I'm not a big fan of fibreglass as a rule and there were several 'rowing' boats at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show that confirmed my prejudice. Great lumpy things designed to withstand being hired by trippers who play dodgems with them while hurling empty cans of Special Brew at each other. Yurgh.
But the Heritage 15 skiff is a different animal altogether. Slim and elegant, the hull has an inner liner that gives a nice inside finish, not just the rough side of a grp layup. And the gunwales are real wood, so it looks dead smart.
An interesting feature is the swinging outrigger, designed to avoid clashes with pontoons. The arm rotates in a hole in the gunwale, so you can swing it inboard when coming in to dock. On leaving, you simply swing it out until it can go no further and tighten a clamp to hold it in position.
The riggers can be lifted out of the pivot holes in a trice when putting the boat on a trailer or on top of the car, which should make transportation very much easier.
Out on the water the boat was easy to propel and tracked nicely, but was easy to maneouvre too. Here's a picture of me taking a swift turn right at the end of the lake - see how bendy the oar is.
I liked the boat a lot, and at just under four grand with the teak finish, not absurdly expensive. The Heritage range is made in America and imported by The Rowing Company in Falmouth.