Wharram Builders and Friends

A Photo & Discussion Forum for Wharram Design Enthusiasts

I'm a boat builder to trade and I am totally sold on Wharram's to the extent that the boat I am building for my own use is a Pahi 63 of which I will use upon it's completion as my home, office, charter, workstation, etc.

However some professional Yacht Brokers I know in the business don't share my opinion. Keeping their personal opinions aside they say the Wharram's have little or no re-sale value, mostly amateur built and of ply construction there is no consistency in quality, therefore they usually sell at a loss in the post build and re-sale market.

Looking at the Brokerage lists I can't argue, I have seen "costal trek" and "ocean class" Wharram's both unfinished projects and proven boats go for less than the material costs.

I don't build Wharram's professionally most of my work is tied up where it is in demand in the "plastic fantastic" Gin Palaces and Honeycomb core Carbon Racers, mainly repairs and insurance work. However I do look at the Wharram's fondly and think of building a few low hour costal trek designs just simply for the pleasure of the build alone and the satisfaction I get from my work. If there is anyone out there that has a different story to argue the Yacht Brokers opinions I'd love to hear it!

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Value is of course relative regarding any type of boat. Well kept and maintained Wharrams seem to have a bottom trading value range. Ask Mark Brown, he could probably write a thesis on its downward curve trajectory. Trick is to understand it and buy there, and not fool oneself that value will do anthing but fall modestly over the years.

You are correct that many selling owners ---initially value them hugely above market and so sit on the market with no takers for literally years, before being disabused off their "what i've got in it " fantasy notion ask prices,(because no one cares whay you have in it). Then they reluctantly price to the bottom of the range, often after letting upkeep levels fall dangerously and sell therafter fairly rapidly. Have seen this numerous times. As for new builds: one pays for the joy of creating personalized art thru the nose, and one will never see many of those dollars back. At the end of the day however, such things are not investments in the traditional sense--(one can not sail a CD )they are instead investments in sojourn longed for dreams, and such matters transend the almightly buck chase by multiplied horisions of joy.
I can't comment on on the difference between designs in the market place. All other things being equal, some designers, models and hull types may yield a greater return on investment for a builder.

When it comes to resale of anything, but especially a custom build or home built item the prospective buyer want's to know that the design, materials and construction practices are of proper quality. Assuming the Wharram design is accepted by the buyer, that leaves materials and construction practices to be proved as acceptable.
One way to do this is to hire a builder with a known reputation that will translate into resale value. When the advert says " professionally constructed by approved Wharram builder "BoatSmith' in FL, USA ", the value increases dramatically.
Alternatively, a builder who documents the build can provide a prospective buyer with the information needed for them to feel comfortable in their purchase by giving them a detailed look into the materials selection and the construction process. The modern age of digital camera's and internet forum's and blogs provides a wonderfully easy way to document the quality of the build and thought processes that guided the myriad of construction decisions. Assuming that the design and the 'fit and finish' of the build are impressive to the prospective buyer, the documentation shows that it is not just 'smoke and mirrors' or 'paint and putty'. This fundamentally changes the way people view custom and homebuilt projects.
It also helps to make the boat part of and well known to a larger community and in in itself is valuable.
It always makes me happy to see a builder asking sailors what they look for in a vessel. Seeing production crap that gets people killed, talking to salesmen/yacht brokers who sell novices boats they'll never use, listening to underwriters who make bank off of boats that never leave the slip and don't pay out on those that do...I don't know, I guess I get cynical.

Personally, I'm not building my boat to make money with the build. I'm after safety. That's the beauty of the Wharram design to me - a good stout little ship that you know every inch of. Class 0 :)

Well mate, I looked at the shots you posted. Doesn't look like you are building that Pahi 63 to spec. Guess that's your perogative and all...another joy of the self build, right :) Might want to check with Wharram before you start doing production work though. They've got a licensing arraingement for that, you know?

Anyway, such diversions from design specification are one reason these boats have a lower resale value.

