Wharram Builders and Friends

A Photo & Discussion Forum for Wharram Design Enthusiasts


I am at the very early stages of planning my build.  Having looked at second hand options, together with many designs (including Dudley Dix, Schionning) friends in the UK and boat building group in the Philippines independently recommended the Wharram designs.  

My sailing interest originates from competitive dinghy sailing from early teens, but I have recently completed the RYA Dayskipper program on 36ft monohull.  

Cruising grounds in the Philippines are plentiful and beautiful, but I would also like to venture further...  Turn right, we are in the Pacific, turn left South China Sea then Indian Ocean!  Shallow draft would be a great plus and the ability to beach in sheltered waters to dodge Typhoons (common in the area).  The family would like some space though too.  Not for frivolous luxuries, but for entertainment and flexibility.  

What is difficult in the Philippines is sourcing high tech materials and equipment.  Local taxes can be a problem too for imports of boats, or boating equipment.  Sails and masts for example will be difficult to import (despite Hyde having a facility within the Philippines).

We are lucky that we have plenty of space to build and the ability to launch from our own land.  Skilled local help is readily available too.

I originally purchased some plans for a Tiki 30 on impulse from Ebay.  Unfortunately, on arrival, they had no plan number.  I tried to confirm that these were legitimate plans with both the seller and with Wharram Designs themselves, but failed.  In the event, they were then returned to the seller, but that return address was unknown!  

I then purchased study plans for the Tiki 38 and Tiki 46 from Wharram Designs.  Whilst helpful, I have probably learnt a lot more from this site and the blogs of Wharram builders.

Over the next 4-5 years, we will spend increasing time each year in the Philippines, with a view to being full-time there.  Building time will thus be limited at first, but eventually will be full-time.  

Everyone has a budget I guess, and plans for their sailing.  In terms of sailing and accommodation  I am sure I would prefer the 46.  However, this will be a big beast to manhandle up and down a beach for typhoon dodging and maintenance.  It will also take much longer to build I guess, and I want to be sailing within a reasonable timeframe.

Any comments from builders/owners of Tiki 38/46 on their relative merits, build times etc would be much appreciated.  

Also, many Wharram builders have had to build on a part-time basis, often with long gaps between stints.  With that experience, what parts of the overall build can be carried out in a 2-3 week period, yet be safely left for up to 6 months before recommencing?

Happy building/sailing


Views: 951

Comment by wakataitea on July 27, 2013 at 7:29am

Philippines is a nice place but for sure the wrong place to build a boat... NO material, if yes then with termites, no experienced labour (for this kind of boats) and way to hot. if you do not build in a closed shed, you have problems with humidity...

i spend 6 month there and had a look around and meet few people who rebuild or build boats there.... YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY...

building time takes much longer then they estimated, may problems with getting the right material... and after few years, the termites show up in the wood / ply wood.

this is not only the case in the Philippines, i t is in most of the places in asia like this...

if you want a quality made boat. go in a country where the climate is perfect for the building materials, the people getting involved building you boat have a idea what they are doing and all materials are easy to get.

this will save you stress, money and will guaranty you a boat which last longer...

the best is, you do it all your self. this it what we did... if you don't know how? you learn it on the way.

most home boat builder here will agree with me, that you think often twice before glue your boat together. every time  in you back head the fact that you will go out with this boat one day and it has to work...

... yes, there are this places, where this this "white guy" has a boatyard in this cheap labour country. he will employ 20 people with run around on you boat and is promising you a quality job.... i have my doubt about this... is he supervising every person all the time??? can he control the quality all the time??? not sure about this...

most important is, that the quality of labour and the quality of material are 100%. if you can not get this in the Philippines. the this is not the right place to build.

we build your tiki46 in 2 years and 6 month. only my wife and me. the only part, made from a other person was the sail.

we worked 1 1/2 year part-time and the rest full time on the boat. i do not understand that professional build tikis take only a little less time to build and cost a lot money. (made in Asia)

... important is too, that you have the money to keep going. you buy the stuff you need. this are good tools and materials. even building in a expensive country, you can get materials cheap because you buy in a bigger quantity. the high price of labour, this make the difference between a boat build in Asia or in new Zealand or Europe. the epoxy, the plywood... this is often the same price...

to build a 46 feet wharram is a lot fun but a big big project too. this home build projects do not only create financial or building stress. it is a stress test for a relation with you family too.

