Oxford Shell?


Anyone built one of these?  My daughter is on the HS rowing team.  I'd like to get her a 1x, but a carbon fiber at $8K is a little steep for me, so I'm thinking we should build an Oxford shell for 1/10th the price.  I'd really like to talk to someone who's built one to see about performance, issues, and all around impressions.



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RE: Oxford Shell?

The Oxford Shell is among the easiest of the CLC kits to build.  The rigging will be less complex than a racing shell, which might be a good thing for a younger rower.  The Oxford will be more stable than a racer (with the blades out of the water) but not as fast.  Still plenty fast for a recreational rowing shell.  If you have access to suitable water, the Oxford would be a great training adjunct for your daughter and also suitable for others in the family.  If there is any way you can demo an Oxford, do it.  I think that would be a clincher

I can't talk too much about performance because the one I built I gave to a brother.  It's still in the family.  An ex-college rower friend, with an expensive shell of his own, has rowed it and was impressed with it's performance.  In fact, he has rowed it several times.  One of these days I'll get around to building another Oxford for me (yup, I'm addicted to building small craft).

 You used the word 'we' in your post.   Building an Oxford with your daughter could be a wonderful experience.  Ours built a Chessie 16LT as a HS project.  She was amazed at how the long floppy pieces of plywood came together to become a kayak.  And wasn't fazed by either the glass work or sanding (sanding is fun, sanding is fun, sanding is ...).

Let me know if you want more info or to talk, I'd be happy to help.   

RE: Oxford Shell?

Another DIY rowing shell that I've seen but not rowed is the Kingfisher from woodenboat.com, this link might work: http://www.woodenboatstore.com/prodinfo.asp?number=400%2D051

The owner has fared quite well in races.  And it looks great--it has classic wooden beauty.  Slightly longer and less beamy, so it might scoot a bit faster than the Oxford Shell.  Not as fast as a 1x, nor as tippy, to be sure.  We own a Maas Aero a relatively fat scull, but fun. 

RE: Oxford Shell?

The Kingfisher is a premier DIY rowing shell.  There was an excellent three-part construction article in Woodenboat issues 61-63 (1984-85).  The listed kit price at that time was $1150.  Don't know if a kit is still available, but it would certainly be more expensive than the Oxford.  The Kingfisher's construction is much more along the lines of wooden racing shells and will be much more difficult to build.  It is not stitch & glue.  If you are reasonably meticulous and have some woodworking/boatbuilding experience you could certainly build a head-turning Kingfisher, but it will cost more in time and money.  If interested, I recommend you buy a set of the KF plans and get a copy of the construction articles, and DO IT.

There are a few other rec shell plans on the market.  Do a web search.

On the other hand, lacking moderate woodworking skills and not having a lot of free time, the Oxford Shell would be a very good practical choice.

A few other tid bits:  The KF is two-feet longer than the OS; they both have similar waterline beams; the KF's draft is one-inch deeper; the KF's rigger is built in, making its spec'ed hull two-pounds heavier, but adding the rigger to the OS makes its total hull weight about 15-20 pounds heavier (depends on the builder); the OS would probably have a slightly more rugged hull (more ply and glass); and the OS would be easier to maintain.

RE: Oxford Shell?

The Oxford shell is one of the 2 boats I want to build in addition to the Shearwater I recently finished.

My son is on the rowing team also and I asked him which he would rather have, the Ches 17LT or the Oxford because both are pricey when you figure the row wing that also has to be purchased and the hatchet oars.

Anyway, anyone know of a shell (single) that can be built with outriggers? My search has turned up zero. The outriggers and sliding seat tracks on the school owned race boats look so much cheaper than what the row wing costs.

So far, just the Ches 17lt is on the schedule. Would like to build both and build them at the same time this time around.

Any links for shell kits/plans and available outriggers appreciated.

RE: Oxford Shell?

Having built a number of both the Kingfisher and Oxford Shell's  from plans and also spent time in both I can say this at todays prices you will find the cost of either to be about the same by the time you purchase the hardware for either,  the time spent on a Kingfisher would be 2 1/2 to 3 times as long and I would suggest some good advanced boatbuilding experience,

the problen we have finding a less expensive shell is always about the rig and unless you have a machine shop available and good fabrication skill"s you will find a purchased rig to cost the same or less than one you have put together yourself

the engineering  that went into the Piantedosi rig is extremely good and is almost foolproof in its setup (although it takes a little patience to get it perfect)

it is a simple  durable product that really cannot be beat for its intended purpose and $$$ look at the other rigs available and compare the prices

We do not really agree on the mount system for the rig as shown by CLC and have a better system that does take about an extra minute to put in or take out but it is a much more solid mount contact us we can explain it to you if you are interested   

C Fox Boat School

cfoxwoodboats.com (yes the sight is back up and running) 

RE: Oxford Shell?

After building a North Bay XL, now discontinued, I built the Mark II Sail Rig for it and even went so far as to add a foresail.  I then reused the outriggers, made a set of shorter arms, and mounted a rowing rig on top of the kayak.  The outriggers keep the rig very stable in the water, but the sliding seat is too high above the waterline because if has the clear the coming.  I still use it a couple of times a year for exercise, but it does take a half hour at least to set up.

 The original plan was to use just the outriggers to make a rowing catamaran, a shorter version of R. Buckminester Fuller's.  Taking a crude mock-up with some 2x6 arms up to the lake, I realized I had built the first submarine rower.  Needing more flotation, I lengthend the arms and stuck the kayak under it.  One of these days I may try to make a longer set of outriggers so i can go back to Bucky's design.

But the outriggers from the sail rig do work quite well. 

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