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As I continue with the build of my boat,I was wondering what these cats are like to sail? Those who have would you like to share your observations here.

cheers paul

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Very quick, and very enjoyable!  You'll love it.

Don't believe what anyone says about Wharrams not going to windward very well, they're fine as long as you've got well cut sails and don't try to pinch too high.  I had a long beat to windward down the English Channel a while back and we kept up with monohulls at least as big as us.  They could point a few degrees higher but we were much faster, so we made ground at about the same rate.  Mostly we didn't need to steer when hard on the wind, a bungee adjusted to take the load off the tiller was all that was needed, then she steered herself.

Tacking can be tricky if you're not used to it, but you just have to learn the technique.  It's all about timing, using the jib to push the nose through the wind before you take it across, and being ready to reverse the rudders if she moves astern for a few seconds.  I always watch the water flow by the stern when we come through the wind so I know which way the rudders should be.  Difficult to tack up a narrow channel though.

These boats accelerate very quickly when the wind puffs up, and it doesn't take much to get them going.  Also it makes a very noticeable difference if you raise the outboard when you don't need it.  A motor leg makes a lot of drag at six or seven knots and on a light boat like a Tiki it does slow you down.

Off the wind the Tiki flies!  The fastest we've had out of Zest is 14 knots surfing downwind, but 10+ sustained for up to about 30 seconds, and constant 8's and 9's.  We did hit 14 at one point under jib alone.  Those sort of speeds are exhilarating but very wet and not exactly comfortable, and steering can be hard work.

I've just had a read of my logbook and the fastest we've sailed close hauled is 7.5 knots but a lot depends on the sea state.  In light conditions only 12 knots of wind was giving us 5 knots of boat speed close hauled.

The sailing performance is one of the best features of the Tiki, something to really look forward to!


Robert you are a scholar and a gentleman,your observations are something i look forward to.What was that about people on the interwebs looking for confirmation of their prejudices etc.Seriously you are right about all the crap out there on other sailing forums regarding close hauled sailing of wharram cats.

cheers paul

+10³. . . . ;~) Robert is spot on, Paul. If you get up into the teens, just wear a spray top!  And, if the leeward bow is being pushed down hard, taking lots of water, head up a bit to ease the pressure.  You have new sails so the ability to trim them is what you need to bring out the tiki's potential. When next I go out, I'll take pictures of my latest effort: twings for the jib sheets!  They let you move the load on the sheet in three directions for close-hauled, close reaching, or broad reaching.

Oh, and don't forget to put in the first reef! ;~)

Is this the same Red T26 Zest that was for sale on Thorney not so long ago?  I admired that boat a number of times - very nice! Where is she now?



T21 "Tiki Sunrise" (Emsworth)

Robert Hughes said:

  The fastest we've had out of Zest is 14 knots

Hi Simon!  Yes, that's the same Zest.  I changed my mind and decided to keep her in the end, although I knew I wouldn't be able to sail for a couple of years (family circumstances).  She's at home in my garden in Denmead now, to save the cost of keeping her in the boatyard and make it easier to work on her.  I've found some rot in the gunwales and beam lashing points so I've decided to replace the whole lot.  She's about 20 years old and the rails were softwood.  Evidently a number of repairs have been done over the years, some better than others, so it's time to start again from scratch.  I'm going to use iroko this time, so I hopefully it will outlast me!!

Blimey,there was me thinking your lots hearts were made of oak.

They are, that's why there's none left to make gunwales!

Hi Paul, I've just found and uploaded a short video of Zest sailing herself to windward.  Apologies for the wind noise in the mike (and the poor quality of the camera work) !  We were doing about 6kts.  We should really have shaken the reef out of the main, but it was jolly cold and neither of us wanted to leave our sheltered spots standing in the hatchways!  The Tiki can sail herself like that for hours on end, and as long as you've got the bungee adjusted right for the wind strength she will steer as well as we can by hand.  Extract from my log:- "Zest virtually sailed herself from Portland Bill to Lyme Regis, 6kts to windward with a bungee on the helm".

I've clocked Tsunamichaser at 16 knots on the GPS on a nice beam reach.  Flat seas, great wind.  Things get pretty exciting at such speeds.  Actually kind of stressful.  Really performance all depends on how hard you want to work.  You can tweak the rigging and sails like a race crew and get great performance but what's the point.  You can also get unconventional.  This last summer sailing with Scott Veirs and Kiko Johnson against a strong current but down wind, we put up every scrap of sail and tarp I had onboard.  We even deployed umbrellas.  We were working ourselves through a narrow passage and though we were not going fast and we could have used the motor we slowly inched our way against the current.  It wasn't pretty but we had an awesome time!  Maybe these boats don't sail as close to the wind as some monohull but you can sail all the way to the beach before you need to tack.  And who knows some pretty girl out for a walk on the beach might be intrigued and ask to come along for a sail.  It happens!  One thing I have noticed is that Wharrams seem to catch the eyes of the girls.  It's like going to the park with a cute dog on the lease - they're magnets!!

yeah, Thomas, I think he documented that in Two Girls Two Catamarans

Well said Thomas!  When we saw 14 knots it was on a run in big seas, so I can imagine you could go faster in the right conditions.  I'm looking forward to clocking 16 like Tsunamichaser one day, but I know exactly what you mean by "kind of stressful"....  Not the sort of thing you want to do all day.

All builders run into a "wall" at some point in the build, when progress is slow and motivation dips.  Sometimes you need a short break (I'd take a few weeks out and play with model aeroplanes or something).  The other thing that's needed at that point is encouragement, which you can certainly get on this forum, seeing what everyone else is up to.  Everyone should read what you've written.  Many of these boats seem to be built by men of about my age, and whether it's true or not the idea that you're working on a babe magnet is certainly motivational !!

I went to Costa Rica 2/3's of the way through my build to remember what the warm ocean was all about.  When I got back, I was happy to be back in the boat shed and stoked to finish and launch.  FUN - that's what it's about not some hellish task that has to get done for the boss.

Make your self a flag, Eat breakfast and drink coffee at whatever time amuses you and Stick your nose up some creek where no keelboat would ever dare go.  WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THE SMALLER TIKI'S IS THAT LIFE IS LIKE BEING A KID ON A RAFT AGAIN- YOU DON'T HAVE TO TAKE ANYTHING SERIOUSLY.  Google sharkfood and catamaran and watch the youtube video of 3 Russian sailors in Thailand - yeah baby that's what it's about!!  Oh and Robert watch out for the ladies, they'll have you hanging curtains on the portholes and heading out to buy matching cups and silverware!



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