Fans of James Wharram's catamaran designs will be interested to know that his fiberglass version of the popular Tiki 26 - dubbed the Tiki 8-Meter - is now in production in the United States. The prototype of the design, shown in these photos, was built in the U.K., and production was planned there, but never got underway. Now that Boatsmith Inc., of Jupiter, Florida has become the only official Wharram professional builder in the U.S., the company has acquired the molds for the Tiki 8-Meter. Two boats are now under construction from these molds, both custom orders from a south Florida resort hotel that will use them in the day charter business.
Like her wood-composite Tiki 26 predecessor, the Tiki 8-Meter is designed to be trailerable, and is light enough to tow even with an average-sized car.
Deck and cockpit layout is much the same as the Tiki 26. There is seating for eight in the cockpit, an outboard motor in a well, trampoline forward, and sitting headroom and space for two single bunks in each hull. Subtle changes from the original version include more rounded corners, cambered coachroofs and updated portlights. The Tiki 8-Meter retains the classic Tiki lines but looks a little more contemporary and refined. Note the canvas dodger in the photo below:
This dodger is one of the best designs I've seen on a small Tiki, and I plan to incorporate a similar one on my own Tiki 26, which is under construction. The dodger itself is made of Sunbrella, and can features two positions: one that is low and can be left up while sailing, as seen in the photos at the top of the page, and a raised position that protects and shades the entire front half of the cockpit.
In the drawings below, one can get a better idea of the versatility of this set-up.
The really neat thing about this dodger is that it was designed with the idea of attaching a zip-on tent to the aft edge, allowing the entire cockpit to be converted into a comfortable living area when the boat is on the hook.
Screened-in, with removable storm flaps aft, this deck tent allows for a comfortable double berth in the cockpit in addition to the berth space below.
David Halladay, of Boatsmith, is expecting that the Tiki 8-Meter will be a big hit among sailors in Florida, as it offers shallow draft for poking around all the thin water surrounding that state, and the seaworthiness to cruise over to the nearby Bahamas. Lots of boat buyers are wary of wooden boats, even of modern composite construction, simply because they may not be educated about the improvements of modern methods and materials. Having the option to buy one of Wharram's boats in foam-core fiberglass will ease their minds a bit. Boatsmith also plans to offer other designs in Wharram's line-up in this construction. Find out more at: http://www.boatsmithfl.com/