Building your own boat with Wharram Designs

is the easiest and most cost effective way to fulfil your sailing dreams. Wharram Self-build boat plans start from only £100.

We recommended you follow the tried and trusted Wharram process to ensure the boat you build is both the right type of boat for your needs and also one that will match your building skills and expenditure.

  1. Study our Self Build Boats page to familiarise yourself with our range of designs and their unique qualities. For more detailed information read the Wharram Design Book which reviews each self-build boat model and offers a detailed introduction and understanding of the world of self-build catamarans.
  2. Order one or more sets of our Boat Building Study Plans and immerse yourself into the boat builder's mindset; evaluate the costs; the amount of time required to build your boat; where you will build it and where you will eventually launch it.
  3. Once you have decided on the boat that is right for YOU to build, order the Boat Building Plans and become a member of the Wharram World of builders and sailors. You can build a Wharram with very little experience. All Wharram building plans are drawn for the first time builder, so anyone with a modicum of practical ability can build one of our designs. Our Building Plans present quality instruction, guidance and advice for both novice and professional alike. They are all based on decades of actual building experience and thousands of ocean miles sailed, so you know the design will work.

About James Wharram

In the mid 50's, based on his research into ancient Polynesian boat design, James Wharram built the first off-shore Catamaran in Britain and sailed it out into the Atlantic. While the world's yachting community were still dismissing such a design as a worthy sea-going vessel, James was landing his 23'6" 'Double Hulled Canoe' called TANGAROA in the West Indies.

There he built a second 40' Polynesian style Catamaran, RONGO, and sailed it up to New York and back to the UK accompanied by two German women - being the first to sail a catamaran West-to-East across the North Atlantic.

These amazing Trans-Atlantic crossings and the follow up book "Two Girls, Two Catamarans" have etched the name 'James Wharram' into the annals of yachting history.

The quality of the Wharram self-build catamarans is reflected in their popularity, excellence of craftmanship and 'sound sailing qualities'. More than 50 years on - with over 10,000 sets of plans sold and thousands turned into proud vessels - Wharram 'Cats' can be seen in harbours across the world, maintaining the highest reputation for surviving wind and wave.

James Wharram Receives Classic Boat 'Lifetime Achievement' Award

By Hanneke Boon
Rob Peake, Hanneke Boon, James Wharram
CB editor Rob Peake, Hanneke Boon and James Wharram (Photo by Classic Boat)

On 3rd April James Wharram and Hanneke Boon attended the 2018 Classic Boat Awards ceremony at the Royal Thames Yacht Club in London. Awards were given for various categories of building and restoring Classic Boats. However, this year there was a special extra award presented to James Wharram for a 'Lifetime Achievement' as Pioneer catamaran builder - sailor and multihull designer.

We're Going Digital!

By Nicki John

Our Wharram ethos has always been 'simple, sustainable and eco-friendly building and sailing'.

With global concerns to reduce carbon footprint, we will mirror our ethos through our on-line orders.

Over the next few months we will wind down our 'hard copy' stock of Study Plans and the 'Wharram Design Book'. Once hard copy stock has been sold out there will be a 'digital download' option only.

With the last box of Design Books now on sale, make sure you have one of these iconic books on your boat library shelves. Or get a full size printed Studyplan drawing of your dream boat and pin it on the wall for inspiration.

Wharram Study Plans

We have now also introduced a new 'pick and mix' option to buy 'clusters' of Study Plans of your chosen designs for a reduced price. This is for both digital as well as the remaining hard copy Study Plans. There is 10% discount on buying two, 20% discount on three and 30% discount on four or more, which is applied automatically at checkout.

The Building Plans will remain as hard copy only, so you will receive all drawings printed full size for easy study and building in your workshop. However with the major problem of global plastic pollution we will be changing over to fully recyclable, non-plastic, cardboard packaging over the next months.


Hui Wharram Florida - 2018

By Thom Delforge

Well, it’s getting closer to May 18 - 20. The big day for our annual Hui Wharram. I have refrained from sending too many emails; however, I would like to remind everyone that it really helps to have an attendance count to better prepare. The Web page on Facebook does work, but due to my ‘tech’ deficiencies it is a bit clunky. Maybe some of our Wharram community members could help establish a simpler means to collaborate in the future. There will be two more reminders — please let us know if you are planning to come.

Wharram cats

So far: I have had indications that there will be a number of Wharrams, and perhaps a few other multi hull designs present. Tiki ​38, Narai Mk V, Tiki 31, Tiki 21, (2 or maybe 3), Tangaroa (1), and hopefully others. (if you can bring your boat(s)).

Wharram Eye-symbol pendant

Unique pendant with the Wharram Eye-symbol made in Cornish pewter by St. Justin. Includes leather thong and velvet pouch.

Pendant diameter 38mm.

Our Trademark the Eye-symbol is the ancient symbol of the bird goddess associated with the early European megalithic Seafarers of approx. 5000 years ago. Its origins lie in the Balkan region, but it has been found carved on rocks and ornaments from Crete, round the coasts of Europe, to the Baltic. One famous example is the carvings on the Folkton Drums in the British Museum. Some archaeologists believe it may have been the origin of the owl carried by the Greek goddess Pallas Athena. James Wharram adopted this symbol as his trademark in 1965 after having used it for a focus in meditation.

