Rowing

Rowing on the Bay is an immensely challenging endeavor. However, it can provide unlimited opportunities for enjoyment and growth to those who are patient and diligent enough to become competent. There are no skill requirements, but make sure you are physically fit, can tread water comfortably for twenty minutes, are comfortable dealing with wind and waves.

Regardless of your previous experience in rowing, every member who wants to row must take the Basic Rowing Training Class. This class is an introduction to our fleet of boats, what it means to row on the San Francisco Bay, and a chance to meet other members who are interested in rowing. The class is offered once a month and only available to Dolphin Club members. Details about registration are shared on the internal club message board.

The next step would be to complete six training rows on your own inside the cove and practice the techniques you learned in the rowing training class. After taking the Basic Rowing training class you are only allowed to row on your own, in a single, inside of the cove. If you want to row outside of the cove, before you’ve completed your final certification, you can row in a double with another certified member.

Attend on boat nights that happen every Tuesday night from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM. Meet rowers and folks who like wooden boats. Volunteers gather in the Dolphin Club boathouse to hammer, sand, and varnish under the guidance of boatbuilders Julia Hechanova and Jon Bielinski. Anyone and everyone—member and non-member alike—are welcome to join in.

The certification test involves an on-the-water skills test and a take-home written test on tides and currents of the bay. Once certified, rowers are free to take our Dolphin Club singles and doubles onto the bay on their own schedule and within the limits of our safety rules. Training and certification for vikings, open water shells, and liteBoats are ad-hoc and are offered on a 1:1 basis

We have around 40 rowboats housed at our Aquatic Park Boathouse. Almost all are sliding seat rowboats ranging in a number of styles.

Traditional. We maintain a fleet of pristine wooden rowboats. Find our Wooden Boat Catalog. Many of them were built right in our own boat shop. The boats are mostly named after notable Dolphins with strong ties to the rowing program. Our vessels were modified and improved to handle the specific conditions of the San Francisco Bay. Now referred to as Dolphin Club singles and doubles, these boats are unique to our boathouse. There are no other boats in the world that feature our specific combination of forms and characteristics.

Viking. Some unique wooden vessels in our fleet are our Viking-class boats. These boats are also based on a whitehall design, but have much less beam, are longer, have outriggers and are therefore a bit more nimble than their whitehall inspiration. The first Viking boat (a double named VIKING) was built in 1915 by a pair of cable car repairmen who used the boat to row on the Russian River. The boat ended up in the Dolphin Club’s hands and eventually we commissioned a local boat builder named Jeremy Fisher-Smith to refurbish and copy the original.

Contemporary. In addition to our wooden boats we have 14 fiberglass boats including open water racing singles and doubles from Maas boat builders and 4 coastal rowing boats made by LiteBoat boat builders.

Somewhere In Between. Along the way we’ve also acquired rowboats that don’t quite fit into one of the above categories, but are still fun and safe to row on the bay.

NameBuild YearTypeWeight lbs.
John Wieland1887Six-Oared Barge588
Viking1916Cable Car Gig270
Farrell1917Dolphin Club Double350
Cronin1938Dolphin Club Double376
Hughes1938Dolphin Club Double380
Baggiani1948Dolphin Club Single207
Foster1948Dolphin Club Single198
Landucci1948Dolphin Club Single209
Herman Zahler1960Herreschoff Double-Paddle Canoe78
Spectre1973Single Whitehall261
Good Luck1976Stillwater River Boat187
Lifthrasir1985Cable Car Gig270
Austin1987Single Modified Whitehall205
Cecco1988Dolphin Club Single219
Joe Bruno1989Dolphin Club Single212
Ring2000Dory, Flat-Bottomed193
Haake2006Dolphin Club Single218
Kupuna2006Dolphin Club Single167
Kohlenberg2006Single Cable Car Gig189
Commodore2016Dolphin Club Single170
Semper Fi2016Dolphin Club Single165
NameBuilderModelClassMaterial
El NinoLiteBoatLiteRace 1xCoastal 1xCarbon Fiber
La NinaLiteBoatLiteRace 1xCoastal 1xCarbon Fiber
TempestLiteBoatLiteSport 2xCoastal 2xCarbon Fiber
StormLiteBoatLiteQuattroCoastal Gig BoatCarbon Fiber
CootMaas Boat CompanyMaas 24Open Water ShellFiberglass
FlickaMaas Boat CompanyMaas 24Open Water ShellFiberglass
GullMaas Boat CompanyMaas 24Open Water ShellFiberglass
Surf ScooterMaas Boat CompanyMaas 24Open Water ShellFiberglass
PelicanMaas Boat CompanyMaas Carbon 24Open Water ShellCarbon Fiber
MurreMaas Boat CompanyMaas FlyweightOpen Water ShellFiberglass
TernMaas Boat CompanyMaas AeroOpen Water ShellFiberglass
BananaMaas Boat CompanyMaas AeroOpen Water ShellFiberglass
OspreyMaas Boat CompanyMaas DoubleOpen Water ShellCarbon Fiber
TroneumMaas Boat CompanyMaas DragonflyOpen Water ShellFiberglass