View Full Version : Swampscott vs. Whitehall

12-13-2000, 12:20 AM
This should spark some discussion. Bring it on!

I've read/heard that Swampscotts, Dory Skiffs, and Whitehalls all row and sail well. What are the results when they go head to head (i.e. speed under oar and sail, ability to sail windward in light air, stability, manueverablity, ease and cost of construction)?

Hear are some parameter's to narrow the discussion to my scope of interest.

Length: 15' to 17' (Limited by garage size).
Load: 2 adults, two children + camping gear.
Construction: Lapstrake (natural or ply) or strip epoxy.
Oarsmen: 1, occasionally 2.
Area: Puget Sound, WA, or local lakes.
Finish: Bright.

I look forward to your response.

12-13-2000, 07:54 AM
You're a better man than I, T MacCabe, if you can confidently take your wife & kids sailing in a whitehall on the Sound. I think I'd want something rather more stable if not idiot-proof. (the idiot being me, of course.)

[This message has been edited by TomRobb (edited 12-13-2000).]

Ian McColgin
12-13-2000, 09:09 AM
Either dory type will be far easier and less expensive to build.

Each of these types is noticably better at the larger end of your length spectrum, with it probably mattering most to the Swampscott and least to the dory skiff.

The Whitehall ought to be hands down superior as a row boat in flat water to moderate chop. The dory will bring you back alive from anywhere. There are some light dory skiffs that row well and some that are wretched.

Depending on the design, the dory skiff may well proove the better sailor as she'll have some bearing aft. The swampscott ought to beat the whitehall undersail with the same ease that the whitehall pulls ahead under oar.

For all around family fun and solo adventuring, I'd go swampscott. If you want to make a truely beautiful display of finest woodworking and only plan to row in harbour, maybe the whitehall. If you're remorselessly practical and want streatchout room, try the dory skiff.

Maybe you should make all three.


12-13-2000, 02:30 PM
Dories were originally designed for safely fishing from and loading/unloading a heavy load at sea. Then Swampscott dories were adapted for racing and daysailing. Whitehalls were for rowing with moderate loads and occasional sailing. I've built both. Neither sails very well in light winds. For sailing and rowing comfortably with camping gear and friends/ loved ones, in the 17' range, I'd consider designs for that purpose specifically by Bolger, if you aren't stuck on traditional designs, and Culler, if you are, as a starting place.The best 15' boat I've used in the traditional category for cruising/camping is the Washington County peapod shown in Chappelle's 'American Small Sailing Craft' (p. 220). We (sail)raced a Swampscott dory, a Whitehall and the peapod on the Kennebec River in Maine one day, alot of current and varying breezes, and the peapod walked away from the others, even though it had no centerboard, which is an advantage for carrying gear and people in a small boat, not to mention simplifying construction.

Ian McColgin
12-13-2000, 02:36 PM
Now there's something to have learned. I've only had a little experience in a peapod many years back and she was a crank. Nice to know a good one. I must expand my horizon.


Ian McColgin
12-13-2000, 02:36 PM
Now there's something to have learned. I've only had a little experience in a peapod many years back and she was a crank. Nice to know a good one. I must expand my horizon.


12-13-2000, 04:38 PM
I agree that either Dory will be easier to build. With a flat bottom, the Dory will also be easier to beach and later add a ceneterboard or daggerboard and sail. I do believe, however, that a good whitehall design will row better than a good swampscott dory. Although I have to confess my ignorace of Puget Sound conditions, I think that for rowing around with a family, a whitehall is plenty safe. I've rowed and sailed a 17' whitehall throughout the San Francisco Bay in winds up to 20+ knots and never felt threatened.
I think a glued-lap swampscott will go together easier, perhaps be easier to maintain, will be beachable, and easily converted to sail. Furthermore, I think that the Dory is also very safe and there are a bunch of really nice glued-lap designs which can be easily found. I think in the end, however, that a really nice dory just is not as pretty as a really nice whitehall.

12-14-2000, 09:23 PM

Once again I pour through Chapelle's American Small Sailing Craft.


The No Man's Land Boat, pgs. 169-170, the Small Jersey Beach Skiff, pg. 207, and the Newfoundland Boat, pg. 224 all look as good.

