Frequently Asked Questions

Rowing Skills

Can anyone learn to row?
Learning to row a Westport Jolly Boat is very easy.  This type of stable rowing boat is often used by rowing clubs to teach novice rowers how to row. The basics can be picked up in as little as 30 minutes and after an hour or so you will be rowing with confidence. Anyone from young to old, small to large can learn to row. Even if your movements are limited you can row and may even find that gentle and regular rowing improves your movement and strength.

Where can I learn to row?
If you are a confident small boat user then take a look at our Rowing page which has enough technique and tips to get you rowing by yourself.  Alternatively contact with your local Rowing Club who should run regular courses for novices of all ages and abilities.

How can I improve my Rowing?
If you have the basics but want to improve your technique for fitness and training then contact your local Rowing Club. All rowing clubs have trained coaches who can help improve your technique and provide training programs that best suit you. There are also many books dedicated to the sport of rowing/sculling and how to improve your technique and skills. Books will help you understand rowing and broaden your background knowledge while coaches will look at your technique and take you through the step by step process of improving your actual rowing technique.

I use an indoor rowing machine at my local gym; can I row a Jolly Boat to help keep me fit instead?
Yes, indoor rowing machines have been developed as a training aid for rowing athletes. If you already use a machine to row then you have already trained your major muscles groups to row, so getting afloat and rowing a Jolly Boat will be even easier – though be warned, once you have exercised on a Jolly Boat you may never wish to visit your gym again!

I'm a regular river rower but wish to use the Jolly Boat to explore estuaries and more open water but have no navigation knowledge, where can I gain this knowledge?
Understanding navigation, tides and weather is very important as you start to explore rowing in estuaries and sheltered coastal waters. There are many books available on small boat navigation with the RYA (Royal Yachting Association) probably providing the best books for learning in association with their Navigation Courses which are run all around the UK. Sea Kayaking books also tend to devote several sections to navigation and weather, while providing good back ground information as well. Your local Coastal Rowing Club should also be able to advise you and may even run courses.

All Ages, Sizes & Abilities

We have been rowing ‘fine’ boats at our local rowing club for many years but are now looking to broaden our rowing to include Lochs, Estuaries and more Open Waters – is you boat suitable?
The Westport Jolly Boat is perfect for touring and extended cruising with plenty of storage capacity and an efficient hull shape. To make her seaworthy and suitable for more open waters she has a greater beam and depth than the racing ‘fine’ boats, though she maintains a surprisingly swift cruising speed of around 4.5knots/5.2mph/8.3kph, (5.5knots/6.3mph/11.1kph sprint).

We are retired and wish to row the Jolly Boat with our young grandchildren – is it suitable?
Yes of course, whether you are 7 or 70, anyone can easily use the light weight carbon sculls to row the Westport Jolly Boat – you’ll find that the grandchildren will be out-pacing you in no time at all! They will love climbing in and out of the water from the boat, practicing safety drills without even realising it.

I wish to lose weight but I am concerned that I may be too large to row?
The Westport Jolly Boat is designed for a maximum load of up to 250Kg so weight should not be an issue. In fact regular rowing is an ideal way to lose weight and improve your fitness, there are no impact or shock loads normally associated with jogging or running and rowing exercises all your major muscles groups, burning up to 500-600 calories per hour. As with all sports, exercise sensibly and within your own capabilities, gradually increasing the length and intensity of your rows over a period of time, if in doubt seek advice from a trained coach at your local rowing club.

Average Speeds

We wish to take the Jolly Boat on extended tours, but we are not sure what speeds she can maintain?
The Westport Jolly Boat has been designed for good seakeeping and dryness in choppy seas as well as for carrying plenty of kit when touring.  If you are out for an hours row then you should easily be able to average 4.5knots/5.2mph/8.3kph and around 4.0knots/4.6mph/7.5kph over an afternoon. If you prefer ‘a stroll in the park’ to ‘a cross country hike’ then cut your effort by 50% and still achieve around 3.5 knots/4.0mph/6.5kph.

Launch & Recovery

I wish to use the Jolly Boat to row new rivers, estuaries and sheltered coastal waters and will need to be able to launch and recover from various locations, i.e. slipways, beaches, river banks, etc. – is this possible?
Yes, you will need a road trailer for traveling to the various locations and then probably just a set of boat wheels if you can’t get the trailer down to the water. If you have a large family car that is rated for a 75kg roof rack load (check your car’s handbook) then you can place the Westport Jolly Boat on top of your car - you will need boat pads and a suitable ladder roller fitted to your standard roof rack as well as the boat wheels to get you down to the water.

We only have a small family car; can we still tow a Jolly Boat?
Typically a single or double Westport Jolly Boat with a road trailer will weigh in at under 250kg, well within the capabilities of most small cars – check your car’s handbook for maximum towing weight.

We wish to keep our Westport Jolly Boat on the river but are not sure if it is best to keep her in the water or alongside on the river bank?
Keeping your boat out of the water will avoid having to clean away marine growth from the bottom and it is generally more secure.  The Westport Jolly boat can be simply pulled up onto a dock side or river bank so there is no need for a trailer or launching trolley, though fitting keel runners to your dock/pontoon will make this easier. If you keep your boat afloat then think about painting her bottom with a suitable marine anti-foul paint, this will last a year and keep the boat weed free, (check with your local chandlery or river authority regarding suitable anti-foul paints).

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