Five Wharram catamarans you can build yourself

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Last week we recounted.
James Wharram’s story and adventures.
, father of the modern catamaran and designer of more than 10,000 Polynesian double-hulled sailboats.

Five Wharram catamarans for self-building

If you love adventure, have a fair amount of manual dexterity in DIY work and some time on your hands, below we have selected five models designed by James Wharram pencil that you could build yourself.


Hatia 14

Let’s start with the smallest, cheapest, and easiest to build of Wharram’s catamarans. Hatia 14 is an easy-to-build (requiring only 175 hours of work), stable and fast daysailer, perfect for weekend adventures. Designed for 2/4 people, you can sail there in calm waters, lakes, lagoons or along the coast. It can be launched from the beach and easily carried on the roof of a car. The estimated cost of construction is 3,500.

Hitia 14
Hitia 14

Tiki 21

Conceived in 1981 as a Coastal Trek catamaran that was easy to build, using the new techniques of stitching and epoxy/glass glue, the Tiki 21 is one of the most successful designs designed by Wharram, with more than 1,000 plans sold. In 1982, the American magazine Cruising World awarded it as the best “Trailable Gunkholer”-a trailerable boat for shallow-water sailing -but the Tiki 21 has proven to be a boat suitable for all types of sailing. Between 1991 and 1997 Rory McDougall circumnavigated the world aboard his self-built ‘Cooking Fat’. The estimated cost of construction is 9,000 and the labor hours required are 400.

Tiki 21 in Greece
Tiki 21 in Greece

Wharram  Catamarans: Tiki 30

With a capacity to sleep 6 and a large deck, the Tiki 30 is the ideal low-cost catamaran for chartering. It costs about 21,000 euros in materials and takes 900 hours to build. Despite its generous size of 9.15 meters, it weighs only 1 ton, which means it can still be towed by a vehicle. A stylish, versatile “double canoe” boat that offers basic comfort for living at sea.

Tiki 30
Tiki 30

Wharram Catamarans: Tangaroa Mk IV

Thelatest evolution of James’ first project, for which he drew the self-construction plans back in 1965. A 10.82-meter catamaran built of plywood, epoxy and laminate. Its construction requires about 1,800 man-hours and the estimated cost is 50,000 euros. Unlike the first version, with which many still sail, the Tangaroa Mk IV has more graceful hull lines, a wider hull beam, more freeboard above the berths, and a longer cabin in which one can stand.

Tangaroa Mk IV
Tangaroa Mk IV

Pahi 63 (Spirit of Gaia)

It is theflagship of the fleet, created for long expeditions around the world and for large groups. Pahi 63 is based on traditional Polynesian double canoe principles and is better suited for sailing in warmer climates. The deck/accommodation layout resembles that of a village, with a central cockpit surrounded by private cabins with separate entrances. Its construction requires about 4,000 hours of labor and more than 110,000 euros worth of materials.

Pahi 63 Spirit of Gaia in the Indian Ocean
Pahi 63 Spirit of Gaia in the Indian Ocean

Edited by Giacomo Barbaro

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