I live in coastal Scotland and am an avid solo sea kayaker and an 'armchair' sailor. I've experimented with different types of kayak sails but have quickly reached the limits of safe kayak sailing (no surprise there, it's a kayak!). I'm still going to make an outrigger for my kayak and run a bigger sail but am looking ahead to a proper sailing canoe or cat.
It's time to move on to something bigger and I've always wanted a sailboat, but something different as I studied maritime archaeology and appreciate non-western designs. Fate had it that I met one of James Wharrams' relations recently on the quayside and since then, have been reading as much as I can on his designs. Someday I would like to retire on a bigger cat but for now, enjoy the idea of a Hitia 17 or Melanasia to get used to beach sailing.
So...I don't have time to build and found a Hitia 17ready to go. I want something I can 'safely' sail upwind/downwind in choppy or moderate coastal seas, guessing up to F4 or F5 with lots of whitecaps in an emergency.
It can get quite rough in a hurry along the coast here, fully exposed, very little shelter and lots of rocky headlands. Beaches tend to be moderate or steep shingle with dumping waves. I've met them personally in my 5.3m kayak and it hurts.
So what can the Hitia 17 comfotably handle once I progress to a higher level of seamanship and handling? Do I need to go to a Tahiti Wayfarer, Amatasi or Tiki 21 etc for F4 & F5 coastal? What would you recommend on the smaller end of things? I have a truck which will pull any trailerable wharram with ease and live near the harbour.
Thanks in advance for anyone's opinions!