Newbie Advice Needed Please

Canoes, Kayaks, Pedal power

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Newbie Advice Needed Please

Post by Bigboy »

Hi, I am looking at doing some moderate rowing this summer and need some advice on what type of boat I should look for. I'm looking to spend no more than $500 (US)

I live about 200 meters from the Ottawa River and want to be able to carry the boat on my shoulders if possible. I'm pretty big, but boat weight should be a consideration.

The river is generally sedate with a strong current and is only 1/2 mile across so I can get to shore if things act up.

I want to have fun and exercise and am not interested in anything tippy like a scull. I've looked at Imps, Skiffs, Foamies (these I like!) and something called a Fife and they all look like they'll do the trick.

I'd like to buy a used boat if possible but I also have a carpenter friend who has built several cedar-strip canoes. So kits would be a possibility depending on difficulty and cost.

Any advice you could offer would be appreciated - sorry for asking so much on my 1st post.

Thanks, Peter

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Post by DanH »

I don't have any rowing experience and can't offer any specific suggestions for you, but I can tell you that building these boats is not difficult. The is especially true for the stitch and glue designs. No traditional woodworking skills are required. The biggest factor is time. Even the smallest boats can take 6 weeks of part-time work if you target a quality finish.

Scott C
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Post by Scott C »

I have just recieved my plans for the 'Fife'. I can't give you any idea about costs in your part of the world but the plans and building instructions are easy to understand. If you have a friend that is even moderately experienced in woodworking you won't have any troubles at all.

Have a look at the bill of materials in the catalogue, this should give you an idea of costs. There are some good photos in the Customer photos section which will give you tips on the methods required to build.

Other than all that as everyone else on the forum will tell you - pick a boat design that you like and will get good use of and go for it

Stoker: Tug boat AT 2700 'Joe Mann'
I used to have a handle on life ................. but then it broke off.

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Graham Knight
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Post by Graham Knight »

How about the Glen-L Whitehall? It looks beautiful strip planked and will row like a dream, if it's too big at 16' 11" it can be shortened to just over 15'.
Otherwise the Fife looks like your best bet among the Glen-L designs, there are plenty of candidates from other designers but I wouldn't want to name them here!

If you do intend to row it a lot I'd say look for something with an absolute minimum 3:1 length to beam ratio (at the waterline), anything less than that will become hard work if you row any distance, and especially against a current.

Also look for a boat that is effectively double ended (a "wineglass" transom achieves this), it'll row much easier than a flat transom, which at rowing speeds creates a turbulent area behind the boat sucking you back.
Graham in Shepperton, England

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Post by Jadero »

Just to add my 2 cents: Stability is hard to judge by eye. While I agree that a true sculling platform is tough to fish from :) you don't need to have a lot of width to be stable. I've got what I call a recreational scull (merry wherry, not Glen-L, sorry). Most people think it's a canoe, but the hull is much different than a canoe, and for my money, more forgiving than a canoe. Although it is tender (it rocks quite easily), the fact that it feels the same whether upright or laid over to a gunwale makes for a very comfortable boat in all kinds of weather.

It's also important to note that you get a great deal of stability from the oars themselves. When they're sitting flat on or just under the surface of the water, the boat feels like it's got pontoons. In fact, even the Olympic-class sculls feel rock solid with both oars in, and even one oar in is plenty.

My advice is to first go take a class at the local rowing club. That gets you started on the right foot and will completely change your mind about stability. I already had some rowing experience and that class was the best thing I ever did. And there is no substitute for taking your own boat in to the last couple of classes--I was top dog for awhile and just about everybody wanted to take a spin :)

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Post by capsaicinrain »

I was thinking of buying the sculling kit myself (I would rather spend a few hundred dollars and some man hours than a few THOUSAND dollars for a carbon/fiberglass shell. I'm not going to the olympics or anything, I just want something to practice on for the school rowing team.

In response to the stability problem, there is a website for Win-Tech racing shells, and they sell stability pontoons for shells. The link is: ... &Itemid=36

...if you're interested.
When reading my posts please don't criticize, I am extremely new to this.

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