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HUI Wharram 2016 - Event Report

By Thom DelForge
Hui Wharram

Well now that the dust has settled a bit from our big move from fabulous Islamorada to Downtown Fort Myers it's time to reflect. Dan's legacy in the Keys is a very hard act to follow. The venue in Ft. Myers did turn out to work pretty well according to most attending. Our weather turned out to be as perfect as we hoped (always hope in SWFL), but it was. Most of the time we had plenty of wind, and of course sun. There was a little tide issue for a spell, a few of the larger boats had to wait for the Caloosahatchee to set us free. Shallow draft be dammed, we still need a little water. Sailing was great, most boats were out most of the time for nearly all of the three days and even into Tuesday. That may be a first! There was lots of sailor community and opportunity to share and make plans for future adventures.

Wharram Cats at the event
Wharram Cats at the event

Some may remember the 'POLICE' visit at midnight on our first night -- yep, we got busted! Since Hui Wharram 2016 was held on a public beach we had asked and finally received a ’special’ authorization letter from the Lee County Park & Recreation (laminated!). We did have this letter which came in very handy - at midnight on Friday I was awakened by a phone call from Casey suggesting the Police were not too happy, but after reading the entire contents of the letter complete with the director of Lee County Parks & Recreations name and cell number (I suggested that it might not be a good time to call) things were sorted out - I was then told that the park had witnessed a lot of bizarre activities like ”drugs and sex” - not us - surely … Anyway - smooth sailing after this.

Wharram Cats at the event

Our venue change was not totally without hiccups, but all in all it seemed to work. The use of North Shore Park (a Lee County public park) had a few issues that kept a few of us busy (as mentioned) dealing with Lee County, but in the end it turned out to be good venue for most everyone. The Best Western Waterfront offered a great break for some, showers, and quite as well as good vantage to see (and photograph) all the activities Hui Wharram. The Three Fishermen - gave us a special room, great fare and liquid refreshments to fuel our stories.

Wharram Cats at the event

A special shout out Loud to Bonnie Fern for all her help in pretty much everything related to making the Hui Wharram 2016 even possible. Dan Kunz again supplied much need advise and wisdom -- also one hell of a lot of running -- note that the 'gift bags' had some pretty cool items and information. Southwinds and Cruising Outpost magazines, as well as a waterway map and other local info. Lee County Tourism (Candice Coco) had a big hand in these -- so thanks to them as well.

Wharram Cats at the event
Wharram Cats at the event

Our turn out was somewhere between 50 and and maybe 60 people with about 42 for dinner, and maybe another 10 or so not eating (maybe just drinking - who would have thought, but sailors do have a reputation). Boats came from as far as North Carolina ~ Omar & Marge’s ‘Marvin’, - Hitia 17’, Alabama ~ Brad Ingram’s ‘Beto’ Tiki 21’, Greg & Barbara’s ’Surfrider’ Pahi 31’, my (Thom DelForge’s) ‘Thomkat’ Tiki 31’, Troy & KC’s ’Tucanu’ Tangaroa 35’, and Jimbo Beyer brought ‘Windchime’ that he has been restoring for it’s owner John Grinstead and there was Floyd Marsden and his ‘Funny Bones’ Santana 21’ (monohull).

The Saturday night dinner was a little disheveled — due to an unforeseen lack of water (tides) a few boats were ’stuck’ and therefore a ’rescue’ was launched to ferry some of the group to dinner. Great food and plenty of ’sprits’ fueled the stories of adventure on the ‘high and maybe low seas’. Always interesting discovering new ideas, techniques or destinations that where worth remembering and passing along.

Wharram Cats at the event
Wharram Cats at the event

We had a special guest. Bruce Matlack (former World Champion Windsurfer) shared a few of his stories. One in particular, that of his efforts restoring Jim Brown’s former ’Scrimshaw’ a Sea Runner 31’ trimaran (considered one of the most significant sailboats of ever). He has been working with Jim Brown to encourage enthusiasts and others to Jim’s blog http://outrigmedia.com/outrig/ and the news that Bruce and Jim are planning an adventure along the East Coast through the Bahamas and beyond this fall. In a conversation with Steve Morell of Southwinds magazine the idea that perhaps we should outreach to other multi hull enthusiasts — so we may being seeing a few new faces next year.

Wharram Cats at the event
Wharram Cats at the event

Southwinds and Cruising Outpost magazines will be reporting on Hui Wharram ~ 2016 - Ft. Myers — make sure you get your copies.

Our Top Ten List for Hui Wharram ~ 2016 Ft. Myers was as follows:

  • Furthest Trailering, Marge and Omar Rashash brought their Hitia 17 "Marvin" from Wilmington, North Carolina.
  • Most Unique Rigging, Floyd Marsden for his Santana 21 half-boat (monohull) "Funnybones"
  • Best Restoration, Jim Beyer for his work on "Windchime", a 42' Nari MK IV.
  • Best Graphic Design, Kevin Collins, for the tattooing of a Tiki 31 "Tiki Thomkat".
  • The "My Boat Will Definitely Be Here Next Year" award went to Shaun West and Casey Kimberley and their Tangaroa 35.
  • Most Consistent Attendance at the Hui and All Round Wharram Ambassadors, to Greg Russell and Barbara Davis, from Panama City, FL with a Pahi 31 “Surfrider”.
  • Prevailing in the Face of the Most Obstacles Ever Thrown at an Event Organizer, to Thom DelForge who prevailed.
  • Most Modes of Transportation to come to the Hui. Brad Ingram for bicycling 700 miles to check out the venue, jogging with his bike the last 5 miles after blowing a tire, 21 hours on a Greyhound back to Mississippi, Trailered his Tiki 21 "Beto” 700 miles back, finally sailed around North Ft. Myers into the event venue. (Yes, that's a record five modes of transportation).
  • Spirit Award to the Most Exemplary Wharramites at the Event - Troy Roberts, KC Gunn & young daughters, aboard the "Tucanu", a Tangaroa 35 port of Islamorada, in the Keys.
  • Recognition and Appreciation to Skip Lichty, an early organizer and promoter of the Hui Wharram.
Wharram Cats at the event

We are developing a proper web site (URL) to further aid in communication. Sharing of ideas, photos, and of course adventures are great ways to stay in touch. When this is up and running I will send out one more email from this g-mail account, after that we should keep in touch via the new site. I do hope you will consider adding content and sharing your stories and photos.

The last thing: I do have a few extra Hui Wharram ~ 2016 short sleeve T Shirts ($15.00 delivered via post), also I will be ordering a special run of the long sleeve ‘performance’ ‘Hanes ‘Cool-Dri’ Hui Wharram ~ 2016 (SPF 50) Shirts on Thursday, June 16th. If anyone would like to have me add it to our order — please get in touch by Wednesday, June 15. They will cost $35.00 delivered via post. (I have six shirts orders already -- twelve would be better - you know its a quantity thing).

I am so glad we did this — Everyone that attended, please take a bow.

- Thom DelForge

thomdelforge@me.com

Wharram Cats at the event