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How to choose which single scull to buy

A reader asks “Enquired about a single scull for sale but it sold before I got back from … read more

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A reader asks “Enquired about a single scull for sale but it sold before I got back from holiday. Gutted. Then I saw your June article, How much does a second hand 1x cost trying various websites you list but most boats gone that are of interest. Will keep looking but how the hell do you decide which make is right for you?”

Rowing single sculls in a race, rowperfect Rowing single sculls in a race

Our answer

Your best bet in buying a boat is to buy the best you can afford. If you can afford a new one now – it’ll see you out as a masters rower. That is the best solution.

I’d choose a Filippi again because they are strong, don’t go soft with age and hold their value well.

Try all the different makes as new boats – then you have a standard to compare against.  Ask the agent to advise you.

If you just want one to muck about in and not race – get a second hand Janousek. They will be OK to row and nothing flash plus they are easy to repair and there are lots of them on the UK market.

If you want to continue to improve your sculling get a really good boat.

Avoid the older Chinese-made boats – when they first started building them they usually had a good hull and bad riggers and fitments – they break.  More recent models may be different so look carefully and ask the owner which parts they’ve replaced.

Before you start buying, go and try as many different boats as you can so you find out which one rows differently.

Go to the single scull trial with this information

Know your oar length/inboard and when you get in set your foot stretcher so you have the same gap between your handles at the finish in every boat you try.

Also take a pitch gauge and tape measure with you so you can measure the span and rigger pitches so you know what it was set on.


When you’ve tried all the different makes, then start looking to buy the one you like the best.

Good luck

About Rebecca Caroe
Rebecca is the host of RowingChat podcast and is a masters athlete and coach. Passionate about helping others enjoy the sport as much as she does. View all posts from Rebecca Caroe

2 thoughts on “How to choose which single scull to buy

    1. Dear Nick, that’s a good question and I guess the answer is I don’t know. However in my experience most major manufacturers with a UK distributor will be able to organise a tryout within reason. Whether or not it would be the exact model and crew weight you want is down to luck and therefore the trial would be of limited use. I suggest contacting the distributor of the boat you are considering.

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