So what's gonna give the best combination of space, safety, rowing, and sailing, keeping in mind that I like a traditional look? (Gaff rigs are cool and would be considered a bonus).

Any good sources of Culler designs?


12-15-2000, 06:36 AM
I believe the R D Culler designs are now at Mystic. I built a No Man's Land boat (Beetle model) a few years ago and took it to the WoodenBoat show at Southwest Harbor. As I rowed her over to the docks from Manset a man on a dock said "You must have a motor in there, you're not working hard enough." She did row well, and take a load, being quite large to think of as a row boat. Even if you go to a gaff rig keep the ketch rig, . With her long keel you will want the mizzen for balance and coming about, it also keeps the center of effort low and gives a smoother ride. I always liked the Hampton boat too.

Ian McColgin
12-15-2000, 11:08 AM
Each night this week I've managed to get Leeward out for a row. One night through luminous fog with the full moon. One night a bit blustery and wet. Last couple nights pretty calm.

Kerosene anchor light lashed to the 'sampsonette' post on the bow, pipe of course lit since I carry into rowing and transfer from apple eating the smoking the hobbit's advice & I don't row harder than I can comfortably smoke as well. Except for my 1/4 mile wind sprint from the edge of the channel to (Disappearing) Egg Island, for which I strip, lay aside pipe and flask, and work my heart up to 120+. Then a nice drift while putting my cloths back on before I chill, relight the pipe, take a pull of Islay's finest, and row around serenity restored.

Now you could do that in a Whitehall, and let your imagination roam that you're delivering smuggled goods from ship to shore, but my own phantacies suit the dory.

Like Blackburn I might just end up going someplace remarkable.

I might be launching off the beach to rescue folk from a wreck.

I might, in the freedom of night rowing imagination be doing any number of sea dog adventures.

For my imagination, that means doing it in a dory.


12-15-2000, 01:07 PM

The Washington County peapod was better than any of the ones you listed from Chapelle (which we also built). A simple gaff and jib rig could be fitted to the design to suit your preference. Two books of Culler's plans are : 'Skiffs and Schooners' by Culler himself, and 'Pete Culler's Boats' by Burke.

Ian- Do you ever get over to that island east of Hyannisport? There's a cove over there where the "Pearl Necklace" used to be docked. We'd spend the night in there sometimes on a Beetlecat when sailing around Nantucket Sound.

Ian McColgin
12-15-2000, 02:28 PM
There's two coves back in there. Uncle Roberts is the one your thinking of - tres elegant. This year they've added a proa to the fleet.

For more privacy we usually go 'Behind Pine Island' - a cove north of Uncle Roberts. The entrance looks tricky but it's not once you know the way so any cruisers who might drop my Hyannis, gimme a flash.

The Chase family does not permit beach activity - just as well considering the Lyme infestation - and have ever present guards to enforce it. One snowy New Year's Day Gayle & I rowed over and sat on a rock to have some champaign. Busted!

Whether the shell fish beds are officially closed or not, many locals sneak a swim up the marsh collecting oysters which they eat raw while they float around.

Swimming there on a summer's night is a total delight of pleasantly warm water and abundant bioluminesence. Can't tell you the number of weekend cruising plans ruined by being so pleasantly situated in the cove on Friday night that we manage to while away Saturday morning, by 1100 floating around under the drowsey sun with a beer talking about what it would be like if we actually went sailing . . .

The Cove behind Pine Island. Except for a couple of weekends in the year when some tupperware stinkpots show up, our reliable little bit of paradice. Also a great place to hole up for storms.

[This message has been edited by Ian McColgin (edited 12-15-2000).]

12-15-2000, 06:29 PM
Thank you Ian-

That was the name of the place...Uncle Robert's Cove. I understand that if JFK had lived he was considering purchasing part of that land for a home. Down here in Georgia, the floating food of choice is watermelon slices, especially in the summer heat. I prefer oysters either icy cold or hot off the fire. Semi-warm doesn't appeal to me somehow, but I might try it some time.

