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saw on another forum crew.org.nz that a wharram had capsized in the bay of islands, solo with gusts to 50 kts, not sure what size wharram but would think perhaps a 21 ft. anyone know about it?

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yes the boat was a tiki 21 ruru that i built and owned until about 6 weeks ago . it was a windy day but mabe not 50knts . there was only 1 person aboard he was not hurt and the boat only sustained minor damage this is all i know
Hi Sam,

It would be very worthwhile and interesting if the person sailing the Tiki 21 on the day, joined the board and explain what happened, the conditions etc. I've sailed my Tiki 21 in winds gusting beyond 30 knots, and with the exception of "bouncing" off a few waves causing part of a hull to momentarily raise out the water, I've never felt that it would capsize (but I am cautious!).
This is an interesting topic as the claim used to be, "no Wharram had ever capsized due to wind or wave action". Because of this, Wharrams have always been regarded as very safe when compared to other multihulls. Would that statement only refer to the larger Wharrams, or have larger Wharrams (30 ft and above) suffered any similar consequences? The Pahi 52/53 currently for sale has a photo of the port hull out of the water (I think she is reefed in that pic too). I assume it is a similar situation as I describe above (bouncing off a wave) with a bit of speed added to it. Will be good to hear more opinions about this topic.
I would sure like to see the picture of the Pahi 52 with one hull up as i imagine that others would. David
boatsmith said:
I would sure like to see the picture of the Pahi 52 with one hull up as i imagine that others would. David

Hi David,
I don't by any means mean "flying a hull". The photo I'm referring to on Scott Brown's brokerage page shows part of the port hull "out the water" - I assume a wave trough beneath the hull. Your comment has however cleared my mind that a larger Wharram is unlikely to capsize. ; )
Thanks for pointing me at that picture Carl. That photo does show a boat out on a sporty day. I bet they were having fun. On our Tiki 30 has a mast that is 3' taller tan stock to provide headroom under the bimini. It has the stock wingsail on it. We were out on a day where it was blowing about 20-25 steady and gusting to 35. We were inside the barrier islands so the water was very smooth. There were 4 of us on board. We were zooming along in the teens, just reaching back and forth having a blast. Our high speed was just under 17 knots. We were really trying to get a hull up but just couldn't do it. Probably if we had been outside in the Gulfstream we would have felt the need for a reef but inside I was just sorry we didn't have the spinnaker with us. David
In the PCA magazine 'SEA PEOPLE' No. 15 of May 1991 there is an article 'Tiki 21 and capsize'. I quote from that article:
"Since the first Tiki21 capsize in 1988 we have received another 2 reports of capsize. In both instances the causes were similar, unloaded boats, full sail, crew to leeward and strong winds or gusts."

James Wharram comments to this in the same article as follows:
"Over 9 years over which the Tiki21 has been sailing there have been 3 reported capsizings. Compare this figure with the 23 foot HINEMOA which has a 20 year history with no capsizes........ ...... Against this the Tiki21 has a capsize rate of 1% or less. Should we regard this as too high?"
"The Tiki21 has a better power/weight ratio than the Hinemoa and is therefore faster in light winds. However she is not as stable. Therefore more sailing consideration has to be given to the Tiki21. Sitting on the leeside in gusting force 6-8 conditions will lift a hull. If you are not fast enough capsize will occur. Be warned!"
SEA PEOPLE No. 16 of December 1991 has a detailed article on the capsize in question.
Rory McDougal is now completing his solo trans Atlantic sail in his Tiki 21 entered in the Jester Challenge for boats 20 to 30 feet. He is in front. So I guess one can learn to sail them safely by loading them as directed and not sitting to lee in gusty weather. Rory previously sail his Tiki 21 around the world mostly solo. Ann and Nev
Hi Ann and Nev. I've been following Rory's progress with interest. I suppose like anything really, it comes down to how one sails, not what one sails (although what one sails has a lot of credit!)

On another note. When the boxing day Tsunami hit SE Asia, there was a Wharram (Bamboula???) that capsized due to the wave. Was that ever recovered? I think she was in Rebak Marina in Langkawi at that stage.

