Tuesday 25 January 2011

Rowing in a cross chop

Richard Raskin has emailed with a problem:
I am looking to purchase a used sliding seat boat. I want it capable of going on Long Island Sound with cross chop. I had a Alden Ocean double for many years but it could not handle the cross waves.
Is there a place/magazine where rowers advertise used boats for sale?
Right now I think I would like a Whitehall 14 Solo but I am not really sure.
I rather like the Whitehall 14 Solo, but I wonder if you might be better off with a fixed seat boat. A fixed thwart means you can spread your feet and brace yourself to pull into cross waves.
Fixed seat rowing has a lot to offer if you are not racing. Over longer distances, the advantages of sliding seats diminish because you must row aerobically and at those lower power levels you will be pushing the boat towards its hull speed anyway.
And having a fixed thwart means it is much easier to move around the boat when you stop for a drink, a rest and a chance to take the weight off your bum every so often.
Is there anyone in the Long Island Sound area who can point Richard to suitable boats?
My new boat, currently under construction, will now have fixed thwarts. Here's another teaser pic ------->


peterson said...


I recently built a chester yawl (from a CLC kit) and row it regularly in Raritan Bay. She is sturdy, handsome, quick and can handle some serious chop with aplomb.
I row it both as a fixed ( 7.5' oars on gunwhale) and as a sliding seat ( piantedosi row wing w/9.5' sculls).
15' x 42" & about a 100 lbs, she can row all day at a good pace. Or with room for gear, do some touring as I did last fall down the Hudson ( or a short part of it...).

You are most welcome to come and look her over & try her out- really no problem. I keep it at my boat club on the south shore of Staten Island. Let me know- I can post you some pics.


Brandon Ford said...

Dave, of Gig Harbor Boats, came up with a sliding seat arrangement that I really like. It is simple and tough. http://www.ghboats.com/dualslidingseats.shtm
The great thing is that if you want it to stay put, you just put a pin through the rail and the seat. Suddenly you have a fixed-seat craft.

He makes a couple of nice rowing boats that may be just right for Richard. The New England Dory http://www.ghboats.com/16_dory.shtmor his version of the Whitehall http://www.ghboats.com/14_whitehall.shtm.

The Melonseed and Jersey Skiff (which are variations on the same boat) could work too, and would accommodate another rower, should occasion permit. http://www.ghboats.com/17_melonseed.shtm

Of course a faering would be the ultimate rowing boat for rough water.


Rick Thompson said...

Hello Chris,

I have to disagree with you (and John Welsford) again on the sliding seat. Even with our slower recreational boats, a sliding seat lets you use different muscles. It can help a lot on long rows - my back is just not that strong.
I agree with wide spaced footrests for bracing, and do not like the usual bum-numbing racing seats - no reason to be uncomfortable whether sliding or fixed.

All the best,


Clint Chase said...

I do a lot of rowing in chop and understand his need for a boat that can handle it. The important thing I find in these conditions is something with some secondary stability but not a flat bottom like a dory....a V-shape that can also do well when rowing into that chop, a hull shape that peels away the waves. Wetted surface may rise, but you can keep a short, quick stroke (high rating) and keep the boat speed up and let her do her thing. This is what I designed Drake for and, I am biased, but must say she exceeded my expectations.

Doug said...

I have a wonderful 14' fixed seat Piscataqua Wherry for sale in Greewnich, CT. It is made by Bay of Maine Boats in Kennebunk, ME. See www.bayofmaineboats.com. Very similar to Whitehall design. It has a removable sliding seat, which I rarely use. Included would be cover and lightly used pair of Shaw and Tenney oars. Photos available if interested. Doug (917) 903-7446.