Echo vs. Firefly : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

Anyone care to offer an opinion of the Echo vs the Firefly for open water rowing? Both seem to get really good reviews. I want to do the Blackburn next summer, and while I'd may be be most happy in a Maas 24, I don't want to drive 1800 miles to do the race and not be able to because it is too rough.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

-- Clay Wilson (, November 08, 2004


Hi Clay, I contacted Ken Bassett before purchasing an Echo and thought that his boat was a fine design, but intended for "protected waters", as it is completely open. I rowed the Blackburn this year, and the weather was perfect, but glad I had the Echo in case the weather turned rough. You may call the designer for his opinion. I include his # below. From Ken Bassett---"the Firefly 18, which is a v-bottom 6mm ply sliding seat touring boat for which I also sell plans($60).  It weighs ~90lbs, is 12" deep, 34"wide, 18' long. Building time as designed ~140hrs.  It has been an extremely popular rowing design since I first published the plans in 1981.  You may even turn up a critique of it on the web.   If you have questions, please call me 802-372-5204.  I'm online irregularly.   Thx again......Ken"

-- Jon Bahrt (, November 09, 2004.


I am not familiar with the Firefly but here are some thoughts on the Echo.

I raced an Echo in the Blackburn two summers ago ('03) and it was great. The conditions were probably considered average (2-3 foot swells on the outside part of the course). You might lose some time relative to a Maas 24 in the first few miles of the race where it's usually pretty flat, but if it's rough around the outside, I think you would much rather be in an Echo (depends on your skill level/confidence too). It handles the chop extraordinarily well and any water that does makes its way into the small cockpit, will run out through the self-bailer. I did not have to slow down or pause for anything including several nasty powerboat wakes. The Echos seem to be the best all around open water shells on the market given their speed, rough water handling capability, quality of construction and ease of use.

Good luck with your decision, the Blackburn is truly worth the effort.


-- Peter Schwab (, November 10, 2004.

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