A dory is a lot of boat for the money, which explains the enduring popularity of the type going back 150 years or more. Relatively few planks means less construction work. The narrow waterline results in a fast hull under sail or oars, but the flared topsides provide ample reserve stability. Dories are great load-carriers and the Northeaster Dory is no exception. 800 pounds is the maximum payload.
Not just a recreational boat, the Northeaster Dory is a proven competitive racing boat for fixed-seat rowing. The Whitby Fisherman's Amateur Rowing Club won the four-oared category of the 2014 Great River Race in their Northeaster Dory, built from our standard rowing kit. Our range of fixed-seat team rowing boats provide a low barrier to entry for clubs wanting to build race-winning boats.
The history of the dory is somewhat obscure but the most famous are the Banks dories, used for longline cod-fishing on the Grand Banks. The Banks dories are justifiably famous (they played a starring role in “Captains Courageous”) but never worked well for pleasure boaters: they were too heavy, and required a thousand pounds of cod in them to have much stability.
Pleasure-boaters adopted the general type, however, and refinements include the Swampscott Dory and Nahant Dory. Graceful round-sided lapstrake dories like this 17-footer were once the primary recreational craft on the New England coast. They were the Boston Whalers of the early 20th century.
“When I think of a build-it-yourself dory”, says designer John C. Harris, “I think of Phil Bolger's iconic Gloucester Light Dory design. There wasn't much point in doing a new dory design unless we offered something fresh and different. I wanted a dory that was easier to build, doesn't need a ladder-frame mould during construction, and that can carry more than one or two adults”.
The Northeaster uses Chesapeake Light Craft's patented LapStitch™ process, in which pre-cut planking is assembled quickly with wire stitches and nothing more than a pair of ordinary sawhorses. Hull planking is 6 mm okoume; the bottom is 9 mm, fibreglassed on both sides and up onto the side planking. Bulkheads are laminated together from layers of 9 mm plywood. Epoxied together, the hull is light – only about 100 pounds – and very strong. And with 800 pounds of displacement, this dory offers real versatility. It's small enough to be rowed by one person, but big enough for tandem rowing with two adults. Like all dories, the Northeaster tracks well, has a long glide and stays dry in waves. Even four adults have comfortable seating.
Rowers looking for a high-performance dimension may add a sliding seat without modifying the interior. In the stock rowing version, a drop-in sliding seat unit requires minutes to install so you can switch between fixed- and sliding-seat modes quickly. With a sliding seat, the Northeaster Dory is fast and dry and would be a safe and fast open water racing boat. A sliding seat may be added to the sailing version as well, but requires minor modifications.
The proportions of the sailing rig follow traditional recreational dory rigs very closely. Under sail the Northeaster Dory is fast, stiff and close-winded. Given the narrow waterline, the hull is extremely easily driven and jumps up to speed in light air – the acceleration is really noticeable. Dory sailors comment on the surprising absence of wake, visible evidence of a low-resistance hull. But like all dories, the hull flares rapidly above the water, so stability comes on strong as the boat heels under sail. Although you'll sail more slowly upwind, a convenient ‘first reef’ is to take in the jib.
A daggerboard simplifies construction and a yoke-and-draglink tiller arrangement (familiar from our Skerry design) gives the crew better seating options under sail.
The Northeaster Dory is designed along traditional lines and as such does not have built-in buoyant tanks. We recommend the fitting of buoyancy bags when using this boat.
We recommend 2.4 m (8 ft) oars for this boat.
The rowing hull kit includes:
What is in a boat kit.
A sailing option can be retrospectively fitted to the Northeaster Dory rowing hull to turn it into an able sailing boat. There is a standard sloop rig and an alternative lug rig. Either sailing rig can be added to the Dory at any time, even years after the rowing version is complete. Please note that the base kit (or a completed hull) is needed in addition to the sailing option.
The larger sloop rig comprises a 53 square foot mainsail and a 15 square foot jib.
The simpler balanced lug rig is quicker to set up, easier to handle and can be reefed or stowed more easily while out on the water. It's not quite as fast as the sloop rig, but it might win if you count setup time on the beach.
The sailing options include:
- Sloop sails or lug sail
- Wooden mast, boom and yard
- Mast step
- Daggerboard case
- Blocks and cleats
The sailing options do not include the warp – it is in the rope packages.
Sailing rope packages
The rope packages contain the warp. The sloop rig rope package includes sail lacing, main sheet, main halyard, jib sheet and jib halyard. The lug rig rope package includes sail lacing, main sheet and halyard.
Lifting rudder option
Although it takes more work to build, a kick-up rudder makes beaching a little easier and will provide improved handling in very light or very heavy air.
This option can only be purchased together with one of the sailing options because it replaces the standard rudder normally included with the sailing options. The lifting rudder kit includes the pre-cut marine plywood parts and the pivot bolt.
Broken inwales option
Broken inwales add elegance to any boat by mimicking the ends of the ribs in traditional frame-built boats. This option includes everything you need to install broken inwales in the Northeaster Dory:
- Pre-cut breasthook and quarter-knees
- Rowlock riser blocks
- Spacer block material
Some trimming and fitting will be necessary. Broken inwales take longer to install because each block has to be carefully positioned and glued in place. Sanding and varnishing are also made more complex. We recommend reading the installation instructions before deciding to install broken inwales.
Plans and manual
These plans and manual contain sufficient information on the cutting of the panels to make it possible to build the boat from scratch. The plans include full size drawings.
Strongback plans supplement
There is also a supplemental set of plans for building the Northeaster Dory over a strongback (an internal mould). This allows glued-lap construction in plywood or even riveted solid planking instead of using the modern stitch-and-glue method. The manual does not include instructions for this type of construction, so this option is for people with traditional boatbuilding experience only.
This option includes a mould diagram and full-sized patterns for the forms, stem and transom. You will still need the standard plans for interior fit-out, proper thwart placement, sailing rig and other details.
This is intended for pre-build study or to help with the decision to purchase. Reading this manual will help you decide whether or not you can build the boat. It is the manual that accompanies the kits. It describes all of the techniques that will be used during the building and also a step by step guide to construction. Scale drawings are used throughout as well as photographs of critical jobs.
If, later, you decide to purchase the kit the cost of this printed manual will be deducted from the kit price.
This does not contain the plans of the panels with the cutting instructions so it is not possible to build the boat from scratch using only this.
PDF study manual
The construction manual for the boat is also available as a PDF download. After credit card authorisation a download link will be sent to the email address put on the order form.
PDF study plans
These study plans are intended to give you an overview of the construction of the boat. They are in PDF format that can be viewed using Adobe Reader. There are two pages and they measure 279 × 216 mm (11″ × 8½″). They can be printed for carrying around.
After credit card authorisation the plans will be sent to the email address put on the order form.
When you have studied the plans, your next step might be to order the printed instruction manual, which will walk you through the project step-by-step.