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How to Choose a Rowing Boat

The 2012 Louisiana Dragon Boat Races sponsored by the Alexandria Museum of Art is held on the Red River at the Amphitheater in downtown Alexandria, Louisiana.

There is a common expression that size matters, but when it comes to choosing a rowing boat this is certainly the case. A boat that is too small or for that matter too large is of little used to the owner. There are of course, a host of other aspects and features that you must take into account when you are looking to select a boat, and we continue with some tips and advice to help you along the way.

Size Matters

There is no rule book on the size of the craft you should look to buy, but we have listed below some helpful questions that may help you to understand the type of craft you need.

  • How many people do you think will sail in the boat?
  • What purpose is the boat for?
  • Where do you intend to use the boat?
  • How will you transport it?
  • How will you keep it?
  • What is your age?
  • What is your size?
  • How strong are you?

When you come up with the answers to these questions then you will have an idea of what size of boat best fits your purpose.

Hull Material

There really are two main choices for rowing boat hull materials, and that is wood and Kevlar. The most expensive are wooden boats, whereas a Kevlar boat may only cost a quarter of that. There are pros and cons for both materials. A wooden boat is more rigid than a Kevlar one, however Kevlar is more durable and easier to upkeep. If you are going to carry the boat around, then you should opt for the lighter material. But if your boat is going to be kept at a marina then you could consider a wooden boat.

Long or Short?

As a rule of thumb a longer boat is usually better than a short one, it is faster in the water and the maneuverability is superior. A shell that has been designed with speed in mind, tend to have superior balance and can cut through water better. Hull speed depends on the length of the boat, as a craft cannot travel any faster than the wave it creates as it moves forward. So, the length of the boat is also a defining factor just as the size of your row boat is.

Types of Craft

There are basically three types of rowing boats:

  • Flat water shells.
  • Open water shells.
  • Traditional skiffs.

The first type, flat water shells, are basically racing boats. They are graceful and sleek and can only really be used on flat and calm water. Open water shells are really fun boats to row and can be used on much rougher water than flat water shells. They are still fast as they are lightweight, and a great boat to develop your rowing skills. Finally, traditional skiffs are the mongrels of the boating world, they are easy to row and are great fun to own. They are also very stable so are the best boats to carry around people, and everybody can remain safe and dry. So, there are your choices, now it is up to you to decide which type of boat most suits your purpose.