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Thread: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

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    Default Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    I apologize if this is a stupid question but I've been wondering lately why the transoms of banks-style dories are sloped aft so steeply. I assume that it is to decrease drag when rowing unloaded but to increase volume/capacity when loaded, but I really don't know. If that is the case, then why do designers continue the practice in modern dories designed as pleasure craft and not working fishing dories?
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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Gardner's seminal _The Dory Book_, available from our kind hosts at Wooden Boat, covers this topic extensively. Highly recommended!

    The short version is that's the easy way to deal with plank twist and how they land aft. Once a 'traditional' design has been established, it tends to stay pretty much the same, even when the materials, weight and use of the design completely changes.

    https://www.woodenboatstore.com/product/book_Dory_Book
    Last edited by Thorne; 04-11-2019 at 02:45 PM.
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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianY View Post
    I apologize if this is a stupid question but I've been wondering lately why the transoms of banks-style dories are sloped aft so steeply. I assume that it is to decrease drag when rowing unloaded but to increase volume/capacity when loaded, but I really don't know. If that is the case, then why do designers continue the practice in modern dories designed as pleasure craft and not working fishing dories?
    Because they will still be rowed and they will still carry loads.

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    Gardner's seminal _The Dory Book_, available from our kind hosts at Wooden Boat, covers this topic extensively. Highly recommended!

    The short version is that's the easy way to deal with plank twist and how they land aft. Once a 'traditional' design has been established, it tends to stay pretty much the same, even when the materials, weight and use of the design completely changes.

    https://www.woodenboatstore.com/product/book_Dory_Book
    Thanks. I'll have to dig out my copy of the book. I've read it so many time that thought I had it memorized, but obviously not.
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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    Gardner's seminal _The Dory Book_, available from our kind hosts at Wooden Boat, covers this topic extensively. Highly recommended!

    The short version is that's the easy way to deal with plank twist and how they land aft. Once a 'traditional' design has been established, it tends to stay pretty much the same, even when the materials, weight and use of the design completely changes.

    https://www.woodenboatstore.com/product/book_Dory_Book
    Would it not make them stack easier as well?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Would it not make them stack easier as well?
    Yes.

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    I was thinking it might have something to do with giving the aft end of the boat lift in a following sea.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    I'm certainly no expert, but my understanding is that the tombstone transom is primarily a way to simplify building with wide pine planks. My Chamberlain Dory Skiff was designed to launch and retrieve in surf, and has a significantly larger transom at a 17 degree rake aft -- so I'm guessing that if you need that lift you'd also build a wider transom to get it.

    Last edited by Thorne; 04-12-2019 at 08:22 AM.
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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    I was thinking it might have something to do with giving the aft end of the boat lift in a following sea.
    It will help do that.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    I'm certainly no expert, but my understanding is that the tombstone transom is primarily a way to simplify building with wide pine planks. My Chamberlain Dory Skiff was designed to launch and retrieve in surf, and has a significantly larger transom at a 17 degree rake aft -- so I'm guessing that if you need that lift you'd also build a wider transom to get it.

    Banks dories are not surf boats, so do not need as much buoyancy at the ends, but a raking sternmost will help avoid broaching to in a following sea.
    They seemed to manage wide pine planks at the front OK.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    We talked about Dory transom's a few years ago. In the end nobody new why they had transom's are weren't just double ended. In the end I think we concluded the transom was for a sculling notch and to let the nets out through said notch.

    I do wonder if given the bounty of fish on the banks in the early days, someone just sawed a Norwegian double ender apart and put a cross planked bottom on it to reduce it's immersion rate with a boatfull of fish to the gunnels and it went from there...
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 04-12-2019 at 11:43 AM.

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    When a dory is sculled with a single oar, in the transom sculling notch, it gives a better point of leverage to the sculler who stands aft but, not at the stern.
    Jay

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Pearson View Post
    I do wonder if given the bounty of fish on the banks in the early days, someone just sawed a Norwegian double ender apart and put a cross planked bottom on it to reduce it's immersion rate with a boatfull of fish to the gunnels and it went from there...
    No. Banks Dories were developed by the Portuguese (or possibly Basque or French) and copied by the American and Canadian Banks fishermen.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    No. Banks Dories were developed by the Portuguese (or possibly Basque or French) and copied by the American and Canadian Banks fishermen.
    The shape shows up in 17th century engravings of cod fishing out of shoreside stations in Newfoundland. John Gardner's Dory Book first chapter has a bunch of information on this.
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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    I suspect it is an evolution of readily available sawn boards. Whenever and wherever that occurred.
    It is a much simpler task to run your planks aft over a simple single board transom and just saw them off, as opposed to fitting planks between stems. This lends to mass production from precut parts by less skilled workers.
    Note also that rapidly stacking and unstacking boats one inside the other at sea while under sail (the design prerequisite) would be difficult if they were not a loose tapered fit.
    I think the whole "seaworthiness" thing is incidental to the actual use.

