Bill Larson is the driving force behind Little River Marine. With
the carbon fiber project, his quest to build the best rowing boat
possible has reached a new milestone.
beamed when he told me he was finally happy with
his carbon fiber project. After six years of prototypes,
he had finally found the right formula for a lightweight
Little River rowing skiff. The carbon fiber hull uses a
lapstrake hull shape with vertical ribs to give it superior
strength while keeping the weight down. He’s worked
the completed hull weight down to 54 lb., and he is
happy with the boat’s rigidity and strength.
It is not a boat to row around Alaska, mind you, as it
was not designed for open water. It has minimal safety
flotation and only just enough torsional stiffness to resist
flexing in waves. But it is a great coastal and inland boat,
and for cruising people like me who just want to row on
calm water, it is perfect.
To keep it lightweight, the carbon fiber skiff comes
with nothing added. There are no transom or bow eyes,
and if a buyer wants that hardware it can be added, of
course, but most don’t need it.
The Heritage 15 Carbon costs about a thousand
dollars more than the standard Heritage 15, and each
one is hand built by Bill Larson. His crew builds the
other boats, as they have for more than three decades.
He also offers a less expensive rowing skiff, the
Guideboat, which has a pickup weight of around 70 lb.
But its seat assembly has fixed arms that stick out from
both sides of the boat and make it a bit more awkward to
handle out of the water. Removed, the assembly is hard to
stow. The arms on the Heritage and on the carbon boat
swing in and are removable, so they are out of the way.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Little River Marine
250 SE 10th Ave.
Gainesville, FL 32602
800. 247. 4591
The intricate details of a carbon fiber boat are a study in
artistic craftsmanship. The black finish can be painted a light
color once the boat has fully cured, if desired, although I
have not found it to be too hot, even in bright sun.
A GROWING MARKET
I am not really surprised that Little River Marine
is in growth mode. Rowing is getting more popular
among many people, probably for some of the same
reasons that my interest in it is on the rise. Perhaps
we can have rowing events at future Trawler Fests.
The company ships internationally and has sent boats
to France, Switzerland, Sweden, Guam, Brazil, Mexico,
Australia, UAE, Russia, the Philippines, Germany,
England, Tonga, South Africa, Hawaii, and Bermuda.
Little River is on quite an opposite track from the
current downturn in the marine industry.
After I took some measurements and determined
that the 15-foot skiff would indeed fit atop Growler,
and on any of the larger boats we might consider for
our next step, Bill put me on the schedule to build
me a carbon boat. We decided the carbon boat’s hull
should be yellow with cherry trim to fit the colors of
the Keys and complement the aquamarine waters I
hope to row in. The Keys, Exumas, and Abacos are
all on our list for the future.