Chris visits James Wharram & Hannake Boon
30 July 2008 | Cornwall, England
Meeting with James Wharram and Hanneke Boon
I visited James Wharram and Hannake Boon on Wednesday 23rd July. This is a meeting I had long been looking forward to as I hold them in high regard for several reasons:
I love people who are unconstrained by convention. James, bucked the stream of conventional "wisdom" in the 50's when he set off across the Atlantic in a small catamaran. He made it with flying colours and has gone on to prove time and again the seaworthiness of his Polynesian style catamarans. Sailing is not a cheap sport but through producing relatively cheap to build plans that can be tackled by a good handyman James has allowed many people to follow their dreams. James also espouses a simple, low tech, green approach to cruising, one I am also very much in favour of.
The Wharrams and Hannake live in a delightful part of the country, at the head of the Devoran Estuary, Cornwall. It's an area that I know well from frequent holidays as a child and where I first sailed on the sea, so it was great to be able to visit again.
My long term goal is to have several Wharram Catamarans acting as lead boats, around which OceansWatch activities can be based. The catamarans will transport cargo, divers or the people we might need to undertake humanitarian work such as doctors, engineers etc. The boats will house small labs so that basic scientific work can be undertaken, will be able to work for long periods in remote areas and carry several tons of cargo. I feel strongly that the Wharram Islander 65 is the ideal boat for OceansWatch. It satisfies all of the above criteria as well as being relatively cheap to buy and maintain. Whereas a fancy keel boat might need a slip and expensive topside re-spray a Wharram can be dried out at low water and painted by hand, by volunteers.
I also feel strongly that OceansWatch must offer the best possible value for money to it's donars and the Wharram Islander 65 fits that criteria very well.
There is one Islander 65 being built at the moment for a french client. The builder is Andy Smith in the Philippines http://www.andy-smith-boatworks.com/ Andy is the only builder licensed by James Wharram to build the Islander. In August 2007 I visited Andy Smith's Boatyard to inspect the half finished boat and was very impressed by the workmanship and also by the way Andy treated his employees.
I had been exchanging some of my layout ideas with Andy and James so my visit was a great opportunity to swap more ideas and also learn from the current build.
We studied the plans for most of the day and came up with a new layout that will be simpler to build and maintain and will provide more cargo carrying capacity than our previous plan.
For more information about Wharrams visit http://wharram.com/index.php