Seaworthy. Simple. Affordable.

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 recommend 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.

Ross Edgley Swims Around Britain

By Hanneke Boon
Ross Edgley swimming

Ross Edgley has swum all the way round Britain!

On November 4, 2018, Ross Edgley became the first person to swim around mainland Great Britain. He did so in the record time of 157 days. During this voyage he was escorted by the Wharram Pahi 52 'Hecate' as the indispensible support ship.

Philosophy behind the Ethnic Approach

By James Wharram
James and Hanneke in design studio with Amatasi model
James and hanneke with a finished model of the Amatasi. These models let us design and study details at a small scale.

Inspired by the French sailor Eric de Bisschop, I became a pioneer of catamaran design. Like Eric de Bisschop my early voyages in the 1950s were driven by a wish to prove that the Pacific double canoe was a seaworthy vessel, capable of crossing oceans. My first catamaran designs were based on studies in museums and libraries, making me one of the early experimental marine archaeologists.

Watercraft is one of Man’s earliest artefacts. Early Man migrated to the far reaches of the world via the coasts and rivers. Man first reached Australia more than 50,000 years ago. He must have done so by watercraft because there was always a substantial water gap between what is now Indonesia and Australia, a gap no other mammal managed to cross.

Watercraft and living on and by the sea is therefor part of our genetic make-up, or in Jungian psychology, it is one of the ‘arch-types of our sub-conscious’. It explains modern Man’s attraction to the sea, swimming and sailing.

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.

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

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.

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