"every year, sailing with your partner on a boat counts double. ever year building a boat together counts triple ... " says a saying...

sorry that i do not write to much thinks which should encourage you building a  boat. i am sure that you will get more positive feedback later and that some people will say that i am wrong...

that's good. you will see the both sides. have a look on or website. www.wharramsailing.com or google for wakataitea.

you will find may pictures from the building process and the days after...

ok, anyway... have fun and good luck...

cheers hans


Comment by Peter Brook on July 27, 2013 at 10:52am

Hi Hans

I appreciate the comments and your time in responding.  You highlight many of the difficulties that will arise.  I plan to be very much hands on to ensure quality is not compromised.  My family safety on board is too important to compromise on!

On the plus side, 2 and 1/2 years to build is encouraging  - actually amazing!  Well done.  I am sure I will take longer, but creating it myself is a long-held dream.

Once again, thanks for feedback.  I will look further on your website!

Best regards


Comment by Jeff Kittle on July 27, 2013 at 11:26am

I think one of the questions that has to be answered when considering size is 1: how many people on board, and 2: how long will you be living on board.

We were a family of 5 when we decided to build a boat. The debate was between the 38 and a quicker building time, or the 46 with a longer build, but more space. The 46 won out. We started our build in October of 2005, and launched in October of 2008. My husband and I both had full time jobs, and we were unable to work for about 4 months a year due to cold weather. We did all the work ourselves, even down to sewing the sails. 

There isn't any critical work that must be completed all at once or the boat is ruined. Working for 3 weeks and taking time off is no big deal. The problem is leaving the supplies you have exposed to the elements. Unepoxied plywood in high humidity could very well have mildew on it when you get back. This might mean that you can't take advantage of the discounts given for buying in bulk. (We received a huge discount because we bought over 150 sheets of plywood at once). Read Glenn Tiemans blog about his problems with bugs in Micronesia. I think Hans comments should be considered seriously. 

Even though our children are in college and it's just Jeff and I on the boat now, I'm glad we built the 46. The cockpit is where we spend most of our time and the size is perfect for lounging around and staying dry while sailing. The 38's cockpit is  designed for the helmsman alone. (Yes, I know that some people have modified the 38 cockpit to make it crowd friendly). Also, I love the big galley and saloon area as well as the queen sized bed which is appreciated when the heat is oppressive and the last thing I want to do is touch another hot body! 

If you plan to live aboard full time with anything more than 2 people, I think the 46 would be ideal. For a few months at a time, though, either boat would be fine. The five of us lived and travelled on a 34 foot monohull for 4 1/2 months with no problem because we knew there was an end point, but for an open ended cruise I think we would have killed each other. The 46 provides plenty of space for kids or parents to be alone yet still onboard.

Living aboard full time also means that all your belongings are on the boat, not staggered between house and boat. These boats perform best when light and the 46 can hold more weight without compromising speed and comfort. A family comes with a lot of baggage and the 46 can handle that better than the 38.

About your requirement to be able to beach the boat. Both can be beached between tides to do bottom work, just not sure I'd want to do it in a typhoon since she probably won't be anywhere near the water when you come back. We just left Kittywake on a hurricane mooring once, and tied up to a floating dock another time for tropical storms and she did fine. Right now she is up on the hard in Florida since we are about 1500 miles away from her. Never been in a full out hurricane, though


Comment by Peter Brook on July 27, 2013 at 2:38pm

Some great points, thank you so much.  

