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Amatasi build will start soon

By James Wharram
Amatasi model with magazine article

In July I described how our 27ft Amatasi emerged as Classic Boat’s prize-winning eco-design sailing craft. At the beginning of December our first volunteers, John and Michael began clearing out our work shed to prepare for the Amatasi build (anyone who has the space to save/store things can imagine how cluttered our shed had become)! John from Ireland is a mature student of Falmouth Marine School and a superb wood craftsman. Michael is from Holland and is a Martial Arts expert and sailing enthusiast.

John in the JWD workshop
John at work clearing the workshop.

With the build about to commence, we intend to use the Amatasi as a full scale experiment in working with eco-materials. We are using quick-grown Northern Latitude Poplar plywood which, because of its origins, can be described as ‘green’. We are also conducting an experiment on the efficiency of a new green soya-based epoxy which we have received from Ecopoxy Systems in Rhode Island in America. To gauge how efficient the new ‘green’ epoxy is, we will use it in the building of one hull and the other hull will be built using a well-tested traditional petroleum- based epoxy.

Michael unpacking bottles from a box
Micheal unpacks the Ecopoxy, just arrived from America inside the newly erected insulated tent.

The interest we have received from ‘Friends of the Amatasi’ has been over-whelming. Classic Boat’s eco-boat competition allowed me to release the inner-design/philosophical concepts that had been sailing around in my mind for 2-3 years. It appears that I am not alone in my thoughts. There are a growing number of you who also feel emotionally uneasy with mass-produced racing-style yachts.

This movement towards practical eco-boats is also echoed by the American ‘Wooden Boats’ and ‘Professional Boat Builder’ magazines which, in September this year, announced their Design Competition for a craft, which must incorporate the following design parameters:

  • The design must be fast, seaworthy and simple
  • Have Spartan overnight accommodation for a minimum of two persons
  • Accommodation must include a cabin or boom tent, a portapotty and limited galley
  • It must be trailerable
  • The boat must have good sea-keeping attributes

It is comforting for one used to working in ideas on one’s own, to become part of a discernable design movement.

James Wharram with stack of timber
Stack of timber
James looks at the beautiful Douglas Fir timber, virtually knot free, just delivered by 'Robbins Timber' of Bristol.

For the followers of the Lapita Voyage, this story is not over...

Klaus Hympendahl, our German partner on the Lapita Voyage has in the last month returned to the Pacific Islands of Tikopia and Anuta (sailing a large French charter catamaran with a group of German professionals, incl. 2 doctors) to help treat the islander’s endemic skin conditions.

Klaus and his medical team had a hard time getting through the surf to land on Anuta. They gave much needed medical attention to the children (and adults), which Hanneke Boon had first been concerned about when she delivered her ‘Lapita Anuta’ canoe there in March 2009.

For those of you who know and have dealt with Hanneke, she is to have a second heart valve replacement operation on 6th January 2011. The valve that was fitted 6 years ago (and led to the vision of the Lapita Voyage!) has become faulty. The aim is to get Hanneke back to total fitness and sailing our newly built Amatasi by Spring.