The first West-to-East crossing of the North Atlantic by Catamaran: Now 60 years ago!

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Rongo was designed and built by James in Trinidad in 1957-58. Previously, in 1956, the three sailors had already crossed the Atlantic to Trinidad from the Canary Islands. They’d followed the tradewinds route on a catamaran of less than 24 feet in length – Tangaroa - also designed and built by Wharram, in England in 1954.

Back in the 1950s, catamarans hadn’t yet been acknowledged as viable seagoing sailboats: James Wharram pioneered their concept and proved their inherent seaworthiness with his Atlantic voyages on two hulls.

From 1965, James Wharram started designing catamarans specifically for self-builders: Hundreds of “Wharram plans” have been launched around the entire world, and many have made some incredible ocean voyages, including the smallest model, the famous Tiki 21.

These days, while we’re looking for ever-increasing levels of comfort aboard our multihulls, Wharram designs are distinguished by their simplicity and traditional lines, reminiscent of Polynesian pirogues. They have their aficionados, all of whom share Wharram's philosophy that anyone can become a sailor by living a simple life on the water.

A vintage gift for Christmas

To celebrate this first epic Atlantic crossing by Rongo, we’re reprinting the original Building Plans of the design which were beautifully drawn by Jutta in 1960. These will be available as a presentation boxset including a photo-book of the history of Rongo, and the story of her further Atlantic voyages in 1960-61, plus a signed copy of James’s book about his pioneering voyages ‘Two Girls Two Catamarans’.

These Building Plans can be used to build a model or, why not, a full-size replica of this famous design. The presentation pack will be available in numbered editions, with a maximum of 60, for the 60 years since her first West-to-East Atlantic voyage.

Price of the boxset: £ 225

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