An introduction to Doris

Isabel Burnham By

Doris is our boat and arguably the most important member of our team. She is a beautiful, pink 4-person rowing boat made especially for the Coxless Crew by Rossiters in Christchurch.

How is she made?

Doris is made from fibreglass, carbon fibre and other composite materials. Ocean rowing boats are designed to withstand the worst weather that the ocean can throw at them and to keep their crew safe. Doris is designed to self-right if she capsizes. She has a watertight cabin at each end with the rowing deck in the middle.

How big is she?

Doris is 29ft long (8.84m) and 7ft (2.13m) wide. That’s about the length of a medium sized caravan. She’s really not very big. In fact, the current men’s world long jump record is 29ft 4 inches (8.95m), so Mike Powell could jump over her! Doris weighs approximately 800kg and once fully packed with our supplies she will weigh in at around 1 ton.

The deck

On deck there are two rowing positions. The set up is similar to that in a sculling boat, with each rower having two oars and a sliding seat. Under the deck there is storage space which is accessed through hatches on deck. We will store our food, ropes, tools, spare parts and other equipment in these hatches, along with fresh water ballast to keep Doris stable in the water and as a back up should our desalinator break.


The cabins

Two of the crew will be rowing at any one time while the other two will be in the cabins eating, sleeping, relaxing or carrying out navigation, communications or maintenance tasks.

The aft cabin is where we will spend most of our time. It is the bigger of the two cabins and contains our desalinator, navigation systems and communication systems. It is approximately the size of a small-to-medium two-man tent. The forward cabin is smaller and will mainly be used for storage, unless bad weather conditions require that we cease rowing, in which case two members of the crew will need to be in each cabin.




Our cabin walls will be decorated with the names of all the people who have bought a mile of our row (  When we are having a difficult day it will be great to be able to look at our inspiration walls to remind us of all the people that are supporting us.

Why the name Doris?

Doris (/ˈdɔərɨs/; Δωρίς), is a Greek name meaning ‘gift’ and in Greek mythology was an Oceanid, or a sea nymph, whose name represented the bounty of the sea. She was the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys and the wife of Nereus. She was also aunt to Atlas, the titan who was made to carry the sky upon his shoulders. We also just really liked the name.


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