I met Matjaž 30 years ago. Already then, he told me about Wharram’s catamarans. Then we got married, the children came, and his desire became real craving. However, there was no financial possibility for such a project.
In the mountains, far from the city hustle, we built a wooden house and repaid the loan the following years. Matjaž started to write tourist books about Slovenia, which sold so well that we could live modestly from this income. Then we founded a company – a publishing company dedicated only to his production. In addition to being life partners, we now also became business partners. Matjaž writes, photographs and creates books, and I sell them and take care of a company that has been working for more than 25 years..
After 15 years of living together and 5 years of business partnership, our loans were repaid. Matjaž did not want to invest in new books that year. Instead, he preferred to realize his long-term desire and commissioned a plan for Wharram’s catamaran Tiki 26.
I will always remember his enthusiasm when the postman one sunny morning in early July brought a large and thick envelope with plans. Matjaž spent all day long and stayed up overnight, studying the plans. He studied them and took notes. He was so excited that he did not sleep that night. Early in the following day, we were already going to the neighboring village and met a farmer who had air-dried timber laying boards, and we were looking for the right ones for a catamaran. In the afternoon, we were already in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, which is only 40 km from our hill house and bought plywood.
The next day the farmer brought the selected wood, and plywood from Ljubljana also got delivered. Matjaž did not wait any longer. He immediately started working. He was sawing for entire week. He didn’t even leave our place anymore. He committed himself fully to the job. From early morning until late evening. Every day, day after day. There was no Sunday and no holiday.
He always laughed and joked that his new boss would not leave him anywhere. “What boss?” friends and neighbors were asking. But he laughed and said, “This is my boss.”, laughing and pointing at the first, still unfinished hull. Two months passed at such a working pace. In our yard, there were both hulls, they were crossbred, and there was an awkward, quadruple cockpit box on top of them.
Otherwise, small Tiki 26 was sitting down there, giving a really magnificent look to our yard. It took up whole yard. It was not possible to go past him. You could go to the house only underneath it.
We were visited by some friends that day. In the evening we were sitting in the cockpit in the yard for the first time, and instead of the table, a beer crate was placed on the middle of the cockpit. The conversation was running around the boat all the time. Friends asked what kind of name we would give it. Matjaž said that he would give it the name Boss. We all jumped that this really is not a appropriate name. You can not give your boat such name. Matjaž did not want to give in. He stubbornly claimed that this was his Boss and he would have it no other way! There were almost no full bottles left in the beer crate, when he finally gave in. Okay, he said, if I can not give it the name Boss, we’ll just name him with the Maori name. After all, he has at least a little of Maori’s origins. Let’s give him the Maori name. Let it be ARIKI. He said that and he laughed.
Yes, ARIKI is really nice and suitable name, we agreed. Everybody thought this was appropriate name. And so it remained even after Matjaž revealed to us what the word Ariki meant. Maori use this word for many things. Ariki is their firstborn child. They also use the word to name their chief, and of course their boss.
In the following months, we also fell victims to Matjaž’s enthusiasm. Ariki was not just a piece of wood or a product for us. It became a living creature. We talked to him, stroked him, like you lovingly stroke the domestic cat, laughed with him and greeted him “Hi Ariki”.
It’s still like this today. For the crew, this is not just a boat, but a living member of the family and our company. Funny, good will and always ready for action. Our ARIKI.