Recreational rowing boats

Edon now do an affordable recreational rowing boat that comes complete with pontoons for cold water rowing and learning. $2150 from

Light fast fun and easy to use

Don’t know how I would feel about
pontoons. Used to scull on the Charles and the Schuylkill whenever the ice was out and never felt a sense of risk. If I were using a rowing craft on rivers-in-general, including class 1-2 whitewater, I think I would rather row a wider hull like an Adirondack boat than fool with pontoons. You can almost rearrange the letters in pontoons to spell “sponsons.”

or make your own…

Pontoons are good. These work well, can be removed in less than a minute if required. The boat is still fast and fun with the pontoons and is also very light. A guideboat weighs a ton and is pretty slow. Yes it’s stable but you don’t get the feed back you get with an Edon. A lot of rec boats are short and fat (and heavy and slow), this one is short and sleek (and light and very robust), the pontoons are great for cold water rowing where falling in can be a hazard, they’re also great for learning.

The Edon is the number one selling trainer in clubs and schools in the UK and Australia and was introduced into the US in 2008.

If you get the chance have a go in one.

They work better the less they’re in
the water. As for the guide boats, they could be much lighter, but evidently no one cares enough.

Just keeping you honest here:

– Last Updated: Feb-10-09 10:59 PM EST –

My screen name tips my hand regarding my personal rowing bias, but since comparing your boat to a guide-boat is an apples-and-oranges thing, I have no axe to grind. Further, I have no doubt that your boat is a better "fitness rowing boat" and a faster boat on calm waters (and when hauling gear or a passenger is not needed) than a guide-boat, so if that's what's important to a particular buyer, it's a better choice. I do have to point out something very suspicious-looking though. You say a guide-boat "weighs a ton", but your website says the "hull weight" of your boat is 45 pounds. While that's not heavy, I just betcha that by the time you add the weight of that hardware-laden sliding seat and those metal outriggers for the oars, you are getting pretty close to the same weight as an average guide-boat, and if bolting on that stuff doesn't put it in the same weight class as a guide-boat, those pontoons and their hardware will certainly do the trick.

Another thing worth mentioning, which you will hear people say time and time again on this site is that every boat is a design compromise. That's why a "hard sell" approach that is not purpose-driven is usually a bad idea when talking to people who discuss boats on a regular basis. If someone tells you they would prefer a different boat design, don't say yours is "better", tell us exactly what it is designed to do. If you insist your design is better than, in this case, a guide-boat, someone with a guide-boat just might challenge you to a side-by-side comparison where the boat's purpose and existing water conditions would render your boat would either useless or helpless. A one-person race on very flat water without any cargo on-board would NOT be one of those conditions, but there are many other conditions I can think of where your boat would perform very poorly by comparison. So stick to plugging this as a relatively inexpensive boat for fitness rowing without discounting totally different designs in the process, and good luck to you.

One reason they are heavier than…

– Last Updated: Feb-10-09 10:55 PM EST –

... canoes is that they have no thwarts, so they get their stiffness entirely from the hull and gunwales. A lightweight canoe that is very stiff turns into a wet noodle when the thwarts are removed.

I started rowing in sliding-seat boats ona college crew team, so I thought all fixed-seat boats must be slugs. I was very impressed the first time I tried a 16’ guideboat. Sure, a shell will be faster on flat water, but you’d look damn silly trying to balance a shell with your wife, your dog, and a picnic lunch on board. The guideboat can easily do that in chop and still be a pleasure to row.

Good point on the specifics of designs. One of the fun things about studying traditional craft is learning the reasons behind regional differences. Adirondack guideboats, Rangely Lakes boats, dories, peapods, Whitehalls, etc. — all small rowing craft, but all adapted for specific uses. Neat stuff.

The Edon boat looks fine for what it does, but there’s nothing revolutionary about it.