need advice on rowing boat for Great Lakes : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

I am just starting my search for an open water rowing boat and would appreciate any advice on boats that would meet my needs. I am an athletic 48 yr old female, 170 lbs and want to row for relaxation and exercise - I would like to be able to take my dog (65lbs)and/or possibly another person. I live on a large (9 miles by 2 miles) lake in Northwest Michigan so the water can be calm or quickly develop 1.5 ft waves.

I have experience with sculling for recreation in Cambridge and with rowing a traditional row boat. I like the speed and lightness of the scull but know that it isn't safe in the environment I will be rowing (and won't accomodate my dog!!!). Any advice?

-- Susan Mohr (, August 22, 2003


Susan, I've been pondering the same exact question. Me and my dog are each a little bigger than you and yours. My extensive research has narrowed it down to these designs: an Adirondack Guideboat (probably the best of all) can be rowed fixed seat or with a drop in sliding seat rig, these are available in wood or Kevlar models, sea worthy, dog friendly and fast. Very hard to build. Since I'm building my own hull I also looked at and like these plans: Ken Bassett's "Liz" (18' x 37")-- an elegant lapstrake sliding seat wherry with room for a passenger, the "Firefly" (18' x 34") by the same designer a little faster, slimmer and easier to build, the "Annapolis Wherry" from Chesapeake Light Craft (available as a kit), similar to "Liz." I'm leaning toward the "Firefly." I currently row a 16' Swampscott dory I built which is very seaworthy and has room for several large dogs. I'm just looking for something faster and lighter. If I were you I'd go with the kevlar Adirondack guideboat. The Adirondack Rowing website has some nice ones and good info. Doug

-- Doug Calhane (, August 30, 2003.

Susan, You might want to consider a Merry Wherry from Wayland Marine, in Bellingham, WA. Ron Mueller has designed a very light, strong, wood/epoxy boat that rows beautifully with a sliding seat RowWing installed. The boat is 15' long, weighs 35 lbs plus the 20lb RowWing, and has a capacity of 300 lbs. There is a 17' model as well, the Merry Wherry 2, that can be rowed by one or two rowers, with a capacity of 500 lbs, sufficient to accommodate two plus a dog or two. The boats are available as kits from Wayland, and if you are interested in one as a completed boat, I am building them to order. My company is TaliesinWorks! Canada Ltd., and would be happy to discuss the Merry Wherrys with you. Go to the the Wayland Marine website to see the boats:, then email me with your impressions. Malcolm Chaddock

-- Malcolm Chaddock (, April 09, 2004.

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