I'm always thinking of boats and their designs. Over the years I've downsized and now interested in small boats - I'd say the smaller the better! I was given a 15' rowing skiff called Ella, clinker construction, by a friend but it's in need of quite a lot of TLC. It has been converted to sail - gaff rigged sloop with steel centre board housed in a box.
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I live in mid Wales and enthusiastic about social enterprise and the circular economy. Retired as I'm 68. I've owned 3 Wharrams in my time [all purchased 2nd/3rd/4th hand]. Started 1985 with Oro Illa Manu which was rigged as a Bermudan sloop. By the time I got to it, things were past their best - it was lying in the mud at Penryn, Falmouth, Cornwall, England and it's mast was dismantled. Sound hulls but with loads of work to do. The cross beams had delaminated and the first job was to build 4 new solid beams. That was about all I managed to do before it sank in a storm one night. I was living in London at the time and just too far away to make it a viable project but with the insurance money I purchased another Oro, Rangi Marama, which had been beautifully made by Roger Hodgson in an orchard in the East Midlands without the use of power tools! An amazing feat for someone who was also working full time. Roger and his wife Christine planned to take off to Oz but Roger had a heart attack - it was the stress of building the boat that took its toll - plus I think Roger was more a builder than a sailor - so they ended up living on board in Old Mill Creek, Dartmouth, Devon, until we came along and took it off their hands and they moved on to a monohull which was more suitable for living on board on the creek. Unfortunately, the Devon rain over the years had done a fantastic job at rotting large parts of Rangi and we had to dismantle it, salvage what we could and burnt the rotten bits on the beach. My final Wharram was a Tangaroa Mk I which Roger had spotted but it's name escapes me. It didn't stay with me for long as my debts exceeded my assets and I declared myself bankrupt in 1996. So that was 11 years of Wharram dreams that didn't quite take off, but the boat bug has never left me. I do remember something Roger said to me about the Tangaroa - he said if he'd be able to do it all over again he's have plumbed for the 35' Tangaroa as that extra 10' of Oro was what 'broke his back' so to speak. He was delighted with the 35' and, of course, we know Tangaroas cross oceans like Oros have done and they might well have made it to Oz had they built a 35' cat rather an a 45' one - we'll never know.
Continue an interest in small boats. Apart from that my interest in Wharrams focuses on a couple of things in particular:
1) I think the classic range of Wharrams suits junk rigs - twin unstayed masts through deck, keel stepped in both hulls seems like a good idea - reports so far from people who have tried this say they have no regrets. It frees up loads of deck space and gives clear unobstructed all round vision.
2) I'd love to see how vortex generators work on classic V shaped hulls. If you took a 35' LOA so 25' LWL as the size of boat to experiment with, something like a 12' scaffolding board bolted through the keel amiships and filleted would be my current thinking. Any one out there wanting to give it a try? The ideal is to measure current windward performance without and then with the vortex generators attached.
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