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Thread: dory: light vs. heavy characteristics

  1. #1
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    Question dory: light vs. heavy characteristics

    For a rowing dory, with one or two sliding seat(s), for fitness rowing, fishing, and beach camping in along the coasts and bays, what would be safer:

    a heavier, more stable, made of lumber (I assume), dory that has to be hauled on a trailer, such as a suitable dory from http://www.doryshop.com/dories/
    — or —
    a light, presumably faster over mild surf and rougher waters, ply board dory that can be hauled cartop, such as a CLC Northeaster Dory, from http://www.clcboats.com/shop/boats/r...iling-kit.html
    ?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: dory: light vs. heavy characteristics

    Hi,
    Seeing your profile location as Berkeley, CA, I'll assume you talking safety requirements for the West Coast.
    As such, would you expand on the "where" part of you using the boat? My impression is that there's a huge range of safety needs between "coasts" and "bays" along the West coast, almost to the point being unable to satisfy both requirements in the same boat, for small rowing or human-powered boats anyway.
    Just wondering.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: dory: light vs. heavy characteristics

    I emphatically do not favor sliding seats in rough water. If the oars are locked in you are in instant trouble if you catch a crab. Even if the pins are not in, the oars are too long for ready reinsertion into the lock. For most people 8' oars are about as long as one can reliable pop back into an open top lock with one hand. Longer scull oars won't and besides with a sliding seat you're essentially hitting a moving target.

    I think you'll find a 17' boat a bit small to stuff two sliding seat rigs. On Leeward, my Chamberlain gunning dory, I installed three sets of oar locks. Rowing alone I used the middle station mostly. Sometimes rowing downwind, especially in surf, I'd row from the aft station. If I had a passenger I'd often row from the forward station up-wind, mid station across or down wind.

    The three stations were too close together to use the middle station with two rowers but using the fore and aft stations gave space. Two people can row hard enough in a sprint to get you above "hull speed" but it's real work.

    Dory shapes are interesting. Boats like the gunning dory and this CLC, with garboard, mid, and top strakes all at different angles, are springy and fast when light. They have fantastic load carrying ability but the hull shape quickly gets to where it's easy to row at three knots but takes huge extra effort to row four. The effect of weight is a speed penalty.

    The conventional banks dory, on the otherhand, really needs some weight. Never really fast anyway, the shape is wonderfully efficient and seaworthy when carrying a load. Many row easier laden as getting down in the water takes the crank out.

    If you go with the CLC, look up "The Doryman's Stroke" in WoodenBoat Magazine, put in three stations, and build as lightly as you can. It will add weight, but I'd put in a centerboard and rudder even if no sailing rig. That way you can row to weather in a Strong Gale (Force 9, winds over 40 kts) by bearing maybe two or three points off the wind (8 points = 90 degrees) and "tacking" as needed. I find that in the teeth of such a wind, I can waste a lot of energy trying to row straight into it but just a bit off the wind and suddenly you're not going backwards during the return stroke.

    And even if you build light, get a trailer. You can't imagine how much simpler that makes everything.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: dory: light vs. heavy characteristics

    Quote Originally Posted by tom151 View Post
    Hi,
    Seeing your profile location as Berkeley, CA, I'll assume you talking safety requirements for the West Coast.
    As such, would you expand on the "where" part of you using the boat? My impression is that there's a huge range of safety needs between "coasts" and "bays" along the West coast, almost to the point being unable to satisfy both requirements in the same boat, for small rowing or human-powered boats anyway.
    Just wondering.
    SF Bay, coast of Marin, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties and inlets.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: dory: light vs. heavy characteristics

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    I emphatically do not favor sliding seats in rough water. If the oars are locked in you are in instant trouble if you catch a crab. Even if the pins are not in, the oars are too long for ready reinsertion into the lock. For most people 8' oars are about as long as one can reliable pop back into an open top lock with one hand. Longer scull oars won't and besides with a sliding seat you're essentially hitting a moving target.

    I think you'll find a 17' boat a bit small to stuff two sliding seat rigs. On Leeward, my Chamberlain gunning dory, I installed three sets of oar locks. Rowing alone I used the middle station mostly. Sometimes rowing downwind, especially in surf, I'd row from the aft station. If I had a passenger I'd often row from the forward station up-wind, mid station across or down wind.

    The three stations were too close together to use the middle station with two rowers but using the fore and aft stations gave space. Two people can row hard enough in a sprint to get you above "hull speed" but it's real work.

    Dory shapes are interesting. Boats like the gunning dory and this CLC, with garboard, mid, and top strakes all at different angles, are springy and fast when light. They have fantastic load carrying ability but the hull shape quickly gets to where it's easy to row at three knots but takes huge extra effort to row four. The effect of weight is a speed penalty.

    The conventional banks dory, on the otherhand, really needs some weight. Never really fast anyway, the shape is wonderfully efficient and seaworthy when carrying a load. Many row easier laden as getting down in the water takes the crank out.

    If you go with the CLC, look up "The Doryman's Stroke" in WoodenBoat Magazine, put in three stations, and build as lightly as you can. It will add weight, but I'd put in a centerboard and rudder even if no sailing rig. That way you can row to weather in a Strong Gale (Force 9, winds over 40 kts) by bearing maybe two or three points off the wind (8 points = 90 degrees) and "tacking" as needed. I find that in the teeth of such a wind, I can waste a lot of energy trying to row straight into it but just a bit off the wind and suddenly you're not going backwards during the return stroke.

