Frequently Asked Questions

Home Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What do the Polynesian names of your designs mean?

Ruth Wharram has provided the following:

  • TANGAROA (also TAAROA) = the God of the Sea, the Great, Creative Spirit
  • RONGO (also ORONGO) = his son
  • HINA = Moon Goddess - woman
  • HINEMOA = a woman in mythology who achieved a tremendous swimming feat
  • TANE = Man, Lover, God of productivity or just Man, Husband
  • TANE NUI = Big Tane
  • RAKA = God of the Winds
  • ARIKI = Chief
  • TEHINI = Darling
  • PAHI = Double Canoe
  • TIKI = neck pendant which Maoris wear
  • HITIA = Sunrise - East
  • WAKA = Canoe
  • MAUI = Magic
  • MOANA = Sea
  • TOHORA = Dolphin
  • MANA = Power
  • HINE MOANA = Goddess of the Ocean
  • ANUANUA = Rainbow
  • RA = Sun
  • WAKAITI = Small Canoe
  • TOHUNGA = Priest
  • WAKARUA = 2 Canoes
  • AREOI = An age-old Tahitian fellowship of Artists and Seafarers
  • Makua Hine Honua = Ancestral Woman of the Earth, i.e. the Hawaiian name for 'Spirit of Gaia'
  • ITI = small
  • ROA = long
  • NUI = big
  • RUA = 2

Any of the names can vary from island to island or are just slightly different. In Hawaii some of the consonants change, i.e. R becomes L, NG becomes N, so Rongo became Lono, the T often becomes a K, i.e. Matua becomes Makua (old/ancestral)

Also, remember, the pronunciation of the vowels is not like the English one but like Latin, Spanish, Italian, etc. i.e.:

  • a = like the English in 'far'
  • e = ea as in 'leather'
  • i = e as in 'me' or 'he'
  • o = as in the English word 'awe'
  • u = as in the double oo in 'moon'

This is also good for people when they want to pronounce the names of our boats!!! Also, someone has asked if the name "NARAI" has to do with a particular Polynesian historical figure. In Polynesia, it is a woman's name, and she is a character from the book 'The singing Coral' by Sverre Holmsen, which I enjoyed very much. Hoping this is of interest, to all our builders and prospective builders.

Why do you use the "Owl Eyes" as your logo?

James Wharram writes:

"Around 1960 I came across a book (name and publisher long forgotten), where the writer used the appearance of the Owl/Eye symbol on rocks and pottery to trace an early Neolithic group spreading out by the coastal route from the Mediterranean up the coast of Europe, Ireland, Scotland and Denmark. In 1966, Thames and Hudson published a book by T.G.E. Powell called 'Prehistoric Art', where the 'Ocular' motives were noted, illustrated and its suggested origin to be in the Mediterranean. Since then, I have seen Cretan seals with this motive. Also Pallas Athena of Athens, the Goddess of Wisdom, is portrayed with an owl on her shoulder."

"The Eye symbol is pre-Celtic by about 2-3,000 years. Many people do not realize that the Celts are quite newcomers in pre-literate (i.e. Roman) Northern Europe. Certainly, the time of the apparent sea-going people parallels the rise of the Megalithic monuments like Stonehenge, Callanish (before the Pyramids) on the Isle of Lewis, those of Brittany and many smaller monuments in Cornwall, Wales, Scotland etc. All of these megaliths have a little or very much astronomic alignments of such quality that, with just a smattering of it, you could use it for navigation on sea voyages. It is only in the last 5 years that the sea-going abilities of early Man are becoming accepted. Another matter of debate around the symbol is that the people who 'used' it were people who worshipped the Mother Goddess. So, the ideas around it are very protective. Certainly, as a symbol, it has brought me luck and has become a part of many people's lives."

Do you have representatives in different parts of the world?


Evecom BV (Mr Allan Veth)
Postbus 19 9216 ZH
Oudega Friesland
Tel: + 31 0512 371999
Fax: + 31 0512 371 955


Shigefumi Nakamura
15-5-2 Hiramatsu 5 Chyone
Nara City
Tel/Fax: + 745-83-1451

New Zealand

Dr Don Brazier
New Zealand
Tel: + 64 9 534 1346

Purchasing Questions

What is the delivery time for orders through the Online Shop?