Ann and Neville Clement said:
Rory McDougal is now completing his solo trans Atlantic sail in his Tiki 21 entered in the Jester Challenge for boats 20 to 30 feet. He is in front. So I guess one can learn to sail them safely by loading them as directed and not sitting to lee in gusty weather. Rory previously sail his Tiki 21 around the world mostly solo. Ann and Nev
I was told my Hinemoa was flipped by the original owner, but I'm not aware of the circumstances. With the beam now out to 4 meters and larger rig (although still on original height mast) she is very stable. I've sailed her 1 up in 30 knots without reefing - gets pretty wet powering through the chop - but she doesn't feel particularly tippy. A reef in 25 knots or more is a lot more comfortable and we still stay with similar size mono's to windward, although not pointing as high.

The only time it ever felt like it might go over was when struck by a particularly tall, steep sided wave accompanied by a big gust at the entrance to our inner harbour. We were sailing two-up to windward in 25 gusting 30 or so through what was generally about a 3'chop when a wave about twice that height and really steep hit us. Got to about 45 degrees and dropped back down as I dumped the main and the wave passed. Just one really odd wave that came from nowhere. may have been a wake, although I didn't spot anything it could have come from. We sailed on fine after.
Wharram capsize in Wellington

Some months back now there was a comment from an NZer on the Bolger Yahoo Group, that a larger Wharram once capsized in Wellington Harbour. I asked on the Wharram Site Forum if anybody knew about this and Don Brazier confirmed that it did happen some time back. Don reported that the boat was a Tangaroa and was very lightly loaded and the skipper was testing it by sailing to windward to find its limits. He said that the wind at the airport at the time was gusting at 35kts so what the wind may have been channeled through the higher hills down to the harbour he didn't know.

I imagine that very very few larger Wharrams have ever gone over, though?

Greg F
Kiaora wharramites, i am the owner of the capsized tiki 21' Ruru. Kinda strange to come across a forum discussing my miss-adventures!
Anyway it appears i owe you all an explanation. Firstly, although i haven't owned ruru for long i am not a novice sailor and my wharram claim to fame is that i actually learnt to walk on a Tangaroa 35' that my father built back in 1970.
Conditions on the day were 25/30 knot NE winds with heavy gusts close to shore. Both hulls were very lightly loaded and i was single handed. I was still carrying full sail and was sheeted in hard sailing as close to the wind as possible trying to get clear of a narrow ,rocky seaway (Opito bay area). i was sitting on the outside of the windward hull. it was a combination of things that led to the capsize. firstly i was hit by a very heavy gust , this 'bogged' the leeward hull . because this suddenly slowed that hull down (almost stopped) the windward hull overtook it, instantly bringing the boat beam on to the wind and swell. At the same time a steep wave lifted the windward hull and up she went. I let the main sheet go but it didn't release as well as it should have.(possibly too small blocks, as well as the angle of guides.)
i ended up in the water clear of the boat, i quickly un-hooked the outboard and got it up out of the water ,(a quick squirt of CRC and it was sweet), then swam around and reached under to let the anchor down as the tide was taking me closer to shore. luckily i didn't have long to wait for a fizz boat to pass by and they called the coast guard. we threw a heavy rope over the hulls and towed it sideways untill it came back over. the mast popped off its seat but there was no damage to the rig/sails. i lost one tiller which has just magically shown up 3 weeks later! as we towed the boat sideways to pull it over, it submerged one hull which filled with water. the other hull was pretty much dry with dry clothes and a smoke!
Anyway, in the light of all you wharram owners out there and in the name of good seamanship i am sure i deserve to be flogged for even being out there single handed in those conditions. (i'll give you the stick Sam!) The other factor worthy of contributing to the situation is that i am in the middle of a messy divorce and i was only out there to try and blow out a few demons. but now i'm making excuses. i learnt alot. it was me that got the boat in the situation and no design fault of the boat. in fact i now have greater confidance in their beautiful, simple design.
Sorry Sam, at least i got to check on the condition of any oyster damage (none.) You built a fantastic boat which my kids are already in love with
great site to find and hopefully i will meet some of you around the bay of islands or at the gathering in january
hi peter, thanks for sharing your experience in so a transparent manner.
all the best and fair winds

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