8 things to know before you buy a Rowing Boat
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8 things to know before you buy a Rowing Boat

September 3, 2019

I’ve got here a variety of boats here for
you to see the differences between one rowing boat and another. No boat can do everything just like no car
can do everything. This boat is a lot wider and shorter than
this boat which is very long and thin. So this is like your Grand Prix racing car,
it’s a racing boat, it’s my racing boat. And it’s very slim, very unstable, impossible
to learn to scull in. It’s impossible even to sit in this boat
on the water without oars. Now the boat like the Yole here, you could stand up in this boat, turn around,
stand on your head, without oars in it at all. So this is a stable boat, okay? The Turbos have an advantage which I will
explain to you. You can stand in the bottom of the boat when
you get in and out. Why is that important? Well, it affects how stable it feels. This is below the water line so when you get
in it feels stable. You’re standing underneath the point around
which it tips. That’s not the case with a racing boat. Let me show you. In a racing boat, you never stand on the hull
in the bottom of the boat because it’s too fragile, and you have to stand here and this is above
the tipping point. So as soon as you stand in a racing boat it
feels really scary and you get white knuckle syndrome. So, this is not the way to learn. All the boats here have got outriggers, OK? And this is so that we could make the boat
slimmer and that makes it faster than if you had to
have the boat as wide as this. The distance between the gates is the same
on all of the boats. Here the outrigger is attached by nuts and
bolts. Here the outrigger on this boat is attached
by clips, which are very quick to use. And this outrigger, this is a very interesting
boat, slides forwards and backwards. All the boats have got sliding gear, some means of sliding forwards and backwards
so that you can bend your legs and use your whole body to get more power out of the body. And all the boats have got something for you
to press your feet against. This is called a stretcher. All of these boats are unsinkable. That’s to say, they’re full of air and
you could throw as much water over them as you like and they won’t sink because they
have built-in buoyancy. This whole space here is sealed and no air
can get in or out of that and no water can get in or out. This is the same but you can see it’s a
lot bigger, wider, more volume. What’s the difference? Well, if you were to row this through a wave
that was only this high, then, this boat, the cockpit would fill with water and you’d
have wet feet. And this boat would just simply ride over
the top of it. The same with this one here… This Turbo Skiff has a decent volume and will
cope well with waves in a harbour from a big launch wash from a ferry going by or something
like that… whereas this one, again, it’s slim like
a racing boat and on rough water you’ll find water rolling in here. It still won’t sink. You could go over this with an outboard motor
and shred it to pieces and all the pieces would float because of the way it’s made. But you’d get wet inside the cockpit. The wider boats have got runners underneath
or a keel and a skeg at the end. Whereas this one has virtually nothing to
keep it straight but a tiny little fin here. This turbo skiff has got a flat bottom to
keep it stable and as opposed to the separate riggers of the Yole or the racing boat, these
boats both have what we call a wing-rigger. This rigger on the Turbo Skiff slides forwards
and backwards so you would sit here and when you’re bending your legs, instead
of going towards the boat or towards the rigger, the rigger comes towards you. This means that your mass, your weight, stays
still in the middle of the boat. You’re not moving forwards and backwards
all the time. And that reduces the amount of drag, which is what makes the boat go so
fast. And it’s very, very easy to remove. We just undo these two butterfly nuts here,
lift the rigger up and off it comes, very quick. This rigger, it’s very clever insofar as it’s made
out of one big curved piece of aluminium so there’s no focal point for the stress
and it’s very light. It’s quite amazing when you see the bulk
of it. It looks as though it’s going to be heavy
but it’s not heavy. And these clips enable you to remove the rigger
quickly and easily. And the floats here, again, just a couple
of bolts to remove those and you have yourself a boat that’s nearly
a racing boat. It’s not quite as narrow and not quite as
long as a racing boat. And this has, instead of a sliding rigger,
a sliding seat, OK? And again, if we look at this stretcher here,
you put your feet in there without any shoes on. In a racing boat, we put our feet in again
without any shoes on because the shoes are already in the boat. They’re already attached to the boat. They’re
part of the boat. These flexible shoes came in, in the 1970s
when slides started to get longer and longer and longer till the point where people’s heels were
lifting out of the heel traps and this meant that your feet would fall out of the shoes so that was no good, so flexible shoes, got
around that problem. This boat, we call it a Yole, you can use
it as a single or a double. At the moment it’s rigged as a double but
it takes a jiffy to change it to a single. That’s it – rigged as a single, you move
the stretcher to here and then it’s a single. Or you can take a passenger with you so you
can use this as a real family boat. Really, to understand why this boat is suitable
for use on the sea and it’s self-bailing – water that comes in and straight back
out, you need to understand that the water line
is here and it comes right to the tip of the boat here and there’s a gap between the water line,
about that much, and the open aft. What you can also see on the Yole is that
it’s made of two hulls really; an inner hull and an outer hull. This is how lifeboats are made so there is
a lot of air trapped inside this space so that’s what keeps it afloat and makes
it feel it feels like a cork – when you’re rowing
on a rough sea, it just goes up and down with the waves, rides
over the waves really easily. And any water that gets over the bows, if
you do get water over the bows, then it just runs straight down here and out of the boat
so it never fills up with water. You can use a Yole upriver on nice calm water
but you can also row it on the Atlantic and I’ve done this. People have rowed across the channel in this
boat. Somebody has even rowed around Iceland in
one of these. Okay, just a brief word about materials. You can have boats like this Turbo Skiff made
out of fibreglass and polyester or you can have it made out of polyethylene like this. Polyethylene is very tough and resilient and
you could drop it and it would bounce. This actually is a section through a Yole
and you can have a Yole made out of polyethylene also. Polyethylene is an industrial material. It’s the same thing that you make washing-up-bowls
from. If you were using a Yole as a working boat
then you’d want to have it as polyethylene. If you want to go fishing and leave your boat
on the beach, then polyethylene is a good material to choose. But it’s heavier. The difference between a Yole in fibreglass
and a Yole in polyethylene is about 30 pounds. But it’s cheaper because it’s made in
an industrial process. Fibreglass, because it’s a hand-made product,
it’s more expensive but it does look a lot nicer and it is lighter and therefore faster. If you’re going to use a boat in a club
or a school where it’s going to get a lot of abuse then a polyethylene boat is a good
idea. If you want to take your daughter or your
granddaughter or your brother or wife out rowing then you need a boat that is capable
of taking two people like the Yole here and if you want to row in the sea you definitely
need a boat like this. And if you want to progress to a racing boat,
then it’s a good idea to have a boat where you can go from having stabilizers when you
learn to taking them off so you’re nearly here
and then you can progress to a racing boat. So that’s a great boat for use in schools
and clubs to teach people to scull. So there you have it. No one boat will do everything.