We will process your order immediately we receive it, and the goods will be sent direct from James Wharram Designs by UK Air Mail Post, or a special courier service for building plans. Although Air Mail is usually quite fast, we ask that you please allow 28 days for delivery before considering you may have a problem. If you have any concerns or questions about orders from our online shop, please use our contact form.

What is your returns policy?

Customers have the right to cancel their order and have their payment refunded within 7 days of placing an order. If the order has already been dispatched the product must be returned unopened, in this case we cannot refund shipping costs. Refunds will only be made after product has been returned and received in unopened and undamaged condition.

It should be understood that products that can be copied, such as boat plans and books, cannot be returned or exchanged unless returned in their UNOPENED original packaging within seven days of receipt.

For other products we will replace any faulty or broken items if returned within seven days of receipt.

For more information please contact us.

What is your VAT registration number?

Our VAT registration number is: 341 8456 53

Where can I purchase sails suitable for my Wharram Catamaran, especially the TIKI Wingsails?

Recommended sailmakers:

Jeckells of Wroxham Limited

Station Road
NR12 8UT
Telephone: +41 (0)1603 782223
Fax: +41 (0)1603 784023

Hyde Sails

Philippines Loft
Hyde Sails Cebu Inc.
Unit F, Second Floor
SPPI Technology Center
Cebu Light Industrial Park

Where can I buy a second hand Wharram Catamaran?

A Google search will usually give you what you are looking for. Do also check the Wharram Catamaran Facebook group.

Study Plan Questions

What do Study Plans contain?

Study Plans contain the information necessary to make a decision about which Wharram design will meet your sailing needs. The usual contents include a full materials list to allow you to cost the building of your boat, plan sheets detailing the layout and rig, as well as how the vessel "looks", photos of vessels (where appropriate) and magazine articles about sailing that particular design. The Melanesia Outrigger, a very simple design, does not have study plans. Remember, it is cheaper to buy a couple of different sets of Study Plans to compare boats than to buy a set of Building Plans for a design you decide doesn't meet your needs. Study Plans are available from our Online Shop.

Can you send me materials lists without me buying the study plans?

No, they are part of our design information, and we make our living from selling study plans and building plans.

Building Plan Questions

Are the Building Plans Full Size?

Some parts of the Building Plans are! Generally, the building plans require you to loft (draw) the components onto the plywood. Full instructions on how to do this are supplied, and it is not a difficult task. Some small parts in some plans, usually the more recent TIKI or ETHNIC designs are shown full size and simply have to be traced. Building Plans are available from our Online Shop.

Can I have a discount on my Building Plans?

I am sorry to disappoint you, but we are not able to offer you a discount. Part of the Wharram philosophy is to be able to build a boat as inexpensively as possible. We already take this into account when putting a price on our building plans, so there is no room for further discount. The plans are only a very small percentage cost of the total expense of building. I am sure once you have seen the plans you will appreciate just how many hours of work by our designers go into each drawing. The plans are very detailed and they are already priced as competitively as is possible. We receive many compliments from our builders on how much detail is in the plans, making them easy to follow.

Can you provide duplicate sets of plans?

For builders who purchased the plans from us (or one of our agents): Provided you are a genuine builder and you purchased your plans from us in the first place, we can provide you with replacement plans. These will have the same number as your previous set. They do not entitle you to build a new boat. They are for your reference only. You can also buy individual sheets from us to replace ones that have been lost. Please contact us for current correct prices.

For owners who purchased the boat second hand: We can provide you with a set of plans for your second hand boat. If you know the boat number/sail number of your boat, your plans will have the same number as the original set. If you do not know the boat number/sail number of your boat, they will be marked "COPY". They do NOT entitle you to build a new boat. They are for your reference only. The cost of the copy plans is 50% of the current "new" price, but we may be prepared to negotiate this price for the larger designs. Please contact us for current correct prices.

Can I exchange an old, but unused Building Plan for a set of plans for a bigger boat?

So long as you originally purchased the Building Plans from us, they are less than 3 years old, in good condition and you have not built a boat from them or copied them, you can return your plans to us and we will give you a 15% discount on your next building plan order.

