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: 

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"A boat is freedom, not just a way to reach a goal."
Bernard Moitessier - A Sea Vagabond's World


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