Wharram Builders and Friends

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I've been looking at my little trove of old PCA Sea People mags from the 80's/90's and found a lot of cheap, practical things to do with our boats which I have to say, are now sadly lacking on here. Also, articles with space and humour are lacking in what we read online, unlike the great articles I read in the old magazines.

I have various ideas about this. One is that consumerism has triumphed and that everything is available at a price, secondly that we are in a phase where people are increasingly forced to be conformist to survive and think along very defined lines.

The space of an article (ie written article old style) allows the reader to consider a lot more than a post online. Drawings are more explanatory when embedded in the text you don't need to move away from, it's easier to dwell and think, and bookmark with an actual bookmark.

I have searched the archives on here many times to glean information- but I have got to say, that a couple of hours with my old PCA magazines has turned up a lot I would never have found on here: lengthy personal experiences coupled with practical solutions explained in depth - not superficially.

So I give thanks to those PCA people who did all that work. I don't know what happened to the PCA but I salute it and its contributors.

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I have also enjoyed reading through the old Sailorman/SeaPeople issues and found a lot of useful and interesting stuff. 

That spirit isn’t dead. It’s just moved on to newer technologies. The Wharram group on Facebook is very active, with people posting every day about builds, refits, cruising experiences, etc. I’ve friended a number of people on that group. It’s a great way to stay in touch and interact with Wharramites around the world. 

Also check out the videos of French Boheme on YouTube. It’s a family cruising on a Pahi 31. The narrative is in French, which I don’t speak, but the obvious joy experienced by this family shines through any language barrier. 

The Luckyfish videos on YouTube also have a lot of great content, including useful demonstrations on things like beam lashings and how a wind vane steering system works. 

Yes I have seen the Luckyfish videos which are very good, especially the self-steering demo. I speak French so must look at the French Boheme.

ref Facebook and some of these technologies like Google:

I have never been on Facebook for political and libertarian reasons, ditto Google. You will never find me there. It astounds me what freedoms people are prepared to give away. In the event of a fascist and/or authoritarian state, all these technologies will be used for control.

My general point is one that has been made in other ways about digital and automated technologies. (cf The Glass Cage - Where Automation is Taking Us, Nicholas Carr 2015.)

The essay-style form of article writing has given way to the bullet-point list. The expansive and discursive discovery and exploration which is the process of good writing is disappearing in education also. This is a dehumanising process with predictable actual results in the new communications.

Marshall McLuhan outlined all this in his "the media is the message" philosophical seminal thinking back in the 50's.

Recently on a trip to the Channel Isles on my '31' I was berthed next to a French singlehander. We were stuck in the harbour for a week or so waiting for decent weather. He had paper charts, I had paper charts. We compared the French ones, also the French, English  and CI coastguard broadcasts and all the Windy.com type of forecasts (those ones on our phones).

He told me on one of the first days we had rejected, a big French cruiser-racer mono (they are all big now) left port and came to grief nearby. The boat hooked up on a bobber line in a big wind in constricted circumstances. The stern tube was bent, the boat was salvaged and cost the owner a lot of money.

"I see him there on the park. I speak to him. He spent a lot of money to get back his boat"

"Tablet! tablet!" said Jacques (not his real name). "Pah!" "No charts, no looking at the clouds, just the tablet!"

There we were, sitting for 6 days in the harbour watching the clouds whipping over the high parts of the town behind, sheltered from the westerlies which, we thought, were a lot stronger than they seemed below.

Jacques went into the cabin and came back out brandishing a book.

"This, this!" he exclaimed. " 'Windy' no good, 24 hour no good, only last coastguard report good".

The book had about 100 photos of cloud formations which Jacques had been studying.

As it happened, we both found a window. Jacques with his French coastguard and me with the airport predictions (you can phone them up) and the English shipping forecast info which proved the most accurate of the lot. The "Windy" forecasts underplayed the shifts and gusts.

"40%, 40%" Jacques said "look look, it says there 40% not accurate"

"These people, these people: they look at Windy they read the knots, they go out and look only at their tablets!"

"The knots are 40% not accurate. They say so!"

Who can argue with that. More info, more data, less thinking, more bollocks.

Well said Ian!

While I am a technology advocate, having spent the last 43 years in IT and communications (recently retired), it bothers me greatly the reliance now days on "the tablet" as you so well put it. Additionally, I hear rumblings that paper chart production  here in Australia may be coming to an end. While I have tech onboard, it will never replace the hard copy. As for the weather, learning the skill of reading the sky, observing your surroundings and listening to reliable radio marine weather forecasts, if you happen to live in a jurisdiction that provides them, is the prudent thing to do.

Re PCA. I just love those magazines and agree with all you said about them. I tried to purchase some off here several months ago but was too late so I resorted to the PDF versions somebody kindly made available online. I browsed through the entire collection and noted all editions featuring a Tiki26 and/or a great gadget idea. I then took those files to my local business copy centre who printed, assembled and stapled for a just a few dollars. I like the tactile feeling of flicking through a magazine so I'm all set now and have used them extensively.

Sites like Wharram Builders are so important. It's database driven and searchable. You can pretty well find anything you need to on a particular design or subject using the search tool. Social media doesn't do that. While it has its place in the modern world, rightly or wrongly, it's nothing more than a meeting place for announcements and chat and NOT an archive.

Just imagine if all the PCA magazines were uploaded to this website where the table of contents were searchable! I doubt there would be a copyright issue considering the PCA doesn't exist now (I think) but I'm sure whomever  holds the  copyright would allow it in the interests of furthering the Wharram world.

Thank you Neil- I feel like a bit of a relic sometimes but keep posting here because often it's just people wanting to buy a boat and I worry that this useful place may disappear. I would have had trouble myself finding the right way to orient my steering lines for wheel steering if I hadn't found it on the archives of this site: for this many thanks to the people who run the site.

Ref the "tablet" story and the rest- I feel that people are losing the stories: you only have to look at the old PCA magazines. When I was in the CI harbour recently for a couple of weeks I had people coming up to look at my boat every day: and I was surrounded by boats £200 000 ++ to buy.

There's more to life than the simple aspect of buying consumerism, more stories and lots of interesting people in them. Everyone who came to see me had a story about Wharram (s).

Thanks again to Wharram Builders www site.

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