Pahi Designs

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The More Evocatively 'Female' Of The Wharram Designs

From the Coastal Trekking Pahi 26 to the impressive 63' flagship of the Wharram fleet 'Spirit of Gaia' - the PAHI shape is more evocatively 'Female' than the Classic Wharram designs. Constructively, they are simpler to build, using epoxy fillets instead of more difficult wood joints. They are designed to use quick growing softwood plys, coated and glassed with epoxy to achieve a durable finish. The PAHI designs were the first to use rope lashings to attach the crossbeams, giving a shock absorbing effect, without the need for metal fittings.

The Pahi 42 'Captain Cook' design set fresh ocean cruising standards when she was designed in 1979. The Pahi 63 was designed in 1986 and launched in 1992 to become the new ocean going flagship for the Wharram family. During the construction of 'Spirit of Gaia' many unique new solutions to plywood and epoxy building methods were developed, which were later incorporated in the larger TIKI and ISLANDER designs.

James Wharram Pahi Designs Building Plans

About Pahi Building Plans

The Pahi Building Plans were drawn in the late 1970 and 1980s. They 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 very detailed, with many 3D illustrations on the Plan sheets to clearly explain the construction in a very pictorial form, so people with little knowledge of the English language can still understand how to do it. Much thought has gone into reduced boat maintenance through clever design.

See information about building costs.

Pahi 26 - Tikiroa

Yellow and black Pahi 26 with a crabclaw sail, one man aboard and a city in the background
Building Method: Ply/Glass/Epoxy Stitch & Glue
Length Overall: 26' 7.92 m
Beam Overall: 14' 3" 4.34 m
Waterline Length: 21' 6.4 m
Draft: 1' 4" 0.4 m
Weight: 1550 lbs 700 kg
Loading capacity: 1700 lbs 770 kg
Sail area: 302 sqft 28 sqm
Building Time Estimate: 700 hours

The smallest Pahi design, built in ply/epoxy stitch & glue. It is classed as a coastal trek design and can be trailered behind a car.

On popular demand PAHI 26 is now available with the Wharram Wingsail Rig, eliminating the mastbeam and giving a clearer deck space.

Pahi 31 - Areoi

Pahi 31 sailing, three people on deck
Building Method: Ply/Glass/Epoxy/Laminate
Length Overall: 31' 9.45 m
Beam Overall: 16' 3" 4.95 m
Waterline Length: 25' 7.6 m
Draft: 1' 8" 0.5 m
Weight: 1.5 tons 1500 kg
Loading capacity: 1 ton 1000 kg
Sail area: 295 sqft 27.5 sqm
Building Time Estimate: 1500 hours

The first of the Pahis, designed in 1979 after the building of a 35ft prototype, which successfully sailed the 1978 Round Britain Race.

The PAHI shape has proven itself in rough weather conditions, in speed potential and ease of motion. At only 31' she is still capable of ocean voyages. Standing headroom is under a large raised hatch.

The original Pahi 31 rig is a Bermudan cutter, with low cut, anti-twist, loose footed mainsail, but now she is also available with the Wharram Wingsail Rig, giving more clear centre deck space as the mast is placed further forward.

Pahi 42 - Captain Cook

Yellow Pahi 42, beached in a harbour
Building Method: Ply/Glass/Epoxy/Laminate
Length Overall: 42' 12.80 m
Beam Overall: 22' 6.70 m
Waterline Length: 34' 10.4 m
Draft: 2' 4" 0.7 m
Weight: 3.5 tons 3500 kg
Loading capacity: 3 tons 3500 kg
Max sail area: 1000 sqft 93 sqm
Forward bunk width: 3' 9" - 3' 1" tapered 1.15 m - 0.94 m tapered
Aft bunks width: 3' - 1' 5" tapered 0.92 m - 0.44 m tapered
Building Time Estimate: 2500 - 3000 hrs

The Pahi 42 is a good size for family long distance cruising.

The deck pod was a new venture for James Wharram Designs in 1980. Not only does it provide shelter for the steering / watch crew, but a sleeping cabin for the skipper or navigator to be on instant call and has been appreciated by the many builders.

Pahi 63 - Gaia

Distant photo of Pahi 63 Spirit of Gaia with all sails up
Building Method: Ply/Glass/Epoxy/Laminate
Length Overall: 63' 19.20 m
Beam Overall: 28' 8.53 m
Waterline Length: 51' 15.5 m
Draft: 3' - 5' 0.9m - 1.5m
Weight: 8 tons
Loading capacity: 4.5 tons
Sail area: 1400 sqft 130 sqm
Building Time Estimate: 4000 hours

The Pahi 63 is a tribal boat, suitable for expedition sailing and for larger groups of people to cruise or eco-charter. It is based on traditional Polynesian double canoe principles, and is most suitable for use in warmer climates.

The deck/accommodation layout resembles a village, with a central public area including ‘well’ and (optional) ‘hearth’, surrounded by private cabins. This centre deck and the separate aft and fore deck areas give three large emotionally different spaces, enabling people to have hours in seeming solitude.

This deck layout combined with the 'Flexi Space' hull cabins (all with their own entrance) enables 8-10 people to live peacefully together for weeks at a time.

More Information (Study Plan) Pahi 63 Building Plans Pahi 63 Photo Gallery Pahi 63 Videos

Further Reading

  • Spirit of Gaia Renovation

    Our flagship, Pahi 63 'Spirit of Gaia', was sailed hard for 15 years, including a round the world voyage. These blogs cover her maintenance work in detail.

  • Design Discussion

    James compares Gaia’s design features with those of the charter Pahi 52. Spirit of Gaia's Wingsail Rig is tested by other catamaran sailors.

  • In The Spirit

    An article from Cruising Helmsman magazine about Mark Smaalders's cruise on Pahi 63 'Spirit of Gaia' from Cairns to Darwin. He discusses Gaia's characteristics from a traditional monohull sailor's point of view.

  • Wharram's Polynesian Dream

    Nic Compton learns how the unorthodox British designer, James Wharram, took his family and fans around the world in his handcrafted catamaran, gaining some valuable lessons along the way.

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