Back to the topic- Another traditional design that had impressive sailing abilities and would row and carry a load well is a Bahamas Dinghy. It also sports a beautiful transom for sculling or (gasp) outboard engine. WB had a set of plans of one for sale, and the sail rig is an interesting one.

12-15-2000, 07:50 PM
So much depends on factors you don't mention maccabe; but if ease of building is given strong weight, with seaworthiness a close second, then a swampscott dory is what you what to build. Everything else said here is good too, but you'll likely have a dory built before you finish lofting a whitehall. The better characteristics, this or that, of different types pales when you look at that fact, combined with what I think most or all the posters here would concur with: if the chips are down, give me a dory.

The right design will sail and row quite well also. Best of luck, Ishmael

12-15-2000, 07:54 PM

Are you part of the old Apprenticeshop cadre?

Ben Fuller
12-15-2000, 11:48 PM
Whitehalls actually make not very good sailboats. They are designed to track and thus can be hard to tack. The fine stern does not for stability make.

Dories turn relatively easier. The Swampscott flavor does suffer from a fine stern so you have to rig tillers etc so you can sail the boat from amidships. The dory skiff or purpose designed sailing dory behave better as they have some bearing aft when heeled and bearing equals stability.

I have been underwhelmed with Washington County pods. Heavy and without a board not especially effective to windward. Best one I ever sailed had a goodly skeg added to the stern which improved tacking somewhat.

The other problem with double enders is that unless you boom the sail they are hard to set up so you get a reasonable efficient main. And do not let anyone fool you into thinking that a jib will set well on an unstayed mast.

12-16-2000, 02:00 AM
To all,

Your words are wonderful to read. Poetry.

And I love Tolkien.

I must confess that I have been been a Swampscott fan for years, although I've never gotten to ride in or build one.

I first discovered dories after studying the construction of Daisy, a Dory Skiff. She's in my most worn copy of WB, #126. At 12', she's just a bit small for my needs.

Then I read "Row to Alaska", wherein an older couple sails to Ketchikan, AK from the San Juans. Their's was an 18' Swampscott, a beauty indeed. Love that book, and I too understand the daydreams of Ian.

That's when I found the Dory Book, and the Dion model. I've been looking for pictures
and examples of her ever since. Seems there should be an association surrounding her.

I also find Iain Oughtred's 16' and 18' models pleasing. The 18' would be it for sure if only I had 2 more feet of garage, but the 16' version seems too small. Maybe it's not. Can anyone say?

For the last year or so I've been hooked on a Whitehall, mostly because of the internal layout. She's strip planked, but alas, at 18' she's just too long. See here: http://members.nbci.com/tmaccabe/Kurylko/

I built the site in exchange for her plans, but the designer isn't ready to go public with it.

The Marblehead Dory Skiff as recently been recommended to me. I haven't found any drawings, but I hear they're in Gardner's 2nd volume. Would anyone second this recommendation, or have any study plans for sale?

I've often thought about putting a Chamberlin type transom on the Dion Model, just to shorten her up a bit. What do you think?

This has been a very nice thread.

Thank you all.


P.S. Tom, thank you for the words of caution. I certainly don't want to do anything foolish. My wife would never let me take her or the kids out in something she didn't feel safe in. It would be good if I didn't waste my time and money only to discover I couldn't enjoy the results.

12-16-2000, 12:30 PM
Yes, I was one of the 'apprentices' at the Bath site. It was such a rare experience to be in on the building and sailing of all those old Chapelle designs, among others. Ben Fuller's comments about the Washington County pod's qualities should be valued highly given his wealth of experience and knowledge. Compared to the other traditional designs, I was pleased with how well she sailed to windward despite not having a centerboard, and thought the added space and reduced building complication was a worthwhile tradeoff. They were heavily built however, as he says, and I wondered what they'd be like if built lighter. (Might have been worse!) I would have also liked to compare it to the Jonesport peapod in that same chapter of ASSC. I used to rig a temporary running backstay to tension the jib luff, which was set flying, and agree about the need for a boom or boomsprit. . I, too, thought of mentioning Gardner's double ended gunning dory but try to keep my comments based on actual experience rather than what I imagine. I've only seen that boat in his book, and one thing I learned from building all those boats was how difficult it was for me to accurately predict how well a boat would sail/row/feel/perform based on looking at plans. We built Culler's 16' 'lifeboat' model and it was the most fun to row (more than Whitehall types, to me) and I would have liked to see how it would sail if rigged for it.

