Wharram Builders and Friends

A Photo & Discussion Forum for Wharram Design Enthusiasts

I've been lusting after a Wharram of my own for decades. Some of you may recognise me as a serial pest from the old Wharram forum (you can run, but you can't hide;-) 

I may be getting made redundant from work in a couple of months time, so I figured I'd do the responsible thing and splash out on a Wharram of some sort (shhh, don't tell the missus). I won't have much to spend (say $5000 - $10000?). Thinking Hinemoa/Taneui/Tiki 21/Pahi 26/Pahi 42 (ok, might be dreaming with the 42 for that money). I'll probably sail mostly solo, but will also take my wife and two teenage kids out for daysailing occasionally. 

Current options:

1. See what cheap Wharrams are available here in Australia. Fixer upper could be the goods if no too far gone and price is right. (Any takers?)

2. Possibly get a quote for someone to put some hulls/beams together, for me to finish off. Obviously, this would mean living at the smaller end of the spectrum (Hinemoa/Tiki 21). I've got a shipwright mate, but he does get pretty busy. I'd have a go myself, but my current (glacial) outrigger canoe build has taught me two things:  firstly that my life is way too busy for such nonsense, and secondly that I'm a sucky boatbuilder anyway (too impatient and no talent). But I seem to be able to fix stuff ok.

Opinions, comments, observations anyone? 


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Mate,Australia and cheap boat is like military and intelligence very hard to find but when you do It will be pretty special.I am lucky in a way that I am single and need only work two days a week,the rest of the time has been devoted to my tiki build,even so I find the amount of work relentless at times but somehow have managed to muddle thru,I truly doubt i could have built this boat with a family unless i had a stash of cash and could take the time off to concentrate on the build exclusively.But if this is what you truly want to do,then what is the price of dreams hey?

Hey paul, thanks for the reply. 

Yeah, you've hit the nail on the head there mate. That's exactly why I'm not planning to attempt a build from scratch. Hopefully I'll be able to jag a reasonable specimen, or else get something started for me at least. 

How far have you gotten with your Tiki so far? Where are you located? It'd be great if I could get around for a squizz.

I am up on the Sunshine coast,for sure you can come and look see,basically the boat is built,only the finishing and and some odds and ends that seem to take forever,I started in November 2010 and hope to be on the water some time this year.

Hmmm, I'm just north of Sydney so it's a bit of a drive at the moment. Still, with the redundancy looming, I may well find myself passing through sometime for interviews perhaps. If I'm in the region, I'll definitely be popping in to say hi and have a perve. 

Congrats on the huge progress. Knowing how much work has been involved with my minuscule build, my hat is well & truly off to all you amazing people who've achieved significant builds. 

Hey there Scott,
Thought you might like to know there was a Pahi 31 for sale at Lemon Tree Passage, Port Stephens, $15,000, but the seller was very flexible. We looked at her in 2010,ish, just before the big floods in Brisbane. We very nearly took her but our situation changed and we missed out, just as well as too many boats bit the big one when the flood hit, which is where she would have been moored!
Not sure if she is still available, Google Pahi 31 Port Stephens Marine.
We also found a Tanenui or Tangaroa at Victoria Point Qld, she was very rough around the edges but in 5 to 10k range, again not sure if she is still there.
Good luck, the treasures can be found!

Hi there Shaun. I don't know if you're still out there, but is you are, then so sorry for the late response. I did get your message, and checked the Pahi out, but I wasn't yet in a position to be able to do anything. I thought I'd sent you a reply back then, but apparently I didn't. I've had my hands pretty full since then and haven't been back to this site for ages. Anyway, once again sorry about that and thanks for the heads up. 

There's been plenty of twists and turns for me since then, but everything's settled down great now. Got an awesome job in Newcastle, and have gotten back into the canoe build again (scottyscanoe.blogspot.com.au). I'm on a mission to get the hull finished by NYE, and things are tracking well. (I've just posted a question about crab claw rigs in case anyone knows anything about them)

I also ended up scoring a very cheap boat, although she's not a Wharram (nor even a multihull). It's a British Contessa 26, and is a complete basket case. She was destined for the seabed, and I just couldn't let that happen to her. I'm blogging that little project as well (sentina-shipsblog.blogspot.com.au) in case anyone is interested. 

