Are rowing shells expensive? Well, yes of course. But with the Tour de France on we decided to compare - top of the line bike with top of the line boat. An American web site lists the Canadian Cervelo Soloist Carbon at US$3400. A Canadian Hudson 8+ goes for US$25,500. That's only $2833 per person (including the coxie). Of course the boat doesn't get flats - but it also doesn't go up mountains. I wonder if the Cervelo floats?
Seriously, considering that you're getting one of the best boats in the world, and many clubs will use it for far more than 9 people - it's a pretty good deal isn't it?