[This message has been edited by rbgarr (edited 12-16-2000).]

[This message has been edited by rbgarr (edited 12-16-2000).]

12-16-2000, 02:11 PM
The Peapod sounds neat because there's no centerboard, but I just like flat transoms better. That's why the Newfoundland Boat on pg. 224 looks so good. It may be possible to hide a motorwell.

Then again, the South Jersey Beach Skiff on pg. 207 seems to have a beamier, firmer bilge.

Would these models provide the stability and sailing qualities of the Dory, with the space and rowing ease of the Whitehall?


[This message has been edited by tmaccabe (edited 12-16-2000).]

Ben Fuller
12-16-2000, 11:20 PM
For plans of the Marblehead Dory Skiff check the plans department at Mystic: problem is that it is only a 14 footer and for what/who you want to carry you need a bigger boat.

Dorys generally do not have great initial stability, often feel a touch tiddly, if the bottom is pretty wide that goes away.

The Alaska "Whitehall" is nicely sorted. Has a real foil to go up the breeze, slightly fatter stern sections than most of the traditional ones, and the flat keel that is so handy when beaching. The well spread rig and that flattish bottom will make it easy to tack her.

I am pretty used to daggerboards with my experience in my ducker, and various modern boats like lasers. They give you more interior space but they are less forgiving. They also have much less turbulence for a boat that wants to be rowed: you put a nice flush block in the bottom.

Ian has done some nice adaptations of traditional boats to modern materials. You might want to check into a project in which I am involved, a 17 foot beach cruiser design by Tony Dias. Lines are not unlike the Washington County pod, but a bit more deadrise, a narrow Jersy skifflike flat bottom. Arch Davis has a more whitehall style 17 footer called the Penobscot 17, which is designed for construction ease. It is a bit Newfoundland skiff like.

[This message has been edited by Ben Fuller (edited 12-16-2000).]

12-17-2000, 12:54 AM

The Penobscot 17' looks great.

Did you mean Iain O., or Ian M. from this thread? Ian, do you have a URL?

Can we see the Tony Diaz model?


[This message has been edited by tmaccabe (edited 12-17-2000).]

Ben Fuller
12-17-2000, 10:26 AM
Sorry, Iain O. and as we know he is not into cyberspace. Highly recommend his new book on building.

The Dias Harrier is on Tony Dias's web site; http://www.diasdesign.com/ .Mike O'Brien in the new Boat Design Quarterly has a write up as did Art Paine in Maine Boats and Harbors reprinted in the most recent Maine Island Trail Association news. The prototype is a few weeks away from a launch.I delberately stayed with a d.e. boat to get rid of the outboard temptation. Set up to be rowed by one or two with a 60 inch beam at deck.

[This message has been edited by Ben Fuller (edited 12-17-2000).]

12-17-2000, 03:49 PM
A question for Ben Fuller:

Do you have formulae for suitable oar lengths that take beam and freeboard into account? Someone has asked me for help with this, and I've been looking for a reference, so far unsuccessfully.

I second the suggestion about plank keels. They also make loading and unloading from a trailer easier. Tony, do you plan on keeping your prospective boat in your garage on a trailer, or on it's own? Or are you talking about building it in your garage?

[This message has been edited by rbgarr (edited 12-17-2000).]

12-18-2000, 10:29 AM

I will be building it, and storing it in my (2 car) garage. It often seems like Daisy is the best option right now, since she is small, and doen't require a shop full of tools.

Is it feasible to build a 17 footer in so little space?


12-18-2000, 04:33 PM
I live in your area(East side of state) and am building a 16' Swampscott Dory based on the plans in Gardner's book. I chose it after reading through several books and basing my decision on ease of building, level of skill required, tools and materials needed and, I really liked the way the boat looks. I am in the process of putting on the planks right now and hope to be in the water this spring. If I could be of assistance let me know. This is my first attempt and so far it appears to be coming out all right. The forum has been a great assist. Incidentally, I've managed to find all the materials and them some. I would be glad to share any info.

