2017-08-04 10:50:13 UTC
The article on Bernard Moitessiers Joshua in the August issue contains the
line: One person who got to know Moitessier well is catamaran designer
James Wharram .
In 1956, together with two German women, I made my first successful
catamaran crossing of the Atlantic, aboard a self-built 23ft 6in catamaran
called Tangaroa (I was a follower of the Frenchman Eric de Bisschop, who
had studied Polynesian migration in the Pacific, and I set out to prove his
theories with my voyage).
Arriving in Trinidad in January 1957, our catamaran, due to Teredo
worm, was finished! It seems I was an embarrassment to the semi-colonial
government. So, for somewhere economical to live, I built a Kon-Tiki style
bamboo raft as our home and moored it o. the coast near Port of Spain.
About a year after our arrival, two single-handed sailors turned up
alongside the raft after a long crossing from South Africa via St Helena.
They were Bernard Moitessier and his friend Harry Wakelam.
They anchored close to our house raft. Bernard came on board the raft,
saw two attractive women and a baby, a desk overflowing with pages of
the draft of a book I was writing and a drawing easel with the lines of a
new 40ft catamaran design, for us to build and sail the oceans.
Living on the raft was a paradise. Bernards opinions and comments
were terse. You will rot here. You must go back to the sea. You must build
this boat, he said, pointing to my design drawings on the board.
To my many excuses, his answers were immediate: I will help you to
begin this boat. So began my friendship with Bernard Moitessier and the
start of the building of the 40ft Rongo, the first catamaran to sail the north
Atlantic from west to east (1959).
However, Bernards real spiritual connection was with my German
partner Ruth Merseburger-Wharram, a post-war German woman of the
type collectively referred to as Trümmel Frauen (the Rubble Women who
got post-war Germany going again).
Ruth, like Bernard, saw the oceans not as a place to be conquered, or to
be competed over in racing, but as a spiritual home, a space where the
mind can be free, as in mystical thinking. Ruth kept up correspondence
with Bernard until his death. (She also corresponded with other sea
mystics. We still have many of her files to sort out).
Robin Knox-Johnston may have won the Golden Globe Race and
established the concept of the man against the seas hero. At the same
time, Bernard Moitessier established the mystic concept of man/woman
finding an inner relationship with the vastness of the worlds oceans.
James Wharram, James Wharram Designs, Truro, Cornwall"
Martin in Zuid Holland
Martin in Zuid Holland