Great Lakes--advice for novice : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

I recently moved to upper michigan (Traverse City) and would like to begin rowing on Grand Traverse Bay and other large inland lakes. Is anyone aware of other rowers in this area? I've met many kayakers who seem to think I'm crazy to want to row on the big lakes. Is it possible? Also, what boat might be most suitable for this type of water? I've river rowed a bit, consider myself a beginner, but catch on quick and am very comfortable on the water. I've been looking at Maas Aeros, Alden Stars, ????? Might these be appropriate? Any other ideas or contacts would be helpful. Thank you.

-- Molly Straebel (, March 10, 2002


Dear Molly,

Quite a few people row on the Great Lakes. I sometimes do it myself. As long as commonsense is exercised, the open, workboat inspired boats have little difficulty dealing with the conditions you might expect to encounter in your area. There will be many days when experienced scullers can safely take some of the hotter openwater shells out too, but shells are less forgiving of sloppy handling in rough water. Make certain that you have all the safety equipment you need and be sure of your abilities before going too far off shore. Good luck.



-- Andre de Bardelaben (, March 11, 2002.

Molly, I own an Alden Ocean Shell, Which I will be rowing on Green Bay. I am a novice also, but I have rowed dorys in storm conditions. It is quite a thrill. I have spent a lot of summer days sailing arround Door County, I will be rowing on the bay this summer. If you get over this way give me a holler.

Dan Ensley

-- Dan Ensley (, March 14, 2002.

Molly, I row at the western end of Lake Ontario most of the time. I have a small weather radio on which I listen to the marine forecast before heading out. I follow the shoreline, usually the one that offers the best protection from the wind. You pick your days basically. Also, I know my "escape routes" if the weather suddenly turns. Early mornings, sun-up 'till 10 am, is the time for flat water rows. I use both an Alden 16 and a Kingfisher 23. The Maas Aero is a good choice but will require some practise to row in waves. It's hull is sealed, and with only a small footwell to hold water, can be rowed when completely awash. The same is true of the Star. Both are wetter than an Alden 16, but less stable. The Alden 16, when swamped, floats at or just below the surface, although it would take some effort, foolishness or bad luck, to swamp one. I won't comment on traditional, fixed seat craft, as I prefer the types I've mentioned.

-- Ernie DeRushie (, March 18, 2002.

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