May 12, 2021
Nicola Douglas

Kirsty & Jane put our Explorer through its paces

Over the past month, founders of Rowing Adventures, Jane Wild & Kirsty Melin, have been out on our Rannoch Explorer around the Solent.

Based in Lymington, the duo set up Rowing Adventures with the aim of making coastal rowing available to all ages (8ys+) and all abilities and to provide safe, fun access to the Solent and beyond. They deliver a variety of coaching programmes using a range of boats including our very own Rannoch Explorer. Their programmes enable both novice and seasoned rowers access to the sport of coastal rowing and our incredible rich coastline - a passion shared by us here at Rannoch Adventure.

Here's what they have to say about the Explorer:

For the past 3 months, whilst Charlie Pitcher has been racing Roxy across the Atlantic, he left us with two of his Rannoch Explorer boats to trial and we have fallen for them.


Jane and I usually row a coastal double (two blades each as above) and also a Coastal Pair (one blade each) at Lymington Rowing Club and we race in the Hants and Dorset Regatta series through the summer. We enjoy rowing together, with synchronised power.
It was an easy transition into the Rannoch Explorer for us. We found it very stable, it sits higher in the water than our training sculls; Glide Solos, and it immediately felt comfortable and spacious. The seat, comfortably padded, the blades; Macon, made for easy and light touch rowing. It was fabulous to be back in sync with Jane after so many hours teaching rowing in singles. It felt like we’d come ‘home’. We slipped into metronomic rhythm with no words necessary. The only interruption to our quiet thoughts was the drone that Jane’s son Will was using to capture this footage.
Built for open water adventuring/ touring, with two hatches for dry storage, overnight adventuring becomes possible. At approx. 60 kg, (it can take up to 100kg on board) it is heavier than we are used to. We were interested to see how the hull handled all types of coastal conditions, to see how easy it was to manoeuvre and how the weight would handle being put through some speed tests. Most importantly for us as new business owners, would it fit into our fleet and offer us an additional dynamic to get more people rowing?
I can happily say that it has ticked all of those boxes.

PERFORMANCE for Experienced Rowers and Explorers

The Rannoch Explorer’s hull handled all of the conditions we tested in. In flat water, it was a smooth steady ride, with tidal flow it was exhilarating wave riding and it handled wind against tide chop superbly well.  Interestingly it kept us safe and pretty dry which is novel!
It was easy for the bowman to steer a course, the response to blade pressure easy, so no active tiller steering ever felt necessary. Again, a surprise considering it’s weight and small faced Macon blades.
It was put through it’s paces with Jane and I and other competitive club rowers and some of our Rowing Adventure Explorers of various experience levels. We completed race pieces, interval training and steady-state aerobic work and it proved to be positive in all these areas. The pick up from a stationary start was heavy but that was to be expected at 60kg and not what the boat is built for. Our explorers loved getting that little bit further on their adventures and having a social chat on board! Picnics will be packed next time, they said…
I personally cannot wait to pack my tent and head off on an adventure, now that the weather is warming up!

COACHING - Learners & Instructors Perspective:

A most impressive feature for us is the stability that the boat gives for our relatively new rowers. Our Glide Solo boats have been revolutionary for getting complete beginners afloat and through their Learn 2 Row Courses. We’ve loved how they offer relaxed, stable learning to help skill progression be swift and enjoyable for all ages (8-86yrs). What we have found is that replacing one, maybe two of those learn to row sessions with the Rannoch Explorer, the progression becomes even more swift. Our rowers have, without exception, marvelled at how they enjoyed having their coach on board to guide and instruct. This enabled them to focus on technical sequencing, whilst the coach steered, until they were ready to. Particularly at busy traffic times!
As a double seater, it offers flexibility for one rower to row at any one time. Be it the coach demonstrating, or the learner having stroke analysis or simply a tired rower having a ride back to the slipway. It gives the instructor a chance to start a session in a wider variety of locations as they can safely get the learner there. As a heavier boat that handles windier conditions so well, it has allowed us to continue with sessions that would otherwise have been cancelled. This avoids disappointed rowers and reduces administration time/rescheduling.
Ultimately it enhances our mission to get more people rowing confidently and competently as quickly as possible. I also see it’s suitability in widening our offering to those with specific need

Thank you, Kirsty and Jane for the insightful review - we're thrilled you and your rowers are enjoying the boats! To read the full article and see more photos, please go to the Rowing Adventures website.

Photo credits: WH Media

The Explorer outside the Lymington Town Sailing Club