How To ….

Why Build A Boat? Why Build A Wharram?


Lots of progress

The decision to undertake a large boat building project should never be taken lightly. If you make the decision on impulse or whim it is likely to end in tears. If all the family are signed up and are supportive, then there is a likelyhood that your dream will become a reality. It is difficult to resolve the underlying paradox of remaining focussed on your goal without letting it become an obsession to the exclusion of everything else in your life. You need to keep a balance and perspective, and, with a project lasting several years, it is not easy.

You also need to decide whether you are a builder, sailor or both. For some, the process of boat building is an end in itself. They complete one project and then move onto the next, or leave the boat on the hard while constantly upgrading and modifying to perhaps get away next year. Next year never comes. This is OK if you are a builder and not a sailor; I am sure you will be very happy. If you are a sailor and not a builder then why waste the years building a boat? While I have spent 6 years of toil I could have completed my first circumnavigation by now! So if you want to sail, buy a boat and go and do it. If you are both a builder and sailor then a Wharram could be for you. You get the satisfaction and pride of making a strong and seaworthy craft that you trust.and get the opportunity to sail away too. I have been a “both” builder: I have enjoyed the build while retaining the idea that it is only a means to an end. I want to sail.

Your stage in life is a strong governing factor. If you are young and without kids then go for it. Do it sooner rather than later. You can pick up your career later. If you have kids then a boat building project is not right for you. You want to enjoy your children while you can and not spend your time sanding epoxy fillets. Buy a boat. Charter or something, but please don’t buy a set of Wharram plans. The next phase in life is when the kids are off your hands, but you have not retired. This is my present state, and I have no regrets on my decision to build. One possible downside to this scenario is that you may well become tied to looking after ageing relatives just as you are preparing to cast off into the blue yonder. The lure of grandchildren may also be an overwhelming stay put factor. Lastly you can make it a retirement project. I would caution against this. My neighbour bought a project aged 60. He is now in his mid 70’s, his son has taken over, and he wonders where his retirement dreams have gone.

In summary I would say you need three things to make your dreams a reality. You need TIME, MONEY and HEALTH. When you are young you have your health and time, but no money; while being older you may have time and money, but failing health. I am lucky in that, at the moment, I have a full house.