Oxford Shell vis--vis Martin Trainer

Has anyone on the forum rowed a CLC Oxford Shell AND an Alden Martin Trainer? I recently bought a Trainer (my first shell), and while it seems stable enough, the absolutely flat bottom concerns me. I have paddled some roto-molded kayaks that have a "V" shape to the bottom and find them VERY stable, but I know the lower center of gravity in the kayak has something to do with that stability. I find myself wondering if the "V" in the hull of the Oxford might possibly act like the dihedral of an airplane wing and help to stabilize the boat in open water on the mainland side of Galveston Island, Texas.

Thanks in advance for any and all insights, experiences and observations. 

6 replies:

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RE: Oxford Shell vis--vis Martin Trainer

At one time they were saying, "[The Oxford Shell] is intended for training on smooth water, though she will handle chop of up to a foot or so in the hands of an experienced rower."

If the open water behind Galveston that you will be in has chop or wakes you might want to think of something other than a shell.

I have an Alden Ocean 18 and against chop and boat wakes in the open parts of my 2,000 foot wide tidal river, I do o.k., but I understand why the sleek shells stay u/s in the narrower and no-wake zone sections. My Alden has a flattish U-shaped hull. No problems with that profile, but it is a bit beamier than the two boats you mentioned.

A narrow shell is going to be tippy and there's not much you can do about it except what the instructors say:  Don't let go of the oars.

RE: Oxford Shell vis--vis Martin Trainer


Thanks for the reply. You raised an interesting point which made me realize that I had not considered beam in my stability question. It prompted me to do an apples to apples comparison of published numbers of the beam of various boats: 

Maas 24               14" (open water racer)

Martin Trainer      19"

CLC Oxford          22.5"

Alden 16               24"

Alden 18 2x/1x      29"

Just looking at images of shells online, I had not realized how much variance there was in the beam of different boats, i.e. the Alden 2x/1x is half again as wide as my Trainer. Being a rank beginner with no point of reference, I rather enjoy the "run" of the Trainer and not sure how much of that I'd want to give up for a beamier, but more stable, boat. Oddly, the Trainer was the first boat that came up on the market within single day round trip driving distance.

 Thankfully, I have a weird work schedule that enables me to avoid the "wake happy" weekend power boat people in the 1000-3000 foot wide inlet where I've been sculling. That, and a self-imposed 15mph wind limit, seems to be working.

Of course, being a "hands on" person, I'll probably succumb to the temptation of building my own boat at some point and stitch up a shell :-/

Thanks again

RE: Oxford Shell vis--vis Martin Trainer


I'd say don't give up anything that you don't have to.

I knew I wanted something that could handle open water, even the ocean if the day warranted. That's why I got my Alden. It's fast enough and carries. It can handle the wakes, not that that's fun, but I have confidence that I will remain in an upright boat and there won't be water in there with me.

I can tell you two very nice things about a beamier shell with some freeboard. I can go out and row on days when a small craft advisory is up and no one else is out there. I CAN let go of the oars!

However if I wanted fast and sleek and my desired outings were on flat-enough water to support that, then I wouldn't want the Alden Ocean. I'd be looking at what you are looking at.

CLC's Expedition Wherry has my eye. Perhaps one day. If it were 6" narrower, that day might be sooner.

RE: Oxford Shell vis--vis Martin Trainer

   I was just about to recomend the expedition wherry  but I see someone beat me to it,get the boat that best fits what you'll actualy be using it for the vast majority of the time

RE: Oxford Shell vis--vis Martin Trainer

... or a Waterlust, fitted with oarlocks.

(Yeah I’m a fan of this design.)

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