Can I build from a second hand set of plans and pay you a royalty?

No! The building plans are sold to amateur builders, giving them the right to build one craft only. The largest part of the cost of purchasing the plans is the royalties and the right to technical backup from this office. In any case, when building a boat, the plans do tend to get a bit battered and might become incomplete. Building from a new set of plans also ensures that you have the latest updates of a design.

Can I build more than one boat from one set of Plans?

Provided you are an AMATEUR builder, you may build a second boat from the same set of plans on payment of the design royalty, this is 90% the plan price for the second boat. Please contact us if you wish to do this and we can then issue you with a new Sail number.

If you want to build more than 2 boats, then we have to bring up the question of whether in fact you really are an AMATEUR builder or a PROFESSIONAL builder. The situation regarding PROFESSIONAL BUILDERS is different. We receive many enquiries about building our boats "professionally", but, for many different reasons, few work out. Generally, we ask that aspiring professional builders build one boat, which we will then check during construction and when the boat is finished. Subsequently, we need to be sure that you build using good quality materials, follow the plans, and deal ethically and equitably with your customers and us. Only after meeting this criteria can a builder become "approved" as one of our Professional Builders. In addition, each boat built as a commercial product also has to include a Builder's License Fee on top of the plan price.

Do you have CAD drawings or digitalised building plans for your designs?

The reason we are not interested in digitalising the Plans is that it is good for the mental approach of the builder to measure, draw and cut out the parts of his/her boat himself; It makes one intimately part of the boat, it makes one THINK! Also it is not possible to cut out all parts in advance; many parts are scribed off the part-built boat, to make certain they fit. A builder working with pre-cut bulkheads etc. can still make small errors in assembling these parts, causing future parts to be of slightly different shape, if they were pre-cut they might not fit.

Another point is to keep track of hundreds of pre-cut pieces, they would all have to be labelled very precisely, and even then it may be hard to find the bit you want, unless you have a cutter close at hand and only cut the bits required in the immediate future, something most people won't have. I also suspect that the use of a laser cutter doesn't come cheap. In fact, we find that cutting out the ply parts of a boat constitutes only a very small amount of time, compared with the total building time.

General Design Questions

Are the flexible wooden beams you use strong enough?

Some of the harshest beam strength requirements we have found come from Australia, where the requirement is for the beam calculations of catamarans to be based on cantilever theory i.e. one hull clamped to a wall, the other hull cantilevered off the end of the cross beams.

As an example, using this theory, and under maximum load conditions, the calculations for my TIKI 30 design show that the beams are not only safe, but safe by a factor of more than three times the requirement.

It is important that the builder uses good quality timber, preferably Douglas Fir, for laminating the crossbeams. The other important point is to prevent rot developing in the beams by careful coating and painting. The only cases of beam failure we know of have been cases where the beams have developed rot.

Why do you lash the beams of your recent designs, and is it safe?

All the larger Wharram designs have been designed as controlled flexible structures. In the early years on the Classic Designs I used rubber blocks on steel bolt mountings to connect the crossbeams to the hulls. Nowadays these metal brackets can be very costly to make, unless you have the skill to make them yourself.

Since 1980, starting with the Pahi Designs, we have been using the high tensile strength and stretch characteristics of modern ropes.

In both methods the stresses exerted on the structure, when it flexes in a seaway, are taken up by these purposely designed shock absorbers. This is a much better solution than when a so-called rigid catamaran structure flexes and the stresses move to the weakest point and often create stress cracks in the hull to centre deck joints.

Under actual working conditions the rope lashings have proven to be easy to maintain and replace when required.

Can you give me a CE number?

The situation regarding CE marking in the EU is as follows:

Amateur built boats do not need to pass RCD (Recreational Craft Directive) regulations if the boat is not sold in the first 5 years. So if you are building as an amateur (and remember our Plans are only available to amateurs, Professional builders need to negotiate a builders licence with us) you in theory need not be bothered by the RCD.

If you do wish to have your boat CE marked you have to work through a 'Notified body' in your country that will require quite a large payment for doing this. However boats under 12m length can be self assessed, but will need their Stability characteristics assessed by a Notified body.

Remember it is not possible to have a set of Plans CE marked as the CE marking is on materials used etc, not just on design.

