A dory tender or amesbury Skiff for the beach?

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Just found your site this morning, after a long discussion with my better half about what I can do about a beach boat. My conclusion (and hers) is to find a row/sail open boat, with a flat bottom (so it can be pulled up on our Lake Michigan beach), yet with enough shape to enter and exit the water through a mild surf, and to be a stable and friendly one or two person fishing boat. Although a Whitehall would row well, and can sail, that keel will be a problem on our sandy beach. Research suggests an Amesbury skiff, a salisbury skiff (from Lowell's), a dory tender, maybe up to 13 feet, maybe up to 150 lbs or so. I'd appreciate suggestions both on types and where to find. As others have noted in other communiques, the Midwest and Great Lakes are not a hotbed of open-water rowing. Many thanks...Rick Demkovich

-- Rick Demkovich (zrpd02@hotmail.com), April 16, 2001



I built a Gloucester Light Dory to serve as a Lake Michigan surfboat, see my post below at http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=004MRM

I put it in the water for the first time last weekend and I am amazed at how fast it was. So fast, I am worried about hitting something while rowing with my back to where I am going. That shouldn't be a problem on the big Lake though. I did not try it out on the Lake the first time out, it was rockin and rollin out there. I am still working out the oarlocks and need another coat of paint. I should have built this boat years ago. It is exactly what I want in a boat - fast, no stinkin outboard, room to nap in the sun up front, people wave and tell me its a beautiful boat, plus I made it myself. I built it from plans from a Harold Payson book in the library. Made a few models and then built a full size stitch and glue version for maybe $300 total. My only comment on the design is that I would go for a 16 to 20' boat next time. I kept it at 14 because I could cut the panels from two 8' sheets of plywood butt-scarphed with epoxy and cloth. If you want the offsets, let me know and I will dig through my pile of boat papers and stuff.

Paul VandenBosch admin@cruisenews.net South Haven, Michigan

-- Paul VandenBosch (admin@cruisenews.net), April 16, 2001.

Paul, Thanks for the update. When you say your boat is fast, do you make a comparison with another boat? Did you modify the offsets for the stitch & glue version? Was the original length 15' 4 or 6"? I also have the book from DH Payson "How to built the ...". I still hesitate, as I do not know how the boat is suited for open water. I will appreciate any comment from users.


-- Michel Jan (mjan@lemel.fr), April 17, 2001.

Rick, Irow in open water races here in massachusets, and compete against many Glouster gulls. They are very fast and still seaworthy.In the snow row this March, A gull beat me out for 1st place in windy conditions and a medium chop. I' trust one in any reasonable conditions. Get rowing! Jeff

-- Jeffrey Roderick (nodvindcrew@yahoo.com), April 19, 2001.

Check out Walter baron's dory building shop at www.oldwharf.com for some good looking boats or the Cape Cod Vikings site at www.c4.net/viking for pics of different types of dorys being used. Tell'm Capt. Rehab sent yo

-- bad (bdonahue@capecodvoice.com), April 20, 2001.

I put a description of how to build a stitch and glue 14' dory on a webpage at: http://cruisenews.net/construction.html

The dory shape is very close to the Gloucester Light Dory described in Payson's book. I am not sure if this is the same as the Gull dory, but is probably similar. I call it the South Haven Dory but after making three models and redrawing it a few times, I found that there was not much to improve upon the original Bolger/Payson design.

The construction method is a bit more lightweight than the method in the book, time will tell if it is strong enough. It seems to be plenty strong enough and it is light enough that I can carry it about 20 feet.

If anyone is interested in rowing and is willing to build their own boat to get one, take a look at the page. This boat is a great intro to rowing. I'm learning more about the art of rowing every day I take it out.

-- Paul VandenBosch (admin@cruisenews.net), May 13, 2001.

i too have just finished building a 15'6" rowing dory from plans i bought from jim orell down in texas. i procrastinated for years and built her in my garage during the dead of winter. she is just one coat of paint ( on the hull) away from her first launching. i love to look at the gracefull lines i am sure she will will be quick and i would like to launch her through the surf and fish and row. she wil go in next weekend if all goes well. one thing that i noticed was that the plans called for 7' oars but when i work out the oar length formula i come up with 7'6" oars. i ordered 7'6" spoon oars from shaw and tenney. if anyone has any dory stories i would like to hear them. also if anyone nearby oceanport, nj is interested in dorys or boatbuilding in general i would like to hear from you too. jack bentley

-- jack bentley (brewersgold@home.com), May 28, 2001.

I built a Gull dory from Payson's plans. I use it as a tender to my catboat, and every other day row it on Great South Bay to Fire Island. This is a 4.5 to 7 nm round trip (depending which beach I select), often in a rough chop. A few comments on the boat, and using it: As a tender, it is tender. Scrambling out of the dory into the catboat is no problem, but the reversing the operation takes practice. Put a good rubrail on, I used indoor-outdoor carpet glued on. Don't build the boat with butt joints in the ply, scarf joints are easier. Make the skeg a little larger than the plans show. Mine is smaller, so is harder to row in a cross wind. Consider making the center seat wider than on the plans, and/or set the oarlocks further aft than the plans show. You won't do much rowing from the forward seat, as the oarlocks are higher up and closer together. WIth one passenger aft of light to moderate weight, rowing from the center is far preferable even if the bow sticks up a little. The boat is very seaworthy, I've never shipped water except from spray. I did come close in shallow water though. If you row fast down a wave, you can catch it, then broach. I threw my weight to the high side as the boat went sideways, and the low gunwhale was only an inch out of the water as the boat spun out. I'm keeping this in mind if I row in cold water. Email for more info.


-- Larry Deering (w2gl@qsl.net), July 22, 2001.

If you want a pre-built boat, you might look at www.ghboats.com They have a nice 16 ft row/sail dory.

-- Gary Powell (gwpowell@hotmail.com), February 24, 2003.

I've written to Paul...Consider if your vessel would carry a couple of fishermen and nets...rowable..seaworthy..easy to build on a beach,the victims of the recent tsunami require such a vessel by the hundreds now. plywood and resin manufacturers could be lobbied for materials.and a small team of average carpenters could cut panels and drill the holes.the locals could stitch them up.Looking forward to hearing your ideas,Ken Long.

-- ken long (kenlong77@hotmail.com), January 07, 2005.

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