Rowed 900 km across Bering Sea, in converted Sail Boat : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

I thought this was interesting if you are into ocean rowing. These 2 guys bought a used sail boat on ebay for $2,500.00 and converted for ocean rowing. Fixed seat at that. Same idea I had but more extreme use. Here is a link to their site. I would be interested to learn if anyone out there has converted a sail boat for rowing. It seams like a low cost wat to build a cruser. Boat info is at the bottom of the page.

-- Kevin (, January 01, 2005


Dear Kevin,

If you already own a sailboat, converting it into a rowing craft makes a certain amount of sense. Deliberately buying a sailboat for $2500.00 and then spending an unspecified amount of funds adapting it for rowing makes almost no sense at all. For that kind of money you should be able to build a real open water rowing craft that should outperform any converted sailboat. Going fixed seat seems to be the way to go on so many levels, especially on the budgetary front. 900 km. is a long way, but it really isn't that heroic with good planning. All this stunt proves is that with good preparation and some luck you can row anything, anywhere.

Happy New Year,


-- Andre de Bardelaben (, January 02, 2005.

Andre, I bet your right, I could build something myself for $2,500 but I have never built a boat and not sure if I would take on the task. If I could buy something for under $2k and make the modifications myself (I have tools and skills for the mod but not a complete boat). I have priced having someone build from scratch and it gets pretty expensive. All suggestions and comments are very welcomed.

-- Kevin (, January 02, 2005.

Andre, I am interestied in building an open water rowing boat. What would you suggest for pretty good speed and the ability to handle rough water?

-- Fig Fiegener (, January 03, 2005.

Dear Readers,

At the risk of sounding more interested in trans-oceanic rowing than I am, I'll immerse a couple more toes into this topic. Some of my clients have indeed participated in some long distance rowing adventures.

I've spent much of my career making the case that obsolete, coastal workboats make little sense as rowing cruisers and I haven't changed my tune on that, but considering the evidence that people have been making trips between continents, for thousands of years, in all manner of craft, I'm not certain it makes much difference what kind of craft you choose to risk your lives in. Certainly the plywood "boxes" that have recently become popular for oar powered ocean crossings have proven that a high level of hull refinement and efficiency are not absolutely necessary for a safe crossing.

More than a century ago a couple of Norwegian-American clam diggers rowed their modified New Jersey beach skiff across the Atlantic Ocean. Their 18' skiff was much like the ones they used and trusted at work everyday. It wasn't a bad choice either, with its rounded sections and easy motions.

Most coastal workboats are too broad and deep for ordinary cruising, but that excess capacity actually becomes desirable when these boats are modified and loaded for ultra long open water passages. The sealed compartments, other safety features and supplies will easily sink these craft down close to their designed lines.

I'm a strong advocate of fixed seat rowing when travelling under load because it is simpler, more reliable, more economical and almost always more efficient than sliding seat rowing. The one exception that I'll allow for sliding seat rowing might be ultra-distance rowing (900km. doesn't qualify) where ones legs get almost no exercise for weeks at a time. That's about as much thought as I want to give to this subject for now.



-- Andre de Bardelaben (, January 03, 2005.

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