Advise on "best" family boat : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

Please advise on the "best" family boat, suitable to row as a single and/or as a double scull on relatively flat water with two little children (approx. 5 years old) as passenger, not to much sacrifices to sculling technique and performance (relatively "fast"), good hull production quality and durability, transportable by car (roof top), for weekend outings and holidays. I was thinking about the Alden Appledore, Adirondack Wherry, Adirondack Guideboat 18 and the Little River Marine Heritage 18. These appear to be the longest wherries/dories/guideboats available, so probably offering superior performance.

-- Martin Ottow (, September 21, 2004


I find that lifting anything over 100lbs onto my car roof rack to be a royal pain. You might consider a small TrailerX style trailer instead if you buy one of the larger boats. After that I think any of these boats would work for you. There is also a Merry Werry double and the Skua (Middlepath boats), and or a canoe with a row-wing drop in unit. Then it boils down to price, and whether _you_ like them. You really should row at least some of them yourself and see.

-- Gary Powell (, September 22, 2004.

don't think i'd personally recommend doing any kind of sliding seat rowing with passengers aboard unless you rig yourself for a really light load - fixed seat would be better.

if you kids move around much you're gonna notice it ie the set of the boat and if it's a sudden shift while you're pulling, your back may not appreciate it... i recently caught a small but unexpected wave that rocked the boat just enough about 2 hours into hard fixed seat row that it sent my back into some spasms...

i row a 18 ft homemade herreshoff and have two kids... now 10 & 11... they get bored with fishing or just sitting while i row and on occassion ask to row too... have my boat (a double ender) set up with two rowing stations and three seats spaced equally between them - that allows the boat to be rowed level in either direction regardless of the number of passengers and on ocassion for my kids to join in... can email you some pics taken with the kids rowing.. actually tried 3 stations with the kids and using some very short oars as that 3rd set of oarlocks had a very narrow span. it was fun but the kids had short strokes and cranked the rate sky high..

now playing around streching the lines of a shellback dinghy in a spreadsheet program out to approx 19ft with a 44 inch beam to create 3 station fixed seat boat since the kids are getting bigger - figure having the transom in this case would keep a wider span for the 3rd station as well as help carry passengers...

while all this may not be what you had in mind ... a family boat & flexibility means different things to differnet people

Have set the boat up as sliding seat 2x and single on ocassion as well but get more enjoyment rowing it fixed seat...

-- mike Reiner (, September 22, 2004.

I've set my dory up with that same third set of oarlocks. But I only row doubles when I use it. That way both rowers can row at varing rates without hacking the oars.

When I row doubles it seems to work best if I row the forward seat and follow their pace. Otherwise they skip and hack me all the time. The pace slows down after the first 15 minutes.

Also the kids will need some sort of gloves or they'll get blisters. Bicycle gloves do double duty nicely, both for bicycling and rowing. I perfer sailing gloves but then I also sail a lot as well.

I can also vouch for kid boredom while you are exercising. Having a toy boat on a string seemed to entertain them for a while. Snacks seem to help. Not being in any hurry to get anywhere also helps, as does a destination worth going to. An island, a park for lunch etc. Lots of cushions so that they can make a nest and read. A small packable never fail to fly kite worked one day. Binoculars (get cheap ones) for viewing while rowing worked another day.

Good luck! -Gary-

-- Gary Powell (, September 23, 2004.

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