The Build

Builder’s Background

There are quite a few Wharram hotspots around the world, one of them is South Africa. Luckyfish was built in Cape Town by Dan Hardwicke. Dan had built a few boats before tackling the Tiki 38. His Dad was a Wharram man. They had a Hitia 14, Tiki 21, Tiki 26 and a Pahi 42 as well as various monohulls.

Dan and his mate Adrian originally planned to build two Tiki 38’s together, but Adrian couldn’t wait so bought the Tiki 38 Two Ticks instead. In 2008 Adrian did a complete refit of Two Ticks and Dan gained valuable experience that would be useful later when he started his own. The first ideas for the Luckyfish pod design and layout originated from Two Ticks rebuild. Adrian sailed his boat out to New Zealand and Dan started building in 2009. In Dan’s own words “I was quite clear on what I wanted and believe she is the best set up Tiki 38. Yes, you can change a Wharram design but I am not a fan of that. Get a different boat”.


In December 2009 Dan approached Roy McBride of CKD Boats to provide Okoume (Gaboon) ply, machined Oregon to the designers list and epoxies (Gurit 106, a German made clone of West System) for the build. Roy digitised the parts from Dan’s set of plans where possible and from dimensions offset from the framework, and provided CNC cut bulkheads and hull panels. This resulted in the build progressing very quickly. To anyone who can prove they have paid for a set of plans, Roy can supply BS1088 marine grade Okoume ply CNC cut: lower and upper bulkheads; lower and upper hull panels; cross beams; mast box; engine wells; stems and beam trunks. Roy can ship to anywhere in the world. The plywood is Dolphin Superply Marine Plywood, made to a high standard in China. The manufacturer meets the BS1088 standard using 100% African Okoume and phenol formaldehyde glue, passing the 72 hours boiling test. As a precaution, Dan tested the glues used in each sheet by boiling a sample in hot water. There were no failures. I met a Tiki 46 builder in Namibia using the same brand, testing his sheets the same way, with the same results.

The remaining text is from Dan himself. Please enjoy this contribution and we hope it provides valuable insight into what a “Build” entails.

Ultimately Wharram describes building one of his boats in stitch and glue as akin to sewing. A simple process that unfolds and allows the builder to grow with the vessel. Start with a pencil, a drill and a jigsaw and the adventure begins. It takes time, but by 3500hrs you will be surprised at your new found ability, and seeing the end.

Stick to the drawings. Deviations will cost you, both in time and money, now and most definitely later.

I would highly recommend a build for anyone thinking about it as long as you are realistic about your current lifestyle.

Money, you can always make a savings plan. There will be some challenging days, and sometimes one just needs to tidy your work area and sharpen your tools, and visitors bring pride when needed. A covered workshop is great, if you can, and worth it.

“Don’t get lost in walnut and elm cockpit table inlays”.Dan Hardwicke

One must keep the boat simple, there is no saving on cheap non marine ply, so spend were you must. Don’t get lost in walnut and elm cockpit table inlays. You can sail with a lot less. It is very hard to stick to ‘simple’ when you visit boat shows, read sailing publications, and boat building books. There is no book on doing it, but all say simple is best, and it can be done tastefully.

My only big regret is building her too heavy, so would delete that lovely hardwood in a few places and source material wisely. A few extra sails, and a composite bypass on the holding tank (-;. It is hard to find a better boat for the tropics.

It’s OK Dan, don’t beat yourself up! Every builder thinks they could build lighter, NEXT TIME!

For more insights and advice from Dan, visit here for Launching Day …