Wharram Builders and Friends

A Photo & Discussion Forum for Wharram Design Enthusiasts

I thought it might be a good idea if members of the group told us a little about themselves, their boats and their travels, Pahi owners especially but all welcome,

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Well to get this rolling -

   Danny Comerford bought plan No 32 in the late 80's. Life and romance intervened and eventually poor 'ol No 32 was pretty well abandoned and much of his fine work was undone by being left uncovered for a long period in the inclement weather of the west of Ireland. Cash [ not a lot ] changed hands and in late '92 No 32 was launched.

  I used it for family cruising for maybe 10 yrs based on various harbours on Ireland's west coast. Apart from the obvious attractions of our own islands the Scillies off Cornwall became a favourite destination.

  Again life intervened and No 32 lay for some years unused and with "improvements" started ...but not completed.... Finally in '09 I began a real rebuild that replaced approx. 50% of the entire structure and No 32 went back into her element - salt water -

To mark the occasion No 32 got a new name - Gabhlan Gaoithe - "who goes with the wind" - which is the Irish name for the Swift who flies around our globe without ever landing.

  In the entire time I have owned her I have spent in cash about enough to buy a modest used family saloon car. It can still be done I believe.


Nice to keep the forum going. I still love the Wharram concept and the intelligent catamarans, but it cost me a fortune and most money in lost in revenue because I don't live at the coast and couldn't get it into sweet water because of broken beams. I want to live at sea and have no back yard to putter around on it wit beer buddies. I bought it from a professional skipper who couldn't have lied more and whom I trusted.

Just the cost of material was much more than buying a cheap plastic boat- and my Pahi it only partly repaired. I still like wood as it is living but the epoxy-ply is quite outdated on the cost-efficiency side now, as cheap boats are easy to find.

Looking forward to hearing your opinions!

Yes we live in strange times when it is cheaper to buy than build a boat - or a house.

Good to have honest comment much of the comment on this site seems to be from new owners / builders still in the first stages of lust / love. I admire much of what I see here but I do not want it for myself, many if not most boats her are for me over built costing more in time and money than I would invest.

So many seem to have lots of time to spend on high finishes and none for sailing, and  the more gadgets it has fitted the less chance it will ever go anywhere.

A comment on cars from a friend old enough to remember "When we were kids only some people had cars but we were always being taken to picnics etc.....now everyone has two and they take their kids nowhere..." I find a parallel in the modern boating scene.

Rant over.

For Now......

Hello to all small Pahi members,

Thanks to a reply from Galaway Bay I posted in the forums, last week, I discovered this group.

I've had my Pahi 31 "Mikyla" (plan #73) since 1986.  The build was started by Jeremy Marshall in Seattle and I acquired the open, unfinished hulls which were advertised for free in Wooden Boat Magazine.  The problem was the hulls were located on San Juan Island and few could afford the Ferry boat cost to transport them off the Island.  Luckily I lived on a neighboring Island and due to the way the Ferry's charged only going to the island no ticket required to leave the Island.  The problem for most was several hundred dollar cost to bring a truck and trailer to pick it up but I hauled all the trailer parts in my Van and assembled the trailer once I got there.  Going over to the Island I paid for the minimal vehicle cost and returned, for free, with truck and trailer 54' long.  So I had only invested two trips at the minimal ferry fee.  I did buy the blueprints and a boat load of lumber and epoxy.  So all and all I had a little over $1000 invested.

By the time a got around to rigging a sail plan the 31 had been modified to 16' beam and also an option for the wingsail instead of the cutter rig.  I opted to stay with the 14' beam but I did go with the wingsail which I love the ease of single handling and the performance is adequate for me.

About 3 years ago I skipped over a reef and caught the starboard rudder skeg breaking the steel pintal from the plywood skeg.  It wasn't serious and I sailed the 100 miles home by lashing the rudder in place and stuffing a inflatable bumper into the rudder well.  I was going to just repair it on a low tide and leave the boat at my mooring buoy.  Had of I done that I'd be sailing right now but I optioned to trailer the boat home because there was a lot of work I'd never completed originally because I was anxious to launch and just never got around to finishing, so I figured this would be a good time to finish those unfinished projects.  Then I decided to build new crossbeams to widen to 16' beam.  That opened up the "can of worms" and I was designing a new cockpit, removing one of the beams, relocating the outboard, changing the steering, building lighter rudders, new hatches, dagger-boards, etc. the list just keeps expanding.

I live on Camano Island, WA which is located in Puget Sound and moor in a somewhat protected bay near my home.  I hope to be back in the water in the spring of 2014.

Thanks to all who have offered advise over the years,


Interesting reply Frank.

The new beam arrangement will allow a large deckspace for a cockpit / deckpod as you say. I collected many bruises on the shin scrambling about between the two cockpits as designed. Also there was not a cockpit seat long enough to stretch out on for sunbathing or just relaxing.

When I got rid of beam 3, I also opened up the w/tight bulkhead under it and closed up a frame further aft to create a new one so that I now had one long cabin per hull. This has transformed the boat for cruising.

However if I had continued with all the clever ideas I had the boat would never have gotten back afloat...eventually simply getting back in the water becomes the over riding consideration and I had to say no No NO More Modifications......eventually Going Sailing is the only clever idea.....