12-18-2000, 04:48 PM
If you want a simple type of boat that is Daisy's size, and you don't have or want to purchase much in the way of tools, you might consider the 'Wine Glass Wherry' kit by Pygmy Boats of Port Townsend, WA at http://www.pygmyboats.com .You might even be able to contact them and see if anyone near you has one. I saw one at the recent Georgetown, SC Wooden Boat Show and thought that it would be more useful for camping in a 16-18' size. Maybe they'd be interested in scaling up the current design for you?

Ben Fuller
12-18-2000, 05:02 PM
A two car garage is plenty of space for a 17 footer both to build and store. It is why we settled on 17 feet for the Harrier, the Dias boat as that is about how long a boat and trailer you can get into a 20 garage......

As far as oar length goes it is a little tricky as it depends to some extent how you row. If you have become efficient and overlap grips you can stand a longer oar than if not. Twice the distance between lock is a good place to start. If freeboard is low like a rowing shell there is 5' pin to pin but your oars are 9'6". There is also the issue of up and down wind rowing. On my ducker which is 3'8 or so between pins, the long oars are 7'6" the short ones 7 footers. I suspect that the freeboard on the beach cruiser is such that she will want 10 footers anyway for the 5 foot of beam.

12-20-2000, 11:05 AM

You mentioned above that there are good and bad dories. Can you be more specific?

Would anyone care to compare the Hammond 16' Swampscott to the 14'9" Lowell Dory Skiff featured in The Dory Book?

Again, which would row/sail better?



12-20-2000, 11:29 AM
I've always wanted to build the Dion dory from the dory book. I looks like a good example of the type, but I've never seen one in the flesh. Perhaps some of the more knowledgable here will step in and dis-abuse both of us.

Best of luck, Jack

Ian McColgin
12-20-2000, 11:51 AM
OK, Bad dory. It's hard, since the all-mighty did arrange the universe such that if you bend a few planks fare and join 'em up it's usually a nice boat . . .

A banks shape of say 14' that's too high sided would row like a crank and be pretty tippy. Or you could get overspecialized - the drift boats we used in Oregon rivers are really dories with huge bottom rocker. Perfect for drifting downriver and handling some pretty serious rapids as they come. Plain misery to row across a big lake.

The swampscott/chamberlain shapes make better recreational rowing, sailing and surf boats than the slab sided banks type and are less limited when they get small. The banks shape can really come into its own as it gets over 24', oar or power. Fun to compare Gerr's big dory shaped live-aboard power boat with - ah what's his name - opinionated and interesting NA down in Maine who does a lot of cool looking liveaboard designs - sail, power, even barge - (oh yeah - MacNaughton - you can find him through John's links) anyway, he has a liveaboard sail dory schooner like thing that looks as though it would sail better than the average dory.

One fun area - pretty much rowing boats - is the convergance of the bateau with the light dory. Comparing Bolger's Gloster Gull with Culler's Otter is an interesting exercise that will get you seeing the subtelties of these little boats about as fast as anything.

[This message has been edited by Ian McColgin (edited 12-20-2000).]

[This message has been edited by Ian McColgin (edited 12-20-2000).]

Dana Jenner
12-21-2000, 12:14 AM
All this discussion begs for some serious building followed by a regatta to sort it all out. I've been looking at plans for something larger than my Catspaw Dinghy for several years now.
Why are all the Chapelle built 'pods the Washington County model (fig. 84)? Has anyone built the Jonesport model (fig. 83)?
If not, why not? Chapelle compares the hull(favorably, it seems) as similar to a No Mans Land boat.
If one has been built, I'd dearly like to hear about it's performance, both under oar and sail. My personal inclination would be to stretch one of these a couple feet, to get up to 17' or 18'. And built lighter than use to be done, although still traditionally. Lapstrake. Adding some internal ballast should help when the wind picks up? A work boat regatta anyone?

12-21-2000, 06:12 AM
These regattas have been annual events at the Mystic Small Craft Weekends first week in June, the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival the beginning of October, and many others scattered around the States, the world, and through the year. The more the merrier.

