Classic Designs

Home Self Build Boats Classic Designs

The early 'Wharrams', now known as the Classic Designs, are recognised as beautiful, safe boats - easy to build, and easy to sail. Many anchorages around the world are graced by these Classic Designs, and of the seventeen drawn between 1957 and 1976, nine are still available, from the 16ft Maui to the 51ft Tehini.

They were the first range of Wharram catamarans, designed in the 1960s and 70s, based on the sea experience of James Wharram's pioneering ocean crossings. They are sturdy, very stable, but relatively basic in design. They are built using simple plywood construction over a backbone and bulkhead frame.

James Wharram Classic Designs Building Plans

About Classic Design Building Plans

The Classic Designs Building Plans follow a sequential drawing layout, drawn to scale on large sheets, showing the boat at different building stages and clearly showing which parts are added at each stage. They are accompanied by a written Building Sequence giving details of every stage of the construction. There are also written Building Instructions with advise on all aspects of the build, from advise on work shelters and the buying of timber and plywood, to encouragement for your first sail. Design Improvement packages are available to update the Classic Designs, whether building new or renovating an existing design.

See information about building costs.

Maui

Maui with black hulls and white and blue sails, one man at the helm
Building Method: Ply/Timber/Epoxy/Laminate
Length Overall: 16' 9" 5.10 m
Beam overall: 8' 2.44 m
Waterline length: 13' 7" 4.15 m
Draft: 11' 0.23 m
Weight: 400 lbs 180 kg
Loading capacity: 440 lbs 200 kg
Sail area: 100 sqft 9.3 sqm
Building Time Estimate: 200 hours

The Maui is the smallest Classic design, very sturdy in build using backbone and bulkheads, with solid timber keel, and hence heavier than the more modern stitch & glue Hitia 17.

Suitable as a small workboat, or when one wants to leave the boat on a rough mooring.

Hinemoa

Hinemoa with green hulls and sails up, in a harbour
Building Method: Ply/Timber/Epoxy/Laminate
Length Overall: 23' 7.10 m
Beam overall: 11' 4" 3.46 m
Waterline length: 19' 5.80 m
Draft: 1' 3" 0.38 m
Weight: 1150 lbs 530 kg
Loading capacity: 1000 lbs 460 kg
Sail area: 173 sqft 16 sqm
Building Time Estimate: 500 hours

Developed out of the 22ft (6.70m) HINA, designed as a tough dayboat with overnight accommodation in the individual hulls. A decktent will give further accommodation and space for a double bunk.

The sprit sail rig has a short mast and can be quickly brailed when mooring. Though designed as a dayboat, some HINEMOAs have crossed oceans, one even survived a hurricane off the coast of America in 1975.

Tanenui

Yellow hulled Tanenui sailing out in the open, one man aboard
Building Method: GRP Foam Sandwich OR Ply/Timber/Epoxy/Laminate
Length Overall: 28' 3" 8.61 m
Beam overall: 12' 6" 3.18 m
Waterline length: 23' 7" 7.18 m
Draft: 1' 8" 0.50 m
Weight: 2204 lbs 1000 kg
Loading capacity: 2204 lbs 1000 kg
Sail area: 310 sqft 28.8 sqm
Building Time Estimate: 1000 hours

Based on the 1960s 27' TANE design with more beam and higher freeboard, she can be built in foam/GRP sandwich or in plywood.

The Classic hull seaworthiness of the TANE encouraged many people to make ocean passages on her. We designed the TANENUI in 1973 to give these people on a low budget a sturdy, seaworthy basic boat with just that bit more internal space than the Spartan TANE.

Tangaroa Mk IV

Tangaroa at anchor, eye symbol painted on hull, one woman aboard
Building Method: Ply/Timber/Epoxy/Laminate
Length Overall: 35' 6" 10.82 m
Beam overall: 19' 5.80 m
Waterline length: 28' 6" 8.69 m
Draft: 2' 1" 0.63 m
Weight: 2 tons
Loading capacity: 1.5 tons
Sail area: 410 sqft 38.1 sqm
Building Time Estimate: 1800 hours

The Tangaroa Mk IV was a design that evolved from the Tangaroa Mk I, James’ first design for which he drew Self-building Plans in 1965.

