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The Stämpfli Express is Coming to a City Near You

by Sarah Marshall, smarshall@usrowing.org | Sep 14, 2015
24 seats, 48 oars and 44 meters (over 144 feet) of boat are some pretty impressive numbers. Without a doubt the world-famous Stämpfli Express has quickly become one of the recognizable spectacles in the rowing world today as the world’s longest racing shell. The Swiss vessel will be making its American debut on Lake Jordan, N.C. on September 14 as it begins its first tour across the United States.

24 seats, 48 oars and 44 meters (over 144 feet) of boat are some pretty impressive numbers. Without a doubt the world-famous Stämpfli Express has quickly become one of the jaw-dropping spectacles in the rowing world today as the world’s longest racing shell. The Swiss vessel will be making its American debut on Lake Jordan, N.C. on September 14 as it begins its first tour across the United States.

For those who may not be familiar, the Stämpfli Express is a 24-man racing shellStä24er Armadacup[2] copycomprised of 24 scullers and a coxswain. The boat, which equals in size to that of a grown blue whale and its infant, can also be rigged for eight sweep rowers alongside 16 scullers.

CHAOS Rowing Club of Apex, N.C. will host the “Red Express” on its first voyage on American water to coincide with their first “CHAOS Challenge”. The event has invited rowing clubs from across the Carolinas to take part in an informal race on September 19 on Jordan Lake where clubs will have the opportunity to challenge the Stämpfli Express over a 1,000 meter course.

“We are delighted that Stämpfli decided on Jordan Lake for the debut of the Stämpfli Express," said President of CHAOS Rowing Club Dr. Felix Muhlebach. "It’s unique in rowing to have a rowing shell that can seat 24 rowers and a coxswain.”

The boat itself, which basically consists of an eight bookended by two quadruple sculls shells, runs about 44 meters in length and weighs approximately 420 kilograms. Built in 2001, the Stämpfli Express’s fastest 2k time was clocked in at an impressive 5:36.

While it seems that it would take a crew of incredibly experienced scullers to make such a boat run smoothly, owner of the Stämpfli Express and Swiss rowing legend Melchior Bürgin assures that the shell is very stable and even inexperienced rowers can have a great time in the boat.

Melchior, who will also be the coxswain of the shell as it makes its tour around the country, is excited for the boat’s first outing on Jordan Lake. 

“For a successful tour, we need a successful start. I believe we are in good hands withMVC-102F[1] copyCHAOS Rowing Club.”

Even without his spectacular boat, Melchior is famous in his own right as a three-time Olympian, a world champion four consecutive years and has been either rowing or servicing boats at every Olympics or World Championships since Tokyo, 1964.

Backed by Swissnex Boston, Presence Switzerland, MatchingNeeds and Croker Oars, the Stämpfli will be touring to multiple, major regattas around the country including the Head of the Charles (Boston), the Head of the Schuylkill (Philadelphia) and the Head of the Hooch (Chattanooga) before wrapping up with the Head of the South (Augusta).

“The boat will be on display in different forms at every regatta, either in its full length or ifIMG_20150820_122620space is limited in sections and possibly both halves parallel to each other,” said Stämpfli employee David Gabel. “If it works with the race schedules and there are crews already organized, it will be on the water hopefully challenging for a top time over the course.  At the Charles and Ohio we will be on shore where the boat will attract attention for Stämpfli and for Swissnex Boston, our primary sponsor.”

While some may not be interested in taking a crack at getting into the boat, it is definitely a sight worth seeing, check out the dates listed below to see if you have the opportunity to check out this unique boat in action or on display at an event near you!

Stämpfli Express on Tour
Head of the Anacostia                       Washington D.C.        September 26
Potomac                                             Washington D.C.        September 27
Head of the Ohio                               Pittsburgh, Pa.           October 4
Quionobequin Snake Regatta          Cambridge, Mass.      October 10
Head of the Charles                          Boston, Mass.             October 17-18
Head of the Scuylkill                         Philadelphia, Pa.        October 24-25
Head of the Fish                                Saratoga, N.Y.             October 31-November 1
Head of the Hooch                            Chattanooga, Tenn.   November 7-8
Head of the South                             Augusta, Ga.               November 14 

To find out how to schedule the Stämpfli at your event, email row24tour@gmail.com

About swissnex Boston: As a private-public venture, swissnex Boston connects Switzerland and North America in science, education, art and innovation. It is an initiative of Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), managed in cooperation with the Department of Foreign Affairs. This year, swissnex is celebrating 15 years of “science diplomacy” with a network of offices all around the world. www.swissnexboston.org Contact: anita@swissnexboston.org 

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