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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #11  
Old 07-09-2003
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Invitation to all of a pure heart

so, just out of curiosity, (and boredom) I checked into it. http://www.wharram.com/pahi_photos/pahi63.shtml is the boat. it apears to be a gaff rigged (known for inability to point) catamaran (known for inability to point) but it''s big. I suppose its about the best barge...er... boat you can get for a floating comune. :\ asside from this of course. http://mightytoad.slickness.org

-- James
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  #12  
Old 07-15-2003
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Invitation to all of a pure heart

James,

When you''re going to apply sweeping generalities to a specific boat you really ought to make a bit of an effort to learn more about the boat than you have.

James Wharram''s Gaia (built to his Pahi 63 design) is reported by those who have sailed on her to be very comfortable, and when thrills become more important than comfort (though the boat was designed for cruising with a dozen or 15 people) it can be sailed faster than any boat approaching its cost.

And it does sail to windward, as well as any monohull costing twice as much to build I reckon, and with a lot more comfortable motion. There is a lot of information available to those interested in the facts, rather than maintaining a particular bias, at James Wharram''s website -- wharram.com

Have fun.

Frank
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  #13  
Old 07-16-2003
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Invitation to all of a pure heart

I appologize for the barge comment, it was uncalled for. However when I made the sweeping generalizations, both were reletivley well researched. While some catamarans, and some gaff rigged boats do point, most do not do so well.

Have you built or sailed one? Just out of curiousity, so I know what we''re comparing it to, what was the cost to build? Does it compare favorably with other boats (both multi or mono) of the same LOA? LWL?

And finaly, I went back and thouroughly reread the site. It speaks of the evils of computers, and modern urban living. it speaks of the beauty and simplicity of the sea, and it has alot of pretty pictures of the boats, but as far as hard numbers, or even profile and layout shots, I didnt see a single one, so I do feel that some very vital information realy isnt shown on the site. But perhaps I was looking in the wrong places. If so, please direct me to the proper site, as I have eagerly followed the "Badgers" built by people with similar philosophies, but there seems to be a bit more hard facts for those. But once agian, I may not be looking in the right places.

Thanks.

-- James
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Old 07-24-2003
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Invitation to all of a pure heart

James,

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 wharram.com and themultihull.com. I also get the quarterly Seapeople mag (see pca-seapeople.org).

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.

Cheers.

Frank
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Old 07-25-2003
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Invitation to all of a pure heart

I do have experience with smaller Wharram and have sailed on a couple of them, and even had use of a small one after helping the owner put it back together again. They were next to impossible to tack reliably, they did not point at all, and for all of the hoopla about their supposed speed, they were generally slower than the monohulls that were passing us except in a moderately high breeze (12-15 knots) and then only when on a beam to broad reach. Both of the aka to ama connections that were supplied with the drawings were unreliable requiring frequent repair and maintenance.

In the end the hulls of the boat that I had use of were converted to the outer hulls of a moderately successful trimarran. Because of the construction details of the Wharram, these hulls rotted out quite quickly and were replaced with lighte weight tortured plywood hulls that greatly improved performance when pressed in a breeze.

Based on my experiences with Wharram Cats, I would say that the broad generalities were right on target.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 07-26-2003
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Invitation to all of a pure heart

Based on zero experience with the particular design in question?

Frank
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Old 07-26-2003
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Invitation to all of a pure heart

I would not call it zero experience with the design in question, but I would say that I based my comments on my direct experience with the quality of Wharram''s design work as compared to the claims regarding them. I know that he has a strong following as well as a probably equally long list of detractors who owned or sailed a Wharram and was not favorably impressed with them. Have you had direct experience that controdicts my experience with these boats? I would love to hear a counter point.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 08-02-2003
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Invitation to all of a pure heart

As I said earlier in this thread, I have no experience with Wharram boats.

However, the Wharram web site sells reprints of some of his magazine articles. In one of them (Practical Boat Owner, "Nomads of the Wind," October 1994) he describes measurements recorded on Gaia with B&G instruments of true and apparent wind angles and windspeed, and of speed through the water with a "sensitive" log, and using a Sony GPS for position finding. Among the figures given are these:

In true wind speed of 18-22 knots at 50 degrees true wind angle, making 5 degrees leeway with staysail and single reefed fore (Gaia is schooner rigged with equal sized fore and main), Gaia made 6-7 knots through the water. Not racing boat performance, but the Pahi 63 was designed for comfortable cruising. It does go to windward.

In another article reprint ("Going Dutch") Wharram mentions that on one of Gaia''s cruises, two women were at all times able to hoist or reef the main and fore [474 square feet each] without use of winches.

"Letters From James" are posted on the web site. In the April 2002 letter he describes Gaia''s condition at hauling for its ten year refit (it was launched in 1992). He says most dockwalkers still take the boat for being a GRP boat [that seems to be taken for a compliment], after 50,000 miles sailing including an around the world voyage. Although he goes off on short-lived and expensive electronic gear, the boat itself comes off as being in virtually new condition, with no structural or cosmetic problems. He says that Gaia has beat to windward in gale force winds for days and weeks at a time.

It doesn''t sound to me like the Pahi 63 fits within the generalities made about Wharrams in this thread. From what I''ve read in Wharram-related forums and the PCA magazine, some people have problems after launching getting the boats to perform up to expectations. Those who persevere seem to overcome problems and are happy with their boats. Of course those who give up on the boats aren''t likely to be visiting those forums. Overall, correspondents seem quite satisfied and happy to be Wharram sailors. About like my experience with monohulls and beginning monohull sailors.

Frank
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  #19  
Old 08-03-2003
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That is precisely the point that I was trying to make. Those kinds of numbers are exactly what I was talking about experiencing in the smaller boats. Tacking through 100 degrees with 5 degrees of leeway, in other words 110 degrees made good, is worse than really dismal pointing ability, especially in those kinds of windspeeds, that sized boat, and at those kinds of extremely slow speeds. While you might tolerate that kind of worse than poor performance offshore, in a confined situation with perhaps a knot or two opposing tide running (which was often the case where I was sailing Wharrams), and given the difficulty in tacking a Wharram reliably and without losing huge amounts of distance to leeward, you would be hard pressed to actually be able to actually make distance to windward.

While I understand that Wharrams are not race boats, to put this in perspective, when I compare the Pahi 63''s performance to a 20 year old 38 foot performance monohull cruiser that was also intended to go offshore in heavy conditions, these numbers are silly. (Using my own boat only because I know these figures from experience) In 18 to 20 plus knots of wind, my boat typically tacks through something approaching 80 degrees and the GPS seems to suggest that it makes something less than 90 degress made good between the tacks, while moving at between 8 and 9 knots. When you add in that no distance to leeward is made on the tacks, this make a very big difference in a confined situation such as beating out a river or clearing a headland or reef.

It just seems that if someone is going to spend the kind of money that it takes to build any 63 foot multihull, then they should at least try to build a design that has decent sailing characteristics.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 08-09-2003
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Invitation to all of a pure heart

Ahoy Light People and other defenders of de light and de silly loking people connected with the original post. Ye look like a bunch of goofy twits and so does dis floating barge.Wot in de heck would ye do in a real blow? As for arguing wit Jeff you''d be wise to mind your silly manners and listen. The original point and the technical point were correct your nuts so leave it at that and go away! Pirate of Pine Island.
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