12-21-2000, 10:02 AM

I think, although I'm not sure, that Jon Wilson, founder of WB, built a Jonesport pod and wrote an article about it in one of the earliest issues.

Regarding scaling designs up or down in size: my only experience with that was an attempt to scale down a 15'6" Malcolm Brewer dory I had to a 14' model to be used as a tender to a 37' schooner. I was very surprised at how much more tippy the smaller version was. The change in stability seemed much greater than the change in size warranted. Live and learn.

The Jim Steele peapods and Doug Hylan beach pods would be interesting ones to include in any sailing/rowing regatta, too.

[This message has been edited by rbgarr (edited 12-21-2000).]

12-22-2000, 12:48 AM
And what about the Newfoundland Boat? Has anyone seen one of these in action?

Looks a lot like the South Jersey Sea Skiff. What's different between 'em?


Hazy Chris
12-22-2000, 12:48 AM
Hi there, I'm goint to try to post some photos (for the first time) of a slightly altered washington county peapod that I saw at the wooden boat festival in Port Townsend. This boat may belong to someone on the forum. If so I hope you don't mind. here-goes

Hazy Chris
12-22-2000, 12:58 AM
Criminy it worked first try. (Thanks to JohnRSmith's fine instructions) Anyway. I was struck by this boat and was suprised at how sturdily it was built. I asked about its windward performance and the owner said that it wasn't anything to boast about, but that it always got him where he wanted to go with a smile -to wind or not. He mentioned it crabbed along a bit without a centerboard, but again, he looked pretty happy and it got him to the show. It is alaska yellow cedar on oak. I think the partial deck was one of his alterations but I'm not sure. I think he said he stretched it out just a smidge too. Here is another photo http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=1413271&a=10569710&p=35951813
I think the owner's name is Ken Hartz

12-22-2000, 01:37 AM

Regarding the Newfoundland Boat and the South Jersey Beach Skiff from Chapelle:
We built both and the Newfie, as we called it was a disappointment. The sail rig and rudder were too small, she had to be ballasted heavily in the stern to get down to her lines, and she was hard to turn when rowing. It would not work to put a motor well in the boat. Not enough room.
The Beach Skiff was very heavy with all that decking, the keel was more complicated to build, the sail rig was also too small, and there was really no comfortable way to row the boat with the coaming and centerboard arrangement as drawn. There wouldn't be much convenient space to store camping gear or for four people to sit. My $.02, fwiw.

12-22-2000, 09:15 PM
Were those pictures taken in 1996? I swear I saw that Pod in Port Townsend during my visit to the festival. Lovely boat.

Thank you rbgarr for addressing my questions about the South Jersey and Newfoundland boats. Informative answers.

I just read some comments from Paul Gartside regarding strip planking. Looks like Clinker is the thing for me. I can't wait to choose a design and start building.

Any comments regarding the subtle differences in the 16' Hammond Dory (Dory Book) and the 16' Modified Swampscott (Building Classic Smallcraft). Should I be looking towards the one having more rocker, or the one that looks more rounded? Is this called deadrise? I'm still having difficulty with terms like deadrise, slack bilges, strong shear, burdensome, etc. Any handy illustrated guides available? Or would that be too easy?


Hazy Chris
12-23-2000, 02:58 AM
The pictures were from 1999.

12-23-2000, 10:53 AM
If you really study the dory as it evolved along, the sailing versions are altered to suit. The pulling types (Chapelle) have a lot of flare, narrow bottoms and fine sterns. The sailing models have a wider bottom, not as much flare and a fuller stern.

The dory tends to march around a mooring, so freeboard aft is worked in to help stop this annoying habit. The third boat I built was a swampscott and it sailed okay, but was, as expected, tender. A fuller stern and wider bottom would have helped a lot.

The Whitehall is a pulling boat with rather occasional sailing. To much bury to her bow to really come around well, though tracks like a slot car.

I think both designs can be good sailers if modified for such, but would it be a Whitehall with the needed changes. It would affect the Whitehall's looks more then the dorys'. I also think the modified Whitehall would row badly if changed to sail well.