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    I think the whole "seaworthiness" thing is incidental to the actual use.
    And dependent upon the users of these craft: they were all expert seamen.

    Kevin

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    The shape shows up in 17th century engravings of cod fishing out of shoreside stations in Newfoundland. John Gardner's Dory Book first chapter has a bunch of information on this.
    Meanwhile, the Portuguese, French and Basques had already been fishing the Banks for a couple hundred years or more, salting the fish on board their mother ships. At the same time as the English fished for the cod when it came inshore, using shore stations for accommodation and fish drying.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    I think the whole "seaworthiness" thing is incidental to the actual use.
    No never. The shape developed to accommodate the actual use in a seaworthy manner. Unseaworthy boats did not return to be copied.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    And dependent upon the users of these craft: they were all expert seamen.

    Kevin
    Exactly, you had to go to sea as a "boy" regardless of your age,and prove yourself for several years before you were entrusted with a boat.

    I have some experience with a Banks Dory in the open ocean and an average calm day of 10 foot swells is not for the faint of heart. You need to know exactly what is going to happen next, and why and what you are going to do about it. You are essentially drifting and just about any boat will do that pretty well.

    One thing I noticed about a dory's seaworthiness is they will slide on a steep wave face with that large side acting as a "bottom". And it works pretty well, unless the boat "trips" on it's chine. I have talked to od timers that reffered to that phenomonon as "sliding away from danger".
    Banks Dory's with appendages can be lethal.

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    No never. The shape developed to accommodate the actual use in a seaworthy manner. Unseaworthy boats did not return to be copied.
    "Seaworthy" in actual use would include getting a dozen of them on and off the ship, twice a day for a month, post haste. If they could not do that they weren't going to copy them. There are more "seaworthy" designs than a Bank's Dory.
    Your boat would qualify.

    I can just imagine a different design being jerked out of the sea and tossed into a stack 4 deep inside each other while under weigh. "No, No, No... stop' stop, stop, she's getting hung up".... "Joe, we have to shift it forward an inch more so it will fit!"

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    No. Banks Dories were developed by the Portuguese (or possibly Basque or French) and copied by the American and Canadian Banks fishermen.
    I seem to recall Chapelle saying they were developed by French Canadians, but it could be my memory is serving me wrong.

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    I seem to recall Chapelle saying they were developed by French Canadians, but it could be my memory is serving me wrong.
    My memory from way back says Portuguese. They have a tradition of longitudinal planked flat bottom with clinker sides (Barco Rabelo), but one Wiki (as reliable as that can be) cites French river craft as an origin.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Gardner shows an engraving of a Dutch boat as an example of an early dory, and they had a lot of small barges and fishing boats built that way. This painting shows a mix of both boats build with the conventional lapstrake split/roved planks and the sawn-plank flat bottomed dories. These of course aren't Banks dories but show the many styles of boats built that way.

    https://pixels.com/featured/dutch-sh...-de-meyer.html
    Last edited by Thorne; 04-12-2019 at 03:37 PM.
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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    Gardner shows an engraving of a Dutch boat as an example of an early dory, and they had a lot of small barges and fishing boats built that way. This painting shows a mix of both boats build with the conventional lapstrake split/roved planks and the sawn-plank flat bottomed dories.

    https://pixels.com/featured/dutch-sh...-de-meyer.html
    How can you differentiate between split and sawn from that painting, accurate as it is.
    Somerset has a tradition of flat bottomed clinker side boats too, Turf Boats and flatners, but no one claims them as origins of the Banks Dory.

    P.S. the Dutch did not fish for cod in the Americas.
    Last edited by Peerie Maa; 04-12-2019 at 03:50 PM.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    My memory from way back says Portuguese. They have a tradition of longitudinal planked flat bottom with clinker sides (Barco Rabelo), but one Wiki (as reliable as that can be) cites French river craft as an origin.
    Now I think of it, Basil Greenhill shows a very similar British boat in one of his books that is quite ancient. It may be that little flat bottomed boats similar to this were all over Europe, but were not considered worth writing about.