  • Reply Richard Sidler March 26, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Thank you Mr. Walker, love that EDON TS515 training scull, on your mailing list now, look forward to hearing about it. Best of luck!

  • Reply Shane McCarthy April 22, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Nice jumper

  • Reply Ella Payne May 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Ahh see i was going to buy a single scull and ended up with that fat one.

  • Reply Djordje Simic November 6, 2012 at 1:25 am

    tip no.2 gotta know it's an Empacher boat…

  • Reply Stephen Walker November 6, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Check out my recent video "My WinTech Racing Boat" and you will discover that there are other fast boats too. And remember that the French call them Empa-cher, cher meaning expensive or dear! I recently heard of a young man who was going well in a WinTech and decided to invest in one of these expensive boats but he didn't go any faster and sadly he gave up the sport altogether! Not what we want to encourage.
    Anyway I don't sell racing boats, I sell entry-level boats such as those shown above.

  • Reply Djordje Simic November 8, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    i was joking, nothing was personal ofcourse, but thanks a lot;) i heard of wintech boats and respect your work!

  • Reply Stan Buckley December 16, 2012 at 3:02 am

    Thank you for taking the time to help us new comers.

  • Reply kralamgir rana May 5, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    8 things to know before you buy a Rowing Boat

    by Stephen Walker • 26,872 views

    Expert coach Steve Walker, founder of Ahoy-Boats, gives 10 minute introduction to different types of rowing & sculling boats. Steve has over 40 years rowing and sculling experience and explains in…

  • Reply gs032009 July 22, 2013 at 1:28 am

    How much is the 4WD rowing boat- the yhull???
    Will u show us how you attach the seat and outrig?
    Thank you.

  • Reply modypython July 28, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Where I can buy large amount of those boats does anyone knows a place the pat sell those?

  • Reply Stephen Walker August 5, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Please go to the Ahoy-Boats web site and click on the Contact tab in the top right corner. Either telephone me or fill in the form, stating your requirements and submit it.

  • Reply Stephen Walker August 5, 2013 at 9:24 am

    The Yole comes in 3 versions, the Club, the Class and the Custom. Prices vary accordingly. PLease go to the Ahoy-Boats web site and check out the prices there. There is a PRICES tab at the top of every page.

  • Reply Charles Ederer August 20, 2013 at 1:13 am

    I'm interested in the yhall. Where do I get one?

  • Reply drphosferrous August 27, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    you said the oarlocks are all spaced the same from centerline? What is that distance and how does that effect leverage, assuming the same oarlength and waterline angles?

  • Reply Stephen Walker September 15, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    The standard span from the centre of one pin to the other is 160cm. In
    racing boats this is adjustable and in some recreational boats too. The
    smaller you are the tighter you would expect the span to be set but this
    would toughen the gearing unless you also reduce the overall length of the
    oars (sculls) and reduce the inboard length in proportion to the outboard
    length. This is a whole can of worms that you can open up!

