Skua - Now available in FIBERGLASS!

Skua

Pronounced skoo-ah or skyoo-ah (noun)

Classic Skua Rowing Boat 1) A powerful, gull-like, seabird of the polar regions. A deceptively fast flier known for taking prey from other birds of prey.

2) Probably the most historically significant fixed seat rowing craft that you cannot read about in a book* and quite possibly the most important rowing design of the 20th century. In the early 1990s Skua became the first sub-100 lbs. craft, in modern times, to win a major fixed seat open water race. At one time or another, Skua has won nearly every regularly scheduled race on the East Coast. Skua's consistent, strong performances on the open water racing circuit helped to dispel some widely held beliefs which were unsupported by any reasonable interpretation of the principals of naval architecture or the laws of physics. Prior to that time most people in the rowing community believed that undecked, fixed seat rowing craft needed to be very deep, beamy and heavily built to survive in the coastal environment; yet many of Skua's greatest victories were achieved in very rough conditions. Before Skua's breakout performance many people thought that any boat equipped with a sliding seat, regardless of hull length or shape could outperform any fixed seat boat, but in multi-class races Skua's finishing times often bested those of sliding seat recreational shells.

Skua proved to modern rowers that a well-designed and built lightweight rowing cruiser is superior to any workboat replica (see our FAQ page) and her success inspired other builders to bring other lightweight, fixed seat designs to the coastal environment, with varying results. What is absolutely certain is that no coastal workboat replica has seriously challenged these lightweight craft in a single major open water event since the mid-1990s. That period marked the beginning of a distinct preferential shift in buying habits within the recreational rowing community.

Before that time casual rowers didn't have many good choices. They could pick from a wide assortment of ungainly, obsolete, 19th century coastal workboats totally unsuited to car-topping and far too heavy for most couples to carry to and from the water. Back then, the lightweight alternative was some sort of complex, demanding, narrowly focused, "sweat or die" sliding seat shell that offered little possibility of a relaxed, casual outing. As more rowers become aware of clear, practical alternatives, growing numbers are choosing versatile, able, user-friendly, high-performance, fixed seat open water craft.

* As this was being written, all of the major texts available that deal with fixed seat rowing were written more than three decades ago.

 

 

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Soon after its introduction in 1991 the 16 foot Skua became our most popular model. It’s easy to see why. From its fine, yet buoyant bow to its high, tightly tucked transom, this elegant craft has everything the performance oriented cruising rower could want: speed, stability, capacity, ruggedness, portability and safety. All of these qualities can be found in other rowboats, but not in the balance that makes this one so special. With an effortless glide Skua almost seemed to be self-propelled and to track and turn in direct response to your brainwaves. Skua brought all of this in a package that was as light and easily transported as many canoes.

Until 1996 Skua, like our 19 other models, was available constructed in wood/epoxy/fiberglass composite only. The interest in this design was so broad that we decided to make it available in a more affordable fiberglass lay-up so that more people will have the opportunity to experience this remarkable design. Thus Skua became our first design offered with hulls constructed primarily of fiberglass-reinforced plastic

SKUA Features

The price of these elegant craft is $5,000 for the basic fixed seat model. This price includes 2 pairs of gunwale mounted bronze oarlocks and 1 pair of leathered premium quality 7’6" spoon-bladed wooden oars.

For decades we offered a combination fixed/sliding seat model that came with all of the features, fittings and accessories that come standard with the fixed seat model, plus a drop-in sliding seat unit and a pair of high quality 9’ 9" carbon fiber sculls. Due to the erratic availability of quality drop-in rowing units in recent years, we’ve decided to drop this offering. We don’t like disappointing customers by making promises that we can’t keep.

You may still order your Skua with a fixed seat, but ready for a sliding seat (should they become available) for $5,300.

Many fisherman have requested rod-holders and trolling set-ups over the years. After much experimentation, we’ve found a way to give them what they want. You may have your new, fixed seat Skua fitted with trolling fittings for $5,300.

As always, our designs are available as completed boats only; we do NOT sell kits or plans.
 

This boat was ordered with several custom features.

 

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