The Mk IV has more graceful hull lines, wider hull beam, more freeboard over the bunks and a longer cabin with standing headroom, so it is not to be mistaken for the Tangaroa Mk I of which many are still sailing.

Raka

Raka with green and white colours and very high rudders, sailing on a light blue sea, cloudy sky
Building Method: Ply/Timber/Epoxy/Laminate
Length Overall: 36' 10.97 m
Beam overall: 19' 5.80 m
Waterline length: 30' 9.14 m
Draft: 2' 0.61 m
Weight: 1.7 tons
Loading capacity: 1 - 1.5 tons
Working sail area: 415 sqft 38.6 sqm
Max. sail area: 627 sqft 58.3 sqm
Building Time Estimate: 1600 hours

The RAKA class, the same length as the TANGAROA, is a slim-line ship. Originally designed for George Payne who wanted a boat that he could enter in local club races in the Bristol Channel and stand a chance of winning.

He won several.

Narai Mk I/Mk II

Red and white Narai, two people aboard, sailing against a backdrop of mountains covered in greenery
Building Method: Ply/Timber/Epoxy/Laminate
Length Overall: 40' 12.19 m
Beam overall: 18' 6" 5.64 m
Waterline length: 32' 9.75 m
Draft: 2' 3" 0.69 m
Weight: 3 tons
Loading capacity: 3 tons
Sail area: 600 sqft 55.8 sqm
Building Time Estimate: 2000 - 2500 hours

The NARAI design is a direct descendant of the 40ft RONGO on which James made his pioneering voyage across the North Atlantic in 1959.

NARAIs have been rigged as junks, Polynesian sprits, Bermudan ketch, Bermudan cutter or gaff schooners - powered by deck mounted diesels or outboard engines, the NARAIs attract the pioneering type. Now also available with the Wharram Wingsail rig (extra package).

The Mk I is the basic design. The Mk II has an extended centre cabin, giving more accommodation space. Drawings for both included.

Narai Mk IV

Red and white Narai Mk IV at anchor
Building Method: Ply/Timber/Epoxy/Laminate
Length Overall: 41' 12.50 m
Beam overall: 19" 5.80 m
Waterline length: 32' 9.75 m
Draft: 2' 4" 0.71 m
Weight: 3.5 tons
Loading capacity: 3 - 3.5 tons
Working sail area: 529 sqft 49.1 sqm
Max. sail area: 840 sqft 78.1 sqm
Building Time Estimate: 2500 - 3000 hours

After considerable experience with the Narai Mk I and II we brought out a new design to get more volume on the same length. The Narai Mk IV has wider individual hulls and increased headroom by raising the decks to the level of the gunnels and placing the cross beams in beam troughs. This is a very sturdy ocean cruiser with many ocean crossings and circumnavigations to its name.

Ariki

Red hulled Ariki sailing, three people aboard
Building Method: Ply/Timber/Epoxy/Laminate
Length Overall: 45' 6" 13.88 m
Beam overall: 20' 6.10 m
Waterline length: 38' 11.58 m
Draft: 2' 5" 0.74 m
Weight: 3.2 tons
Loading capacity: 2 tons
Working sail area: 712 sqft 66.2 sqm
Max. sail area: 977 sqft 90.8 sqm
Building Time Estimate: 3000 hours

A smaller version of the TEHINI and a bigger version of the RAKA. Designed for an Australian who wished to enter the 'Single-handed Trans Atlantic Race' in the early 1970s.

A very rakish looking design with simple to construct, fast, slim hulls. However, if you are looking for more accommodation check out the newer Tiki 46.

Tehini

Red and black hulled Tehini with yellow sails, view from the starboard bow
Building Method: Ply/Timber/Epoxy/Laminate
Length Overall: 51' 15.55 m
Beam overall: 24' 6" 7.56 m
Waterline length: 40' 12.19 m
Draft: 2' 8" 0.81 m
Weight: 4 tons
Loading capacity: 3-4 tons
Working sail area: 820 sqft 76.2 sqm
Max. sail area: 1346 sqft 125 sqm
Building Time Estimate: 3500 hours

The TEHINI is breathtakingly beautiful. She has a timeless look about her and dominates any harbour with her rakish, piratical looking lines. James built this boat as his own and spent 10 years living on her with five others.

The Plans include a design update, increasing accommodation space and overall beam.

DVD available of building and sailing Tehini.

Enquiries

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