Need advice on my first rowing shell : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

I am going to buy a rowing shell/boat but not sure what to buy. I will row mostly on a small lake or Mississippi River in Minnesota. I want to row for exercise and to sometimes get to my sailboat, so I have to be able to stand up to get on the sailboat.

I am a 50+ year old woman and around 195 pounds. I'm looking at Alden, Virus, Little River, etc.

Any advice from the voices of experience would be appreciated.

-- KRD (, June 02, 2003


I completely agree with the earlier response. As soon as you talk about needing to stand up in the boat, you've pretty eliminated all shells -- you're into the land of the the traditional row boat. The point raised about the riggers protruding from a shell is absolutely on point. It is very difficult to take a shell close to anything. Protruding oarlocks have the same problem, but that is why they are made to easily ship when coming alongside anything.


-- Doug Kidder (, June 02, 2003.

Dear KRD,

I would suggest that you look at a high-performance rowing boat instead of a shell. Few shells have the stability to function well as a tender and the protruding riggers common to nearly all sliding seat shells are dangerous to any craft that you might sidle up to. Some boats have a fixed/sliding seat option - good for both exercise and gunkholing. The speed differential between a good fixed seat cruising boat and an entry level shell is negligable. A boat is safer, drier and more versatile.


Andre de Bardelaben

-- Andre de Bardelaben (, June 02, 2003.

Thank you both, Andre and Doug for your advice. I didn't think about the rigger problem. I have been very attracted to the Little River Heritage, so maybe that makes sense. It's a bit more money than I had planned on, so maybe I'll look at some other rowing boats like the Heritage KRD

-- KRD (, June 03, 2003.

If exercise is the goal, than speed isn't the issue except as its "cool", and you can see more area. An hour of rowing is still an hour of rowing even if you don't travel quite as far. Although a sliding seat will exercise your body a bit differently than a fixed seat.

If you want a boat that is also a tender, i.e. able to ferry mom and the groceries out from the dock, perhaps a whitehall or a wherry, or peapod is the boat for you. (I'm thinking a 14ft boat or so) There are a large number of them available at various price points as well. In any case do try before you buy. No use in spending any money on a boat you will hate no matter how much others love it. Or you can do my favorite, get two, a shell for those speed cruises and a basic row boat for a yacht tender.

Then of course you need to consider transportation, are you a trailer or cartopper? How much can you lift? Can you get a rack for your boat that fits your car? The shell is going to be the lightest. Can you leave the tender down at the dock where your sailboat is? How often to you sail? Once a week? Twice a month? Would an old alumimun row boat do you for dock to mooring? Do you cruise and need a boat to get from your anchorage to the shore? Is towing that tender going to slow you down signficantly? If your sail boat is more than 35ft, could put the tender on the deck? Is there a rowing club you could join and leave the shell down at their facility?

There is no one right answer here.

-- Gary Powell (, June 04, 2003.

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