Coffey rowing shells

No, ergs don't yet float, but some of us do, and here's where you get to discuss that other form of rowing.
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Cyclist2
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Coffey rowing shells

Post by Cyclist2 » December 17th, 2018, 5:48 pm

Anyone familiar with Coffey rowing shells?

I'm casually, not seriously, searching for a racing single (I have my Aero for open water). Rowableclassics.com has two Coffey shells that need work for $1000 each. I am capable of that work. I just don't know if the boats are structurally sound or were built well, or anything. An Internet search was not too productive.

Thanks!
Mark Underwood. Rower first, cyclist too.

BobW
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Re: Coffey rowing shells

Post by BobW » December 17th, 2018, 8:40 pm

Hi Mark,

I've been lurking on this forum for quite a while and decided to register just so I could post a reply to your question.

Daryl Strickler wrote "Rowable Classics" and maintained the website of the same name until he passed in October 2015. I believe his sons are continuing to run the business. I am a rower in Daryl's hometown of St. Charles, IL and helped him with several restoration/redecking projects on the singles that were his passion. He was a special friend.

What I know of Coffey shells (particularly the two that are for sale on the RC site) is that they are composite hulls with wood staterooms and interior structure. In concept and in style, they are similar to the Ron Owen composites that were built about the same time. With a little work, I believe either could make a beautiful finished shell. I would recommend redecking using Ceconite aircraft fabric, heat shrunk, and spar varnished. I assume you are familiar with this process.

Perhaps the most difficult part of this potential project is going to be getting the shell to you in one piece, safely. Find out where they are located and discuss what might be possible regarding shipping.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you want to take this discussion off line and I will be happy to answer your questions.

Bob

BobW
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Re: Coffey rowing shells

Post by BobW » December 18th, 2018, 10:34 am

Mark,

As a postscript, Dan Ruml website has some closeups of a Coffey shell you might find helpful. Nice boats and definitely worth restoration.

www.danruml.com

Bob

Cyclist2
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Re: Coffey rowing shells

Post by Cyclist2 » December 18th, 2018, 12:52 pm

Bob;

Thanks!

The boats are in North Carolina so it would likely double the cost to get one here to WA. At this stage in my "hunt" I'm not quite ready to do that. I rowed an Owen back when and was real happy with it, so if the Coffeys are comparable, it is nice to know they are good boats.

I restored a Pocock in the past that was in similar condition to those two, which is why these caught my eye, but my work was not quite to the quality of Dan Rumi - that is beautiful work. The composite hull would simplify things compared to thin cedar.

Keep on looking. And rowing...
Mark Underwood. Rower first, cyclist too.

BobW
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Re: Coffey rowing shells

Post by BobW » December 18th, 2018, 2:04 pm

Mark,

You're welcome. I had the experience of restoring an Owen Composite hull for Daryl, and, you are right, the Owen is very similar to the Coffey. Owen used a "striped" cedar stateroom which is really pretty. Owen also laminated the cedar splashboards into "wings" on the composite hull. The Coffey has all wood splashboards and has the seat tracks and step plate on cross beams. That "probably" results in a bit lighter shell.

As a matter of fact, the green Coffey on the Rowable Classics site was next on Daryl's "projects for Bob" list, but he passed before we could get to it!

Good luck with your search. You may find a nice Owen on the west coast, closer to home!

Bob (back to ERGing in the basement!)

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Remo
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Re: Coffey rowing shells

Post by Remo » December 25th, 2018, 2:26 am

This might be a little late. Back in the day I spent a two weeks in a Coffey pair. It was a demanding boat to row: it was tippy and required the rowers to more attune to the dynamics of setting the boat. (It probably was a result of minimizing wetted surface area and cross-sectional area). After a few aggravating days we got things figured out and got it moving along pretty quick. It is so much easier to row a single or a double (but not necessarily to row those boats well) that a bit of tippiness should not be a problem. It should be a great boat.

I owned an Owens racing shell for a few years. Beautiful boat. Easy to row and fairly quick. In retrospect, though, I probably would have preferred a slightly more challenging boat.

Calvin Coffey won a silver medal at the 1976 Olympics in a pair he built. I believe he has a degree in Naval Architecture. He also builds great ergs for simulating on the water rowing. They are pricey: about $4,000 a crack.
Stewart MH 61 https://log.concept2.com/profile/4926
Started rowing at Cal in 1975 and sculled for a few years thereafter. Still follow the sport religiously. In some Latin languages, "Remo" means "the Rower" or "to row".

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