If you are a dreamer, a doer, a horizon viewer - come in! come in! Announce yourself and let it be known.
The seed of adventure has been sown.

The goal is to take this boat on a trip that no other Wharram boat has taken.
From Great Slave Lake in Canada's Northwest Territories up the MacKenzie River to the Beafort Sea
and westward to the Bering Sea and south to the inside passage on the Alaska and British Columbia coast.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

When you venture into what can best be described as the backwaters of civilization, you never know what you may find. If you venture into enough of these places it seems inevitable that you will come across a Wharram catamaran, water or no water. Personally, I don’t see Wharram’s catamarans as counter culture or backwater. No instead they are gift, a release from the cookie cutter option of over-priced production boats. They are great sailors at a fraction of the price, still accessible to a world where making your own stuff almost seem unheard of.

There is no doubt that multihulls have entered the mainstream. Atleast as mainstream as fast Open 60 trimarans of ORMA stature or the party boats chartered out by The Moorings can be. But at the edges, the funk lives on.

Though not exactly a backwater these days, Salt Spring Island (SSI) has those edges. I’ve been exploring the harbors and inlets around Salt Spring Island while here. The other night, I went to dinner with a small group at a quayside restaurant. Propped up on the remnants of an old pier and right beside the hemp clothing and kayak trip place, it use to be a funky little place that served “hippie food.” Now it has a focus group type of name and a globalized fusion menu. The food is good though a bit salty. Maybe the cook, a refugee from Ottawa, has lost his salt touch now that he breathes salt air as he works. It happens. A tasty world flavor but you get that middle of the night wake up result from a desiccated mouth and no it wasn’t from drinking, I had mango lemonade. Organic of course. Hanging around waiting to be seated, I checked out the harbor! One of the island’s ferries uses this as its departure points. The ferry dock dominates the wharf end. Up against the shore, behind the ferry dock and the remnants of a government dock for commercial fish boats, I spotted the houseboat flotilla pictured below. Made up of a plastic tented boat, a raft converted to shack and what appeared to be nee catamaran now a funky habitation-slash-deck-slash-exterior workshop, could that be a metamorphosed Wharram? Not able to get very closed I mentally decided to return for a closer look.

This morning, I went back with my kayak. No one was aboard, though it looked occupied not derelict, so I couldn’t talk to the occupant of this amazing craft Rentals are few on the island and house prices insane so I imagine the occupants were off at their tasks that make the island home for those who’ve lived here for ages and those who found it just too quaint to just be tourists and had to pull up their retirement stakes from Ontario or Alberta and move to SSI. I paddled about studying this amazing craft and taking photos. At about 17 feet, I figure that this morphed vessel started its life as a Hitia. The sterns of the hulls had been chopped off at some time during their life but the rest, at least below the deck line was recognizable as a Wharram.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My background information for this blog talks of a mission; an envisioned trip by Tiki 26 in Arctic waters. As I've written about before, I've envisioned a passage through high Arctic waters. It looks like I'm not off the mark. I'm not looking for a passage through the NW Passage, I'm seeking a more unique lake, river, ocean trip that I believe is possible by Tiki 26.

My current shakedown cruise is pretty much a vacation stroll. I'm looking forward to sailing this winter to see what conditions Tsunamichaser can handle. I've learned a great deal and have a bunch of alterations that I will need to make. For now it's easy sailing, really a pleasant family outing until school starts up again for my daughter. Once fall arrives we'll see if I can break some stuff. I had also envisioned a tough winter training program in the mountains. Maybe I need to prepare for the onslaught of bugs more than cold!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I put Tsunamichaser aground. No I wasn’t sailing along not paying attention to navigation; I intentionally motored up onto the beach at mid-tide. On the way in, I set an anchor beyond the low tide line and then carried another anchor ashore so I could keep on station and kedge off if necessary. I cooked up some pancakes and had breakfast, while I waited for the tide to go out. It quickly receded from the stick I had stuck in the mud at the tide line.

I could inspect the bottom of the hulls and most way along the keels not long after finishing my breakfast, as the tide range was from about 13 feet to just less than two feet. With such a precipitous drop, it didn’t take long before the hulls were mostly dried out. I say most of the way as the hulls sank down in the muddy bottom mix of harbor sludge, barnacle-covered oysters and remnant clam shells. Thankfully, I didn't crush any of the beautiful Sea Stars that colorfully dot the low tide zone.