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    Now I think of it, Basil Greenhill shows a very similar British boat in one of his books that is quite ancient. It may be that little flat bottomed boats similar to this were all over Europe, but were not considered worth writing about.
    Just so. Who thinks that a hammer or shovel is worth writing about? Same thing really.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Folks, lets let a little history intrude. The banks style dory fishing was a mid 19th century development. Prior to that the line fishery was hand lining from vessels, sometimes quite small. So need to differentiate the shape and style of the boat from the construction. As Gardner and others note fore and aft planked flat bottom boats go back to medieval times, possibly connected to the development of the saw mill from whence you get wide planks in quantity. Transom is pretty simple: far easier to run planks by and trim off than to fit to a second rabbet. This would be especially true in the days when planks came full length. Example is that the best available documentation of the Maine double-ender ( aka peapod) shows that it was a relatively late model when the builders had been doing transom boats: the first industrialisation of the lobster fishery, driven by canning in the 1870s created a market for little boats that could get traps closer in to rocks and ledges than you could get with a sloop boat and something steadier hauling light than an dory.
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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Here pictures of two type of boats (flat-bottom, V-Stern) still around in Venice (Itay), and some, although with different stern on alpine lakes.

    Those boats have been aound in lakes, rivers and lagoons for more than 500 hundred of years all over Europe. In fact similar boats have been used since Roman-times. Simplicity in construction and flat bottom probably are key-factors why those boats where so popular. In Venice with shallow lagoons, those boats where very versatile. The "Gondola", still used for Tourists is an relatively late development of those flat-bottom boats.

    Picture-source of following two examples of Venetian baots: "The Traditional Boats of Venice, Assessing a Maritime Heritage. An Interdisciplinary Qualifying Project Submitted to the faculty of Worcester Polytechnic Institute."

    A "Sandalo":

    Sandalo.jpg

    A "Puperin":

    Puparin.jpg



    Here an early painting by Albrecht Duerer. Small pond in Germany, 1497 ("Weiherhaus"). John Gardner mentions this painting in his wonderful "The Dory Book" on pages 15-17. This book probably can be considered "The Bible" for the history and developement of "The Dory".

    Albrecht_Dürer_-_Weiherhaus_(2) (1).jpg
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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    UK boats that had flat bottoms were 'punts' used to ferry people from one riverbank to another, or in very shallow protected mud estuaries or rivers for making use of ultra shallow draft wether as gun punts or 'flatties' in Somerset or behind Chesil beach.

    There's no evidence that what you'd recognise as an 'an American Dory' in size, forms, transom was developed or used here in the UK, especially offshore. The Watchet Flattie is maybe closest in feature, but it's a different creature. We could build 'flat' bottom boats, but largely we didn't.
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 04-23-2019 at 04:11 PM.

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Speaking of transoms and stupid questions, is a curved transom worth the fuss?

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Some yacht designers are drawn to them on aesthetic grounds. Worth the trouble of building it? A post war yachtified nonsense? Almost certainly, though most boats are only now there to entertain...the whole day out is a grown mans folly!

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    Gardner's seminal _The Dory Book_, available from our kind hosts at Wooden Boat, covers this topic extensively. Highly recommended!

    The short version is that's the easy way to deal with plank twist and how they land aft. Once a 'traditional' design has been established, it tends to stay pretty much the same, even when the materials, weight and use of the design completely changes.

    https://www.woodenboatstore.com/product/book_Dory_Book
    Lots of reasons as above, but also that they stack more easily

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Pearson View Post
    UK boats that had flat bottoms were 'punts' used to ferry people from one riverbank to another, or in very shallow protected mud estuaries or rivers for making use of ultra shallow draft wether as gun punts or 'flatties' in Somerset or behind Chesil beach.

    There's no evidence that what you'd recognise as an 'an American Dory' in size, forms, transom was developed or used here in the UK, especially offshore. The Watchet Flattie is maybe closest in feature, but it's a different creature. We could build 'flat' bottom boats, but largely we didn't.
    As one boatman said to another, those two boats were built for different porpoises.

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Quote Originally Posted by john welsford View Post
    Lots of reasons as above, but also that they stack more easily

    John Welsford
    If Thorne is thinking of his Chamberlain Dory Skiff then twist is relevant. But I see no twist.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Forgive my stupid question re: dory transoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Noyes View Post
    add to that our local mythology of Simeon Lowell who did service at the Bateau factory on lake Champlain during the revolution and is credited with building the first double wide wherry/surf dory at Amesbury for use on the Merrimac estuary about 1790+-


    --- He should have called it the Mouth-of-the-Merrimack-Dory given the often horrific conditions there because 'surf dory' doesn't quite give the adequate picture :-) -- Wade

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