looking to purchase dory

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Hello All, I am looking for a dory/skiff type of boat to use on Lake Michigan. I have a heavy 15hp 4 stroke motor to power it, yet I also want a good design - able to row. I have been considering the bistrol skiff and the Amsbury Skiff. Has any one every used one of these boats with a tiller drive motor? If any on can suggest a better motor/row boat model please advise. Thank you for your input, Tim

-- tim miller (Sailboaot@copper.net), October 28, 2003


Dear Tim,

I've rowed hundreds of boats and designed dozens more. I've never known any boat that could safely and efficiently handle a 15hp motor that could be called a real rowing craft. Some excellent rowing craft, like wineglass-transom-sterned Rangeley Lakes boats, can acommodate a 5hp motor pretty well, but not one as large as the one you have. The presence of oarlocks alone doesn't qualify a boat as a true rowing craft. Once a design is modified to accept a motor as big as yours it should probably be regarded as an outboard utility.



-- Andre de Bardelaben (middlepath@aol.com), October 28, 2003.

The question is do you want a motor boat you can row in calm weather or a row boat you can put a motor on? With an outboard motor the transom is wide and the bottom flat for planing. For rowing you'd like a double ender (narrow transom) and a keel like a whitehall for going straight. Although dory's and beach boats have some flat bottom for landing on the sand.

Gig Harbor boats makes a Lobster boat, which is a sail boat you can motor, (but a 10, not a 15) but as a row boat its heavy and beamy. (www.ghboats.com)

Dorys tend to be displacement hulls so a large motor is useless. - Gary-

-- Gary Powell (gwpowell@hotmail.com), October 29, 2003.

I've mounted a 27 lb. 2 hp motor on my dory and found it to have all the power that the hull can handle at half throttle.

-- Kim Apel (kapel@fullerton.edu), October 29, 2003.

Thanks to all who responded, I regrettfully know the compromises in Navy architechure; displacement vs. planning but still "wish" I could have both. When I mess-about on the water, it is usually a slow afair, but when I want to show some one the lakes (chain of lakes in my area or out on the big water(Lk. Mich) -every one is always in a hurry. I guess I must need to admit I need a utility boat-(motor), but I do enjoy a slow row to watch the loons and beaver play.... I welcome any more input for a small "seaworth" planing boat, or I still ponder if I should get a big displacement boat like a sail boat or large Newfoundland dory and just idle, at a low throttle, even thought I have this nice quick 15hp Honda going at 25% throttle. I welcome your thoughts......... Tim PS Has anyone used the Newfoundland dory that is currently avail. on the web? They look very interesting!

-- tim miller (Sailboaot@copper.net), October 30, 2003.

If you get the Newfoundland dory you can sell the 15hp motor, it's narrow transom won't support the weight.

So the question is how many people? What kind of weather? Dory's are great in rough weather. Although I have a swampscott dory, I can attest it rides the waves nicely. For what you described, there are a wide variety of boats that will do. If sailing is your prime passion, a dory's narrow stern makes it sail on its ear.


-- Gary Powell (gwpowell@hotmail.com), October 30, 2003.

Did you look at the Gig Harbor Lobster boat? It planes, it sails and rows. Not the best row boat but if you need a utility motor boat that sails and rows it would be hard to beat this hull shape. -Gary-

-- Gary Powell (gwpowell@hotmail.com), October 31, 2003.

Hello Tim, The good news is the boat you are looking for exists. It is the 14' plywood Fisherman's skiff made by ToyTown Boats in Winchendon, MA. The bad news is the company is no longer in business. These boats have a 61" beam, 31" of freeboard and weigh about 250 lbs. They were primarily made for the livery business (hourly rentals) and fishermen who used them as tenders for their lobster boats around the greater Boston area. They could handle a 15 horse engine but a 5 or 6 hp was more than enough. Due in part to a 1/2" hook they rowed very nicely in most sea conditions (the exception being a stiff, short chop) and could carry quite a load. This boat is a variation on the traditional dory skiff and still popular with the local lobstermen. Check out the 14' Semi-Dory on page 231 of John Gardner's The Dory Book published by Mystic Seaport for the basic plan. The main difference between the Toy Town boat and the Semi-dory is that the latter is built plank-on-frame. Good Luck, Dave Brewin

-- David Brewin (dbrewin@comcast.net), November 08, 2003.

I suggest you contact "The Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic" Lunenberg ,NS. at museum.gov.ns.ca/fma ,they still build dory's there and sell plans . They can tell you exactly how big of an inboard engine you can use .