The hulls didn’t sink far but they did push their way down a few inches at the lowest points, about mid-ships so that part was left un-inspected. All was well, the only potential signs of the beach landings being some small chips of bottom paint missing on the outer side of the starboard hull. During the inspection, I checked the rubbing strips of UHMW HDPE too. All seemed well. If you remember from earlier posts, I glued and screwed this material to the bottom of the keels in lieu of the metal strips recommended by Wharram. They seem to be doing the trick and though taking the brunt of the beaching show no serious damage. The issue with using them is that it is next to impossible to get anything to adhere to them so they are really only well attached at each screw.

Being satisfied with how the bottom looked, I went about the days activities away from the boat. By mid-afternoon I decided to check on Tsunamichaser again. When I got to the beach, accessed through a swampy trail through the woods, I found her afloat again. I had to walk out through knee deep water to get onboard, no big deal. It did get me thinking of yet another bonus of sailing on a lightweight cat over a monohull. No haul out needs and no associated fees. And think of all the extra ocean available for exploration – all those tide flats that the monohull sailor avoids!

Aground on the falling tide.

The bow of the port hull looking great.

Missing paint chips.

Purple Sea Star.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Yesterday I had my first strong wind sail on Tsunamichaser. Not only was the wind hitting twenty knots plus but we sailed the boat out a narrow harbor. Long Harbour, which is two nautical miles deep and as narrow as 500 feet at one point though much of it is about 1/4 of a mile wide, was a good spot to test tight quarters sailing to windward. We were six on board (probably 800 pounds of human ballast) and sailed off the beach under the long noses of the adjacent "Royal" yacht club! Anyone who thinks that cats, particularly Wharram cats, can't go to wind are wrong. I've talked to some who are good monohull sailors but who have likely never set foot on a Wharran let alone a cat. Tsunamichaser not only sails to windward but pulls into the wind with noticeable acceleration and without much leeway once at speed.

The wind for this quick sail around the bay was right on the nose. The trip which started out with full sails bent to quickly became a single reef in the main and the jib rolled in half way on the furler. The boat, with full sails set, was sailing just fine but the lee rigging was hanging a little slack. A good indicator that a reef was justified, we luffed up, rolled up the jib, reset the main and then reset the jib as we fell off to starboard by backing down - smooth. Though not feeling too overpowered at the speed we were going, the width of the channel was making it feel like one continuous session of coming about. Reefing did little to change that though. She was still ripping along. I can say with certainly that when the wind gets a hold of the sails she leaps ahead! As one old, now decaying fishboat liveaboard ex 17' Pyver-sailor we met; who claimed to have sailed such a craft from the westcoast to Hawaii in '65, said "I'd like to get my hands on one of these sports cars!" Even with the reef in, Tsunamichaser was making between seven and eight knots and the tacks came in rapid succession. If I can figure out how to get a screen shot from the GPS, I'll post it so you can get a feel for how well the tracks played out.

We made the mouth of the harbor in 18 legs which was fine sailing. Long Harbour's shore varies from steep sides going straight into the water to submerged rocky ledges to shoaling gravel bars that are exposed at low tide. You need to play the channel with close attention though the 1'6" or so draft makes that less important. Few sail out the harbor as it makes for tense sailing though many will sail in if the wind is from the south and on their tail. The tacks we made were all clean and they go smoothly if you wear her around by letting the jib back. We failed to do this properly on one tack so instead sailed backwards with the helm down. That brought the nose around quickly and once the wind caught the right side of the jib we shot forward.

Long Harbour is filled with obstacles; crab trap floats, mooring buoys and a ferry terminal and its outlying pilings and crash boards. We weaved our way around these and past some folks pulling their crab pots. All good fun but the best was sailing right over some of the unoccupied mooring buoys taking them between the hulls. That gave the monohull sailors aboard a bit of a start!

As some of the crew where under-dressed for the trip (hey isn't it suppose to be summer - read warm - in August?), I took pity on them and spun us around at the harbor mouth for a nice quick sail back to the beach we had left from. We didn't bother shaking out the reef or set the spinnaker as we held to our seven plus knots of speed on the run. We waved to the passengers on the deck of the ferry departing the docks bound for Vancouver taking the shallow side of the channel. Rolling in the jib as I approached our departure beach and further reefing the main, fisherman's style, we coasted up on the beach once again before the watchful eyes of the "royals". Ah the discussions that may have followed over tea. Sailing right onto the beach! No proper yacht there, is it. And that's the point.

