Thursday, December 17, 2009

The First U.S. Built Wharram Tiki 8-Meter

David Halladay and the Boatsmith crew have launched the first of two foam-core/fiberglass composite Wharram Tiki 8-Meter catamarans they have contracted to build for a south Florida resort as day-charter boats.

These first two boats are modified from the orginal design to suit the needs of the charter company, hence the extra aft beam and aft steering station that gets the helmsman out of the cockpit and frees up more space for the guests.  You can see this modification by clicking on the photo above to enlarge it. 

The other significant modification is the rig, which replaces the Tiki gaff wingsail main with a fully-battened, loose-footed main with a boom.  David says this configuration offers many more options for adjusting sail trim, as well as provides a larger sail area for light air, which is an important consideration for the variable light-air conditons typical of Florida's Gulf Coast.  The jib is equipped with roller-furling.   With this rig, both main and jib are easily furled and put away.

David is extremely pleased with how the boat sails.  The video below should explain why.  Look at it go in barey a puff of wind!

David and the crew trailered the boat fully assembled (with a wide-load escort) from the shop to the public boat launch at Burt Reynold's Park, on the Intracoastal Waterway.  Compared to the Tiki 30, it was quick and easy to launch, and he says that stepping the aluminum mast was much easier as well.

Beaching is a snap.  Note the kick-up rudders - another modification required by the charter company.  The crossbeams are composite foam core/glass as well, making them much lighter than standard Tiki beams of wood and glass. 

Although many builders, myself included, prefer the character that wood construction gives and the easier one-off building process, David expects that customers looking to purchase a finished boat will really like the low-maintenance of these composite Tiki 8-Meter cats.  This is an ideal sized boat in so many ways for so many things, which is exactly why I chose the Tiki 26, the wood composite version, for my personal boat to build. 

For more info contact David Halladay through his website: 

Monday, December 14, 2009

Paddling the Pascagoula, 1954

As I've mentioned here before, one of the greatest rewards of being an author is hearing from readers of my books about how reading one of them either inspired them to go out and do something adventurous or reminded them of a past pleasure from a similar experience.

This week I got an email from Mike Warnock, a reader of Paddling the Pascagoula who said he could relate to the narrative because he had made his own journeys down the river in the mid 1950's, along with fellow members of Boy Scout Troop 220 of Moss Point.

In the photo above, from 1954, Mike is the kid in the straw hat in the back of the second canoe. He said the longest trip they did on the river was 5 days and 150 miles. They saw few, if any people, and he doesn't remember seeing any of the sewer discharges or trash Ernest Herndon and I reported in our book from our trip in 2004, fifty years later.

Last summer Troop 220 had a reunion at a cabin out from Lucedale, not far from the river (see photo below). Mike is now living in Idaho and is still an outdoorsman. Their Scoutmaster, Sam Wilkes, now 83, is the man in the front center.

I told Mike that I envied those experiences he had at that perfect age for canoeing a river. Though I went on to become fanatical for many years about canoeing and sea kayaking, I never set foot in a canoe until I was 18 years old. Canoeing was almost unheard of around the small town where I grew up, and we did not have an active Scout Troop that did that sort of thing.

Ernest and I have often discussed the fact that Mississippi, a state blessed with woods and water, including thousands of miles of perfect streams for canoeing, just does not have a canoe culture. Even today, anyone paddling a canoe on the bigger rivers of the state like the Pascagoula or the Pearl is looked on with disbelief by the local fishermen in their John boats with outboards. This may never change, but for those of us who do recognize it, this state has some of the finest canoe waters in the country, and the Pascagoula River System surely has some of the finest in the state. I would have loved the opportunity to make such a journey down the river at the age or ten or twelve, but as it turned out there were plenty of opportunities later, and hopefully will be many more in the future.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Alberg 29 - A Great Deal in Texas

Below: The Alberg 29 Jubilee, offered for sale in Rockport, Texas.