-- Joe Armstrong (studebk@earthlink.net), January 25, 2004.

www.sugarsand.com get a jetboat, slow and quite with no wake is not a problem, fast and speady with lots of fun, even easier : )

-- Taylor Walker (Walkerte32004@msn.com), February 10, 2004.


Don't rule out a dory just yet. Please check out http://www.dory.netfirms.com for some Banker Dory options. They custom build Newfoundland Banker Dories for folks that require up to a 15 horsepower motor all the time. They widen the counter and cut it for an engine mount. It also has 2 rowing stations, and is very easy to row for one person.

-- (fw80@hotmail.com), April 08, 2004.

Hey Tim, I've got just what you are looking for. It's a 20 ft. Lowell Dory with a built in motor well. I bought it a couple years ago from an old retired guy that had it custom built by the Lowell Boat Company in 1986. At the time I was looking around for a boat exactly like you are. Upon getting a tip on one for sale and talking to the guy on the phone, I literally dropped everything and headed out of state. About 500 miles down the highway I called the wife and let her in on what I was up to. Naturally, she was piss*@, but too late....he he he ;-) When I got there it was pretty late at night and dark. When we turned on the lights in the garage I couldn't believe my eyes. Except for a coating of dust the dory was just like new. When we took off the fitted cover it still smelled like paint, kind of like a new car smell. Lowell is one of the old time eastern seaboard boat companies and the quality of construction has to be seen to believed. Superior workmanship, all brass fittings and fiberglass protects everything below the waterline inside and out. The leather on the custom oars was unmarked. Turns out he only put in in the water once to test it. Needless to say it was only a few short minutes and she was all hooked up!!!

The design and quality of construction is nothing short of fantastic. It's rated for a 15 hp motor, but also rows like a dream! I use it on the other side of the state, mostly for walleye fishing on Saginaw Bay. It's seaworthy beyond description. I've been in actual six footers on the bay and had no problems other than getting beat to a pulp and exhausted from tossing around. For the benefit of salt water people reading this, these aren't like ocean waves. Unprotected areas of the great lakes produce a unique type of wave that is choppy, steep, very closely spaced and just plain NASTY.

As discussed, these boats are designed with a non planing hull. A big dory like this knifes thorugh the water beautifully by motor or oar, but isn't bulit for top end speed. Just for kicks I put on a 25 hp 2 stroke Johnson to see what it would do and it still wouldn't plane off even though the same motor will power a 16 1/2 ft bass boat 30MPH. Next I threw on a 5 hp Nissan four stroke previously used as a kicker motor and it's been on ever since.

It's never been for sale and I never really thought about selling it until reading this post. But, open water addict that I am I've got five other boats and the wife might be happier if she got her spot in the garage back. I'm 100% sincere, we have a four car garage and both of us park outside. If you are still interested in a dory suitable for big water and designed for a motor email me and we can kick it around.

-- Rick (i4Truth1@netzero.com), May 16, 2004.

Hi, I also have a 15 Honda 4 stroke (about 100 lbs, the most I can handle off the transom) I love the motor and have it hooked to a 10' Avon RIB inflatable so I can throw it on the roof of the car(89lbs). I've clocked it at 23.5 mph with a gps in San Diego. That's alone (200 lbs) and because of the confidence in the 4 stroke (and hand held radio)I have had it off shore many times fishing in the kelp beds. I built a long narrow padded seat that mounts in the middle of the deck kind of like a jet ski seat that gives me the balance to open the throttle. It doesn't row well but, consider that the torque of the 4 stroke lets it plane as slow as 10 mph that's great for choppier conditions, and the inflatable bobs like a cork in a big swell. I keep looking for something like a dory that will ride better in the chop, but they are too heavy. I am surfing the web to find the perfect boat for my motor, but I think I already have it. Good Luck, Ross Evergreen Colorado

-- Ross Adams (RSADLA@aol.com), January 02, 2005.

I am only now puting the finishing touches on 16' Semi Dory built from the Gardner book. I will power the boat with a 15 Honda. Everything I know about boat construction and design is proving very valuble as I am now seeing that a beautiful and utilitarian design on paper really is fabulous in the finished state. I am planning on using the boat in Georgian Bay and will be freighting myself, my beagle and supplies to winward in order to build a summer cottage on an hostile island shoreline. The boat was considerably easy to build and I am expecting great results from this boat. It won't be a record breaker speed wise but will be dry, compfortable and safe as only a dory can be.It anyone wants to follow up this post with some questions, feel free to e-mail me and perhaps I can send along a photo of the sea trials. Mark Warburton Aurora Ontario Canada

-- Mark Warburton (markw@aci.on.ca), March 10, 2005.

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