Tuesday, 18 May 2010

A Walkabout for rowing

John Welsford's Walkabout is a boat for cruising, under oars and sail. It has a very appealing combination of length for easy rowing and a man-size flat area on the bottom for comfortable sleeping.
This blog's favourite expat Brummie Rick Thompson noticed that it has a lot of excellent features for a pure rowing boat that is used in more challenging waters, in his case San Francisco Bay. The decks and coaming keep out all but the worst waves, and there is lots of flotation should the worst occur.
So Rick is building a Walkabout for rowing, stretched by eight per cent to 17ft 10in and without all the sailing stuff. A few days ago he had a trial launch to fix the rowlock positions. She was blessed with a splash of Guinness and named 'Puddles' - and she looks very good.
Rick wrote in the Welsford forum:
"The boat I have been rowing for the past 4 years is a 14' Whitehall type, known
as a decent pulling boat, so my comparisons are to that. Steady long distance rowing speed for the Whitehall has been 3 - 3.5 kts, and Walkabout measures about the same on GPS. This is great, I was afraid the bigger boat would be slower. Pulling very hard, Walkabout got to 4.5 - 5 kts, faster than the smaller boat probably due to longer waterline. Even at this speed there is very little wake generated, where the Whitehall would be surging and making waves.
The Whitehall is sensitive to fore and aft trim, and more tippy. With two people in Walkabout, not trimmed properly as there is only one rowing position at the moment, it made very little difference in speed. I can also sit out on one side seat and the rail is still well above the water."
The result is much more seaworthy and practical cruising boat than the Whitehall. Rick has lots of pictures of the launch and the construction process here.

1 comment:

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