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post #14 of Old 07-24-2003
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Invitation to all of a pure heart


It ain''t necessary to apologize to me; I didn''t design the boat. Just making the point that generalizations are just that and applying them to specifics, a specific boat design in this case, leaves you wide open if you don''t know for a fact that the particular design fits the generalization. By definition all generalizations are often false, and I believe these particular generalizations to be false when applied to the Pahi 63 design.

My position is not based on personal experience with any particular multihull design, but from reading accounts by people who have built and/or sailed Wharram''s designs including the Pahi 63. My only building experience is with skiffs and dinghies, and my sailing experience is almost entirely on cruising monohulls.

The James Wharram Designs website I referred to doesn''t carry much specifics, but you can order their design catalog, study plans, etc. from the website. That''s how they make some of their money. When you order study plans they usually include reprints of published sailing and cruising accounts by amateur builders, and of course you get plenty of Wharram hoopla.

I first became aware of Wharram''s catamaran designs in the early seventies and thought they looked goofy as hell and couldn''t possibly perform any better than the generalizations you made. I ignored them until a year or two ago, and since then have studied them a bit, including three different study plans and included stories. I regularly visit the discussion forums at and I also get the quarterly Seapeople mag (see

Since the sixties and seventies those same weird looking designs and the later models (and they keep coming) have established a fine cruising record for safety, comfort, and speed relative to a cruising monohull. In a breeze most Wharram cats will sail faster then most cruising sailors would want to put up with for long on any boat. They won''t go to windward like an ACC boat, but they do go to windward, and in a breeze will go to windward fast -- based on my reading of many satisfied builders/sailors.

And I do breeze up to, don''t I? The boats are plywood and most are epoxy/glass sheathed. The earlier designs especially are designed to be easy and inexpensive to build compared to any other type of boat -- except maybe steel (in my opinion). And they all have a great safety record (did I already say that?). They''re not marina hoppers apparently. Anchor out.

I recommend to anyone seriously interested in a large ballasted plywood dory check out a large nonballasted plywood catamaran. I believe a Wharram cat would be more efficient on any point of sail, and more comfortable. Cost would probably be close if the dory''s ballast was lead -- trading off the ballast for an extra hull -- but I haven''t researched it. You get lots of deck space on a Wharram cat, but the belowdecks volume would take some getting used to. Wharram''s study plans include a materials list.


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