Anyway, thanks again to all for their suggestions. Hope you're all going well out there. Cheers amigos. 

Hey there Scotty,

Good to hear your world is turning well for you now.

The Ulua is looking sweet, well done matey! We understand fully about life getting in the way, Casey and I took our Tahiti Wayfarer, Wilbur, down the Sea of Cortez for a couple of months at the start of this year; we found the boat was great but we had too much gear and the second hull was needed to live off it more efficiently, so we came back to Santa Fe to build that second hull and,... still here trying to get other jobs squared away before we can return!!!

I'm looking forward to seeing your progress on the Contessa, bringing something back from the brink is something I can appreciate. She's had a life and has lived through someones dreams, and then to get left behind is truly a tragedy, good onya for the rescue!



Thanks Shaun, and I'm really looking forward to that first paddle someday. 

I love the Tahiti Wayfarers. I even seriously contemplated building one of those first, when I still had delusions of becoming a wannabe Glenn Tiermann with a Child of the Sea of my own. In fact my interest in that design is what's motivating me to suss out the crab claw rig for my Ulua. Is yours so rigged? Anyway, you've GOT to post some photos for me to perve on and please keep us posted on your progress with the other hull.  

Hey Scott,

Yep, we use a Crab Claw, albeit the smaller of the two within the design. My tests so far have shown both plusses and minuses.

On the plus side is obviously the simplicity, both in construction and use.

One significant issue for me to get my head around concerned the simple flat cut sail and how that would create lift to sail with. Hindsight caused me to feel a bit dopey, however the curved edges of the Luff and Foot when laced to the relatively straight mast and boom creates a belly or draft in the sail and therefore generating lift. For whatever reason I didn't see it in my mind before actually creating it.

In actual use, at least initially, I found that it worked better with a stronger wind as the heavy duty poly tarp needed to stretch and move in accordance with the weave and weft of the material to settle in its final shape; which after a while it did and looked great with a full, crinkle-less shape even in light winds.

Which brings me to the next point, how far off the wind could we work it? And this was also the slight minus area, mostly because we had him loaded up fairly well, to the point where the drain scuppers were now the fill scuppers most of the time, but even with a light load, in light winds we were hard pressed to get up to 50/55 off.

In a tight estuary near the Seri Indian village to the north of Kino we had 15/20 knots with good gusts. Because of the tight nature of the estuary there was no fetch and consequently no waves and this allowed us to reach about 45 degrees off the wind and we could tack through without using the paddles. However, as soon as we got out into an area with reasonable wave action our loaded outrigger would bog and getting any higher than about 60 off was often impossible and forget tacking even with the paddles, it really gave us a narrow operating range of wind.

Getting to the estuary in up to 5/6 knots had us moving along with hardly a wake generated and often stalled if it shifted too far forward, it took us 6 or 7 hours to travel about 15NM, we hugged the coast pretty well. When the wind picked up to 8/11 knots we would push along at around 3 to 4 knots and an occasional 5 would register, felt great!

The return journey to Kino took 2 hours! I have no idea what the wind speed was but we were running dead before it and when I managed to check the GPS at one point I saw 9 knots. That wind was pushing slightly off the coast across the bay and taking us slowly away from shore and into bigger waves. The one time I turned to get us closer to shore and as a consequence turn across the wind slightly we accelerated, within a few heartbeats, to a point where the hull hummed, the float submarined and the for-deck buried into the wave we started to overtake. My freckle puckered a few times!!!

Anyway the upshot of what we found is that we love the Crab Claw and look forward to more testing when we return to the Sea of Cortez with the twin hull variant of the design. We'll stick with the smaller of the two sail options; slower in light airs but more manageable in heavier and in the Sea of Cortez the heavy winds can show up with no notice at all.

