Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Wharram Designs; Tiki 21

Look what followed me home!

 Until today, there has not been much discussion here about my fascination with multi-hull sailboats. But consider yourselves warned - there will be more, anon.

This is a Wharram Tiki 21 coastal cruiser. It's been through a few owners, though I'm sorry to not be able to provide much in the way of provenance. I acquired her from Eric, in Bellingham, WA. When Eric picked up this boat, it was a bare hull(s) neglected and randomly damaged. From what I could see of Eric's boatyard, he is a prolific builder and turns out some very nice work, in a small makeshift shop. Just my kind!
Even before I looked at the Tiki 21, I was distracted by other projects I'd be proud to own. Proof positive there are Others out there... (the rest of you know who I'm talking about).
Eric had a Hobie sitting around, which proved to be a good fit for scavenging a new rig for the Tiki. He says this full battened main and jib are very close in size to the designed rig for the Wharram Coastal Trek and worked wonderfully for cruising the Salish Sea and San Juan Islands.

Back in the early 1980's, when this design was developed, a couple boat building friends of mine became obsessed with multi-hulls and their enthusiasm was infectious. Interestingly, there is little crossover between mono-hull and multi-hull sailors. In fact, one set seems happy sailing at what amounts to a brisk walk, while the other is dedicated to speed.

There-in lies the prospect for me. In Pacific Northwest (Salish Sea) sailing, the summer months often find us mono-hull sailors lying adrift, at the whimsy of tidal currents. Please don't get me wrong, I love a leisurely afternoon drift as well as anyone. But when a lightweight catamaran or tri glides past me while I'm stalled, in irons, I have a deep yearning to be such a gossamer.

When I saw Eric's Tiki 21 up for sale, it reminded me that I've dreamed of building this very boat for a long time. He has done a nice job of putting this package together and saved me the time and expense of doing so. I am very grateful - thank you, Eric! There are a few details I want to address (doesn't every sailor modify their vessel to suit themselves?), so she might not make it to the water this year. Rest assured, I'll keep you posted about progress. The first is to modify the trailer so I can assemble the hulls directly. Eric unloaded the hulls and assembled the boat on the tarmac. Obviously he has more strength and dexterity than I.

As a coda, I'd like you to join me in admiring how the charming sweep of shear on the Tiki 21 compliments that of the mother ship, Mistral. No wonder Doryman finds her so appealing.

 The following description is from the James Wharram Designs page:

"The Tiki 21 was designed in 1981 as an easy to build Coastal Trek catamaran, using the [then] new epoxy/glass stitch & glue techniques. In 1982 the new and then quite radical Tiki 21 was given first prize by Cruising World magazine (USA) in their design competition for a ‘Trailable Gunkholer’. Since then, 925 Tiki 21 Plans have been sold (as of June 2010)."

"In 1991-97 Rory McDougall sailed his self-built Tiki 21 Cooking Fat around the world, sometimes alone, sometimes with a companion. She was the smallest catamaran to have circumnavigated. In 2010 Rory entered Cooking Fat in the Jester Challenge (single handed 'race' across the Atlantic for small boats - under 30ft) and came into Newport, Rhode Island a close second after 34 days."

"The Tiki 21 has stayed popular as a simple, easy to trailer Coastal Trekker all over the world."

If you have questions (as I have) about the overall performance of the Tiki 21 catamaran, here is a synopsis of the coastal cruising log for Little Cat: (link provided for a very interesting blog, recommended highly.)

Sail Log for Wharram Tiki 21 Little Cat
Data since 9/2011
Total distance: 3921 nautical miles
Fastest indicated speed: 16.4 knots
Fastest corrected speed: 14.9 knots
Fastest corrected average speed over 500 meters: 13.5 knots
Fastest corrected average speed over one nautical mile: 12.6 knots
Fastest corrected average speed over one hour: 10.2 knots
Fastest corrected average speed over a sailing trip:
- 8.6 knots/17.3 nautical miles (reaching from Martinez Bridge to Montezuma Slough)
- 8.4 knots/11.2 nautical miles (reach from Seal Rocks to Pt San Pedro)
- 7.8 knots/15.9 nautical miles (beat/close reach from Burlingame/SFO to Sausalito, with the tide)
- 6.5 knots/9 nautical miles (spinnaker run from Peninsula Pt to Marin Islands)
- 6.5 knots/25 nautical miles (close reach from Mile Rock to Half Moon Bay)

Some photos of the Tiki 21, from around the world. Thanks to all who own and love these dynamic craft. I hope to be joining some of you soon:


robert.ditterich said...

