looking for dory to sail/row to Alaska

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I've been contemplating a trip from Washington to Alaska for some time and would love to do it in a dory in which I can camp or pull up on shore when feasible. I once had a 21' Alpha dory from Bainbridge Island which I unfortunately sold, but it would have been perfect. It was sprit rigged, had two rowing stations, and an outboard well, and also had plenty of room to rig a shelter. I live in Colorado, but would consider traveling most anywhere to find the perfect boat.

Thanks, Rob

-- Rob Lewis (rob353@earthlink.net), August 19, 2004


There is a book, "Row to Alaska By Wind & Oar by Pete Ashenfelter, Nancy Ashenfelter, Pete Ashenfelter (Photographer), Nancy Ashenfelter (Illustrator)" about a couple that did this trip. (Still available as a used book via Amazon.com) That you might find interesting. It's a bit late in the summer to start this trip now (mid August) Note: the dory that the Ashenfelter's had did not have a centerboard so they could only reach and run before the wind. Yours, -Gary-

-- Gary Powell (gwpowell@hotmail.com), August 20, 2004.

There's a link on Gig Harbor Boatworks' site to an article about such a trip one of their Whitehall customers made. Gig Harbor works in glass and is right in the Sound area. Also look at the NW School of Wooden Boatbuilding in Port Townsend WA for traditional wood carvel or lapstrake commissioned boats. Whitehall Row and Sail builds glass Whitehall reproductions in WA and a friend told me about a small builder in BC called Freebooter Boatworks. I live in SE AK and recently had a glued plywood lapstrake dory (Iain Oughtred's 16' LOA Stickleback or Amberjack) built by Mark Reuten of Nomad Boatbuilding. Also look at the Oughtred John Dory which is longer and heavier built. Mark could easily deliver to the Seattle area. I use mine all around here, beach it, camp out of it etc. A gorgeous boat that works, works, works. So many ask to try it out I hardly get time to row it myself. Maybe I'm biased, but I happen to think the Swampscott is a bit more seakindly. The Whitehall's transom would handle a kicker better. Haven't sailed either. The Amberjack has less freeboard than your Alpha and may work better under oars in crosswinds.

-- Allison Banks (Allison_Banks@nps.gov), September 07, 2004.

The web site that was previously mentioned was this one:


I believe he made a wooden swampscott dory to row to Alaska, the bought a glass Whitehall 14 from Gig Harbor which he took to Alaska and rowed on many trips there.

I'm not crazy about sleeping on board small rowing boats. I'm tall and most of these have too many floorboards etc in the way. Plus boats conduct the heat very well away from you.


-- Gary Powell (gwpowell@hotmail.com), September 08, 2004.

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