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Saturday 21 May 2011

The Cruising Rowboat

Some boats just grab your imagination and keeps it working overtime. The Camper Rowboat from Angus Rowboats is just such a boat. I'm up way past my bedtime and can't stop dreaming of the adventures awaiting me if I only build this boat!

To understand the boat you need to know a little about the designer. Colin Angus and his wife, Julie, have collectively rowed more than 40,000 kilometers in a variety of oar-powered craft on oceans, rivers and lakes. Julie Angus made history by becoming the first woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean from mainland to mainland. Colin is the first to row across the Bering Sea from Alaska to Siberia, and he has also voyaged by oar down the length of the Amazon and Yenisey Rivers.

They live on Vancouver Island. Maybe I should say they are based on Vancouver Island, from which they launch their adventures. Outside Magazine listed Colin as one of the top 25 "bold visionaries with world-changing dreams" for his work in promoting lifestyle changes to help the environment.

This new boat looks similar to the one the duo used to row and bike 7,200 kilometers from Scotland to Syria. That boat, the Expedition, is a sliding-seat rowboat built for the open ocean with the capacity to store a bicycle and the boat's trailer in the main water-tight compartment, making the rower/biker amphibious.

At 19 feet and 175 pounds fully rigged, the Camper is about a foot longer. Instead of stowing a bike, the main compartment is now a bedroom. Other innovations include two small pontoons that attach to the outboard ends of the rowing outrigers while at anchor to make the boat a stable platform for lounging, cooking and sleeping.

Angus says the hull shape of the Expedition and the Camper boat are quite different. The Camper is made from eight panels with a V-bottom. The Expedition is made from five panels and has a flat bottom. Both are beautiful boats and look like they would be a blast to row.

(Note to Colin: Please come up with a better name than "Camper." It congers up visions of eating baloney while seated on the tailgate of a Buick Roadmonster stationwagon. Or, worse, elderly RVers driving a half the speed limit.)

The plans for the Expedition are available now from Angus Rowboats, but we will have to wait until fall for the Camper plans.

This summer Colin will attempt to beat the current circumnavigation record of Vancouver Island, which is just over sixteen days (done in a kayak). He will use an Expedition and figures he will need to cover about 75 kilometers a day in a range of conditions.

My optimum use of the Camper, should I ever build one, would be to row a leasurely dozen or so miles between anchorages in, say, Washington state's San Juan Islands. Meantime, the Anguses are planning a non-stop double circumnavigation of Vancouver Island next year with two people in the boat, each taking turns rowing 12 hours a day. (Can't you guys give it a rest; You make me tired.)

Maybe you should rename the boat the Circumnavigator Express. Yah, that's more like it!


  1. The Camper Rowboat from Angus Rowboats is really a nice boat.It is really a nice post.Picture is so nice.I would like to travel like you on The Camper.

  2. Good post Brandon - I was just reading Angus Boats blog this morning thinking I'd like their expedition rowboat

  3. Thanks Max! I feel like I've been slacking on all my blog duties lately. I plan to do better.

  4. I worry when I write something using information gleaned from the web and use pictures without prior consent. So I wrote Colin with the link to this post. Here's part of his reply:
    "That's fantastic - we're pleased to be featured on your blog. I agree with you - the name "Camper" definitely needs to be changed to something more exciting. I'll ponder that one through the summer."

    Thanks Colin.

  5. OMG!!!!! I felt completely in love with the Camper!

  6. Your boat is so lovable. I like to sit in it and taking a view of this sea. After seeing this I felt love of campering.

  7. Great boats!

    A couple of thoughts:

    Make the stabilizers inflateable? Some of the thin-wall, vinyl stow-away types would be ideal.

    Optional lash-downs and rig for hooking two up in catamaran mode. Sailboard sails and light aluminum framing?

    Alternatively, a small, down and cross-wind sail could be set on one oar loom, steering with the other. Ljungstrom has worked very well for us.

  8. Nice boats, have you checked out west shore 18s out of Victoria almost a racing kayak

  9. Www.westshore18.com

  10. West Shore 18* must be a very solid fibreglass layup. The boat is double the weight of the glass-over-ply 18' Angus Expedition. Maybe you wouldn't notice the extra 85lb once you're fully loaded for an expedition but all things being equal I prefer a lighter boat.

    I'm with you on the Camper's name. Thought I saw it referred to as "Row Yacht" which I kind of like. What about "Oarsome B&B"


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