How seaworthy is Walkabout?


20+ knots from the cockpit of an openboat at sea looks something like this… David Perillo's Navigator Jaunty

Over on the John Welsford Builders forum there's been a discussion about the differences between some of his boats as people decide which one to build.

In the process, John reveals some more information about Walkabout:

On 25/01/2011 4:38 AM, John Welsford wrote

Walkabout, as someone pointed out, was designed for the Maine Island Trail, or more exactly a trip from North Carolina to northern Maine which involved rivers, canals, wide stretches of tidal shallows with potentially strong winds, (very choppy) and wide open ocean spaces of up to 50 miles in the North Atlantic, she's without a doubt the most seaworthy of all my open boats, and some of the other designs have completed some astounding journeys.

Alan followed up with:

Hello John

Would you care to elaborate further on how & why you regard Walkabout as your most seaworthy open boat?

On 25 January 2011 18:43, John Welsford wrote:

That's about a half hour lecture Alan. But it has to do with a hull shape that has a particular righting moment curve, that is of a shape that will ride heavy seas without rolling heavily, a rig that can be struck and is of very moderate area, built in bouyancy enough to sail the boat when swamped, decked in ends, fine ended shape and on and on.
She is a boat that is primarily a rowing boat with some concession to sailing, sails well but does not have the wide beam and high initial stability of the others which are sailing boats first and foremost. They will sail better, but for ultimate survival the Walkabout has an edge on the others.
Mind you we are talking about conditions here that no reasonable person would consider taking an open boat out in, and David Perillo will tell you that midnight in 35 knots of wind and cresting 3 metre waves 20 miles off shore was a good trial for his Navigator and he's still here to tell the tale.
John Welsford
I've no plans to go out in anything like those conditions, but it's reassuring to know Scratch could cope, so long as I develop the necessary skills – and enough sea room. She certainly handled beautifully in my first experience of bad weather – on Scatch's first voyage.


Here's a video of David Perillo in his Navigator in less extreme weather:


I've just ordered a waterproof camera, so I should soon be able to post more pictures and videos of Scratch on the water. But I doubt I'll have enough spare hands for filming in very rough seas!



About Osbert Lancaster

Creating ripples to foster sustainability. Seeking solace & clarity on the sea by sail & oar.

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