Bonjour, Je possède un Pahi 31 nommé « Rapanui ». Je pense qu’il a été construit dans les années 1990, par un constructeur amateur Allemand habitant à Ibiza en Espagne. Le numéro du plan : 152. Rapanui, a eu un deuxième propriétaire, un Autrichien qui  a navigué en Croatie à Mali Losinj sur l’île de Cres.  J’ai acheté ce catamaran en 2000, le propriétaire l’avait refait, disons que le bateau était très propre peinture neuve. En le convoyant de la Croatie vers la France, les poutres se sont décollées et de l’eau entrait dans les coques par des contre-plaqués malades (pourris). Arrivée à Port Leucate (France) je l’ai reconstruit de 2001 à 2006: changement des bordés, cockpits, poutres, ponts des coques, capots de coques. En mars 2007 je suis parti pour l’océan Indien, en passant par le canal de Suez en solitaire. Je me suis installé à Madagascar et malheureusement en 2012 mon Pahi a été saccagé. L’accastillage a été démonté, et je dois transporter les coques sur mon lieu de résidence (Morondava) pour éviter le pire.  Les travaux de remise ne état ne débuteront pas avant 2017, mais je commence déjà à réfléchir sur les modifications que je dois faire : plus grand cockpit, gréement goélette comme le Tiki 31 ou 38 avec un bout dehors, remettre un seul moteur, et j’aimerai augmenter un peu la hauteur dans les coques au niveau de la cuisine, remplacer le filet arrière par une surface pontée mais légère.

Rapanui fait 9.48m de longueur et 4.95m de largeur. Les poutres sont de la modification de James Wharram et repose sur les coques mais sont retenues en hauteur par un boulon en inox et un trou oblong dans la poutre. Bien sûr des bouts assurent le maintien sur la coque. Mes capots de coques sont de ma modification personnelle copier sur une photo que j'avais vue sur le net.

Beaucoup de balades dans le canal du Mozambique entre Madagascar et Mayotte mais aussi le long de la cote ouest de Madagascar très souvent en solitaire. Navigation aussi dans le Golfe de Tadjoura et le Golfe d'Aden et Rapanui a contourné deux fois l'île de Socotra avec à chaque fois une mer très forte et croisée.

Bien sûr nous avons toujours envie du plus grand, mais je me rends bien compte que c'est un bateau qui correspond à mes navigations et surtout à mon budget surtout lorsqu'il faut faire de grosses réparations. Dans le très mauvais temps je ne me suis jamais senti en insécurité, sont comportement est très doux dans la vague, et même en surcharge de deux tonnes, il reste très manœuvrant et fiable. Je suis devenu un amoureux des catamarans Wharram.

Live in England. Was apprenticed as wooden boatbuilder in youth, always interested in traditional wooden boats in general, Wharrams in particular, Pahis even more so. Circumstances always seemed to take me away from boat-ownership but am now revisiting this old interest.

Hello All

I bought my Pahi 31  off of Craigslist in Miami, this was in 2008. It was in very bad shape on anchor at Coconut grove. I paid $2800 for with rigging and sails. As bad as it was on the outside the woodwork on the inside was fantastic and that is what sold me on the boat. 

One of the main hatches was completely rotted, both rudders off (one the bottom pin completely gone), mast and rigging not set, dry rot in the cockpit, no back netting beam, forward netting beam rotten and broke, all main beams damaged and not lashed, about 5" of growth on the bottom ( including sponges) and bird poop 1/2" deep everywhere. Not a pretty sight.

I spent three weeks getting it ready to take home to Panama City Florida. This was my first time on a Wharram and it was about 600 miles home. I bought a  used 15 Hp outboard from Craigslist, that I used the first time as I was leaving Coconut Grove. I also bought a new VHF radio, didn't know the masthead antenna was bad. Sailed most of the first day then had to have the motor to go through the mangroves to the drawbridge for the main hwy to Key West. The motor failed at low ideal as I waited for the bridge to open. The current that day took me into the bridge and I had to be pulled off and towed through to an open anchorage. I put down a big anchor but during the night wind came up and I woke up about 2 in the morning in the mangroves. Got up quickly and jumped off we were on hard sand and not going anywhere, the tide was low so I went back to bed. The next morning pulled the boat back out, re-anchored and worked on the engine. Made it back home in about 3 weeks running aground a few times but nothing major except the movement of the beams about 3/4 of an inch, scary.

I have always been able to use my boat while I have been rebuilding it except for when I rebuilt the beams (17 1/2'), cockpit, deck, windows, rudder pins and the rigging, I was out of the water for a month and a half. Recently I added roller furling and a bigger main sail.

I call this boat Surfrider because it loves to ride the waves. It was launched in 1987 plan #135. The name was Masuga and was owned by Colin Kaplan & Pauline Rocks. I think it was sailed from South Africa to Florida. If anyone knows of this boat I would love to here more history on it.

I have sailed Surfrider to the Keys many time and to the Bahamas once and I have to say that I love this boat. This is the first cruising catamaran I have owned. In the past I have owned a Piver Nugget (24'), Tristar trimaran (27' 9") and a Brown Searunner (40').

For photos see my post here.


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