To self assess your boat you will need to get hold of a copy of the RCD, in your case you should get one that is applicable in your country.

If you do go ahead with getting your boat(s) RCD certificated we are able to supply the Stability calculations for the designs. This information is correct to the best of our knowledge as at September 2003, but you should confirm current details with authorities in your country, rather than relying on this.

Why is the cross-section of your designs V-shaped?

This cross-section allows you to sail to windward without dagger boards or other appendages; it gives a very easy motion at sea (does not pound); and it makes the hulls easy to build. The flares and overhangs give great seaworthiness. More information about hull design and our design philosophy, plus an overview of the plans that are available is in the Wharram Design Book.

How big are your bunks?

James is a slim 1.88m and likes to have a double bunk width of 1.22m, which is the width on the Pahi 42 and Pahi 63, though in his younger years he used to sleep in a 1m wide double bunk on his Tehini. Our smaller designs (Tiki 30, Tiki 31, Tangaroa MkIV) have double bunks around 1m wide.

The bunks on a Veed hull can be narrower than the 1.55m bed-width of double beds at home - you can sleep close against the flaring side of the boat and do not need the edging around the bed that you need in a house bed. Having said this, a lot will depend on how fond you are of your sleeping companion. The Tiki 46 has wider bunks of around 1.5m.

Do your designs have standing headroom?

All multihulls are 'shallow draft vessels', and like dories, scows and other shallow draft vessels, you do not get full standing headroom until about a 36-ft design. Some designers raise the freeboard of the design at about 25 foot to get full standing headroom in a small shallow craft, but it does spoil the windward sailing quality of the design, particularly in winds of Force 4 and upwards.

Sailors and designers used to say: "the only place you need standing headroom is where you pull your trousers up". James is 6ft 2in (1.88m) tall so we arrange the headroom in the Gaia around 6'3". A French friend and builder of a Tiki 46, Bertrand Fercot, is 6'6" tall, and he has raised his cabin height for his physical comfort, though we think a combination of raising the cabin height and dropping the floor would have looked better. One of the reasons behind developing the 'Flexi-space' for the Pahi 63 is to reduce standing space to the minimum and see the interior of the boat as a comfortable tent height. James says, "My biggest height problem is head banging, which I get also on doorframes in the older cottages in Britain. The minimum bunk size I use is always 6'6"- 2m, though wherever possible I prefer a longer bunk space of 7'- 2.15m and sometimes more."

Of course, for more room, you can put a Bimimi cover over the large hull entry hatches, like on the Tiki 30 and Tiki 31. At 1.88m, the headroom of the bigger boats is sufficiently high for James to move around standing upright.

Which of your designs are ocean going?

All our models are designed to be stable and seaworthy. The smaller designs like the Hinemoa and Tiki 21 are really designed for coastal use only, but both have ocean voyages to their name. One Tiki 21 'Cooking Fat' sailed by Rory McDougall, sailed around the world, but we wouldn't recommend this as standard practice! One Hinemoa survived a hurricane off Bermuda and another sailed to Hawaii from the USA. Tiki 26's have made a number of trans Atlantic and Pacific voyages as have all our larger designs.

What do you recommend as a nice "family" cruising boat?

James Wharram recently wrote: "The easiest boat to build for making long distance passages with your wife and two children, would be the Tiki 38. It is a lovely boat, it has four private cabins and a bathroom with shower. It is a development of the Professionally Built Tiki 36 (by us, 'Wharram Built', around 1990). My Japanese friend owns one in Greece and it really is a nice boat. The next boat in the range would be a Pahi 42. I sailed aboard one of my customer's ones from Scotland to Iceland in 1999. It is a tough reliable boat. The ideal large family boat is the Tiki 46. Two of my friends, Ann and Nev Clement, have built one and you can read about them here, but it is a lot of work - it took them 3 years to build the boat".

The Classic designs from the 36ft Tangaroa upwards are all tough ocean going boats and many have made long ocean passages. Their interior volume is however smaller than the newer Pahi and Tiki designs.

But if you are short of funds and/or time the Tiki 30 will take a couple, with maybe one child, on long voyages.

What designs would be good for North Atlantic Conditions?

