stretched gloucester gull : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

I've been considering building a Goucester Gull but I think I'd like a little bit longer boat. I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with Bolger's stretched version. How does it compare with the type vi especially with regard to sea-worthiness and speed? Any help would be appreciated.

-- brian wagner (, September 05, 2002


Hi Brian

I rowed the Blackburn Challenge in Gloucester Massachusets in July. There was a stretched Gloucester Gull in the race, rowed fixed seat double that seemed to go pretty well, though not as fast as I wold haev thought. You would find the names of the crew if you visited the Blackburn Challenge webiste at . Hope this helps


-- John Hitchcock (, September 09, 2002.

Hi Brian

I have a "standard" Bolger Dory built to Payson's lines with S&G technique(same as the "Big Dory"). I have the plans for the "big Dory" and would llike to build it. The std Gull is supremely seaworthy for an open boat of this size, resonably quick under oars but limited by hull speed even with my moderate level of fitness. It's seaworthiness is significantly reduced by having more than one person on board particularly with the std seating arrangement. Two rowing is a waste of energy and the extreme rowing positions are not good. The "Big Dory" is a faster boat even with one rower, much more suitable for two or three persons aboard, and for two rowers. It is probably a little less ultimately seaworthy (debateable) with one on board than the std, but much more capable than the std with 2-3. These are fantastic boats! Wayne Poulsen Fremantle West Australia

-- Wayne Poulsen (, September 13, 2002.

Hi Brian You replied to me back channel >>Hi Wayne Thank you for your response. It does appear to me that the stretched dory would indeed be faster but i am concerned about the loss of seaworthiness. Have you rowed a stretched version? Also, I'm interested in your conversion of Bolger/Payson's lines to SG. Did you use the expanded sides Payson illustrates in the book? Thanks again for sending word. Brian<< I've brought your reply back to the board in case others are interested. I havent rowed a "Big Dory" but would sum up as follows...If were building now I would build the 19' version unless the extra 3'6" just could not be accomodated in building/transporting/storing the boat. I would expect the performance advantage to be significant to significant and loss in seaworthiness to be neglible. The potential loss I guess would only show up in a very confused and steep breaking sea, here the 19' boat would be a little slower to turn, but the std is extremely manouverable. The long boat would still have loads of reserve buoyancy to lift to the waves. Incidently I would expect the 19' to be better going into a steep chop where the GG can tend to "stamp" when the coarse entry, strong flare and flat bottom combine to convert your forward motion into vertical motion into no motion. Exteme conditions and in perfect safety! Phil Bolger addressed this in his metric version of the GG in which he drew a finer entry (and deleted the tombstone stern). I did use Payson's expansions for the sides and his profile and plan to loft the expanded bottom panel. Bottom in 0.5" and sides 0.25". I suppose its accurate, the sheer line is gorgeous and that must be down to Phil Bolger. I think this a faster way to build one boat. I'm happy to provide any more construction info.

Wayne Poulsen Fremantle West Australia.

-- Wayne Poulsen (, September 15, 2002.

Brian, You might want to consider a different version of the Dory. I built a John Welsford 17' Dory earlier this year. It's a slightly stretched version of Bolgers Dory. I've rowed a Gloucester Gull at the small craft festival in Mystic CT back in May and I have to say that I found my 17' dory a little faster and much more comfortable to row - I also think it's a prettier boat than Bolgers original. There's a nice picture of one here: doryf/Solitudestory.html If you like I can send along a slew of pictures I took during the whole building process. - A very easy boat to build. Good luck Brian

-- Stephen Borghardt (, September 17, 2002.

Stephen, thanks for the comments. i do very much like the profile view of welsford's light dory and have thought a bit about possibly purchasing plans. i wonder if you could elaborate some about what made the gull less comfortable to row (eg. seat height, oarlock placement, oar length, foot stretchers, or maybe a more fundemental feeling about hull design?). what are the principle dimensions of the welsford dory in feet and inches? i'm very interested in seeing some of your construction pictures. drop me a line. brian

-- brian wagner (, September 17, 2002.

Hi Brian,

I think the beam is a bit narrower on the Welsford Dory I'll look at the plans tomorrow and give you some exact measurements. I built it in metric - it makes lofting to full size a heck of a lot easier. I think most of the discomfort in the Bolger Dory was due to improper set-up. There were no footrests, no oar collars in the boat I rowed. If you intend to row any distance these are essential - and they have to be comfortable and balanced correctly. I currently own an Alden 18' Double, an Oxford 21' rowing shell that I finished this spring along with the Welsford Dory. I've rowed the other boats maybe once. I row the dory sometimes twice a weekend every weekend. I absolutley love the boat. The initial tippiness takes some getting used to. But after a few times out it felt great, very comfortable to row and very seaworthy. I get compliments on the boat every time I take it out on the water. I can also take my wife along when I row in the fwd position, and the boat rows great with two people on board - it's actually more stable loaded up. If you do choose this boat or any boat I would recomend finishing the inside bright - it makes a big difference - the look of varnished wood - even if it's not a perfect job, looks much better than plain old paint. If you have any more questions by all means ask.

-- Stephen Borghardt (, September 20, 2002.

My wife and I have owned both the Gloucester Gull and the stretched light dory. We liked them both, but love the stretched dory. It rows like a dream, is beautiful, and seaworthy in the nasty stuff. We had it built by Dennis Hansen, Spruce Head, ME, who did a beautiful job at a reasonable price. I would take this boat out in almost any conditions. With two people rowing, it is outragiously fast, and easy. We get around with it so you could conceivably get a chance to see for yourself. Couldn't be happier.

-- phil frassica (, September 26, 2002.

Phil Thanks for the post. There seems to be a common thread throughout the posts suggesting that longer is better when it comes to the Gloucester Gull and like designs. Having owned both versions, your comments are very helpful. Is overland transportation of the stretched gull significantly more cumbersome? As far as getting a first-hand look at your boat, it seems unlikely but if you're on the left coast in the future you ought to drop me a line. Brian

-- brian wagner (, September 26, 2002.

Hi, I live in woods hole ma. I need a good dory of my own. any one want to sell me a starter. send me an e-mail

-- EJ Lussier (, April 28, 2004.

The stretch gull is VERY seaworthy. Mine is 10 yrs. old. The speed is good but not competative against Aborn' wherry. It cost me about $300 to build. 19" but about 15 on the waterline.

-- michael cushing (, November 24, 2004.

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