James Wharram - Patron of Queenborough Harbour Trust

Home News James Wharram - Patron of Queenborough Harbour Trust
By Hanneke Boon
James and Ruth aboard a small boat
Ruth and James aboard Annie E Evans 1953, Thames Estuary.

Last year James was given the honour by being invited to become Patron to Queenborough Harbour Trust by one of its founder members, Eddie Johnson.

In the 1970s Queenborough was a popular venue for meetings of Wharram catamarans (organised by the PCA). Eddie as a boy attended these with his father on their Wharram catamaran. Queenborough harbour, with its shallow waters is ideal for Wharram catamarans and the Harbour Trust is trying to attract more people to keep their catamarans there.

While in the London area for the OCC Award, James and Hanneke will be visiting Queenborough on Friday 19th April and will be talking about the Lapita Voyage, including showing the film, at the Queenborough Yachtclub.

Eddie Johnson, who is the Rear Commodore of this yachtclub, is inviting Wharram owners/builders and others in the South East to attend this lecture. Please contact him if you are interested in coming to the lecture and meeting James and Hanneke: edcjohnson@aol.com


Monohull sailing boats, one behind the other
Annie E Evans sailing up the Swale, 1953.

Queenborough is a small harbour town on the Isle of Sheppey on the river Swale in the Thames Estuary. It is in an area that has always been busy with local sailing barges, fishing and pleasure boating, an area of shallow waters and mudflats.

In the 1970-80s there were many Wharram catamarans sailing on the East Coast of the UK and once a year a Whitsun meeting was organised in Queenborough by the SE area secretary of the Polynesian Catamaran Association. These meetings were always well attended and a great place for Wharram owners and builders to meet and exchange ideas.

The son of the then area secretary (Ted Johnson), who attended these meetings as a child, now is a founder member of the Queenborough Harbour Trust. This Trust is committed to improving the harbour for mooring holders, visitors and the local community. They believe it is a great area for shallow draft boats like Wharram catamarans and want to make the harbour a catamaran friendly haven.

For this reason they invited James Wharram to become a Patron of the Trust.

This role he accepted with the following words:

"What is not generally known is that I learned the art of sailing in the early 1950s in the Thames estuary. In 1953 I converted a 20ft lifeboat into a Chinese Junk (called Annie E Evans) on the Thames, sailed her through the Swale and up the Rhine to Germany, where she was sold in Düsseldorf.

"Later I worked as deckhand for the Cunis Barge Company of Colchester. I launched my first catamaran, 23'6" Tangaroa, in Burnham-on-Crouch in 1954 and spent a winter in Wivenhoe.

"In those days there was an incredible understanding, giving, attitude to people like myself. My attitude towards the sea is based on the knowledge I gained from working Bargemen, old sailors and other men of the sea, who took me under their wing. I do owe something to the sailing tradition of the Thames Estuary.

"I will be delighted to be a Patron to the Queenborough Harbour Trust."

James will be sharing his position as Patron with Sir Robin Knox Johnson.

James Wharram, Bob Eves, Mr. Cully
Young James with mentors barge skipper Bob Eves and Mr. Cully, Wivenhoe, 1954.
Pages from photo album, made by Ruth of their voyage on Annie E. Evans, 1953.