Vespoli’s innovative spirit was born long before founder Mike Vespoli opened shop in Hamden, Connecticut in 1980. Mike, whose rowing career included a walk-on role at Georgetown University and gold at the 1974 World Championship Eight, was a heralded coach and advocate for the sport, serving the Olympic men’s sculling team and paving the way for Wichita State’s first rowing program.
Working in both elite and small club rowing environments made the need for affordable, first-class equipment abundantly clear to Mike. Fate and opportunity came together in 1977, when he discovered a revolutionary boat at Henley-Upon-Thames: U.K.-based Carbocraft’s carbon fiber, honeycomb-core hulls.
Mike began importing Carbocraft boats the following year, becoming the first U.S. agent for the company and the harbinger of carbon fiber racing technology to America. Carbocraft was the first company to adapt aerospace materials and construction techniques to boat building, creating a sea change in the industry. This ethos of inventiveness has remained at the foundation of Vespoli for nearly four decades.
Discouraged by inconsistencies in price, service, and parts availability with imported boats, Mike Vespoli decided to leave coaching behind and manufacture Carbocraft boats here in the U.S. He opened his 4,000 sq. ft. shop in 1980, employing his father and two other boat builders. By the end of the year, Vespoli had manufactured 12 of the first carbon fiber racing shells in America.
Eight years later, we have initiated groundbreaking, comprehensive rowing shell research in collaboration with America’s Cup-winning naval architect Bruce Nelson and hydrodynamics expert. Dr. Carl Scragg. Vespoli was the first to simulate shell movement in a tow tank with surge and pitch. Nearly three decades later,we have revolutionized the market yet again with the VHP series, crafted with the latest dynamic computational flow modeling and extensive on-the-water testing. The VHP optimizes hull and wave drag while lifting higher out of the water during the recovery cycle, further reducing contact area in the water. Our design holds speed between strokes better than ever before.
Our highly trained workforce has been a part of the Vespoli team for many years. From former coaches and rowers to engineers and boat builders, our team understands the challenges of building a racing boat and the challenges of running a boathouse. Our skills have evolved alongside the needs of our customers year after year, and we are dedicated to providing expertly crafted, affordable boats to rowers of all calibers in the U.S. and abroad.
After many years spent leading the boat building industry, Mike left his company in 2017. Rather than selling the company to someone else, he again called up the Vespoli spirit of innovation and created an employee stock ownership program. Every Vespoli employee is now an employee-owner, with a newfound commitment to customer involvement and boat building ingenuity.
Vespoli’s knowledgeable sales representatives cover five regions in the U.S. and five international regions. We attend hundreds of rowing events annually, offering our customers on-site service and repair when they need it most. Our sales team also prides itself on visiting our local boathouses to provide current and potential customers door-to-door service, tips, and techniques tailored to their success.
Each of our boats comes with a five-year bow-to-stern warranty, covering every inch of the hull from manufacturing defects. Our newest service programs include Rent-to-Own and comprehensive Fleet Management for every budget and program.
The concepts of improvement and optimization are deeply embedded in the sport of rowing. We have the same motivation here at Vespoli. How can we make a better boat? How can we better serve our customers?
Rowing is relentless in its quest to be better, and we are relentless in our quest to build better boats.