Spirit of Gaia Renovation, 20 Years After Her Launching

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Pahi 63 'Spirit of Gaia' is a test case to see the durability of wood epoxy and of various design elements we used in her. Twenty years since her launching (1992), she was sailed hard during the first 6 years, including a round the world voyage. She spent the next 9 years sailing during the summer in the Ionian Sea and Adriatic and the last 5 years quietly resting in Trizonia, while we went off sailing the Lapita Voyage.

Pahi 63 Spirit of Gaia being hauled out of the water by a crane
Wharram Pahi 63 'Spirit of Gaia'

In these 20 years she had overhauls in 1996 in New Zealand, a major one in 1997 in Australia, in 1999 in Corfu after completing her circumnavigation, another major one in 2002 when we renewed the hardwood toerails and netting, removed the bow centre boards, shortened the rudders and repainted the deckpods and the upper hullsides. The last time she was out of the water was in 2005 and last maintenance work was done in 2007. Two years ago I did a survey and found various patches of rot in hatch coamings (all outside the glass covering of the hulls) and the lids of the engine boxes were becoming cracked and rotten. These parts have been heavily used as part of the centre deck and living area.

Hanneke, James and a varying team of helpers have made an annual visit to Greece since 2012 to carry out maintenance work. These blogs cover this work in detail and we hope they may be useful to you in carrying out your own maintenance, or building/renovation project.

Spirit of Gaia renovation (Part 8)

Gaia being lifted by crane

Gaia is launched! Finally after 4 years of hard work Spirit of Gaia was lifted back into her natural element. We returned to Messolonghi to prepare Gaia for launching and to take her on her first trial sails. On arrival we were faced with a marina in deadlock. ALL work in the marina had come to a total standstill. During the so-called ban on ‘work’ in Spring, the marina was still lifting and launching boats on a daily basis, this had now totally ceased...

Spirit of Gaia renovation (Part 9)

James with Gaia on her pontoon

Two and a half years have gone by since my last instalment. Spirit of Gaia was launched and sailing, but there was still more work to do. Gaia was left moored on the outer pontoon in Messolonghi Marina for the winter of 2016-17. On our return the next Spring we knew we could not stay in Messolonghi. The legal impasse in the marina was still the same and if a yacht now left the pontoons it would not be able to return. We needed to find a new home for Gaia, and particularly we needed somewhere to antifoul.

Further Reading

  • Design Discussion

    James compares Gaia’s design features with those of the charter Pahi 52. Spirit of Gaia's Wingsail Rig is tested by other catamaran sailors.

  • In The Spirit

    An article from Cruising Helmsman magazine about Mark Smaalders's cruise on Pahi 63 'Spirit of Gaia' from Cairns to Darwin. He discusses Gaia's characteristics from a traditional monohull sailor's point of view.

  • Wharram's Polynesian Dream

    Nic Compton learns how the unorthodox British designer, James Wharram, took his family and fans around the world in his handcrafted catamaran, gaining some valuable lessons along the way.