Fishing Dory [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Fishing Dory

01-05-2003, 09:08 PM
I see on the board that Greg, and Mike are going to build a boat this winter, this brings a question to mind. Did anyone, other than me meet up 2 years ago with the gentleman from Canada who was rowing his dory from Quebec to Louisana. I watched him row into the breachway at Quonochotaug. The dory was about 18 feet long, and it was very seaworthy from what I could see. I had quite a chat with him. When I got home I called a TV station and told them what he was doing, they went as far as Watch Hill, which was going to be his next stop, but they couldn't find him. I never heard about him again, and often wondered how he made out. If I was going to get another boat I think it would be a dory to go around the coast. I have seen one around Quonny a few times which has a outboard that is mounted right in a well in the middle of the dory, it wasn't fast but I have seen it go out in some nasty weather. Just thought I would mention it, winter is just starting, and thoughts already on the coast.:D

John Desjardins
01-06-2003, 08:26 AM
Hi Art, I didn't meet up with your rower but I also have memories of the seaworthiness of dories. My experience was watching a couple of crazies going in and out through the surf durring a storm in them years ago while I was camping in the maritime provinces. They caught fish (cod?) while I couldn't keep my line out in the water for more than a half minute. The memory has stuck with me for years.

01-06-2003, 09:03 AM

"Messing About in Boats" had an article, or series of articles, about a gentleman who circumnavigate the Cape with a dory as well as a few other adventures in the last few years.

I'll see what I can find in my old copies.


01-06-2003, 10:23 AM
For about an hour!

Seaworthy to a point but...
What the dory lacks in speed it certainly makes up for in blisters on both hands and the buttisimo!

01-06-2003, 02:42 PM
Coworker took one from Salem, MA two summers ago to Ptown and then THROUGH the canal and to Martha's Vineyard and finally Nantucket...and back!

He takes it once a year on a voyage. Pretty amazing, he swears by its seaworthyness. Sony Boombox on the back and a tarp in the front for a "cabin".

I think he's crazy.


Doc Duprey
01-06-2003, 04:27 PM
Dunno about the seqworthiness thing, but...

1) The Grand Banks fishermen, who were fishing under very difficult conditions in a part of the world with some SERIOUS storms, used dories. Most of them came home to do it again and again.

2) The modern drift boat (hard-side, not the inflatables) are nothing more than dory designs modified with a more pronounced rocker for improved maneuverability. They can handle some pretty rough waters.

3) Many modern work and sport boats have been influenced by the dory hull conformation. Not identical, but influenced. Certainly a visit to the Mystic Seaport would provide a wealth of information on the design history of working boats in New England and Maritime Canada.

I'd say that the basic design is quite sound...just don't volunteer to row one for extended periods.

I'll get down from my soapbox now...

Best regards,


01-06-2003, 06:35 PM
Basically the design of the dory was a function of the materials they had to built with. Two hundred years or so ago... oak wood planking was the only material commonly available. The lap streak design lent itself to a perfect overlap of materials. Without modern day chalking this lent itself to a tighter fit and the overlap could be pegged easier.

The shape of the boat itself lent it to the natural bending of the natural oak planking. The square ends of the planking gave the boat some stability in the water. Modern day fiberglass boats like Thomson and Grady's once tried to copy this feature. It was too difficult to do since modern day fiberglass molds needed release angles to separate the forms.

The double ended bows made it convenient for oarsman to change direction easier too. Oarsman would just turn around and face the other way on their seats while chasing whales. It helped landing and launching the craft in the surf too.

In a way, the dory had very little area bottom contact with the sea. It made for a side to side rolling, but it would also right itself quite easily. It was truly the predecessor of the deep "V" boats we have today being a displacement hull. That's why you don't see the design much anymore. Wider boat have taken over for stability with the advent of fuel propulsion.

01-06-2003, 08:40 PM
I just was wondering if The gentleman ever made it to New Orleans, he at least rowed it down from Quebec. I did have a driftboat a few years ago, it worked fine in rivers around here, use to bump it over rocks no problem. It was fibreglass 14 feet long with a flycasting platform up front. The bottom was one inch thick. It had twelve foot oars, and a flat bottom. It didn't work to well in the ocean as it was like a cork. I even ended up with a 9.9 hp engine. I had it shipped from the west coast, It was a Clackercraft. :eyecrazy: Picture attached I hope.

Bob Pink
01-07-2003, 09:49 PM
I too can attest to the seaworthness of the classic dory. I grew up launching one through the surf down in Marshfield each summer. ( Actually it took 3 men and a boy to get it rolled down to the waters edge from the seawall ) Once through the breakers she was sweet to row ( yes with the blisters there Pete! ). The moms would rush down to get their kids out of the water though as I'd try surfing her back to the beach..! Oak, lapstrake, weighed a ton but what nice memories.
Thanks Art!

01-07-2003, 10:40 PM
Way back in the 1900's I spent my high school and college summers "life-guarding" on the south ocean beaches of Long Island. (LongBeach & Point Lookout)
'Got to spend break time working out with surf dorys...solo or 2-man boats.
Riding the waves was a hoot but when the surf was too formidable and a broach was in the offing, the guy in the pointy stern would bail out with a 15' line with a "monkeys fist" knot on the end and hang on to become a human sea anchor.
Breaking an oar now and then was a good thing and an honour.
Interesting summers to be sure...Baby oil and iodine (pre-sunblock)...Good luck Petey!
I can remember sitting in a local Point Lookout pub after work waiting for the traffic to died down...a burger and a beer...killing time watching TV...
The old boozer at the bar was complaining about his "program" getting preempted by some foolishness...
It seemed some goofy astronaught Armstrong was in the process of disturbing lunar soil with the bottom of his boot...
Some statement about "A small step for man...A giant step for mankind"
Yikes! GoFigure?!