Building your own boat with Wharram Designs is the easiest and most cost effective way to fulfil your sailing dreams. Wharram Self-build boat plans start from only £100.
Wharram cat under construction Tiki 30 Tahiti Wayfarer Hitia 14

We recommended you follow the tried and trusted Wharram process to ensure the boat you build is both the right type of boat for your needs and also one that will match your building skills and expenditure.

  1. Read the Wharram Design Book and familiarise yourself with the various designs and their unique qualities. This book reviews each self-build boat model and offers a detailed introduction and understanding of the world of self-build catamarans.
  2. Order one or more sets of our Boat Building Study Plans and immerse yourself into the boat builder's mindset; evaluate the costs; the amount of time required to build your boat; where you will build it and where you will eventually launch it.
  3. Once you have decided on the boat that is right for YOU to build, order the Boat Builder's Plans and become a real life member of the Wharram Boat Builder Community. You can build a Wharram with very little experience. Our Building Plans present quality instruction, guidance and advice for both novice and professional alike. A Wharram can be built in 130 hours - or you can indulge four years of your life into one.

About James Wharram

James Wharram - British pioneer of the modern catamaran - sailing Amatasi James Wharram - British pioneer of the modern catamaran - building Rongo in the 1950s.

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 still dismissing such a design as a worthy sea-going vessel, James was landing his 23'6" 'Double Hulled Canoe' called TANGAROA in the West Indies.

There he built a second 40' Polynesian style Catamaran, RONGO, and sailed it up to New York and back to the UK accompanied by two German women - being the first to sail a catamaran West-to-East across the North Atlantic.

These amazing Trans-Atlantic crossings and the follow up book "Two Girls, Two Catamarans" have 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'. More than 50 years on - with over 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.

Lapita Voyage

The ‘Lapita Voyage’ began in the first week of November 2008, when two 38ft double canoes, built in the Philippines based on an ancient Polynesian canoe hull-form, set out on a 4,000Nm voyage along the island chains of the Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea and the Solomons.

This section of the website is dedicated to the memory of Klaus Hympendahl who died in February 2016 in Argentina after an acute serious illness. The Lapita Voyage would not have been possible without Klaus’ organisational work and efforts to raise the money to build the boats. Klaus first became friends with the people of Tikopia on his circumnavigation in 1989. He raised money to build a medical centre after the island was devastated by cyclone Zoe in 2003. After the Lapita Voyage he kept in communication with the islanders and was organising solar powered lights for every family. In Germany Klaus was a well-known ocean sailor and yachting writer with many books to his name. He will be missed by many.

Lapita Anuta and Lapita Tikopia

Mana 24 Launching

Mana has been officially launched at Devoran on 20th August.

Around 60 men, women and children came to the launch. There were people from England, Netherlands, France, Finland, Germany, Austria, Scotland, New Zealand, Australia, Israel and Kyrgyzstan.
Around 60 men, women and children came to the launch. There were people from England, Netherlands, France, Finland, Germany, Austria, Scotland, New Zealand, Australia, Israel and Kyrgyzstan.

This was not her first launching as we had taken her by trailer to the Brest and Douarnenez traditional boat festivals in July. She was not fully finished then, still in white undercoat, but she first floated in the sea off the slipway in Brest. After a couple of days of fitting windows, raising masts and rigging her, we first sailed Mana with the fleet of multihulls in the ‘night parade’ off the quays in Brest.

HUI Wharram 2016 - Event Report

Hui Wharram

Well now that the dust has settled a bit from our big move from fabulous Islamorada to Downtown Fort Myers it's time to reflect. Dan's legacy in the Keys is a very hard act to follow. The venue in Ft. Myers did turn out to work pretty well according to most attending. Our weather turned out to be as perfect as we hoped (always hope in SWFL), but it was. Most of the time we had plenty of wind, and of course sun. There was a little tide issue for a spell, a few of the larger boats had to wait for the Caloosahatchee to set us free. Shallow draft be dammed, we still need a little water. Sailing was great, most boats were out most of the time for nearly all of the three days and even into Tuesday. That may be a first! There was lots of sailor community and opportunity to share and make plans for future adventures.

Spirit of Gaia renovation (Part 6)

James is proud of what has been achieved.

Another year and still more work. We have had to face up to the fact that the renovation of our flagship Spirit of Gaia is taking much longer than originally planned, but at last the end is in sight. We are aiming for perfection.

Hanneke Boon at Pecha Kucha in Amsterdam

We have had a long friendship with Carl Cramer, publisher for 25 years of the American ‘Wooden Boat’ and ‘Professional Boatbuilder’ magazines. Last year Carl retired as publisher, but is continuing with other boat related enterprises. Last month he organized a Symposium on yachting in Amsterdam, called ‘Boatbuilding Live’ held on 17th November, the day before the opening of ‘Mets’, the European marine trade show.

James and Hanneke were invited to speak at ‘Boatbuilding Live’ in a 90 minute time slot, so got to work on writing a paper with the title ‘Integrating Philosophy with Boat design’. Unfortunately the symposium was cancelled, but instead Carl asked them to speak at a Pecha Kucha event, also in Amsterdam. This is a new lecture concept originating in Japan where every speaker can show 20 slides to which he/she can talk for 20 seconds each, i.e. a total of 6 minutes 40 seconds presentation.

We had to make a fresh start, for writing for a Pecha Kucha is more like writing poetry than a lecture. From a wordy concept to the minimum, so we saw the time slot of 6 minutes as an illustrated poem of Hanneke, from a young girl sailing with her father, ending up as a boatbuilder, ocean sailor and designer.

Storm Tactics on Wharram Catamarans

Wharram Cat on stormy seas

Wharram catamarans are well known for their seaworthiness and hundreds have been cruising the oceans of the World for nearly 50 years. As can be expected, many encountered storms during their voyaging, some were unlucky enough to encounter very severe ones and even cyclones and hurricanes.

Don Brazier, Wharram agent in New Zealand and owner/builder of a beautiful 41 foot Narai Mk IV, has been collecting accounts from many Wharram sailors who have experienced severe weather at sea. He himself has made a number of voyages in the Pacific and encountered severe weather, in which he deployed drogue and parachute.

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