As George said, the member of this forum Boatsmith might have some good info for you. The Admin, BudgetBoater, would as well. I think one of the girls from Wharram is on here now too...she'd have lots of info for you.

Best of Luck!
I think it is important to stress the difference between resale price and resale profit/loss. Look at the professionaly built Tiki30 from Florida, a nicely built boat from the best materials with much nice gear in it. Price for the new boat:100.000$. That is a lot of money for a man of modest means. Of course this boat has a relatively high resale price. How much would one get after say 5 years of hard use (cruising)? Maybe 50.000 if well maintained, maybe less. This means 50.000$ or 50% loss. Again a lot of money for a man of modest means.
Now I look at my own Tiki30 project in progress (70%finished). I will have spent a little under 20.000$ once it is done. I have allmost all the gear together and no more major stuff to buy, so I have a pretty good idea of the final cost. This includes sails, cooking arrangements, a toilet solution, dinghy, windvane steering, anchors, GPS, depth sounder and so on. Of course it is neither built from brand marine ply nor West Epoxy. Most of the wood is 2nd hand or from construction timber yards but all is selected with care and put together the best way I can do (I wonder if that can be said about all production boats for which people claim 'good resale value'). Some of he stainless steel comes from a wrecked fish boat. Of course there is time involved finding these bargains but this is my hobby: To build a boat.
If I want to sell this boat after 5 years of hard use (cruising) how much will I get? Maybe 15.000, maybe only 10.000. This does not look like a high resale price but I am loosing only 5 or 10 thousend for 5 years of use. I think I could live with that.
Another imprtant aspect for me is that I can afford to loose this boat. It might break my heart (for a while) but it would not ruin me financially. All I have to do is to get some funds together and build another one (or do something else that I enjoy). Gives me comfort. I once owned a boat that was too much for me, in terms of work and finance. It developed into a problem, never again.
One has to find his own path through the temptations of consumerism, I believe this one works for me.
Ralf
Don't get me wrong Tom I'm not looking to build Wharram's professionally and any Wharram's I do build would be sold as used, for I wouldn't let them go without getting to sail them around for a bit first. As Socrates said "Get a job you enjoy doing and you'll never work a day in your life. Well in this way I am blessed, building boats is my profession and my passion. I was sold on Wharrams when I saw my first Tiki 21 but it would turn out to be an expensive hobby if after all the joy of building one and a seasons sailing, it would sell for less than the price of the materials.
As I said regarding the professional Yacht Brokers keeping their personal opinions aside, it is in their personal opinion that alot of amature built are of better quality than some professional builds as greater time and care to detail goes into it and this I have seen myself and I have seen some disasters too. I just think it sad in the yachting world the the price of a used Wharram dose not reflect the respect the Wharram World deserves.
As regards the Pahi, makes you think I'm not building it to spec? It's being built as in the plans and more as it is being built to be RCD compliant. The only thing that has been omitted is the front centre boards as Hanneke advised. The boat is in the very early stages yet the hulls have just been turned upright and painted at my request as you know Epoxy breaks down quickly when exposed to UV. Audrie and I shelved the project for a while for we had an important decision to make whether we save the boat or the house. We chose the boat for our future and it's not an investment and it's not for re-sale when I die they'll have to give me a Viking burial in it.
The RCD in print, the hoops the EU make us jump through. More spec than I care for!

Interesting thoughts....

Would also add, that regardless of the quality of the very nice little 30 foot Andy Smith boat in Fla---and ( don't get me wrong it does look very professionally done) the 90 + grand ask price---- which was pitched unsuccessfully for ages on Ebay,--- is an absolute laugh out loud con joke. price. Can not imagine anyone who is knowledgable about Wharrams or the world market for similiar boats these days ---would pay such money for it. Think in fact Mr. Smith would be very lucky man to get 30 or so from any one experenced in such matters these days.