Price: £22.50

Florida HUI Wharram 2017 - Event Report

By Bonnie Fern

“Do we have to wait a whole year to do this again?” This was the plaintiff refrain heard throughout the Hui Wharram this past May. The weather throughout the weekend of May 19-21, 2017 favored the sailors and the seas with sunshine, light winds, and warm evenings. The gathering of Wharram catamarans, known more precisely by the Hawaiian Hui-o-waa-Kaulua-Wharram, included cats of other styles and even an ocean sailing canoe. This annual event brings together Wharramites, fellow sailors, and other multihull devotees for the sharing of skills and resources (and the telling of tall tales of travel) and other musings. Everyone is welcome (fair warning – the Wharram spirit is contagious!).

Micro Adventure Weekend – A Cornish Wharram Hui - Event Report

By Hanneke Boon

Micro Adventure Hui was a resounding success.

The Cornish Hui was a fantastic get together of boats and people. Every small Wharram design was represented from Hitia 14 to Tiki 31. Seven boats arrived at the meeting, five by sea and two by road. Added to this were the four boats at Wharram head quarters, so a total of eleven boats sailed together.

There was a brisk wind on both days, so some exciting sailing and some wonderful sailing as a fleet.

Friday night was an excellent BBQ party with bonfire at Wharram HQ and 53 people attending, while all the boats were moored alongside Devoran Quay. Just a little light rain sent us under cover of the boat tent, but also gave us a magnificent double rainbow.

Micro Adventure Sailing Hui in the Fal Estuary on 4-6th August 2017. Eleven Wharram catamarans gathered in Devoran and sailed on a short Adventure in Carrick Roads, spending the night at Roundwood Quay. Smallest catamaran round-the-world Tiki 21 'Cooking Fat', sailed by Rory McDougall, was part of the fleet.

Mana 24 Self-Assembly 'Cat-Kit' - Available for orders

Dream - Build - Sail

CNC cut self-build Cat Kit, for a trailable family camping boat. Keep it at home and sail throughout Europe.

Assorted Mana photos

MANA - Polynesian word for ‘spirit’ given to an object by its maker or the person that uses it.

Due to the present period of financial austerity and increasingly high marina costs, a large number of would-be sailors are having a hard time financing the dream of sailing their own boat. However, there is an economical way to enjoy sailing, by building your own small lightweight boat, keeping it at home and trailing it to the waters you want to sail in, chasing the good weather. This gives the opportunity to explore many more sailing areas than if based on a permanent mooring and at a much lower cost.

In designing the MANA, we explored this idea and looked sideways into the world of camping and have combined the innovative CNC cut “flat pack” boat-building concept with the philosophy of outdoor living to create the unique MANA camper-sailer, specifically designed for trailer sailing. The MANA kit is sold with all the plywood cut out by CNC cutter and pre-coated with epoxy, so building the boat at home will be a bit like assembling a flat-pack. All the parts slot together perfectly so a hull can take shape in a day.

Cruising the Canary Islands on Pahi 53 Hecate

By Hanneke Boon
Distant shot of Hecate anchored at Playa Francesca
Anchored off Playa Francesca.

The Canary Islands have played an important and emotional role in James’ and my sailing history. In 1956 James, with Ruth and Jutta on little Tangaroa were several months in Las Palmas before crossing the Atlantic. They were there again in 1961 with Rongo, on a planned voyage round the world. This voyage was sadly curtailed due to the death of Jutta in Las Palmas. She is buried there.

At the end of November Matt Knight, owner of Pahi 53 Hecate, alerted us to a beautiful short video of Hecate and her exploits with big wave surfing. In the accompanying email he wrote: if you ever have any free time and want to join us aboard please don't hesitate to say”.

Matt and his film-maker friend Mikey have spent many months last year making a documentary about big wave surfing, with Hecate as the mother ship taking surfers to remote extreme surf areas that are hard to get to over land. Hecate would be in the Canaries in January, there would be a break in filming at that time. They made an earlier documentary called Beneath The Surface.

Polynesian Odyssey DVD (PAL)

Polynesian Odyssey DVD cover

The Populating of the Polynesian Islands; the Secret of the First Great Seafaring Civilisation.

This documentary was made in 2009 by ARTE France for television. We think it is one of the best documentaries about the Pacific islands’ seafaring history and the controversies over how the remote Pacific islands were populated by the Polynesians.

It features many fascinating archive clips of the French sailing hero Eric de Bisschop on his double canoe Kaimiloa (1939) and bamboo raft Tahiti Nui (1956). Eric de Bisschop is introduced by James Wharram, who was inspired by him to make his pioneering Atlantic voyages by double canoe in the 1950s. Also shown is the double canoe, Havaiki Nui, built by Francis Cowan and Greg Brightwell. This double canoe, built authentically from carved-out logs and coconut fibre lashings was sailed from Tahiti to New Zealand using only Polynesian navigation techniques in 1985. Then there is footage of James Siers and his 60ft Kiribati canoe Taratai. Further there are discussions with various other experts on archaeology and Polynesian navigation.

This video is a must for those that are inspired by Polynesian double canoes. Only available through the Wharram webshop.

Directors: Olivier Comte
Writers: Hélène Constanty, Olivier Comte

Festivals and Awards:
  • 2011: Best Film dealing with adventure and nautical sports at the "Ecrans de la mer", Dunkerque (France)
  • 2010: Selected at the festival "Etonnants Voyageurs" (Amazing Travellers), Saint Malo, France.
Price: £15.00
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