You will have some fun with that!
One of our sons has been slaving away for a couple of years in a shed up north building a Wharram. He loves them, and has done since he was a teen.

doryman said...

Which son is that Rob? And what size cat is he building? Does he post on-line about it? Now you have me curious.
A friend of mine, Louie Brochetti, built constant camber hulls for Jim Brown back in the day. In recent years, since we've become gunkholing buddies, I've asked him about the possibilities for multihulls as Inside Passage cruisers.

He has vehemently insisted they are not for close quarters, only open ocean sailing. But in the last two years, the Race to Alaska (R2AK) has proven my theory... multihulls can work well around here. Reports of windward performance in heavy seas are very discouraging, but in the summer months, we more typically see very light winds and avoid rough conditions when we can.

Curtis (cpcanoesailor at yahoo.ca) said...

Congratulations! I've watched several small Tikis from the Salish Sea show up on craigslist and then disappear again. They're one foot too long for my boat club, otherwise I might very well own one myself.

doryman said...

Good to hear from you, Curtis. How's that proa coming along? I thought I'd make it to Montague this month, but it looks like a bust for me at this point.
Is the club rating for waterline or LOA? As a designer and builder, these questions plague me. I can see how either issue can be circumvented, unless the rules say a Tiki 21 can never be a Tiki 20. As a reputable restorer, I can see the quandary - a person shopping for a Tiki 21 might be put off by a Tiki 20 with a truncated stem and stern. At any rate, the difference of a foot would be a marginal difference in performance, especially when dealing with two hulls. If it's a matter of LOA, the waterline could be retained and only aesthetics might suffer.

Bursledon Blogger said...

Michael, great boat I've been interested in small multihulls for years but never got around to owning one (yet). It all started with this account back in the 1980's of a trip from UK to Russia.


These days I think a small cat or tri would make an excellent dayboat for getting around the Solent and Chichester harbour

Look forward to hearing how you get on.


doryman said...

Max, it's interesting how closely our thoughts wander. Yes, I said wander, because, at least in my case ideas and dreams seem to come alive of their own volition. I did imagine that I might build a cat of similar size and often looked at Richard's designs because for a given size, he offers the most room. This Wharram is a minimalist vessel and I hope to never try and sleep in one of those coffins - I'll wrap myself in a tarp first.
Since this boat showed up unexpectedly and was purchased impetuously, I had not planned to launch it this year. But already it calls to me.

Fore and Aft Surveyors said...

Did you read about the NZ man in January who sailed his Tiki 21 from Oz to NZ with his 6 year old daughter? It got a lot of media attention as there was a custody dispute over the daughter.


doryman said...

These little cats seem very versatile. People have done amazing things with them. That's why I'm so intrigued.

Anonymous said...

Wow, did your mom say you could keep it?

Looks exciting. What is the cabin space like in size and layout?

doryman said...

Basically two coffins attached by three sticks. We'll see if that can be improved. I can't wrap my head around the possibility of sleeping in one of those hulls.

Brandon Ford said...

Aloha Doryman, I can see why you like the design: two skinny dories lashed together. I like the design too. There was a Tiki 21 in our anchorage at Mala Wharf. Named "Son Tiki,"" the couple who owned it sailed it a lot, usually with one or more guests. They would sail it on and off the mooring just fine.

Anyway, good find. Have fun with it.


doryman said...

You got that right, mate. Ancient designs had a lot in common.

This is a game balancer. Now I can keep up with my friends with much bigger boats.