I can't believe this boat has been on the market so long, especially at the price it's been reduced to since October - just $21,500. I guess it goes to show how much of a buyer's market it is right now for things like cruising sailboats. The Alberg 29 is a bit of a rare item, and not very well known among fans of Carl Alberg's designs compared to the much more common boats in this size range such as the Alberg 30, the Pearson Triton and the Cape Dories.

This example was built in 1982, and while it is classic Alberg, (see the out of water photo below) the 29 was intended to be an updated, modernized version of the famed Alberg 30. There are not many of these around, and information about the design is scarce online. One resource is Twentynine, an owner website devoted to the design.

Below is a photo of Jubilee's nicely-finished interior, which is still in good shape, as all of the boat appears to be.

I've been wondering when this boat would sell, and I am quite surprised it's stayed on the market for this long. For someone wanting to go cruising in a moderate-sized bluewater vessel in the tradition of the boats described in John Vigor's Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere, this could be your vessel. Someone should buy it and send me a postcard from the Caribbean this winter.

Get all the specs and details on the owner's ad here:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Winter Wharram Rendezvous this Weekend

The Winter Rendezvous for Wharram Catamaran enthusiasts will take place this weekend in south Florida. The location has been moved this year from Hobe Sound to Peanut Island, near Lake Worth Inlet. This area offers a good anchorage, room to sail nearby, easy access to the ocean, snorkeling in the clear waters around the island and camping ashore. If you're out boating or kayaking in the area, look for the Wharram cats to be anchored near the northwest side of the island. The photo below is an aerial view looking north from south of the island.

David Halladay will be there with his Tiki 30, Abaco, and hopefully, one of the new GRP Tiki 8-meter cats he's currently finishing up. Guest will include another well-known British multihull designer - Richard Woods, as well as boat designer and author, Reuel Parker. Guest from as far away as Europe, British Colombia, Idaho and Rhode Island are expected. There will be a Tiki 46 on hand, as well as a Tangaroa, Tiki 26 and others.

If you are shorebound in the area and can't get to the anchorage, call 561-632-2628 or 561-632-5970 when you arrive.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Across Islands and Oceans

One of my favorite sailing writers of all time is James Baldwin, of the Pearson Triton Atom. Over the years I have eagerly looked forward to his magazine articles in Cruising World and Good Old Boat, and have learned much from the great resources he has published on his website: Atom Voyages.
Certainly what has attracted me to Baldwin's writings on the subjects of ocean voyaging, choosing and preparing a boat for cruising, and finding ways to finance the lifestyle is his overwhelmingly can-do, positive attitude. Unlike so many of the the advertising-driven articles that make up the bulk of most sailing magazines, James Baldwin goes against the tide in writing about simple and modestly-sized boats, a simple cruising lifestyle, and an attitude reminiscent of Moitessier about work and money. Baldwin didn't wait for comfortable retirement and the means to buy a 40-foot plus yacht before going to sea in search of adventure. Instead, at the age of 21 he spent everything he had to purchase a 28-foot Pearson Triton, took some shakedown cruises to see what he needed and what he did not need, then sailed the boat around the world - not once, but twice.
James Baldwin has since been based in Brunswick, Georgia with his wife Mei, who he met on his second voyage. I've corresponded with him a number of times on various subjects ranging from publishing books and choosing a suitable cruising boat to discussions of Wharram catamarans.
He told me he intended to write a book about some of his experiences, and now he has gotten around to doing so, posting it online chapter-by-chapter where you can read it free of charge. At a later date he intends to offer it as a Print-On-Demand book on Amazon. I really hope he does this soon, as I will be one of the first to order it and it will reside on the shelf with my favorite cruising and adventure narratives.
To read Baldwin's online version of the book, go to Across Islands and Oceans. Sixteen of twenty-two chapters are now posted for reading at your leisure. I can guarantee that reading this book will make you want to cast off the docklines and go.
"A boat is freedom, not just a way to reach a goal."
Bernard Moitessier - A Sea Vagabond's World


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