Banks dories : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

Anybody out there own a banks dory? I plan on getting a 14ft Banks dory with a motor well in it. I am interested in learning how they handle in roughish water. I understand they operate on low horsepower outboards. I am also interested in how easily they row...

-- Michael Kinney (, October 09, 2004



I've owned a 16 ft modified banks dory TYNFYK(hull more flared) with motor well for past eight years. Although heavy for racing,(when rowing is speed really an issue???,unless racing--after all aren't we rowing to whistle at the seal rather than to speed right by in oblious bliss)it bobs like a seagull in rough water, and is great for fishing, and I'm comfortable in any weather you'd normally find on coastal water;including at night and cold weather. I just acquired a motor last week (4hp) and it pushed it along just fine (wouldn't want much more power). The motor well allowed for the motor to be fully retracted up into the boat for rowing/trolling along shallow rocky shore for stripers without worry so check that option on yours. Don't leave out the cotter pin on the prop though; my maiden voyage with a jury rigged prop ended up with a nice row home. Rowing with the motor in the boat or motor well is not quite the same as without, so I plan on leaving the motor out when I'm more intent on rowing. On that fated day I ended up removing the motor from the well and placing it in the bow to trim the boat for the ride home. The other issue I need to deal with in Massachusetts is registering the boat now that I have a motor ,so you'll want to check your local regs. Beccause of my seating arrangement in the dory, I found it was actually easier to kneel on one knee in front of the motorwell than sitting and reaching further back to the motor; this allows me to jump right back on to my rowing position as needed. A big old lifejacket worked great for padding the knee; I also found that I could direct the boat just by leaning on the gunhals(sp?) with both arms and leaning port/starboard as necessary. The other consideration for power would be an electric motor; I borrowed one once and took a cruise; the quietude was nice and allowed for conversation. If you can try one out before making a decision I would highly recommend it; I probably would have gone electric but the freebie gas powered could't be passed up, and I believe it provides more power/speed/range than electric would. However,don't forget about rowing; I'm still feeling guilty as a diehard rower;but I'm pretty "stoked" about the range I now have;I can power out to the local islands for a change of scenery/more fishing ,and row till my hearts content. Have fun. If you're a local Mass. rower, I planning on being a the Head of the Weir in Hull on Octber 16th, with both dory and motor if my new prop arrives by then (I won't be using the motor in the race,only to get there) if you would like a test drive.My cell # is 617-592-9990. Ed Norton Boston

-- Ed Norton (, October 11, 2004.

Electric motors are the way to go for fishing. You can think and talk while fishing to your buddy. Be sure to get a deep cycle gel battery, the number of pants you'll save by not splashing acid on them will make up for the cost $200+ (Check G.I. Joes or your local marine discounter.) Disadvantage, recharge at home, and the battery is heavy. But you can balance the boat out by using long cables and putting it towards the front of the boat.

BTW I rowed a 17 ft Sam Devlin Oarling which is similar to a banks dory but the overhangs at stem and stern are less. While it was fun, and it bobbed and rolled in the small waves I was in. I much prefer my 16ft Swampscott dory. I thought that the initial stablity was too low for easy fishing in the Oarling. Also the gunnels were cracking at the oarlocks so reinforment would be required for heavy rowing. Still though a fun boat for one.


-- Gary Powell (, October 12, 2004.

If the "banks" dory is slab sided (straight sided rather than something with 2 or more strakes) it will be bobby and more tender in rougher water than a hull that is rounder and fuller in the beam. More ballast will help. A longer dory will row better. Was that totally confusing? Compare the hull shapes of a Swampscott and the banks dory you are looking at. It will make more sense I think.

-- Allison (, October 12, 2004.

I have owned a couple. A 14' and a 16'. They row great, as long as you are not looking for speed. A small outboard is definately the key for fishing. We actualy build em, and for most of our customers these days we widen the transom and cut it out for a small outboard. You can see pix here:

They are great boats in rough water and can stand up to a heavy beating. I have been in some that are plywood sided and they are indeed a little tender. The secret to true stability, in my humble opinion, to to have it planked.

Cheers, Fraser

-- Fraser Wheaton (, November 19, 2004.

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