I'll try to get some photos on my page here, I'm very slack when it comes to maintaining inter web stuff, but I will try! Oh, the angles off the wind mentioned above were measured with compass and GPS, and wind speed was measured with an instrument standing on shore except for the return to Kino, I was to busy wrestling with the steering paddle and Casey was moving all over the place to keep us the right way up.



Hi Shaun

Wow, thanks for the detailed reply. That's a huge help (and very motivating). I'm looking forward to seeing your photos (however long it takes to post - lol). I reckon it'll be awesome to see how your completed Wayfarer will perform under similar conditions. Standing by. 

As for the crab claw rig (CCR) itself, it definitely sounds like something I want to try on the Ulua. At the moment I'm thinking about rigging the boat as a trimaran when sailing. This should give me a slightly more forgiving platform when experimenting with the rig. It'll be interesting to see how the Ulua compares (to your Wayfarer) with regard to windward ability. The Ulua's rudder box can have also a small 2hp outboard mounted in case things get a bit sketchy, but I'm hoping I won't come to be needing it. I don't suppose the CCR would be much worse off to windward than the adapted Hawaiian rig that Gary Dierking has designed for the Ulua. Time will tell I guess. I need to do loads of research in how to set one up in the meantime. I can't see the rig cost being insurmountable. I'm thinking about having two sizes of CCR aboard, one being way smaller for when conditions really blow up. If I keep them light, then I can lash the unused rig across the iakos whilst out there playing. 

Thomas Nielson has just posted some ripper info in the Crab Claw section, so I'm about to go get immersed. Thanks again dude. 

Hey there Scotty,

You're right the Tri will be a more stable platform, but the single outrigger gives more lessons; examples being, if you miss judge wind/weight bias - you get wet (in a fun way), a more detrimental example is coming onto shore in rough conditions, you've been out running around having fun and get back to shore through a small shore break and your tired, the waves start to push the boat around to beam on to shore, the outrigger can have the main hull bouncing on the sand with the float safe on the water but the tri would have a float getting pushed and smooshed up on the sand with both the other float and main hull getting driven by the little waves. When the float is on the sand the main hull gives a lot of power when the waves hit it and although nothing broke from the event it did not feel good at all, seeing things bend and twist is scary. Also when pushing in close around rocks and reefs etc. being able to paddle the main hull up close and even step off is great fun, a float on both sides would restrict this.

Not saying don't go the tri, just consider learning with the single; getting comfortable with the single will give much greater confidence in your skills and knowledge especially when you go over and get wet and get it back up the right way on your own.

We use the same principals when teaching Sea Kayaking and Canoeing, the biggest fear is going over, so learning how to deal with that comes first and with the increased confidence the learning curve is much easier.

The Wharrams give similar advise with regards to the sails, start and learn with the smaller sail area; everything happens in a similar way just slower and more manageable, as skills and knowledge grow then increase the challenges.

These little boat are very weight sensitive and an outboard weighs a lot. Again from the Sea Kayak expedition training background, pick trial and training days with an onshore wind, you can really push your envelope as skills progress and if anything goes pear shaped, you go over and cannot get back up, the wind will help get you back to shore and you don't risk losing or damaging the motor.

I'm looking forward to hearing how it all pans out, the small boats make even small journeys feel like big expeditions!



Hi Shaun

Thanks for the observations. All quite valid and duly noted. At least here in my home waters, I will be using a large channel (Ettalong) to access the ocean, and is quite protected/safe. So the shore breaks shouldn't be too much of an issue for me, plus I do have some experience with these types of boats, as well as kayaks in general. I'll be launching this boat as a regular outrigger canoe with one ama to start with, and will develop the sailing rig (with extra ama and double iakos) as time and money permit. And you're quite right, I'll be starting with the smaller rig initially and moving to the bigger rig once I've ironed out all the bugs with my systems/skills. 

My decks are coming along nicely (in between the bloody hot/humid/thumderstormy weather lately), and i'm starting to think my goal of having the hull largely completed by Christmas could actually be achieved. I'm currently waiting for today's temperature to peak before fibreglassing them. Its all getting exciting now. 

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