Some years back a US East coast resident asked me to to design a sail and oar cruising boat. The brief was for a boat that would suit a wide variety of waters from rivers and canals where long stretches of rowing could be expected, to wide open ocean passages of up to 50 miles. He wanted to sleep aboard, and the boat when not being used for adventuring had to be workable for family daysailing, thats two adults and two kids.
Walkabout was the result, on the face of it a very specialised design as it has no provision for an outboard, has a rig thats a bit different to the usual jib and triangular mainsail and an unusual interior layout that has an offset centerboard, side seats, a remote tiller that pivots on the mizzen mast and lines back to the rudder. She's relatively slim so she will row easily, is light enough to drag up the beach on your own, and is capable of unaided self rescue if rolled over or swamped.
Its been a very popular design, a number of notable voyages have been made in various versions of her including Sail Caledonia, the Everglades Challenge, and a singlehanded voyage from Perth Australia north up the coast to Shark Bay and back. Changes in family circumstances meant that the original customer did not get to build a Walkabout, but I know that he is watching the design that he sparked with interest. ( Hi Steve, howzit?)
Martyn Long has the latest version, he's changed the offcenterboard for a leeboard but otherwise his craft is as per the plan, heres a nice little video he's just posted.
Congratulations Martyn, and thanks for showing us your little ship.
While on the subject of adventure sailing, and Walkabout, Osbert Lancaster in Edinborough , Scotland built a Walkabout so he could get out on the water both sailing and rowing, and he's become a real ambassador for small boat adventuring. He has a marvellous blog here
and an inspirational presentation video here.
Well worth watching if you are considering taking your boating a little further. If you are not? Then, after you watch this you might change your mind.
Thanks Osbert, great work.