Plywood in Philippines is a problem.  There used to be 2 good suppliers, now it is down to one, although I suspect this might be temporary.  We are lucky with respect to other lumber.  We have connections with proper licenses and there will be no problem ordering lumber as we go. 

We have a choice of 2 build locations and I will look more closely at temperature/humidity.  Around 200km apart, but very different climates.  We have no problem with low temperatures at least!

Woodworm/bugs is a very real problem.  Not sure if this is 100% resolved once epoxied.  Of course, through most of build many ply parts are only epoxied on one side.  This is why I was thinking of focusing on spars, beams, rudders, etc so these can be completed and stored without too much risk fully coated.  Once on the task full-time, hopefully risks of insect damage might be less and storage of ply for less time.

As the boat will be based in the Philippines, our options are somewhat limited.  Importing boats attracts massive tax and high tech composite builds would be very difficult to source materials.  Actually, I am more in tune with the Wharram philosophy than I would have been as an angry young dinghy racer anyway!  My best moment of any time on big boats is when the wretched motor is switched off!   

Point understood re beaching.  A Wharram builder in the Philippines uses rollers with a winch to move from shoreline.  We are relatively protected from waves on our beach by extensive surrounding reefs. 

Your comment about cockpit space and general deck space favour the 46.  Although I have 3 children, 2 are independent now, but extended family in Philippines means no problem filling all available space! 

Once again, thank you so much for taking the time to comment.  Hopefully I will eventually be in a position to give advice once my build is complete!

Best regards



Comment by Jörg Paschen on July 27, 2013 at 2:42pm

Ahoy Peter,

in the early 90 s I was in Port of Benoni Camiguin I repaired the only existing TV in the Lagoon and get something like Island King, Karaoke Victim and a Pumpboat Skipper
In those times I thought about stay, building a boat and all this...
Now I builded a little Tiki at home. At the Phills I wasn t so far.

Im something like sure that it makes no sense to build a composite boat at the Phills.
All this Chemical stuff will be hard to get, expensive and without a climated building place or a boatyard in High Mountain s make your project something like impossible.

Let the things easy and think over building a classic design. A Raka for example is possible to manage, not to big, not so expensive, faster to build. Good wood will no prob. and the lokal crafts can help. ( never pay for time, just for parts :-) )

All the blingbling stuff for your boat (accept motor) you can take by balikbayan.

just an Idea cheers joerg

Comment by Peter Brook on July 27, 2013 at 3:06pm

I agree with the blingbling comment.  Not sure I go as simple as going native, better I keep my clothes on at my age maybe!

Epoxy and glass are available without too many issues.  There are a couple of marine suppliers who can have the hassle of importing larger items (like motors).  I have no issue paying correct taxes, only fair when you come from the more affluent west, but sometimes there are other payments expected to release items from customs..

I much appreciate the helpful advice on elements of the local factors.  Wonderful people, but frustrating to get things done out there sometimes.

Best regards


Comment by Jörg Paschen on July 27, 2013 at 3:09pm

ok the raka has also many parts of ply.

Comment by Peter Brook on July 27, 2013 at 3:20pm

Hi Joerg

Thanks again.  Will have a look at Raka.  

Best regards


Comment by Alberto on December 15, 2019 at 7:10pm


Good day.  Was just curious on how your build went?  I'm actually thinking about doing the same thing.  Moving to the Philippines to build a Tiki 38.  Any advice for me?

Best regards


Comment by Peter Brook on December 17, 2019 at 3:15pm

Hi Alberto

I built a smaller dinghy out there to establish the availability of decent materials, and labour.  I found both to be a struggle in the area I wanted to build (Sta Ana, Cagayan Valley).

In the end, I decided not to build, but instead purchased a second hand yacht.  

So, check out the availability of decent plywood and lumber in your area.  A Tiki 38/46 is a large undertaking.  Establish whether you can source decent labour in your area.

Good luck with your project/decisions.

Kind regards



You need to be a member of Wharram Builders and Friends to add comments!

Join Wharram Builders and Friends

© 2022   Created by Budget Boater.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service