Geminidawn said:
Don't get me wrong Tom I'm not looking to build Wharram's professionally and any Wharram's I do build would be sold as used, for I wouldn't let them go without getting to sail them around for a bit first. As Socrates said "Get a job you enjoy doing and you'll never work a day in your life. Well in this way I am blessed, building boats is my profession and my passion. I was sold on Wharrams when I saw my first Tiki 21 but it would turn out to be an expensive hobby if after all the joy of building one and a seasons sailing, it would sell for less than the price of the materials.
As I said regarding the professional Yacht Brokers keeping their personal opinions aside, it is in their personal opinion that alot of amature built are of better quality than some professional builds as greater time and care to detail goes into it and this I have seen myself and I have seen some disasters too. I just think it sad in the yachting world the the price of a used Wharram dose not reflect the respect the Wharram World deserves.
As regards the Pahi, makes you think I'm not building it to spec? It's being built as in the plans and more as it is being built to be RCD compliant. The only thing that has been omitted is the front centre boards as Hanneke advised. The boat is in the very early stages yet the hulls have just been turned upright and painted at my request as you know Epoxy breaks down quickly when exposed to UV. Audrie and I shelved the project for a while for we had an important decision to make whether we save the boat or the house. We chose the boat for our future and it's not an investment and it's not for re-sale when I die they'll have to give me a Viking burial in it.
The RCD in print, the hoops the EU make us jump through. More spec than I care for!

Goodness, that is a large stack of paper. I can only hope the regs aren't printed on both sides. Well, I guess the combined power of 15 nations of lawyers would be expected to yield such. The Pacific sure is beautiful :)

Maybe that Viking funeral idea is the way to go. No live passengers, no need to stay afloat for more than a few hours, and a big check when she sinks! I'm serious! Some of those old guys with money would go for it!

It's good to see another Pahi 63 builder on here Gemini. The reason I say that it doesn't look like you are building to spec is because your rudder skegs don't have a visible plate & pin assembley laminated & bolted into them to take the rudder stock, and because there are what appear to be bridle holes drilled into your stern's keel and post. But, my plans are 7 years old. Maybe you've got a great idea for a proper backstay?

Hanneke said that the forward swing keels are unnecessary? I wish they had posted an update to plans regarding that. One might think they'd have this design nailed 20+ years after the fact.

In the U.S.A. and Mexico, many families enjoy the sport of Rodeo. An intersesting aspect is when the kids rope little goats, and that is called a goat rodeo. God damn goat rodeo.

Sorry to get off topic. Maybe Ralf has sorted it with cheap materials and labor, owning the build site, combined with the exceptionally extensive sea trial...add a good salesman? I don't know...I'm still leaning towards the Traditional Scandanavian Sea Burial. These hulls look like coffins anyway!
I've been waiting for Ann from Peace IV to chime in but they must be at sea. They have been offered double what they have into it for their Tiki 46. Maybe the re-sale value depends on the model.
Sounds Great! That's pretty much what I wanted to hear!

Brian Gartland said:
I've been waiting for Ann from Peace IV to chime in but they must be at sea. They have been offered double what they have into it for their Tiki 46. Maybe the re-sale value depends on the model.
Only someone being completely honest with the true value of their home built boat would include the true cost of their labor. When Ann and Neville include the total cost of the hourly wages [that they could have earned] from real jobs when the time was used to build Peace IV, I am sure that the offer prices would be well below the true cost to them, which is part of the reason why they did not/would not sell it.

You can never buy back time lost with any amount of money. Anyone could get double their material cost back and would still lose money due to loss from time spent building.

Even a skilled laborer in my neck of the woods is cheap at about $15 per hour, and this does not include "other" employee costs which would make the true total cost about $18.50 per hour. This is what a person could earn around here doing a similar labor job.

A typical T38 takes about 4000 hours by a typical home builder. At the raw cost of $15 per hour, that would be $60,000 added to the true cost to build a T38 plus material costs.

So, if you don't mind giving away your time (something that you can NEVER get back), then it is possible to make a profit on the materials considering you have assembled them for free for someone else's gain.

