I currently have a 44' Wharram that was customized such that it is no longer to spec. I had to sail it one time up a narrow inlet after the engine
quit due to bad gas. Of course the wind was coming right down the inlet and I was handling the boat by myself. It is a cutter
rig and I had already rolled up the jib
and was sailing with the main and staysail. I believe this puts the center of pressure of the sails aft and makes rounding up and tacking much easier. Also this weather helm
puts pressure on the rudder
which acts to create lift
to windward. I was able to sail up the inlet with numerous tacks, probably not as well as a fin keel
boat, but I was able to use almost all of the width of the inlet while a fin keel
would limit the width of the channel.
I first tried a Wharram almost 40 years ago when I rescued a rig and gear
from an old sailboat that was rotting away. I was interested in the Wharram ads in the magazines, so I built a pair of 23' hulls and put a boat together with a sloop
rig. It sailed well and answered my questions about how a Wharram would sail.
I bought an old Wharram Oro, 45', but when I contacted the Wharram design office, they said it was not from "their" plans and wouldn't support it like they would with one of their legal
boats, postbuild. It was a bootleg series of plans sold by a guy in Texas
. The boat was sluggish and had problems going to windward, but I think Wharram has improved his designs over the years and they sail better now.
There is a delicate balance of having enough sail area to drive the boat so that it generates some lift
from the deep vee hull
shape, or having too much area that overpowers the capabilities of the hull
. This always happens when the wind dies and the boat is going 1 or 2 knots and making a ton of leeway. It needs to be moving to generate lift.
rig is a cutter
with the mast
in the center of the boat, about 400 sq ft in a full batten main, 300 sq ft in an overlapping staysail, and 500 sq ft in an overlapping genoa jib
. In light airs, 5 to 10 knots, it is always sailing close hauled, unless you head
dead downwind. I got the idea for the rig from an AYRS article by someone named Clay Yarborough from the Washington/Oregon area. I now suspect that his article was a hoax and he never tried the rig on a full sized boat, just on some scale models.
Recently, just the week before Easter, Ann and Neville Clement had left Florida
to Rhode Island
. They normally poke along, although they like to keep up the velocity if another boat is going the same way. This time they had a family emergency
up in Rhode Island
and put the pedal to the metal. 7 sailing days, not bad for two retirees. Gives me hope.