shell is very commonplace in American rowing
. Every boathouse worth its salt has at least a couple Vespolis on their racks. The Millennium shell is fast and lightweight, and glides very well through the water. For a number of years, the Millennium's design
has gone through only minimal changes, and has remained one of the fastest shells on the water.
The Millennium is not the only kind of eight Vespoli makes, but the Millennium is far faster and better than any of their other designs. Vespoli's best fours and quads share the Millennium name, while their smaller boats carry the Matrix name. The Vespoli design is very popular among college crews, but is facing major competition from the Resolute. Vespoli Millennium shells carry a huge price tag. A new Millennium eight will cost well over $20,000. The hull is constructed of carbon fiber in a honeycomb design and is extremely fragile. Structural ribs run all the way down the hull. When Resolute came along and made a completely different boat design, they tried to reduce drag and make the hull extremely stiff. By using a unique ribless design, they achieved this. Many crews prefer the stiffer Resolute. However, Resolutes have a tendency to slow down very quickly in between strokes. Crews rowing Resolute generally settle at a higher cadence than those rowing a Millennium.
In response to the successful design of the Resolute, Vespoli has designed the M-2, short for Millennium-2. The M-2 borrows greatly from Resolute, as it is ribless and much stiffer. Despite this, their efforts to reproduce the speed of the Resolute have fallen short. Though it was designed to incorporate the best aspects of the various shells on the market, the resulting combination does not work very well. The shell feels very stiff, but it does not pick up the drive as well as a Resolute does. It also does not inherit the glide and run of its older brother. Overall, the classic Millennium is a better shell right now.
In its defense, the M-2 is a brand new design that can be improved greatly. Demo shells are being tested around the country. Some rowers like it and others don't, but one thing is certain. If Vespoli wants to emulate the Resolute design and make a superior shell, they certainly have a lot of catching up to do.