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Yes, You Can Build Your Own Boat!

With a new kit boat that requires no measuring or cutting, you can confidently assemble a seaworthy Polynesian-style catamaran.

Build Your Own Boat

Want a new boat, but at an “old days” price? Rather than buying an old junker with the intention of fixing it up (when you can find the time), consider building your own boat. James Wharram, a British multihull pioneer and designer of plywood Polynesian-style catamarans ranging from 14 to 55 feet, is now offering the Mana 24 as a complete kit for $13,500.

Everything is included, even sails – the only thing you’ll need to buy is paint – so once you take delivery of the kit, you can start building almost immediately. Plywood parts are accurately cut on a CNC router so there are no fancy boat building joints required; everything essentially slots together so things start to take shape quickly, giving the newbie boat builder a confidence booster.

“Building time in the early stages is greatly reduced by the CNC cut plywood parts, which takes away all the worry of measuring and cutting and lets the builder assemble the hulls very quickly,” says Wharram.

He and his partner, Hanneke Boon, say they designed the boat specifically for home construction. A vee-shape below the waterline eschews the necessity for keels or daggerboards, allowing the boat to sail in shallow water or even be pulled onto a beach. Wharram estimates that finishing the boat to a high standard will take 750 hours, which may seem a lot of time, but as he notes, “You’ll have a brand new boat at the end, and the satisfaction of having built her with your own hands.”


Mark Corke

Associate Editor, BoatUS Magazine

A marine surveyor, and holder of RYA Yachtmaster Ocean certification, BoatUS Magazine Associate Editor Mark Corke handles the magazine’s very popular Practical Boater section, keeping it full of easy-to-follow how-to articles. Mark has built five boats himself — power and sail – has been an experienced editor at other top boating magazines, worked for the BBC, has written four DIY books, skippered two round-the-world yachts, and holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest there-and-back crossing of the English Channel, in a kayak! He and his wife have a Grand Banks 32.