  • Reply Stephen Walker September 15, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Actually it is a Yole. You can buy at the Ahoy-Boats web site. Check it out.

  • Reply Stephen Walker September 15, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Check out the Ahoy-Boats web site. And hopefully now, if I've done my jb right, you might find links, as annotations, on the video above. Check them out.

  • Reply endika sanz martinez October 14, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    How much can cost a rowing boat

  • Reply spo7878 June 21, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Hi Stephen,
    it´s quite interesting this video as back in the 90´s when i start on a rowing club (Lisbon – Portugal) i don´t recall having this "school boats".  Back then the coach just through me into a racing boat and i had to start from there. We did have the yole but 4 pax and 8 pax.
    Thank you for the uploading as i have been out of rowing from several years and i plan to come back soon ( with the family) so this has given me a new light.

  • Reply kenous atuss March 22, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    Excellent video.  In a couple of years I will retire, and am looking forward to taking up rowing as a summertime activity.  Thank you for posting such an educational video.

  • Reply liliana basile September 18, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    when buying a sculling boat, should I consider my height? how to choose it?

  • Reply Patricia Bird November 22, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    question…i'm going to buy one in 2.5 years when i retire…i have a dog who swims and is around 50 pounds…can he sit in the front of the white boat?

  • Reply Lisa Giulianelli November 28, 2015 at 12:57 pm


  • Reply jockellis May 23, 2016 at 4:03 am

    Somewhere I read that well used eight-year-old racing boats were shot. Do you agree?

  • Reply Richard Ernsberger April 29, 2017 at 12:36 am

    So what is the third boat from the left–the white boat between the narrow racing boat and the Turbo Skiff? And what type of rowing is it most suited for? And same question for the Turbo Skiff? tks.

  • Reply Janet Graaff June 18, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Hello Stephen, it was a treat to watch your video. Thanks. Just wondering, for those of us stuck in the USA, whether you know of an equivalent to your fabulous TS515 Training Scull? I am about to relocate to NW Connecticut–lots of lakes, and a few stretches of river without rapids. Looking forward to trying a new sport! Best wishes, Janet

  • Reply Lindsey Fugitt July 7, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    Hi Stephen! I have been looking for a sculling boat that is stable and good for lakes and oceans. The white boat on the far left you called a yull?? Is that the type of boat or the brand? Where can I purchase a boat like this? Thank you!

  • Reply Eric Christensen July 8, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Great overview Stephen. I was looking for an explanation of the differences between the normal racing hull I learned on and an "open water" style hull and this video provided exactly the information I needed. I didn't even realize there were so many options in the spectrum. Thank you very much for putting this together and sharing.

  • Reply James Neumann July 16, 2017 at 12:41 am

    Excellent video, Mr Walker. I'm getting back into rowing after 25 years away – I'd rowed in eights and fours at university in the US.

    I'm interested in getting a single, something similar to the racing scull you show. The last time I rowed was an Empacher (sp?), and that was sweet! What would you recommend I look at that similar but less dear? I'm 6'2 and 245, and would have access to a garage to store it.

  • Reply Alli White August 11, 2017 at 8:16 am

    very useful information! thanks

  • Reply John Layton August 14, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    where do I get the white boat?

  • Reply John Layton August 14, 2017 at 11:47 pm

    sorry, the blue and white boat

  • Reply XO3PO October 15, 2017 at 2:45 am

    Hey I'm in middle school and today I won my first regatta in a mixed quad

  • Reply Gary Schneider May 11, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    Hi Stephen. Can I buy one of these Yoal's ? in America. Thank you

  • Reply Robin July 28, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    Polyethylene isn't worth its weight at any bargain price. Buy better or build from wood and from scratch. Too much plastic already afloat.

  • Reply Susan Payette August 22, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    Thank you for this informative video. I am interested in coastal rowing and wonder if you could comment on the relative merits of the Liteboat lite sport+ and the Eurodiffusion x light or yole 18. I am 65 years old and weigh 110 lbs. Thanks in advance, Susan

  • Reply Carlos Enrique Amaro September 4, 2018 at 7:28 am

    Great video! Beautiful boats. I'm interested in buying one to work-out and to go fishing while I'm at it and possibly bring a friend along. I like all those 4 you've just demonstrated. If only I had the money to buy all 4! Ha! I wonder if I can add a small engine to the 2 seater boat on the far left. I'm sure that would need a battery and would increase the drag.

  • Reply Mary H Yarborough September 28, 2018 at 11:14 pm

    Steve Walker inspires me.

  • Reply LAXY H October 3, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    Could you tell me the make of the red fine single in this video please

  • Reply 1969DocHoliday November 30, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    Nice jacket Stephen..;-)

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