How We Design

The Philosophy behind the Ethnic Approach

James and Hanneke in design studio with Amatasi model
James Wharram

An overview of James Wharram Design's core design principles and how new designs are created to reflect these principles. "Watercraft and living on the sea is one of the 'arch-types of our sub-conscious'. We design boats to fulfil this need by not only supplying a boat design, but also encouraging - through design - a lifestyle suitable for sea living, using simplicity as its basis. Designing in this way requires a strong design discipline. The aim for simplicity leads us to look for the most appropriate, cost-effective building materials."

The Wharram Wingsail Rig

Wharram Wingsail Rig
James Wharram and Hanneke Boon

First designed in the early 1980s for the Tiki 21, the unique Wharram Wingsail Rig is a simple, aerodynamically clean sail rig. It is now available for use on all Wharram designs as sloop, or schooner rig. "Once the shock was over, I was inspired. My biggest design problem for 40 years was solved. Two masted rigs have smaller, easier handled sails and lighter gear than single masted rigs. On multihulls they also have, most important, a lower centre of effort than single masted rigs, giving less capsizing force".

Freeboard and Windage

James Wharram standing next to a modern catamaran
James Wharram

Freeboard affects the windage and hence the windward sailing ability of a catamaran. This article written for an Australian yacht magazine in 2003 looks at the origins of multihulls and what makes them work. "The unrealised wonder material of modern yachts is durable awning fabrics, webbing straps, Velcro and zippers. One can create a variety of centre-deck tent-cabins, giving in harbour a patio area, sheltered from the elements. Remove this windage when sailing, and you get the sailing efficiency of a true responsive sailing double canoe/ catamaran".