Simon Watts Petaluma Rowing Shell

Wooden rowing shells are rare in the age of carbon fiber, but if you’re not trying to win the Charles they’re a joy to row and a great way to exercise. Simon’s design comes from the 1920s, and his digital plans bring a modern eye to a classic design.

Gregg Sabourin found the original boat in Petaluma, California, in 1986, and with the help of Bill Nielsen drew up the plans to copy it. Simon has led a few classes on building the Petaluma shell, and now he’s trying to spread the word to keep wooden shells on the water. The slide, seat, riggers, shoes, and foot stretchers can be ordered from all sorts of retailers, but we suggest Pocock (https://www.pocock.com/parts-accessories/).

Simon’s son Richard handles the sale of the plans, and his contact info is below. If you have questions about building your own Petaluma, Simon can be reached at simonawatts@earthlink.net.

Design Specs

Designer: 
Gregg Sabourin, Bill Nielsen, and Simon Watts
Year of Design: 
1986-87
LOA: 
Nineteen and a half feet
Beam: 
Twenty-seven inches
Materials: 
Wood
Metal
Propulsion: 
Oars
Skill Level to Build: 
Beginner
Available as: 
Complete Plans
Cost: 
$24
Contact Information: 

Richard Watts
watts@gmavt.net