I am building a 63 foot ocean voyaging catamaran in my driveway.
So then, not too long ago I made another “Help Wanted” post here at The League, but things have not turned out quite as I planned.
The original plan was to secure about 3000 square feet of shop space, hire about a dozen workers, and build a James Wharram Pahi 63 in about eight months’ time.
But after several week of intense searching, it’s become clear that shop space of this size is simply not available on the East End for love or money.
So then, we recalibrated, and thought about lessons learned on the Mon Tiki build and builds before that:
- 15 years ago, when I fininished my Phil Bolger designed Light Scooner (25′, ~700lbs) I declared that if I ever build another boat I’d build all the fiddly bits first and the hull last. That way, when the hull was done I could mount all the fidldly bits and sail away, rather than the more usually event of having the hull done, and then having it take as much time or longer to make all the fiddly bits.
- Reviewing the Mon Tiki build photos I see that of the ten months it took to get Mon Tiki in the water, only about two of those months were devoted to hull assembly, with the rest being devoted to tasks and parts that required substantially less room.
So then, I have taken my own advice and begun the Pahi 63 in my driveway. And about two weeks after taking delivery of materials I am nearing completion of the first and sixth akas (crossbeams) of this massive beast.
These two fabrications (see the photo above) are almost 27 feet long already nearly too heavy to lift. When completed they will weigh about 350lbs and require four men to move. Then I will move on to the second, third, fourth, and fifth aka, which are larger still.
Once these are complete I’ll begin work on all the deck components (all significantly small and lighter than the akas), which are slung between the akas in the final assembly of the vessel. This means I can build out the entire deck of Mon Tiki Largo (working title) before ever laying the first plank of the hulls.
As to the hulls, Allah will provide; which is to say we’ll build outside when the weather improves, just like people have been building big boats for time out of mind.
A huge measure of the credit for seeing around the obstacle of shop space goes to my wife, who is one tenth as vainglorious as I am, but twice as clever. She also says she’d much rather have me spend the winter building a boat than picking fights on the internet.
Now heres a picture of the sunset from a couple of nights ago.
Martin leads a lonely
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