The Walkabout 39 is a sailboat designed and built for blue water sailing.
Is based on two experiences: a 4 years sailing around world four (walkabout.it) we realized with a self-built Van de Stadt 34 and the construction of the Walkabout 43 and its use as a charter boat in the Aegean for 6 years.
The idea was to create a boat that sail fast, especially with down-wind and that would help a couple (also with children) to sail safely and live well on board for long periods.
The key points that we held during the definition of the project are:
For a boat that have to sail in the ocean and which we entrust our life, safety is the main feature that should guide the design and construction . You can not make compromises on building techniques and materials to be used.
We chose the sandwich composite material, laminated with epoxy resin under vacuum, which allows to maximize the impact resistance having a very low weight. The hull, deck and bulkheads are welded together structurally (not just glued). We also did of a "double flooring" in the parts of the hull potentially subject to impacts with floating objects at sea.
Faster you go less time you are at sea and therefore less likely you are to encounter bad weather, also if you go fast you can manage to avoid the worst parts of depression.
To go fast you need a planing hull, a light boat and a sufficient power (sail area).
Downwind directional stability
The long offshore sailing, are usualy with strong down winds and with big waves. The displacement boats sail slower than waves and when the wave overtake the boat, it that loses stability and deviates from the route, the automatic pilote (or the helmsman!) corrects the route; the result is that the boat is rolling terribly making life aboard difficult and uncomfortable, especially on a small boat.
The planing boat start surfing when it reach the top of the wave and is not overcome by the wave so are not necessary strong rudder corrections and the boat goes fast substantially straight without rolling.
Portability with a reduced crew
When sailing with a reduced crew (often a couple) the person on duty is often alone, because the other person is sleeping. So all maneuvers must be designed to be carried by yourself in the safety of the cockpit, and in any condition.
High quality equipment and systems
During the navigation the equipment is greatly stressed, and it needs to be well sized (using large safety coefficients) and of good quality. Moreover, an attempt at the design stage, to keep the systems simpler as possible, also thinking how to repair it with the tools you have usually on board.
Easy to be repaired
It can happen to damage the hull, for example due to an impact against the reef. With some e-glass cloth and epoxy resin (there is a type that can also be used under water) you can repair a boat anywhere even by those who have not a great experience.
With these things in mind we turned to David Reard, the designer of our Walkabout 43, who had just designed a boat of 38 feet composite.
After some months of work, discussions and amendments is born the Walkabout 39