Brian Gartland said:
I've been waiting for Ann from Peace IV to chime in but they must be at sea. They have been offered double what they have into it for their Tiki 46. Maybe the re-sale value depends on the model.
I didn't really post this thread to diagnose the reasons as to why, more so I wanted to hear the "good news" from those who had a positive experience of building, sailing and selling a Wharram. None the less the replies make very interesting reading.
IMHO it's the material, I've seen some professionally built Ply monohulls burn on the pier because no one wanted them. People who want to sail and nothing more often go for the low maintainence GRP and as you can see the GRP Wharram's go for big bucks. Even amature laid up GRP Hulls of any type fetch bigger money than their ply counterparts on the secondhand market. I did speak to Hanneke ages ago about building a small single Pahi 31 mould to fabricate a couple of hulls from but understandably so she did not share my enthusiasm for the Wharrams had no real control as to how many hulls would be produced from that mould. However now there are licenced professional Wharram builders and GRP Wharrams, maybe it's just a matter of time before you can rent Wharram GRP Moulds or buy Wharram shells for home fitting.
Per the laws, provided you purchase a set of plans, you can build a mold and make ONE boat from it. If you want to make more boats, then you have to purchase another set of plans for each boat or pay a royalty.

If you truly want to make a GRP Wharram, then I see no reason why you could not build your own mold for it. Just do the right thing and purchase a set of plans. If you later decide to sell the mold, do so only to someone who purchased a set of legal plans and you should be set.

Back to the original intent of your topic - I have built, bought, and/or sold several Wharrams. I have known many other Wharram builders who have sold their boats. In the end, it all seems to boil down to quality of construction, appearance, and proof. Those who used quality materials, assembled it properly, chose a good paint scheme, kept the boat up to date and well maintained, crossed an ocean or cruised extensively, and can prove it all came out best in the resale department, but in reality still lost money in the end.

I once owned Marney (Tangaroa MKIV), which was built by a couple who did a good job. The boat was documented in the Drag Device Database with a parachute anchor sea story (I still have the original sea anchor from that boat) and had a fairly well documented story in some old issues of Sea People. Did it fetch a good selling price? No. This was because the builders had strayed significantly from the original plans, and the owners between the original builders and myself had done a piss poor job of maintaining the boat and there was no documentation. When I bought it, it was a wreck. I spent 7 months rebuilding the decks, cabin tops, and some of the hull sides. The engine was toast, and there was no equipment to speak of.

If you want to get a decent resale value, stay fairly true to plans, use excellent materials, document your work, choose modest colors, and maintain and update it when necessary. To further increase the value, cross and ocean with it to prove your building competency and the strength of the individual boat.

One last things to drive the point home on resale value of home built boats - I purchased a home built Colvin Gazelle steel-hulled pilot house schooner. The couple that built it did so from a professionally built hull over a 15-year period. Their work was impeccable. They left no detail to chance, and the majority of their work rivaled that of the most prestigious professional yards. None of their work was sub par. I purchased the boat in absolutely perfect condition for $0.20 on the dollar. I was able to later sell it for what I had into it, but that was only because I had extensively upgraded it, and had a lot of documentation on its individual seaworthiness as well as the upgrades preformed.

Geminidawn said:
I didn't really post this thread to diagnose the reasons as to why, more so I wanted to hear the "good news" from those who had a positive experience of building, sailing and selling a Wharram. None the less the replies make very interesting reading.
IMHO it's the material, I've seen some professionally built Ply monohulls burn on the pier because no one wanted them. People who want to sail and nothing more often go for the low maintainence GRP and as you can see the GRP Wharram's go for big bucks. Even amature laid up GRP Hulls of any type fetch bigger money than their ply counterparts on the secondhand market. I did speak to Hanneke ages ago about building a small single Pahi 31 mould to fabricate a couple of hulls from but understandably so she did not share my enthusiasm for the Wharrams had no real control as to how many hulls would be produced from that mould. However now there are licenced professional Wharram builders and GRP Wharrams, maybe it's just a matter of time before you can rent Wharram GRP Moulds or buy Wharram shells for home fitting.

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