beginner boat : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

I am 40 years old, and a pretty big guy (6'4" 250). I really want to take up rowing, and am looking for a good beginner single. What would you recommend, and how much should I expect to pay? I'd like to start out as inexpensively as possible.

-- Tim McFadden (, September 23, 2001


Tim: I've got the perfect boat for you, an 80s SmallCraft open water shell; 18'-9", sturdy, stable, high-volume, and available. It would be too much to hope that you're in California, I suppose.

-- Kim Apel (, September 24, 2001.

Apel's answer -- a Small Craft single (manufactured in Essex, Norwich, or Baltic, Conn. -- is a good one. Durable, 18-foot waterline, wet (no splashguard), unsinkable...but more than a bit heavy. Yet likely not expensive at all.

The seat rollers will probably have frozen. Get new ones from a cheap skateboard.

I also suggest a used Appledore Pod and the Oarmaster I. These are ssaworthy open boats great for touring and can carry a passenger in comfort...or row as a double with another Oarmaster. Do not expect high top speeds from their 16-foot waterline, but they row effortlessly at half-power all day and can carry much gear and stay dry.

There may be a number of Bostons (ca. 1985-1990) on the market.You may be a bot large for them, and their ABS (or whatever) parts take on a decided flex after a while.

For your size (like mine) I can recommend an Alden Double, rowed as a single. I ownwed one for a good while and found that it did many things fairly well, though noithing brilliantly.

A used Martin Trainer ("Martin") may also be a good deal. Fairly fast, but I'd avoid breaking waves...

In any case, get good oars (oars that you are happy with). They will last you through several boats.

Best, --John

-- John Stratton (, October 11, 2001.

Tim, I'm also 6'4 and about 250, I row an Alden Double currently.It's a good boat as long as you dont run into any heavy chop. I'd get one used, because you will probably outgrow it in a few years. It is unsinkable, although the few times I've rowed it full of water havent exactly been very fun. I'm a few weeks away from completing the Oxford Shell from Chesapeake Light Craft, the kit costs around $600. It should also fit you pretty well as long as you dont mind building your own boat. You might also want to check out an Adirondack Guideboat if you're in an area that doesnt get too choppy, of course alot will depend on where you intend to row.

-- Stephen Borghardt (, November 02, 2001.

Stephen, Please let us know how the Oxford Shell turns out. I'm interested in building one of those, too.


-- Tom Anderson (, January 09, 2002.

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