All our larger designs so long as they are well built and kitted out in a seamanlike manner, can weather the North Atlantic and which one you choose depends on how much money you have and the cost of building materials where you live. A Pahi 42 (Captain Cook) regularly sails in the stormy waters around the Western Isles of Scotland and in 1999 James and Hanneke sailed from Scotland to the Faroes and Iceland.

The original 50ft Tehini, James' previous 'personal boat' for 15 years, is a very simple, tough boat and made at least three North Atlantic crossings, but lacks the sophistication of accommodation of our later designs, such as the Tiki 46, another suitable choice, but a design which contains more material and work.

The new Islander 55' design would of course also be suitable. However, it is for professional building only at Andy Smith Boatworks.

Most importantly, whichever design you choose will DEFINITELY need insulating for cold Northern waters.

I am looking for a catamaran about the size of a small dinghy - why don't you have a design smaller than 14 ft?

The hulls of a catamaran are very slim in order to get the advantage of more speed than a monohull. Slim hulls have a limited buoyancy and in practice it is found that hulls less than 14ft long tend to lack the buoyancy to carry the occupants. We did once build a 10ft catamaran which definitely lacked buoyancy, then we had a 12ft design that was just OK, but had a tendency to bury its lee bow due to lack of buoyancy. You will notice that there are hardly any catamaran designs on the market less than 14ft long, for the reason given above. Monohull dinghies can be shorter as they are wide with a lot of buoyancy, the result however is a boat that is a lot slower than a catamaran. A 14ft catamaran will only use the amount of building material, and hence have the cost and weight, of a much smaller monohull dinghy. This way you will have a faster, bigger and more seaworthy boat for the same cost. The choice is yours!

I want to build a 30-footer - which designs would be good?

The Tiki 30, Tiki 31 and Pahi 31 are all easy to build, and it is a matter of personal preference in layout and looks to choose your preferred design. All three designs, if well built, are strong enough to sail the oceans. You may want to order Study Plans to have a closer look at the designs (Study Plans are available from our Online Shop), and read the articles supplied in the Studyplans as to what people have to say about them. If you are hesitating between these three designs, your best option would be to talk to people who have built and sailed them, and if possible try to sail on these boats.

Do you have a design for a Proa?

Not at the moment! I have met more than one Western Proa builder. The problem is, that they look at the proa through Western eyes. I think that before you can adopt Pacific canoe form craft for western use, you must start at the beginning, and build as close as you can to the original craft. Having mastered the original principles, you can then start adapting it to Western needs. This is what we are doing with our new Ethnic Range of designs.

There is something about Proa's that sends Western sailors slightly crazy. We built a 30-foot Proa for the 1978 race around Britain, sailed it on a 500 miles test sail, put a bigger sail on to "really go", and capsized it. Since then, I have seen big French Proa's, which were really more like catamarans with one hull bigger than the other. It should be correctly called a Drua, the Fijian name for such a craft built in sizes of up to 100 feet.

Since 1997, we have been experimenting with the use of the Outrigger Canoe, which has a definite bow and stern. We are working step-by-step forward, then when we understand the basic elements of outrigger design, we shall take up experimenting with Proa design again. Our first designs will be as close to original Pacific designs as we can get. Because the Proa reverses end for end with each tack, the Western sail rigs are not really suitable for them, often requiring the dropping and hoisting of headsails with each tack. On the Proa we built, we developed a type of lugsail that did not need reversing and worked extremely well.

Have you ever built Trimarans?

Many years ago, James did build a Trimaran for the Round Britain Race. He was never happy with the design and has not designed one since.

General Building Questions

CNC cutting of Wharram Designs?

We are frequently asked if we can supply files for CNC cutting the ply parts of our designs. There are two issues here.

  1. It is not possible to protect our design copyright if we release these type of files to the general public. They would be too easy to share with others and we would lose control over the rights to build our designs. Hence the only people to have the use of CNC files are trusted kit producers.
  2. Our catamarans are designed with the simplest of forms to mark out and we give clear instructions on how to do this. The hull panels of the smaller stitch & glue Ethnic and Tiki designs make use of the natural straight edges of the sheets of plywood for economy of plywood and simple marking out.

