After spending too many days sea kayaking in strong winds and getting up in the dark to beat the sea breeze I decided there had to be a way to travel on a windsurfer.
I heard about Gavin Le'Seur who windsurfed from Melbourne to Sydney on an old longboard in the 80's and made it! Another guy named Tim Gourlay sailed the Whitsundays with a friend on Mistral boards in the early 90's and who can forget Nick Moloney's epic trip from Victoria across Bass Strait to Tasmania on a mistral IMCO back in the early 90's.
After hearing all this I started with an old IMCO Mistral board with a custom made kevlar / fibreglass nose cone to carry all my gear for a week long windsurf trip.
the moulded nose cone secured the capsule to the board
bolted into mast track at the rear and it never budged
The baord performed reasonably well even with the extra weight on the nose and was best in approx 20 knots with an 8.5m sail but was quite uncomfortable in light breeze unless sailing upwind.
After a trip down part of the NSW coast i started dreaming up the perfect board for such an adventure. When on the beach at Elwood in Victoria I happened to meet Adrian Rowe who was in Aust from the UK and was a keen windsurfer, adventurer and a trained naval architect.
A few years went by then Adrian and I got working on the design and came up with the Scarper Tour 373.
Made in Melbourne by another pom Stuart Truscott from Dweller Designs http://dwellerdesigns.com.au
and graphics created by Craig McKenzie (a kiwi sailboarder) and Aaron Lee from Caramel Creative http://www.caramelcreative.com/
At 373 litres, 4.2m long and approx 56litres of storage volume within the board accessed by 4 x screw hatches she is the ultimate touring board.
Studio photography thanks to http://www.andrewrichey.com/
To keep costs down and simplify the project we used standard Neil Pryde RSX daggerboard and mast track and off the shelf marine hatches. http://www.neilpryde.com/index.php
After testing in Melbourne on Port Phillip Bay (Victoria Australia) we found it carries the extra weight well, it's not super fast but very stable even in strong winds (30 knots) with an 8.5m sail and points well and handles the swell and chop with ease.
We built this board to survive a pounding in the open ocean so it's super strong but heavy even though we used plenty of carbon.
Our next prototype will be smaller, lighter and maybe a hybrid between our Scarper Tour and a new raceboard design.
We are off to Fiji on friday March 12th for a 2 week tour of the islands where we hope to gather some great ideas on the next board design while exploring the islands and enjoying the local hospitality.
Adrian on his Starboard Phantom Race 380 with an 8.2m Naish Redline.
I will be sailing the Scarper Tour with an 8.5m Severne Overdrive
On water photography thanks to http://www.bernhaut.com/
Unlike me who likes to take the kitchen sink on holidays Adrian loves travelling light so he'll carry 10 litres of water on the foredeck and a 25 litre dry bag on the rear which contains his food, clothes and camping gear (no sleeping bag).
I bet he'll be looking for a sleeping bag on the first cold night and i'll be warm as toast in my new Mont Hotwire Extender sleeping bag and Warmlite Primaloft insulated sleeping mat.
Adrian and I tested a few other pieces of gear last week including his new camera and custom made nose cone to hold on his water container (hope it works) and my Overboard waterproof backpack and electronics cases which were all excellent.
A huge thankyou to the guys at RPS boardstore in Elwood Vic for all their support and assistance with gear.
So stay tuned for further updates on the ultimate windsurf touring Kit and feel free to let us know your thoughts, ideas or otherwise....
Matt & Adrian