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Thread: DORY// Vintage PETE CULLER 17' Swampscott

  1. #1
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    Nov 2016
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    Default DORY// Vintage PETE CULLER 17' Swampscott

    So this listing has been posted for a few weeks now on the Boston Craig's List, and I am wondering what is going on with it and why nobody has snapped it up.

    DORY// Vintage PETE CULLER 17' Swampscott w/Original Vintage Sails - $3800 (Gloucester)


    Now I am not a boat maker, but I am a wooden boat wannabe, and am interested in knowing what you all think. Why hasn't someone already bought this? Is a rehabbed 1950's boat a maintenance nightmare? I've seen lots of favorable comments about Mr Culler's version of the Swampscott Dory, so I know the boat is desirable. CL comparisons show the price to be in the low to moderate range. Would I be over my head maintenance wise to buy this boat (I scrape, paint, varnish and take things apart)? What do you folk all know that I don't?

    Looking around New England on CL show plenty of small sail/row boats available, with more coming online all the time. Currently there are Melonseeds, Phoenix 3, light dory's, different Swampscott Dory's and a pile of small cat boats out there, so I have no problem passing something up, even if it might be historic.

    Here is the link to the listing. Thanks for your opinions.

    https://boston.craigslist.org/nos/bo...557114534.html

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
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    Hyannis, MA, USA
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    45,842

    Default Re: DORY// Vintage PETE CULLER 17' Swampscott

    I love this boat but she's not for everyone. The Swampscott Dory as fully evovled is different, not just in the rig but also in the hull form. It might be that Capt.Pete made a boat that, long after this infact happened, that essentially bridged the gap between Banks dories and the knuckle sided Swampscott/Chamberlain shapes. It would be an incredible learning curve to manage selection and use of all three rigs to maximum advantage. Imagine, in one affordable package the chance to discover more than most of us even dream of. I hope she finds a deserving and open minded swain.

    Edited to add: I saw at the Maine Boat Builders Show that Clinton Chase had evovled a dory shape on these lines with a finer entry and a bit more bearing aft for better sailing at no cost to rowing. Think about it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
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    Default Re: DORY// Vintage PETE CULLER 17' Swampscott

    Dancing Feather is a nice boat of its type and Pete Culler had a good time with the various rigs when I knew him in the 70s (as did others here). One thing to keep in mind about sailing a dory is that the rudder is often awkward to ship and unship, especially if sailing off and on a beach or in shallow water. The heel of the rudder can strike bottom and unship itself pretty swiftly and swing aft out of reach. If you are aboard you're way back in the narrow stern bending overboard trying to line up the pintles and gudgeons, the bow raises up unless you've got crew aboard and it will tend to fall off from the wind. It can get dicey. Maybe why Banks schooner dories as originally used only sailed down or across the wind loaded down using an oar through a sculling notch or to leeward for a rudder.

    Notice how long the tiller is in the photos. That's needed to keep your weight out of the stern and allow for steering the boat in wide arcs when tacking. That dory type isn't the swiftest of tackers and needs to be pretty much flung around to make it through the eye of the wind. My opinion anyway and you'll get others.

    I believe the owner is a woman who bought the boat some years ago and when she got it it was damaged at the bow (the sheerstrake cracked if I remember correctly). I saw it in her garage in Gloucester. The current photo looks like it may have been taken at Maritime Gloucester. Contact (the expert boat builder) Harold Burnham to ask if he knows anything about the boat https://burnhamboatbuilding.com/ . He's helped out there with their boat building program, amng other things restoring a Crotch Island pinky: http://maritimegloucester.org/about/history
    If I had a dollar for every girl who found me unattractive, eventually they would find me attractive.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    Default Re: DORY// Vintage PETE CULLER 17' Swampscott

    I own a 17' Swampscott, not the same design. Not quite a year with it, I like it very much. But it is tippy and I've been sailing for 30 years. If you have experience, patience or especially both, that could be a great boat for you. Mine lives on a trailer and is pretty sound and tight.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: DORY// Vintage PETE CULLER 17' Swampscott

    If the fleet here was not as big as it is I'd be all over this one. A couple of things can make the tiller and rudder easier. I've done these long tiller with tiller extensions which let you sit forward and out and make tacking easier. I can't tell how Pete rigged the gudgeons and pintles on this boat. The lower pintle whether on the rudder or the boat should be quite a bit longer than the upper one. The real nice system on these boats is the long reverse pint that runs up most of the length of the transom. Hook the rudder on near the top then feed it down. I have an idea that Pert Lowell has these but I could well be wrong.
    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."

  6. #6
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    Default Re: DORY// Vintage PETE CULLER 17' Swampscott

    Do some ultimate stability tests. My gunning dory had a similar section as the Swampscott and I've sailed Swampies also - both have very little initial stability by lots of form stability as the gunnel nears the water. When I was a nudge below 200# I could walk Leewards gunnel without shipping a drop. My pet saying is that these boats like to sail on their garboards. That is, heel over till the garboard is about horizontal and you'll be incredibly stabile.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: DORY// Vintage PETE CULLER 17' Swampscott

    I had this ancient banks dory when I was growing up. the rudder definitely extended well below her bottom (might have been an old Lightning rudder), and it definitely took a bit of work to hang it while aboard, but certainly not overly difficult.
    She was a lot of fun to sail.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: DORY// Vintage PETE CULLER 17' Swampscott

    My dory does stiffen up after heeling so far, farther than some are comfortable with. She'll also ship water over the rail if you're not careful. My other daysailer is a 28" wide canoe, one gets used to being quick, and learns to anticipate.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: DORY// Vintage PETE CULLER 17' Swampscott

    Note that a slab sided Banks dory does not gain stability if you heel her when light. They don't row so well light either. Put 500# in the bottom and she'll be most seaworthy and seakindly.

  10. #10
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    Nov 2016
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    Default Re: DORY// Vintage PETE CULLER 17' Swampscott

    Hey folks, thanks for all your comments. I appreciate hearing your opinions. The craigs list ad I mentioned is now down, so either someone bought it, or the seller is regrouping, so to speak.

    While I really do like the idea of the Swampscott Dory, I'm not sure they would be the best boat for me. My old dog is, well, old. Chewie never had good balance, and now with his wonky hips, it is even worse. I think he would much prefer a more stable boat. But then, all he does is lay down and go to sleep, so it may not matter.

    Maybe I'll do one of those "tell me my perfect boat" posts later. Thanks again.

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