If the cutting is done with a router via CNC then the ply usage is less economical (wider cutting lines and you cannot use the natural straight edge of the ply sheets) so more ply sheets are needed to build the designs. For example: The Melanesia can be cut out of just two sheets of plywood with very little waste, and the marking out is dead simple, with the stem and stern shapes given in full size, With router CNC cutting it would need three sheets, i.e. more expensive. You can do the marking out and cutting of the Melanesia in a day or less.

CNC cutting becomes more worthwhile if the design parts are more complex, like for the kit only Mana 24, which has a hull chine, puzzle joints in the hull panels, and 'lugs, slots & wedges' to assemble the hulls. The Tikis and Ethnic Designs are a lot simpler and generally give no issues with marking out for the beginner builder. Marking out and cutting is only a fraction of the time you will spend building your boat, the drawing out process connects you closely to the heart of the design.

We pride ourselves in designing our catamarans with the simplest of forms to mark out, carefully planned cutting layouts for least wastage, and very clear and detailed instructions.

What sort of plywood should I use?

Plywood can be either marine or structural grade, the most important point being that the glue bond must be a Type A (water and boil proof) bond. Structural ply usually comes with "C" or "D" grade faces, and you may have to order specially to get an "A" or "B" grade face on one side. Be aware that if you go the structural route, you may encounter large internal voids in the plywood when it is cut. These will have to be filled as you go. I would recommend that you use marine ply if you can afford it, as it is specially prepared for marine use, and will improve the resale value of your vessel. All our Building Plans come with a 'guide to plywood'.

Can I use timber other than that specified in the plan?

Yes! Timber availability and costs may dictate the use of different timbers from those specified in the plan. I can only advise you to use common sense in choosing timber, and attempt to match the characteristics called for in the Plans. There are many publications which will help you with your choice. In Australia, for example, a good guide to suitable timber was to be found in Australian Standard 1738 - 1975 titled "Timber for Marine Craft". Our latest advice on this standard is that it was withdrawn in March 1997 (apparently without replacement!). Copies of withdrawn standards are still available from SAI Global, and it is worth a look if you can get a copy.

How do you turn the hulls over during building?

If you have space to the side of the hull and sufficient people, you may wish to tip the hull sideways on supports such as mattresses or tyres, then tip the hulls the right way up.

If you do not have space sideways, but roof beams that will support the weight of the hulls, you could rig two blocks, then run a continuous loop around the hull over the bulkheads, turning the hull inside these loops. I have also seen this done using a delivery truck with one of those small unloading cranes to support the weight rather than roof beams. The larger the boat the more care should be taken to have strong enough roof supports to do this.

Some builders have constructed special circular metal frames fitted round the hull, so it can be easily rolled in any position.

What sort of motor(s) do you recommend?

Motor installation is a matter for individual choice. Most builders choose to use outboard motors, the most popular are the Yamaha 9.9hp 4-stroke saildrive engines, which will drive most of our designs from 30ft upwards at a maximum speed of 7 knots, using two motors on the bigger designs.

Others have chosen diesel inboards (not recommended as they are very tricky to fit in the narrow Veed hulls and the propellors will give permanent drag), or deck mounted diesel or petrol motors. Linkages vary from sail drive arrangements, through longtail shafts, to hydraulic drives. The size of the motor to install depends on the characteristics of the motor, all up weight of the finished boat, choice of single or dual motor installation, and many other variables. Consequently, we recommend you discuss your ideas with a couple of different motor dealers when you have a general idea of where your preferences lie.

Design Specific Questions - Classic Designs

Can I lash the beams on my Classic design, rather than using fixed fastenings?

What you need is Plan Sheet 'Beamlashings for Classic Designs'. This is an optional drawing, not part of the plans, intended for builders who wish to go for lashed beams rather than the standard attachment method. This drawing is part of 'Design Improvement Package 2'. This package also includes other upgrades for your Classic Design and the drawings for Tiki style I beams.

I have a problem tacking the Classic design. Can you help, please?

An important factor towards tacking and windward performance is of course the quality of your sails. Baggy sails just don't give good performance. You must also check the sheeting angles are correct, we have seen a number of Classic Designs where the sheet blocks were fitted in the wrong place and the sails could not be pulled flat enough for good windward sailing and tacking.

