Model: Length: Hull Weight: Beam: Max Payload:
Oxford Shell II 20' 10" 40 lbs. 21 in. 275 lbs.
Oxford Shell II Configurations:
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Standard Configurations:
Complete Oxford Shell II Kit with Rigging
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Alternative Configurations:

Base Oxford Shell II Kit
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Wood Parts Only
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Full-Sized Plans and Manual Only
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Manual Only - Color Print
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Manual Only - Emailed PDF
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Study Plans - Emailed PDF
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CLC’s Oxford Shell debuted in 1996, was an instant success, and has been popular for 22 years. Build-it-yourself boat kit technology has come a long way since then and in 2018 we introduced the Oxford Shell II, an evolution of the original.

Intended for rec-racing, workouts, or ocean rowing, the Oxford Shell II is 20’10” long and 21” wide (6.35m x 53cm). It weighs 40 pounds. The Oxford Shell II is pitched a bit more towards speed and performance compared to the original. Reasonably athletic rowers will be able to use it for training. Experienced rowers will find it a competitive shell for "masters" regattas. Without sacrificing smooth-water speed, we went to a lot of trouble to design a hull that can handle waves and chop. Experienced rowers can keep the Oxford Shell II moving in conditions that would send many rec shells home.

Taking full advantage of wood-epoxy composite techniques, we have been able to eliminate features like the "sheer clamp" while creating a more sophisticated and organic hull shape. Instead of using a drop-in sliding seat, the riggers and sliding seat are integral. Four toggle clamps release the Alden rigger in seconds for easier transportation and storage. With computer-cut "slot-together" parts and an extremely detailed assembly manual, the Oxford Shell II is suitable for first-time boatbuilders.

Oxford Shell II Complete Rigger Kit Oxford Shell II Sliding Seat & Footrest Kit
Oxford Shell II Rigger & Parts Oxford Shell II Sliding Seat & Footrest Kit

As of 2022, The Oxford Shell complete kit includes our all-new black anodized aluminum rigger with multi-position mounting plates. This was custom designed for the Oxford Shell by a colleague who is a rowing industry veteran. It is elegant, lightweight, and stiff, yet easy to remove for transport.

Builders also looked at:

Annapolis Wherry | Expedition Wherry 

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are the plans and manual like if I want to build from scratch instead of from a kit?

Plans comprise full-sized paper patterns for every part in the boat, except for the store-bought rigging hardware.  This manual includes hundreds of step-by-step photos and diagrams covering the entire build.

Can you send me the plans digitally?

Sorry, until digital rights management technology for architectural work catches up to books and music, we are unable to transmit digital data, only paper plans and manuals.

Can I build the Oxford Shell in one of your build-your-own classes?

Absolutely!  The classes get you through the major construction process, which includes sealing the hull with epoxy.  You'll handle the final epoxy work, finish preparation, painting/varnishing, and final rigging at home. See our class schedule here

What's the difference between the Oxford Shell I and the new Oxford Shell II?

CLC's first Oxford Shell was launched in 1996. It was skewed towards easy construction by builders working from plans, and was one of the last CLC designs drawn without computer-assisted design. The Oxford Shell II is stiffer, faster, and about 25% lighter. It has a much more sophisticated hull shape but in spite of this is easier to build than the original.

How's stability? How does the stability of the new boat compare with the previous Oxford shell?

The real-world difference probably isn't noticeable, but for added speed the Oxford Shell II is 25mm narrower than the original and about 5% less stable. Nevertheless, the Oxford Shell II is still a "recreational shell" rather than a flighty racing shell. It will appeal to rowers of average athletic ability who are just starting out, but it's fast enough to win head races in the right hands.

How long does it take to build the Oxford Shell II?

Budget around 80-100 hours of hands-on time for a completely outfitted rowing shell with a nice finish.

How do you recommend transporting the boat?

Unlike a fragile racing shell, you can transport the Oxford Shell just as you would a kayak of similar length. A pair of roof racks on your car is all you need, even if they're pretty close together! (Just add bow and stern lines if you have a compact car.)

Is the wing rigger removable for car topping?

Yes. Four sturdy clips hold the riggers in place, and can be popped loose in moments for easy transport.

Is the rigging shown available for purchase separately?

Yes, you can order any of the rigging components "a la carte" from CLC, here.

Oxford Shell II Complete Rigger Kit Oxford Shell II Sliding Seat & Footrest Kit
Oxford Shell II Rigger & Parts Oxford Shell II Sliding Seat & Footrest Kit

Do I need the hardware right away?

No. You can build the hull first then come back for the hardware at the end. 

How much room do I need to build Oxford Shell II?

Ideally you'll have a space about 10 feet by 24 feet (3m x 7m).

Where can I purchase the oars for this boat?

Only 9'6" oars (or sculls) intended for sliding seat rowing will work for the Oxford Shell. Chesapeake Light Craft stocks the correct oars, here.

What is the maximum rower height and weight?

The Oxford Shell II is happiest with rowers weighing between 135 and 275 pounds (61 to 125kg), and for heights up to 6'6" (1.98m).

Can a drop-in rowing unit be used in Oxford Shell II?

No, there is no provision for a drop-in unit. Too many structural modifications would be necessary.

How skilled do I need to be to build my own Oxford Shell II?

The Oxford Shell II is intended for patient first-time boatbuilders, especially those working from a pre-cut kit.  We have gone to tremendous lengths to simplify assembly without compromising the boat's appearance or function.  Builders starting from scratch should be comfortable working from plans and using a variety of power tools.

Is this boat suitable for other uses? (IE, kayak, etc.)

No, this hull shape is 100% optimized for sliding seat rowing. Attempting to use the boat as a kayak, for example,  will result in disappointment. Nor would the Oxford Shell make the good basis for a multihull sailboat, etc.