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Welcome from James

By James Wharram
James Wharram

We now have an official Wharram Website.

Some people will say: "At last, Wharram has been dragged kicking and screaming into the late 20th century!" In fact, the electronic computer era and Wharram have grown together; for the electronic computer, the home port of the website, is as old as the Wharram double canoe/catamaran designs. Indeed, they both come from the same place, Manchester, England, at the same time, and their concepts have grown in the same year span.

In 1954, I was building Britain's first offshore catamaran, the 23' 6" TANGAROA, in a barn near Manchester. Young Jutta Schulze-Rhonhof and Ruth Merseburger, both German girls/women/ladies (you now have to write all these various female descriptive nouns because of the American P.C.) were helping me to build the TANGAROA and later sailed her with me across the Atlantic.

Young Jutta was a mathematical student from Kiel, Germany, and she had visited and was very excited over, the first electronic computer in the world, which had recently been built by Manchester University, England. She said -and I remember her enthusiasm well -: "This is the future".

In the 1970's, I too, believed in a wonderful future. With people moving out of the cities, working less hours, having more leisure, and the world's problems of hunger and poverty eased by, amongst other things, the information benefits of the computer.

Looking at the world scene in the late 1990's these benefits have obviously not happened. Indeed, the ease of storing information on computers, quick mathematical calculations - quicker than one can sort out the implication for good or evil - have led to the worldwide financial regression and the demands of eager bureaucrats for collecting ever more unnecessary information to impose unnecessary regulations.

A philosophic attitude behind the Wharram designs is that "urban man" can, with a little financial saving and some handcraft work, create an object of beauty. This object of beauty can then, for a period of hours, days, weeks or months, carry him/her out of the urban world into a natural never-never land (sea actually); a time when the world was young; when Man (in the male/female sense) was directly and intimately interacting with the beauty/power of nature. There are hundreds/thousands of Wharram builders or, as I prefer to call them, "Sea People", who have done or are now doing that!!

In spite of my previous written critical comments about computers, the internet and the website are seen by many as a tool of communications that will outgrow the book. My friends, Steve Goodman, Australia, and Don Brazier, New Zealand, who are setting up this website, have said to me that the website can be a "Doorway into the World of the Sea" that so many of us now enjoy and grow with.

They are prepared to organise this "Doorway" so that I/we can go sailing, designing and writing. I know from past experiences when I was in Australia and New Zealand, that they can do this. They drove me hard to give lectures, appear on TV, radio and write articles, but, as fellow sailors, they knew when to ease off, so that I can go sailing.

To base the Wharram Website in the Antipodes is logical. Australia and New Zealand have, in recent years, been the leaders in Multihull design, self boat building and quality professional boat construction. Both countries are washed by the Pacific Ocean where, at least 10,000 years ago, modern Man's Canoeform Craft, now known as Catamarans or Trimarans, originated.

Welcome to the authorised Wharram Website.

- James Wharram