Multihull Pioneers: James Wharram

James Wharram and his designs have always fascinated me.  From an early age of loving heavy displacement traditional cruising yachts, a simple picture (it was of either a Raka or a Tangaroa) converted me to a believer in multihulls, and, just as importantly, the Polynesian concepts brought to life by Wharram… the strength, simplicity, and natural beauty of his designs melded themselves into my brain faster than The Borg assimilated red-shirted Star Trek crewmembers!  Here’s a description of James from his own website, which I encourage you to visit both soon and often:

In the mid 50’s, based on his research into ancient Polynesian boat design, James Wharram built the first off-shore Catamaran in Britain and sailed it out into the Atlantic. While the world’s yachting community were busy dismissing such a design as a worthy sea-going vessel, James was landing his 23’6″ ‘Double Hulled Canoe’ in the West  Indies.

There he built a second 40′ Polynesian style Catamaran and sailed it back to the UK accompanied by two young German girls -being the first to sail a catamaran across the North Atlantic.

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These amazing Trans-Atlantic crossings and the follow up book “Two Girls, Two Catamarans” has etched the name ‘James Wharram’ into the annals of yachting history.

The quality of the Wharram self-build catamarans is reflected in their popularity, excellence of craftmanship and ‘sound sailing qualities’. 50 years on – with 10,000 sets of plans sold and thousands turned into proud vessels – Wharram ‘Cats’ can be seen in harbours across the world maintaining the highest reputation for surviving wind and wave.

Embrace the works of James, Hanneke, and Ruth, for in the intrinsic simplicity of their crafts lay some of the basic truths about Life, and Clarity.

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