Home News Update
By Ruth Wharram
Icelandic mountain

This update has been written by Ruth, who is "taking care of business" while James and Hanneke are on an expedition to Iceland (more about that later...).

In reply to the recent Internet forum discussions forwarded to us about the fact that James now only rarely writes articles including his "Jim's" column for the PCA, the reason is that James has been involved in quite a few other projects over the kast few months.

Here is a summary of James's activities to keep our Website audience informed.

After the "Dolphin Project" with a Portuguese and a Canary Islands group, James moved on to the 'SPIRIT OF GAIA's' voyage though the Pacific Ocean. A subsequent raft voyage from Bali to Australia had to be abandoned due to the weather and the political situation in Indonesia, During his stays in Britain James took up the challenge of fighting the ridiculous RCD (Recreational Craft Directive), which has driven many small volume boatbuilders out of business. This involved a long battle with the MIF (British Marine Industries Federation).

This year after several local lectures James went on a lecture tour to Holland and Germany, where he discussed the RCD problem with European yacht magazines like "Zeilen", "Palstek", "Bolina", "Muticoques" and "Loisirs Nautiques", on his way to and from Corfu where our 'PAHI 63', the 'SPIRIT OF GAIA', is now stationed.

During his last stay in Britain, James devoted himself almost completely to the RCD problem, writing to local MP's (local and European) as well as newspapers, which were very supportive, but the effort achieved little success.

James and Hanneke are now on their way to Iceland, where they are taking part in an Icelandic expedition aboard Peter Richardson's 'PAHI 42', 'TOROA', studying non-instrumental Viking navigation with Bill McGrath, who has already used non-instrumental Polynesian navigation methods on the double outrigger 'SARIMANOK' during a voyage in 1985 from Bali to Madagascar. They are hopeful that Michael Richey will be able to joing them for at least part of the voyage, as Michael also used non-instrumental navigation in 1994 aboard his junk 'JESTER', in order to study the problems that would have confronted the Portuguese discoverers of the 13th and 14th century.

So you can see why there are not so many articles in "Jim's Column" in the "Sea People" magazine and elsewehere, for the moment. However, all this does not mean that James /we have neglected the PCA and our builders, as I (Ruth) when not involved in the above-mentioned projects, have kept in touch with the PCA and individual builders (including during our round the world voyage).

The technical side of "James Wharram Designs", during the last year or so, has been very well looked after by John Barker, who is working with us in the design office. He has also written articles for the PCA while answering technical questions as well as working on drawing out the new 'TIKI 46' design (the prototype of which is well underway).

John has just returned fron the "Boats 99" boatshow where he exhibited our 16' sailing outrigger canoe, the 'MELANESIA'. To date, over 300 plans have now been sold of this craft. During the summer John will be giving boatbuilding courses here in Devoran.

James has however, in the last year published quite a number of articles in yacht magazines all over the world, starting with the 'MELANESIA' (following our voyage through the islands of Melanesia and Vanuatu) then an article on our 'Soft Wingsail' and finally the long article, the 'First Sailor' (a study of canoe form craft - with observations made in the Pacific and Indian Ocean from voyages during 1995-98 aboard the Double Canoe 'SPIRIT OF GAIA').

Hoping that this will keep our builders updated on what James Wharram Designs is doing, apart from producing designs. Your feedback on this, and any other part of our website, is welcome.

- Ruth Wharram