The Whitehall is a beautiful craft, a timeless wonder of our abilities. The dory is a classic of more utilitarian looks and construction. Both are fine boats for their intended use. Jay Benford has some experience with the modified dory for sailing, as do several other designers. Metens/Goossens NA, Phil Bolger, Don Hill, Miles Yacht Design and others may be the people you need to talk to, as they all have the skills/designs needed to suit you.

Ben Fuller
12-24-2000, 04:16 PM
The Hammond and the Modified:

The Modified has a slightly wider bottom board and is wider low down since its bottom is rounded in cross section so is likely to feel a bit more stable than the Hammond. The Hammond has more deadrise as the section for the first three planks is straight, in fact it looks like you could make a single plank out of a piece of ply. It looks like it has a touch more rocker as well which would make is turn easier. The Hammond is 3 inches longer on the bottom. IF you had the same power plant in both I suspect the Hammond would be a touch quicker under oars. The modified would feel more stable initially and perhaps be a better sailer. And of course John detailed the modified Swampscott more.

I assume that you have also looked at the dory plans that Oughtred has drawn.

12-26-2000, 06:13 PM
I can recommend the round bilged dory after 20 years with the type. We used a Lowells sailing surf dory in the open waters of Lake Michigan. Sailing with my friends, it was the vessel of choice in calm weather because it was fun to row two up and reasonably fast. It was also the boat of choice when the conditions were deemed too severe for my friends' antique Snipes and Lightnings.

We've launched and recovered the boat through the surf, but I don't suggest it, because sand jams the CB case.

I don't have any experience sailing the whitehall, but I would tell you I always feel safe in the dory.

Dan Wilder
12-28-2000, 02:33 PM
I don't know if this is relavent or not (I didn't feel like scrolling through the second page of this thread on my antiquated computer), but my father and I built a Marblehead Dory Skiff, and we're very satisfied. She rows extremely well and can take a big sea admirably. The combination of raked transom, raked stem, and extreme flare amidships frustrates a chop no matter what part of the boat it hits. While initial stability is very tender (small children and the more lubblerly among us may be severely alarmed), it's almost impossible to dip her gunwales. I've stood next to here in the shallows and tried to push the rail under. It comes within a few inches of the water and won't go any further without me practically standing on it. She also sails smartly in a breeze, but leaves a bit to be desired in light air. The plan is drawn with a silly looking little jib that one might be tempted to omit. Don't. She won't go about without it. All in all, I think dory skiffs are a great design, yielding good seaworthiness and performance from very short lengths.

12-31-2000, 08:10 AM
Interesting, your question -- inserting Chesapeake for Puget -- is occupying my mind as well. Which to build? Without the depth of experience displyed in thus thread (and lacking the confidence that one boat built will necessarily lead to two or three, which would require a bigger garage) it's a nice porblem to ponder as the first snows fall. For my own mind, I'll built a Shearwater dory over the Whitehall I first pictured (and practised on in Greg Rossel's two week course at Wooden Boat school).

Why? I agree with the practical comments made here; we'll be pulling out in a dory before the frames are done on the Whitehall' the flat bottom transports and beaches, and not much mentioned, it'll be less expensive by far.


12-31-2000, 08:13 AM
Interesting, your question -- inserting Chesapeake for Puget -- is occupying my mind as well. Which to build? Without the depth of experience displyed in thus thread (and lacking the confidence that one boat built will necessarily lead to two or three, which would require a bigger garage) it's a nice porblem to ponder as the first snows fall. For my own mind, I'll build a Shearwater dory over the Whitehall I first pictured (and practised on in Greg Rossel's two week course at Wooden Boat school).

Why? I agree with the practical comments made here; we'll be pulling out in a dory before the frames are done on the Whitehall' the flat bottom transports and beaches, and not much mentioned, it'll be less expensive by far.

but really... it's the experience of going out in the Shearwater each day at the end of class in Maine.

12-31-2000, 09:53 AM
A couple of comments:

Tony, I appreciate your wanting to store her in the garage, but, for where you want to sail, I would go with bigger, use the garage
for shop and assemble it finally outdoors. Here in NYS I think it is safe to say most boats are stored under tarps or lean-to roofs
and do it well. I would prefer sea-worthyness to storage.

