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weather condition
extreme weather
sail boats
strong desire
Building A Catamaran Using Rope
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Building A Catamaran Using Rope

Where ever I travel around the world, by boat or in a motor home; there is one type of boat that I come across time and time again. In the most unlikely places many that experience extreme weather condition and where you would expect to find only the strongest built sail boats I come across on a mooring or resting on a protected shore a certain type of catamaran whose hulls and other parts are held together using rope.

I became acquainted with these Wharram catamarans about 12 years ago when a friend decided to build a 40 footer. I was completing my own 34 foot wooden mono hull sloop and did not have much faith in his decision. I accompanied him to see other Wharram catamarans under construction , and the simplicity and low cost to build a sea worthy yacht using only timber, ply wood and rope seriously started to impress me.

However, I was not yet fully convinced about these boats until I started seeing and meeting the owners of other Wharram catamarans. These sailors, men and women are sailing on all the oceans around the world including faraway places that many of today’s sailors with their million dollar yachts and modern equipment would not consider as safe destinations. I think I would put myself in that category except for the million dollar yacht part.

Many of these sailors sail their boats single handed. Because of their light weight but extremely strong ply wood design and construction, they do not require heavy expensive deck and ground tackle. They are fast and easy to sail while maneuvering them is a breeze.

Many of these cats are powered by one or two outboard motors stowed in their own compartment that are usually lifted up and out of the water when sailing with a basic block and pulley arrangement.

The wooden home built masts are relatively short, and there are many sail configurations to choose from. It does not take much sail and wind and in a reasonable sea to get these boats doing 8 -10 knots even when loaded for cruising.

If you have a strong desire and seriously want to sail the world or just own a yacht but find the cost of purchasing or even building a yacht the traditional way to prohibitive, then take a serious look at the different and exceptionally detailed plans James Wharram has designed for home boat builders

You may think that wooden boat building is too difficult a skill but this is the beauty of these boats. Only basic woodwork knowledge and ability is required. If you are keen to take on the challenge of a Wharram boat building project then, I suggest you first build a small plywood tender to get into the swing of things.

Most sailors who have built their own yachts using all types of materials will tell you that they started off by building a small ply wood runabout. Many of these little boats are built so they can also be sailed. If you do not carry on constructing your bigger dream boat, then you will still have a small sail boat to play with that you can be proud of.


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