If the rest of the year 2002 continues as has the first month, January, I can imagine the day when myself "James" will return to our 63' Pahi, "Spirit of Gaia", hoist sails and sail away to the peace and solitude of the oceans. Positive excitement and work can seem great but too much of it becomes like the storm that seems to have no blue patch of sky in sight.
January 1st, Hanneke and I moved into our new Studio/office with, for Hanneke - a drawing board, plan chest, table. Myself, I have a picnic table, a chair, writing pads and a few files (built-in furniture is a future project).
What we both have which is so wonderful is a beautiful polished maple wood floor, a Japanese Shoi door to enter the studio from our workshop, whilst a magnificent view from the Studio out through the glass wall and sliding glass doors on the tidal creek - a view that can so easily put one into a dreaming Shamanistic Daze.
January 3rd Roger Johnson arrived to write an in-depth article on James Wharram for the French specialist yacht magazine, Le Chasse Maree. The interview was hard work... Questions like "How did James Wharram emerge from his social background?" "Why, at the time, was he almost unique for a Westerner in turning to the Indian Pacific Canoeform design tradition for the development of off-shore sailing boats?" "What was it that enabled James Wharram to think positively and naturally in this ancient Indo-Pacific sailing idiom?" "Why as a designer is he more valued in Continental Europe than in England?" ...probing questions that were most disturbing.
Roger left after a week, leaving Hanneke and I on the long trek to the London Boat Show. We loathe London and do not enjoy the London Boat Show but there we had to meet one Nigel Harford, the first or second ORO builder in the late 1960's, a founder member of the Polynesian Catamaran Association in 1968. In fact, he met there the PCA's first magazine editor, Veronica Twist - he later married her. Now he is having built one of our new Professional Designs, the Pahi 52. I will discuss this design at some future date. I think after three bottles of wine, I talked Nigel out of a hard-topped "Bimini" fishing boat style deck cabin and all halyards let to the cockpit. I think, but I do not quite remember!
The next meeting was with the German Roland Schuele and his professional boatbuilder Gerhard Nusser. Now look at the following photographs, taken by Roland of his wife steering their Tiki 21 at high speed before big waves, from Barcelona to Mallorca. Very rarely do we get such pictures of high speed sailing, in strong winds and high seas. With this experience, they want a modified Tiki 46 for family sailing and charter use. When this boat is built to the German interpretation of the European Recreation Craft Directive, which in itself to us is a major nit-picking project, his boat builder will be open to building further special ply/epoxy glass laminate Tiki 46s for other European owners.
Another day at the Boatshow we had lunch with Darren Newton of Multimarine (www.multimarine.co.uk) and one of the editors of a popular yacht magazine. It is interesting to see how editors view the present day boat market. Darren was forthright. He wants a car trailable design for professional GRP building, a design "beyond" the Tiki 26, a new design that utilises modern composite technology. Shamanistic daydreaming is where the beautiful designs originate. I had such a design in my head. "Visit our new Studio in two weeks time, Darren...we will have your design".
So, in the last week of January we had our conference with Darren Newton, leader of Multihull composite construction methods of Britain (he was the youngest of the group) and Dave Martin, Instructor to the Falmouth Marine School, who is assigning selected students to participate in plug and mould construction under the supervision of Multimarine (Darren trained at Falmouth College many years ago), to help them learn the latest GRP construction techniques.
Bernie Yendell, traditional wooden boat builder, restorer of classic boats, who with his business partner Duncan built our Studio, was there because he will be taking the moulded glass boats from Multimarine and, in our workshop, will finish the boats with suitable wood additions in a style that will not make the past Tiki owners refer to these new designs as "Yoghurt Pots".
Since this meeting the students have been helping reorganise our workshop so plug building can commence next week.
During the month of January, we have re-organized the office structure with the aid of our Admin Staff, Liz Wood who has been working with us for the last 3½ years and new member Frances Ellison.
It seems that in future, when in Cornwall my "escape boat" is going to be a Tiki 8 metre.
- James Wharram