    And even if you build light, get a trailer. You can't imagine how much simpler that makes everything.
    thank you.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: dory: light vs. heavy characteristics

    On the other hand, I have used a short slide with my regular oars, no outriggers, that fits on top of my fixed seat with success. It's only 10'' x 20" can can be readily removed if it is so rough that I can't get oars out of the water. Has to be seriously capping F5 or so for this to happen. I think you will find that rowing up wind in anything more than F5 is a struggle, I think of it as half a boat length breeze. The windage of a dory is considerable. This is where a dory mate is really good.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  7. #7
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    Default Re: dory: light vs. heavy characteristics

    From what you describe, and the conditions, the Drake 19 (there's also a kit) from Clint Chase Small Craft seems like a better option in the sense that it's not heavy, can handle serious seas and good loads (the flotation chambers can act as storage), and will give you a lot more speed for the effort (double sliding rig etc.). I have rowed various CLC craft, racing shells, recreational shells, whitehalls, general rowboats, etc. The NE Dory is relatively slow. A dory will become (in my biased opinion) a literal and figurative drag to row pretty quickly and you'll be wishing for more run and speed for the effort. The one upside of the NE dory is the daggerboard and sail rig which, if you plan to use them extensively, as in as much or more than the rowing, are worth it. Otherwise, the Drake 19 is likely your best bet for fast, load-carrying truly seaworthy rowing craft (it has a downwind sail but I've never used one). I'm guessing Chase can also probably counsel you on tweaking the design to best match your needs and water.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: dory: light vs. heavy characteristics

    I have rowed briefly, A small, light plywood banks dory, a lumber built larger banks dory, built by Sam Manning, and a lumber built Swampscot dory, perhaps copied from a Chamberlin design. The light plywood dory was fast but very tipsy. The larger banks dory rowed well but did not have much initial stability. The Swampscot was the best all around dory and had enough initial stability for a low rig.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: dory: light vs. heavy characteristics

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris94703 View Post
    For a rowing dory, with one or two sliding seat(s), for fitness rowing, fishing, and beach camping in along the coasts and bays
    ?
    As an owner of a CLC Northeaster Dory, I think it is great for beach camping but I feel it is not a fast boat. I think it is a great option if you are looking for one boat to do everything you mention. I ended up building two additional boats--one for speed, one for car-topping--to complement the Northeaster Dory.

    Of course, many would disagree with me about the "it is not fast" claim. Check out Neil Calore's Everglades Challenge YouTube videos.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: dory: light vs. heavy characteristics

    Banks dories, like traditional (not yachterized) peapods are tippy when light. They can also be cranks and hard to row. For both a banks dory and a pod with evil reputations, I shoveled in a few hundred pounds of sand and found them super boats to row at economical displacement speed. By economical displacement speed, I mean that the second wave is just about at the aftmost point of real buoyancy, typically a bit ahead of the last point of immersion if the waterline section is fine. It works out that speed in knots is about the square root of the waterline length in feet.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: dory: light vs. heavy characteristics

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris94703 View Post
    SF Bay, coast of Marin, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties and inlets.
    That coast is nothing to trifle with, have a good boat, good gear and select your weather window. There will be times that most boats will seem like an eggshell out there.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: dory: light vs. heavy characteristics

    Best I can do with my 16'6" loa swampscott is about 4 knots. Between 3 and 3.5 is comfortable. She is tippy to wander about but I can stand on the inside of my sheerstrake. An inch or so of solid ice steadies her up. In a big breeze, into F5 or better and a chop, she'll do about half a boat length per stroke. Windage is the killer. BTW the work pods ( double enders) up here on Pen Bay are 15' or so and ended up with very hard bilges so you could rock the boat to help you haul.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  13. #13
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    Default Re: dory: light vs. heavy characteristics

    Hauling on the rock - I built Leeward, my Chamberlain gunning dory to long line by hand off Cannon Beach. I'd start the line through an oarlock on one side, over the boat through the other lock and back in the water. It was easy to lift each leader past the oarlock horns. If I was lucky and there was real weight on the line, leaning to get a grip also put the gunnel down and shifting back lifted everything, then I'd shorten up as I rocked back. Almost restful.

    Most of the time I was cold and tired. Sometimes scared. Never quite bored but still . . .

    . . . I don't really like fish or fishing. Too hard for my taste.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: dory: light vs. heavy characteristics

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    That coast is nothing to trifle with, have a good boat, good gear and select your weather window. There will be times that most boats will seem like an eggshell out there.

    yep. looks like I'll want, at least, two (row)boats:

    (first) a lighter, faster, rowing tandem wherry type for inside a bay that can be truck shell topped for fair weather day rowing and fishing trips and then

    (second) a trailer towed (my pickup can tow 9000#s, so even half that much allows a range of choices) dory type, sturdy and stable with row/sail/electric outboard capability, with a 36" wide cabin for a cozy couple to sleep in while anchored, that can survive "minor" bumps and can be move to safe harbor quickly, for overnight fishing, free-diving, and reading trips.

    Last thing I want is the scare off my wife from any boat based adventures with me.

    For some reason, I do not want to buy a used keel boat that sits in a marina and every month have to pay $300 per month slippage fees, even if there's an available spot near by. I like the ideal of keeping it simple and mobile and utilize my drive way and garage to store tools that gets regular use.
    Last edited by Chris94703; 11-18-2017 at 08:22 PM.

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