I've now sail on and off beaches seven times. In a couple of hours, when the sun starts to show signs of rising and the tide starts to fall, I plan to go aground, high and dry, so I can take a look at what all this beaching is doing to the bottom of the hulls. Hopefully all is well.

Friday, August 24, 2007

It has been nearly two weeks since I launched and departed. For the first-time I find myself in front of a computer. The trip is nothing new, waters I've sailed for years and know very well; no charts required though I carry them. BUT, Tsunamichaser has made these waters fresh. I can sail through passages I'd never have ventured into in more than a row boat. I have sailed on to beaches including one pebble beach that is like ballbearings that I sailed onto at speed. Awesome smooth landing. Almost as good as hitting a sand beach in a jet-drive RIB at 20 knots. Afterall this is checkout time! We, crew of three, have endured four days of cold with steady rain. Decks need insulation to minimize condensation and ventilation. For sure it is camping or more like bivying. Quarters are tight but right. When the weather is good, liv'in is easy.

I have been tweaking the rigging. The main is sensitive to set but working it is well worth it. Getting the sail to take the right shape vastly improves performance. I have cut two inches out of the head of the jib - necessary as sail from Jeckells, roller furling from CDI, headstay from Fisheries Supply and boat by me all done on faith of measurement had to have a fit problem. I removed the head strop, cut two inches from the headboard, folded over the suncover for a neat finish, sewed the head strop back on and all was well. It took a little over an hour. Tsunamichaser points well and at speed has little leeway. All the negative things that detractors say about cats is wrong.

In Nanaimo BC, a young woman rowed over to us and introduced herself as Kaylee, recent purchaser of a Tiki 26 with her partner. As field biologists they are use to living light in the rough and so have moved onto their Tiki 26. Thoughts of sailing to Mexico in their dreams.

All is not perfect though. The aforementioned condensation issue has us sleeping in our bivy bags. My hatches leak and need to be modified. Rigging needs to be tweaked and the best way to store stuff and remember where it is needs some thought. amazingly my water line is perfect. The water level method did the trick. There is more volume for stuff than there is displacement capacity.

The Nissan 6 hp is plenty. In strong headwinds or current you could do better with a 10 hp but would be dreaming of a 15. The 6 pushes us with no wind or current at close to 6 knots at half throttle. Fuel consumption is less than a third of a gallon per hour so a 3 gallon tanks lasts about eleven hours. It takes next to no wind to get sailing so the motor is barely necessary. Northwest winds are fickle so a motor helps bridge the windless gaps. Tiki26's sail backwards very well so sailing in a crowded anchorage or to the dock is sweet! You can even set the anchor that way.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Guest writer: Thomas's wife.
Now it's time to "test drive" time so for the next few weeks Thomas might not get a chance to update this site. But I know he'll keep a log and send a postscript when he returns.

(Remember to look at the pictures below first, before you watch him sail away!)

Today's guest writer: Thomas's wife.
Yesterday was grand! Who knew that the boat launch has the perfect sized cove to fit Tsunamichaser! (I'll post two sets of pictures so that you can see the progression.) A HUGE THANKS to everyone for all of their help! It made everything so much easier and way more fun.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

To the water!

I'm got the nerves about this as I don't have the ideal launch spot or situation.

Friday, August 10, 2007

With the help of some good friends and some astounded neighbors, Tsunamichaser has left the backyard nee "the shed" and is poised to go sailing!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I got a comment from Kim Whitmyre about how he noted that I didn't have cockpit drains. Drains in the aft corners probably would be a good idea especially when healed slightly as the water won't run out the motor well. But they won't be easy to add as the cockpit floor is double thick with rigid foan in between and the sides have a cant strip along the bottom. As I noted yesterday - Let the refit begin! I fully expect that once I get on the water I'll have lots to tweak. You can sit on land forever or at the dock and dream up issues and needs but the truth emerges once you go sailing. This is when everything you've done gets tested. I think that will be when this blog gets interesting. I'll be reporting back on what works and what doesn't. One thing that is already clear is that in a thin skinned boat it is hard to attach things to the cabin sides unless you make specific accomodations to do so or fasten stuff right through the hull. The side to deck stringer I added on the interior of the hull is perfect for attaching things to. I've screwed PVC awning track to this stringer. Thats how the storage bags I've made attached. The bags have sail luff along the top which slides into the groove of the track. Very clean.

