A Photo & Discussion Forum for Wharram Design Enthusiasts
I would like to know if the time estimated on James Wharram website are accurate. If not what are the experience from people that did built a Wharram catamaran.
Example I am looking at building a Pahi 31, it says 1100 hours. Is it way optimistic estimate or accurate?
1. The plans are inadequate
2. The support network is very small
3. Disposable/consumable materials are not usually calculated in the cost to build. For larger boats, this can easily climb into the 5 digit category
4. If you do not have extra hands, some parts of the build require extra days to accomplish instead of hours or minutes.
5. Epoxy work is not suited for all people, especially fillets and gluing techniques can be hard to master without prior experience or someone teaching.
6. Costs exceed expectations
7. Building materials are purchased as needed instead of in bulk, which increases costs
8. Wood can be a difficult material if you do not have some working knowledge at the beginning
9. When the hulls are completed, less than 1/3 of the work is done, which overwhelms people.
10. Time is finite and builders eventually start to realize this.
An incomplete boat is nothing more than old materials that may or may not have been properly cared for. An incomplete boat is the project of someone else, which may be difficult for an amateur to take over. Very few people are suited to take on someone's incomplete project. I have taken over four different incomplete boat projects: Three had good to expert craftsmanship, and one was so poorly built that I burned it and kept the remaining materials. I never paid anything remotely close to material costs because the projects were unknowns and completing them was still time and material extensive.
Why do you suppose so many boats take 7-10 years to complete and so many end up as dead dreams offered for a fraction of material cost?
I am very much an optimist, and I never said that Wharram Catamarans were inadequate. The plans are inadequate, not the boats as designed. I am not just picking on Wharram plans, but many boat plans are inadequate for amateur builders.
Boatsmith simply asked a question based on the reality that many people dream but never get there. I have spent over 25 years around boats, and boat dreamers. I have looked at dozens of unfinished dreams, and talked with their builders. I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, and the facts I laid out above came from talking with all of those amateur builders.
I cannot answer your question about the Coral Cove 31, since I don't know anything about it, the plans, or the construction techniques involved. Nor do I know anything about your experience.
Valery Gaulin said:
Wow Budget boater you are not very optimist!!! Why do you still build Wharram Catamaran if you think they are so innadequate???? Butthink you are right not many finish their project... This is exactly what I scared about if I start. But the one that do finish their project are so proud of their achievement. I wad thinking of stretching a Pahi 31 to around 35 foot to get more room, never got an answer from Wharram. While waiting for a reply I found the Waller Coral Cove 31 and it seams to suit more my needs. I might go for this built. I am estimating around 3500-4000 hours of labor to get a descent finish catamaran with a budget of an estimate of 60000-80000 thousands of dollar to get the CC31 in the water fully equiped with basic electonic. From your experience does this semas realistic?
Im totally with Budget Boater here. Building together with a friend will reduce building time significantly. In few occasions I have had friends helping me out and I can tell you that: work almost flew in our hands :)
Tiki 21 ought to be around 400 hours, I passed that mark way long ago. I think I have to triple this number. But as I said most of the boat have been built solo and also I think working space counts as well. If you have plenty room for cutting, coating & assembling, decent corner for storage, heated & ventilated room it makes a great difference. I have been working in garage where I have few foot wide dawdling space around one hull, which can do the job - and Im most grateful that I have at least this opportunity - but I can see how much faster you can go if you have a bit more maneuvering room available...
As far as I see, at least Tiki 21 is possible to build with 400-500 hours, if you have couple of helping hands and spacious & warm working place.
My bottom line is, its best not to think too much about working hours and count money you spend on your boat. In the end messing with the boats is pretty irrational hobby in material sense :)
Budget Boater said:
It is all about "man hours." But not all man hours are equal.
Three people can do considerably more EXPONENTIALLY together than one man alone in the same period of time.
Whether adding additional people to your build crew will actually decrease total labor hours depends on two things.
First, you are assuming your helper(s) know as much, or more, about building a boat than you do. If not, you will be spending time training them and correcting their mistakes. If these mistakes include hardened epoxy, you may end up deciding their help is counterproductive.
Second, there is what I call a “division of labor”. While an individual, working alone, can figure out how to do just about anything in a build, there are tasks that can be greatly reduced in time by the addition of additional hands. Laying out fiberglass cloth or turning the hulls are good examples. The best example would be having someone mix all the epoxy and fillers while you are applying the fiberglass or forming the fillets. You are providing the higher skilled labor, while they provide the lessor. Having a third person, to follow up and clean, or be the gopher, can make the project fly.
If you truly want to be a productive builder, then you need to acquire and practice the skills that you’ll need to execute a JWD catamaran.
Regarding the mixing of epoxy- My preference for mixing small batches, less than three ounces, is to measure by weight. This comes from the fact that Raka Epoxy mixes 2:1, so the smallest amount that can be metered, by volume from the pumps, is three ounces. For larger amounts by volume, my preference is to use a mechanical metering system, like the Sticky Stuff Dispenser by Michael Engineering. While this is the system West offers for sale, the list price through someone like Raka, which includes free drop shipping from the factory, is very cost effective. I can’t imagine mixing the epoxy for a boat, 30 feet or larger by hand. You could probably recover ¾ of the initial cost reselling the dispenser once the build is completed.
Get trained, practice the skills, purchase quality tools that will actually save labor, build the boat, go sailing.
About adequateness of Wharram building plans - as a rookie, I can tell, they work very well. Simple stuff.
Those guys who helped me out didn't had any experience in boat building, but everything worked out just fine (and double fast as said) -- just think everything through, delegate right jobs to right people and you can almost sit back and relax :)
What will reduce your building time is decent materials and decent storage place for them. If sheets of plywood and battens have to wait their time in strange places they will curve in every direction causing later on smooth epoxy job to be almost impossible, and you will be finding yourself laboring in extra screws, fitting clamps in strange angles, in order to get your hatch fairly straight, sheer stringer flush with the plywood and etc etc