starting a high school rowing program : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

My daughter has wanted to row crew for years, and the Maine high school she is entering next year is allowing me to explore the possibility of setting up a team, but I need to do the research and present it to them. Some of her friends are interested also. I am not a rower. I have the name of a few local people who row to speak to soon about setting up a program. But while researching on the internet, it seems that the cost of boats is prohibitive. The school has no funds for this sports team. Is there a place that rents 4 or 8 person boats, or someplace to buy very old boats? I don't think it's important for them to be of high quality, just something that floats. Also, is there a basic book that could be used to help kids starting in this sport.

Many thanks to anyone willing to venture a reply.

-- Michael DeVos (, August 17, 2003


Michael, I applaud your efforts and, even though I only scull, I may be able to make a few suggestions. The best book to start with, in my opinion, is Frank Cunningham's "The Sculler At Ease" Another book that covers setting up boats is Mike Davenport's "Nuts and Bolts Guide to Rigging"

You don't need to spend a fortune on a team boat, as teams sell their old boats as they upgrade to newer, faster models that are less beat up and worn out. I have seen classified ads for Fours and Eights on and on, as well as other places. One nice website with lots of links is

I just read an ad for a "well worn" Eight for $1000, which I would hardly call a fortune (however, you will need 8 sweeps at up to $350 each, probably some seats and stretchers, a launch for coaching, etc., so it will cost more than $1000 to put a team boat together, but not a fortune). Some teams or clubs may even donate old equipment to new clubs (our club just gave away nine pairs of ratty sculling oars to a new club), but the equipment will probably require some work to be usable, and will break more often than new stuff.

You might consider starting out with a Four, as it only requires four rowers, plus a coxwain, and requires less storage space than an eight, and it can always be used when too many or too few kids show up for practice in the Eight.

You should, also, be aware that boats come in sizes, and high school girls will be happiest in a smaller (narrower) boat than one used by open class, college men.

-- John Swensen (, August 19, 2003.

Make that Sorry

-- John Swensen (, August 19, 2003.

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