boat "yours" to satisfy your boat building appetite.

 

Good luck,

There is a lot of wisdom in this thread. I'll add my 2 cents and see if it measures up:

The world is changed since Wharram, Bolger, Parker, Beuhler made their mark. Today's world is filled with good old plastic boats, and today's Wharram would probably write a book about how to select and rehab, rather than build from scratch. In today's world that's the fastest, cheapest way to get out there and do it instead of being on land talking about it. The boat we (wife, 2 daughters, dog, cat, myself) were on when we met Annie, Neville, and PEACE IV took us from Georgia to the Bahamas back home to Montauk, then to Bermuda and the Lessor Antilles and then back home to Montauk. That was almost 4 years of sailing and about 10,000 miles under her keel. We bought her for $23,500, and you could a boat like her today for even less.

That doesn't mean don't build, but don't let dreaming of building keep you from the doing. Being on the water is the dream, all else should support that dream.

I agree - lots of good advice here.

I think the realisation of the dream has three parts

  1. Somewhere to go. Having a voyage in mind. Our marinas are full of boats whose owners have nowhere to go. The whole world is waiting  just beyond the first headland the boats were never better equipped but they rot in marinas. They have nowhere to go.

  2.  Someone to go with. It is a simple fact that for every Ann there is a Nev. And v/versa.  Once you discount the "first-round-alone-in-a......"trophy hunters they are nearly all couples. Or wish they were. This single handed dream is largely the delusion of married men. Single men dream of dusky maidens.

  3.  The means. Realistic knowledge of your needs and how to meet them.  Cash up front and the ability to replenish it. Eager and adaptable will go a long way. Portable skills a real bonus. Only now finally do we meet the boat. It is in fact well down the list. If you have most of the above list a bicycle [pair of!] will do.

       Reading between the lines I think you may be very close to full marks on 1. & 2 !! Financing a run down boat is possibly the worst step anyone can take. Without cash -in -hand these projects are heart breakers. Judge what is available on basic suitability for purpose and affordability. Ann and Nev were pensioners before they built Peace. Were all the years and miles in other boats a waste of time ? I don't think so.

       It has always been common knowledge that Wharrams to provide reasonable accommodation must be not much less than 40 ft. These are huge boats to build. Even my P 31 with improved cabin I would consider very small for a couple for more than a holiday /vacation. At this size for home-building with accommodation as a priority I would be looking to other designers. There are some fine simple and proven open bridge deck cat designs at 27 to 32 ft that deliver real accommodation.

      

some incoherent thoughts:

  • The building took longer and was more expensive than I expected. But it also teached me much more than I hoped.
  • The clothing used for buidling does not need washing but must be ceremonially destroyed and replaced from time to time.
  • When building SAUS UND BRAUS we were absolutely unable to decide certain things early. All was decided in time but extremly tightly (e.g. the name 3 hours before the naming ceremony). Somehow we needed the pressure. Maybe you just don't need a final answer by now...
  • I think a building can be done without major noxious effects. I consider heavy duty breathing protection essential.

Oh dear, now I ran out of thoughts...

The last three posts are wisdom.  Read them again.

I guess the only real reason to build a boat is because you want to build a boat.  If you are that person, there is no other way.  You gotta do what you gotta do. 

There are, indeed, a whole lot of old boats around.  You can, indeed, make fine voyages in these good old boats.  If your dream is to go cruising, then go cruising in one of these.  That is the quickest and cheapest option.  But be sure you get something appropriate and safe for what you want to do and get a survey and be sure to look around and see maybe 50 or 100 boats for sale so you don't buy something awful at a high price.

As for single handing.  I wanted to single hand even though I was female and maybe because I was female.  I wanted to face myself as I would be "out there" so it was a personal thing.  I also wanted to be alone "out there" so I would not be distracted from the spiritual experience of being there.  It was an amazing experience for me in the middle of the Atlantic and it changed my life.

Sadly, not everybody gets a Nev.  I waited and waited and Nev only came into my life when I was already in my late 40s.  Perhaps it is because I had just completed my solo trans Atlantic, but I was able to see him clearly as the man I wanted in my life.  Perhaps it is because his wife died about the time we met, so he was able to see me.  Who understands such things?  We have been together since 1991 and will not be parted.  He is wonderful.

I do think the clothing you use to build your boat does need to be laundered every day because the sanding dust is caustic.  Sanding dust with fiberglass fibers will cause rash.  Sanding dust that has any even slightly uncured epoxy can cause rash and cure time is up to two weeks even after it seems hard when you press your fingernail on it. 

Protect your lungs from dust and chemicals and also air pollution.

TAKE THE TEST. Try living the dream in small segments like taking a holiday on a boat with your dearie.  If you like it, try taking that holiday twice as long next time.  If you like it twice as much, you may be a cruiser.  This is an important test because not everybody actually likes cruising.  It would be stupid to spend all that time and money for a dream that turns out not to be fun for you.  I know lots of people who thought they would like it but found out they did not like it.  Everybody does it different.  Find out who you are and accept who you are.  Life goes easier that way. 

And remember that some folks like building and some like cruising and some like both.  Nev likes building a lot more and I like cruising a lot more.  So between us, we got it all covered.  Building small boats works best for us, to tell you the truth.  Building this large boat almost messed up our marriage and that sure would have been a shame.  It is hard to build a large Wharram.  Actually it was our good friend (my ex husband) who helped us most when we ran out of energy and funds.  He came and sanded for a whole month every year for the whole time we were building and loaned us some money the last year at 4% so we could finish.  He was a good friend to do that and we were glad to help him with medical needs on several occasions in return.  Friendship is what helps most in life.

You all be careful with each other's dreams and be careful always with your bodies.  The ocean has been out there for a long time and if you can't get there this year, then keep trying if that is what you want in life.  Stay well and keep trying and eventually I am sure you will find the way to go. 

Ann and Nev

 



Galway Bay said:

I  3.  The means. Realistic knowledge of your needs and how to meet them.  Cash up front and the ability to replenish it. Eager and adaptable will go a long way. Portable skills a real bonus. Only now finally do we meet the boat. It is in fact well down the list. If you have most of the above list a bicycle [pair of!] will do.

 ______________________    

I totally agree with this - we were going to build a Tiki 46 but our circumstances changed before we started and there was no way we'd have the time and the $$ to complete the job in any reasonable amount of time (our boys would be in college before we finished!). 

We bought 4 good touring bicycles for a third of what I spent on my building shed. So, we realized that what we really wanted was to have some adventure with our boys, and we'll do that sooner and a lot cheaper than building, or even buying, a boat. Maybe someday sailing will be the right answer - who can say? Good luck with your decision, Brandon. This site is such an excellent reservoir of information and support.

Bob

     

Well to all of those who offered advice and kind words I felt I should provide an update. I have arranged a deal with Dan Kunz and his "Forever Young" and will be Taking ownership of her in a couple weeks. Thanks for all of the advice and support it meant a lot and really helped in my decision. For those that don't know the boat or have never been to a Hui Wharram in Islamorada, FL... "Forever Young" is a modified Tangaroa MKIV 

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