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. Read the Wharram Design Book and familiarise yourself with the various designs and their unique qualities. This book 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 Builder's Plans and become a real life member of the Wharram Boat Builder Community. You can build a Wharram with very little experience. Our Building Plans present quality instruction, guidance and advice for both novice and professional alike. A Wharram can be built in 130 hours - or you can indulge four years of your life into one.

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.

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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