I still don't know much more about how it broke, or how it sank. I did see this thing once when it was in Hamilton, under some expressway bridge I think, it was very impressive, but only slightly in line with any original Wharram
design. The guy obviously regarded plans as only a point of creative departure. And that is fine if you know what you were doing, but he seems to have missed the memo on a lot of basic issues like displacement
boats, structurally, are more what I would call a management exercise than an engineering one. If you don't know how to calculate the correct sail area for a boat (probably in most cases a guess anyway), you can do stuff like put on the sail area of 19th century workboat. If you are not confident on your ability to design rigid structures, you can build in redundancy in the form of excess beams, flexi structures, and add belts, suspenders, then another belt.
In layout they don't design it, they make everything optional or call it flexi space.
Then they give you less boat for the size than is reasonable, and emphasize all the ways in which it is better for having low windage, no bridgedecks, and so forth.
The thing about Wharrams though is that a lot of this fits in with his market. People like the demountability; the simplicity of building (if you don't count all the extra epoxy
and timber you will use; People who have never gone to sea before like the low rigs; and most everyone likes the way they look if they can just take them for what they are, and not a comment on their own style.
Wharrams are hugely successful as a result, and deserve to be.
But all this leaves me wondering how they could have permited all this to happen. I don't personally believe that all the changes were approved. They were beyond what Wharram has ever shown itself comfortable with, not to mention capable of producing. This is a firm that evolves adaptations to Gaffs, not one that runs all the structural numbers for the Uni Rig. When they get adventurous they revert to the classics, not leap forward. As with their more traditional canoe designs.
However, it would be possible to manage some of the changes if they were interested in doing so
If more information makes it out, we will find out what happened to one degree or another.