Heritage 18

The Heritage 18's wine glass transom, graceful sheer and lapstrake hull are traditional in appearance, yet she is built with modern materials.

I met the Larson brothers, owners of Little River Marine, 15 years ago at the Miami International Boat Show after their sleek, high-performance rowing shells attracted my attention. I challenged them to come up with a design suited for the less-ambitious oarsman, a wider, more stable boat in which one could enjoy the health benefits of rowing as well as the environment.

Since then, the Larsons have grown a bit older and begun to appreciate my point of view. The results are the Heritage 15 and 18.

The Heritage 18's wine glass transom, graceful sheer and lapstrake hull are traditional in appearance, yet she is built with modern materials. The design is unique in that it can be rigged with conventional oarlocks or a removable, high-performance sliding-seat rowing station. The 18 can also be rigged in a single or tandem configuration. For those tired of rowing, an outboard (up to 2 hp) can be mounted on the transom.

Yet it is the Heritage's fold-in rigger system that deserves owners' attention. The riggers can be easily folded out of the way or removed, which makes boarding from a swim platform and deploying the oars a simple affair. The 18 weighs about 125 pounds rigged with a single sliding-seat rowing station. She is also available in carbon fiber.

Little River Marine, (800) 247-4591, (352) 378-5025; www.littlerivermarine.com.