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Re: Dory Advice

Hello Mr. Bill

Rowing dories, so many -- so little time… Of course you have John Gardner’s The Dory Book a definitive on the history, building and designs of dories.

What first comes to mind is Paul Butler’s ‘Alaska Dory’ designed in the 80’s or 90’s for "Outdoor Life". She is a big double ender almost 20 feet in length with a 5’ 7” beam, weighing in at about 325 lbs. Based on an expanded version of John Gardner’s Gunning Dory she can carry an immense load, is built of plywood, but is not a speedy rower.

Next is the Hammond 16-foot Swampscott Dory from John Gardner’s Book. This design has a lot of the ‘right stuff’ and is an excellent rower. A couple of dories based on this design have rowed from Seattle to Alaska (look for the book "Row to Alaska by Wind and Oar" by Pete & Nancy Ashenfelter) One could expand the stations by a few inches each and stretch the length to about 18’ and actually gain some boat speed.

The Surf Dory type may not be the best choice for a rowing vessel. Though it has the looks and can carry a large load, it does not have enough carry between strokes especially into a breeze with those high ends… It’s a burdensome boat, not as svelte as needed for a rowing vessel.

A compromise to all this might be the design above “Youkou-Lili” from the French designer Francois Vivier. Here is a sweet small boat inspired by the double ended faerings of Norway and the American Swampscott dory. Her narrow bottom and rounded sides giving a fine sea boat for rowing. I would build it with the centerboard and the rudder saving the mast and sail for last. With the rudder, a person can captain the boat while a pair row. If a breeze springs up pushing one off course the centerboard can be dropped a bit to help keep the boat from drifting to much to leeward. She is built of plywood. Her Specs: LOA 18’ 5”, Beam at Sheer 4’ 8”. More info: www.francois.vivier.info

Anybody know of any Dory Kits out there?

Thom V

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