The Whitehall was without a doubt the original coastal rowing boat. The Whitehall was the most famous and the fastest rowboat of the 19th century. The ports of Boston, New York, and San Francisco had hundreds of these slender, fast rowing boats in active use as water taxis, police patrol boats, and, of course, because they were fast they were used for racing. Ships pilots would row miles offshore right out into the open ocean to meet incoming sailing ships and safely guide them into port.
These boats were designed to be versatile and seaworthy, capable of handling various conditions encountered in coastal waters. They were typically built with a long, narrow hull, a sharp bow, and a slightly upturned stern. The hull design allowed for efficient rowing and maneuverability, making them ideal for coastal exploration, transportation, and even rescue missions.
And, because Whitehall rowboats were fast there was major Whitehall rowboat racing, every year, between the east coast cities of New York and Boston. Just like horse racing there was huge prize money and major gambling over the regatta winner.
These boats had only fixed seats and traditional oars unlike modern Whitehall Spirit® boat models that are fitted with sliding seats and carbon fiber sculling oars.
The current sport of Coastal Rowing involves racing off beaches in open water and currently is very popular. And, it is a featured event in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California. These modern boats that are used in coastal rowing boat racing are not actual Whitehall designs. Those boats are more like high tech racing shells specifically designed for racing.
Whitehalls are actually more practical, they carry more weight, are much drier, and handle exceptionally well in wind and waves. Whitehall Spirit® boats are perfect for fitness and recreational rowing.
Whitehall Rowing & Sail, in Victoria, BC, Canada is the largest builder of Whitehall rowboats in the world. Whitehall Rowing & Sail offers curb side delivery anywhere in North America and ships worldwide.