Another factor might be the technique you use. Our catamarans, with their long keels, don't spin round (like a dinghy!), but need to be sailed around like a traditional monohull workboat.

  • Steer as close to the wind as you can while keeping a reasonable speed
  • Pull sails in tight before tacking
  • Do not oversteer, but keep the boat moving
  • Leave the jib sheeted so it backs as the boat goes round, sheet round only when the mainsail starts to fill on the new tack
  • Straighten up the tillers when the jib starts pulling the bows round
  • If you have a ketch, pull the mizzen over to windward just before tacking to act as a wind rudder.

A third factor contributing to poor tacking of the Classic Designs might be the rudder streamlining (such as a big gap between rudder and hull, or lumpy rudder fittings). If you could improve on this it would make the boat sail considerably better.

Are there any design improvements for the Classic designs which will use some of the nice Tiki design features?

There is Design Improvements Package 1, based on the Tiki 38 centre deck layout, which is suitable for use on the Tangaroa MkIV, Raka, Narai Mk I&II, Narai Mk IV, Oro and Ariki. It offers a small deck pod, boarding ramp, engine boxes to fit Yamaha 4 stroke 9.9hp outboards. It also shows alternative fixing of slatted decks and the main mast step.

There is also a larger Design Improvements Package 2 which includes information for Tiki style beams. It also comes with a drawing showing how to lash the beams to the hulls.

Why is the Oro design not shown online or in your Design Book?

We no longer sell the Oro design. She was 46' long, her layout was very basic and Spartan - rather like a slightly longer Narai Mk I. Her Plans were drawn in the 1960s and are as Spartan as the boat, which was the reason for us withdrawing them.

Her place was first of all taken by the Narai Mk IV in the early 70s. This design gives more accommodation on a shorter length then the Oro. We now have the Tiki 46 design, which incorporates all our new ideas and construction methods and gives a lot more boat for a given length. We know that there are still people attracted by the Oro's simplicity, but at this day and age of high materials cost, most decide to build a boat that makes better use of the same quantity of materials. (Before you ask, we can not modify the Oro design to incorporate our new ideas, like lashed beams, different rig, deckpod etc., as this involves too much work and would only create a hybrid design!)

If you are really only attracted by the Classic designs, maybe you should look at the Ariki or Tehini. There are updates available with the Tehini Plans that increase her accommodation.

Design Specific Questions - Tiki Designs

What are the correct mast dimensions for the TIKI range of catamarans?

The outside diameter of the aluminium mast should always be the same as the wooden mast. Otherwise gaff dimensions need to be changed.

Design Diameter Wall - Wood Wall - Aluminium
inch mm inch mm inch
Tiki 21 4 102 3/4 19 1/8
Tiki 26 5 127 3/4 19 1/8
Tiki 31 5 127 3/4 19 1/8
Tiki 30 5 1/2 140 1 25 1/8 or 5/32
Tiki 38 5 1/2 140 1 25 1/8 or 5/32
Tiki 46 7 5/8 194 1 1/4 32 3/16 - 1/4

How do I tack the smaller Tiki designs?

There have on rare occasions been builders that have had a problem tacking their Tiki.

First of all check whether your boat sails balanced. If your boat has too much weatherhelm in strong winds the mast should be more upright, if you have neutral or leehelm is should be raked more. You can also adjust this with weight distribution. The bows of the Tiki must be submerged sufficiently to give 'bite' in the water, making the boat sail better to windward.

To tack the Coastal Trek designs, you do need to back the staysail, this technique is shown in the back of your building instructions book of the Plans. Do you do this?

A tacking problem can also be a matter of technique. Before a tack, sail as close to the wind as possible, with sails sheeted in tight, then steer into the wind leaving all sheets cleated, but don't over steer. When the wind catches the other side of the staysail let it back and push the bows through the wind. When the sail starts to turn the boat, start straightening up the tillers. Once you are about 20 degrees the other side of the wind and the mainsail just tries to fill, you cast off the staysail sheet and quickly sheet it in on the new tack (have the new sheet pulled in as much as possible before casting off the old one, that way the manoeuvre goes quick and you don't have to pull long and hard to get the sail back in). It is all a question of careful timing!

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