Ian, I have had a love affair with dories for some time, my eventual goal is a liveaboard but will still have several affairs with dories.

What do you(and others) think is the practical largest that you could build a dory
for sailing? I am thinking of a possible weekender. I amnot too far from Lake Ontario which opens to a LOT of possible weekends :)

I also cant help but feel there is a real similarity of the dory to the old Viking Knarr, i.e. clinker built, flatbottomed, roominess, functional etc., one of my liveaboard possibilities is a knarr with a cabin.

I am hoping to attend one of the WB classes this summer. I have built a couple flat bottomed river boats but, time to get serious.

thoughts, comments?

12-31-2000, 05:03 PM
I am by-passing the business of an all round boat (sail as well as row) by building a modified Whitehall which will sail well up to a close reach. I will row up wind instead of even trying to beat seriously. My water is the Saint John river system, which can get quite rough at short notice, even if it was calm when you started out. Dimensions are 17'6" by 4"6", with a full length 2" deep keel strip (i.e. a shallow version of what Gardner calls a deep water keel). The "modifications" to Gardner's design consist of the following.

1. Less deadrise (10 degrees) Vs Gardner's 15 degrees.

2. Finer bow with about 12" overhang (not plumb like standard Whitehalls) with more flare above the waterline. Rather less bearing aft than usual, for better rowing performance; i.e. weight should be kept amidships.

3. Epoxy/Strip built using 3/16" yellow birch. This will probably give me half the weight of a conventionally built boat, and explains the need for less deadrise. If you have the usual amount, the light boat will be too tender.

I am not sure if this is still a proper "Whitehall", but does this matter? Target launch date is June next - I still have the inside to finish. Assuming the thing floats then, I'll post opinions here as to its performance.

Tony R.

Ian McColgin
01-02-2001, 10:40 AM
Sounds interesting, though I find it hard to imagine anything much skinnier in the stern than a true whitehall. Maybe you're taking it off the part above the waterline.

You might want to make a model and tow it. I don't know and won't predict but the way you flatten the deadrise might have the effect of increasing the bow and stern waves. On a boat this slender, that might not matter except in a flat-out race with a more normal whitehall.

I'll be interesting to see how your model responds to waves. I think she'll be a little more affected than the normal model but, again, it may not be a bad thing.

Traditional boat 'design' evolved by people doing just what you're about:, taking a good model and fooling with it. Some results are dogs and some are dolphins.


01-26-2001, 09:55 PM
So Tim-

After all the jawing about different designs, what boat design are you leaning toward now?

Scott Widmier
01-27-2001, 09:29 AM
One design you might consider is the Stevenson designed Weekender. It is easy to build, is designed with a cabin but can be built without, can be rowed, has a gaff rig, looks good, and is a very stable boat suitable for a family. Also, there is a whole group of builders in your area that holds regattas.

One added benefit of this design is that it can be built in a relatively short time. This is important especially if your family hasn't sailed together before. If they don't know the beauty and fun of sailing/rowing they may not be patient with you while you go through a long building process.

Ron Dune's Weekender
stevproj.com (http://www.stevproj.com)

Open deck weekender:

Webpage for above BobButler (http://www.stevproj.com/MNorel.html)

Scott Widmier
01-27-2001, 01:25 PM
Oh yeh, forgot to add that there is no centerboard or daggerboard since they are not needed with this design. It has a deep keel and a hard chine the chine can be made to dig in in light airs by sitting on the lee rail like Ron Young in the picture in my previous post is doing. Yes, I did get the last name wrong and I appologize to Ron. http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/frown.gif


03-20-2001, 11:51 PM
Wow! 50 postings!

So what am I leaning toward now?

I just noticed Iain Oughtred's Seahorse. A 15' Sharpie that looks an awful lot like the Daisy 12 1/2' Dory Skiff, minus the knuckles in her sides.

I wonder. What if I added knuckles, and used 4 cedar strakes vice ply? It would be a bigger version of Daisy. Somewhat like a Marblehead Skiff, but prettier.

Hmmm. Thoughts?