A happy sailer with all her stuff stowed and ready to go.

Taking down the fence to my neighbors.

The ramp to the sea.

Last minute additions. I added non-skid sand to fresh paint on the seats as they were too slippery.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Three hundred and seventeen calendar days after I started building and 215 days later in the shed, I have a boat. I think I spent on average 6 hours per day at it. Though these last few months have been intense, hour wise, earlier on there were plenty of two or three hour days so that tallys up to just shy of 1300 hours. I have a boat that is ready to get dismantled and hauled out of my backyard. It will float. It will sail. There is still plenty to do.

A Tiki 26 is a light boat, that is its scantlings don't make it something you crash around in or on especially when it is on land. That has been discovered as my daughter has been checking it out, jumping on the trampolines and climbing on the cabin hatches. I look forward to see what it feels like in the water. It will be better supported.

Tomorrow I build a ramp up the back deck to my neighbor's driveway then Friday it gets hauled out to the street and onto a trailer. A new chapter. Let the retrofit begin! Oh remember early on in this blog how I said I was a sailor not a boatbuilder, I've gotten into the builder mindset. I need to get into the sailor mindset again. Here in the Pacific Northwest, summer has abandoned us for cooler rainy un-August like weather. Hopefully that will improve so that the sailing doesn't have to start out in the rain.

Navigation center

Electrics in a box!

Washboard awning in place - better dry than .....

Looking aft in the port cabin.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The boat is official now. I registered it with the State of Washington this morning. It took all of 15 minutes and a check for $92.33. Government can be a wierd thing, its workings. Before there was just a bunch of plywood, some epoxy and a menagerie of other stuff. Now there is a number that goes on the outside and one that goes inside, the HIN or hull identifier number. I wonder which hull it needs to go in?

This is the extent of the fixed electrical system - A lawnmower battery, three auxillary plugs, a LED masthead light and the control box - yellow not black as I know what is behind that cut up record!

Close up of the box - switch, fuse, nav lights control. I'm trying to be non yachty besides I'm not doing this to know where I'm at I want to not know where I am.

A la Carte!
It's busy time! There are many small details to attend to as I get ready to launch. Today I need to register the boat. Hopefully that goes ok. I've been finishing up bottom paint, electrics, rigging, making a sail cover and the likes. The trailers are almost done too. Speaking of that I need to find a trailer and truck rig to tow to boat to the water.

Boot stripe

Bottom paint and hull graphic

Not hull carts lower right hand corner

Electric panel made out of an old (Bad eighties rock instrumental) LP

Sail cover in progress.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

I have a wee bit of a problem....the jib/furler/headstay, which need to function as a unit don't. Any two will work but not all three. Solution is slightly radical. I need to shorten the jib by a couple if inches. Will go at it tonight from the top headboard. ....boatbuilding so simple, everything just snaps together right out of the box, no custom modifications required oh and so relaxing!!!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The big job today was raising the mast. I managed to do this on my own though I got mechanical and angle advantage by hauling the main sheet up into the tree at the bow of the boat and then using the four part purchase. I've added running backstays to the rig. These help with keeping the mast in line as iit comes up. One drag is that I discovered that the stays are too long. Better than too short I guess. As they are nico press made up I'll cut out the bottom eyes and redo them shorter. IT was good to raise the mast as it gave me an idea of what it takes and I got to sort out the rigging and hardware on the mast.

Ready to raise.

Mast head mess.

Up it comes.

Looking good and staying in line.

Backyard sailing at its best. With a reef in I sail into the trees never to return!
My days are long right now since I'm trying to finish things up. I work outside during the day on the boat and in the house at night on splicing rope, sewing sail cob=vers and the like. Today was a 15 hour day and I will do some more splicing tonight. Make up for the three hour days I had through the winter.

My way of keeping extrior bins closed - bungee cord and hammock hooks.

Splicing rope.

Getting ready to recover the core.
The little incident with the cockpit "slipping" out from between the beams has been corrected. It will help to have the beams lashed in place too!

The damage done when the tilt pin passed through the motor well.

The solution to the damage and issue. NO! I'm not using it as an outhouse though it looks that way!!

Extra lashing added fore-aft tying the beams together.

Hull lashings in place.

Another view of lashings from inside.

    Spot Track

  • Track Tsunamichaser
  • Spot Track
    Click link above the Spot to see where Tsunamichaser is.