Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Nicely built Wharram Tiki 38 in San Francisco

Boatsmith has a contract to fabricate and install new teak decking on several areas of the 190' motor yacht Pangaea. This boat is currently at Bay Ship and Yacht yard in Alameda California undergoing a major refit. I was very happy to get this job as I've worked many years for this company in times past. We have lots of friends in the bay area and it is a chance to visit and reconnect with them. I flew out to California the weekend of the 4th of July to make patterns of the new teak decks. The patterns were then crated up and shipped back to Jupiter FL for fabrication. Once complete we will drive out to Alameda for the installation.

One very special bonus of this trip was that I was able to hook up with Beat Rettenmund who along with his partner Beatrice Restrepo and her mom Arisili (I hope I spelled that right) are building a wonderful example of James Wharram Designs Tiki 38. Over the years I've seen many Wharram catamarans and honestly most did not impress me favorably as to the quality of workmanship.
Beat and Beatrice's Tiki 38 is finished off to a very simple level but is very craftsman like in every detail. To me a yacht is a vessel where anywhere you look you see something that makes you say,wow look how nicely that was done. They have accomplished this in a most admirable manner. They stayed focused on their goals and have built a truly marvelous yacht that is almost ready to take them where ever they so desire.
I was invited to the build sight by Beat to checkout their boat and "talk madly about boats, the sea and mermaids". A not everyday invite. This was my first day with a new camera and due to my excitement over the boat and my electronic ineptitude many of my pictures were not very good but I will share the ones that turned out.
Beat, Beatrice, and Arisili
Cat eyes. Most of the windows have some sort of decorative shape to them

Below I am in the pod and looking into the stbd companionway.

Here you can see the watch berth and the storage below the seats. The pod seems to be a very nice space on the boat. The wheel steering is here, and good shelter for making passages to weather. Forward of the pod there is an open cockpit with outboard wells under the seats. Beat has purchased 15hp E-tech motors and plans on installing these in place of the gas power heads on two outboard motors. I am looking forward to seeing these when completed.

One detail I was very impressed with was the simple solution to a galley cooker. It is very easy to spend hundreds of dollars on a proper marine stove and still not have an ideal setup. This cooker costs $70 at Harbor Freight and works at least as well as most marine stoves. Okay, so maybe it will rust out in a year or two, but it can be replaced several times for the cost of even the most inexpensive equivalent marine stove. As George Beuhler said in Backyard Boatbuilding, you can go sailing cheaply now or be a melon farmer forever while building the perfect museum piece boat. It would appear to me that Beat and Beatrice are definitely not melon farmers.

Everywhere I looked on Aluna I saw clever little things that will make the boat much more pleasant to sail on. Below are pictures of the stbd companionway ladder. In the photo on the left, you can see that there is an additional step added below what the plans called for. Beat said he noticed that it was a very large first step and designed and built this lower step to alleviate this. I tried it out and it is a very nice improvement. I would certainly recommend this to other Tiki 38 builders.

Beat and Beatrice have about 6,000 hours invested in this project over five years.One way they have kept their hours reasonable is they have left the interior with a natural finish. They were careful with their epoxy and fiberglass reinforcement applications and didn't sand and fair the insides for paint. The result is utilitarian and clean. It also saved them many hundreds of hours, hours spent sanding, which is not most peoples favorite pastime.
The photos above and below are of the cabin interiors and you can see the workmanlike manner in which the filleting has been done.

Here is a little detail I wish we had used on our Tiki 30.Beat ran his wiring for his lights and fans thru the foam core of the deck. Very clean.

The two pictures below are of the outboard mounts.

Here's a shot of the forward deck.

This is a close up of the anchor rollers.
This photo shows the frame of the aft boarding ladder.It will get wooden treads lashed into the center area.

Sometime ago, Beat and Beatrice were able to go sailing with Glenn Tieman aboard
Manu Rere, a Tama Moana design from Hanneke Boon and James Wharram.This is a relatively new ethnic design and is powered by two crab claw sails. This is a very old sail plan design that has seen somewhat of a resurgence of interest in the last few years. While cruising on Manu Rere Beat became a new convert to the crab claw rig and is installing this sail rig on Aluna.
Part of the appeal of the crab claw rig is the simplicity,the low tech materials and the associated low cost . Below are the pine saplings that are becoming spars. I have not had the opportunity to sail one of these rigs and am hoping that I can finagle a ride.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and am looking forward to going back to California next month for our job and especially to revisit Aluna Beat and Beatrice. I hope that everyone enjoys this post.