Thursday, May 28, 2009
Cape Ann Dory
The Cape Ann Dory, a traditional type of fishing boat, is a variant of the beach dory.
Cape Ann is a rocky peninsula located in northeastern Massachusetts on the Atlantic Ocean. The headland forms the northern exteme of Massachusetts Bay.
The Cape Ann fishing dories were often fitted with a small spirit rig sail, a short retractable centerboard and washboards (a coming to keep the spray out when heeled). The descendants of the Cape Ann Dory are still raced as the Town Class. Due to their hard chined hulls, dories, especially those that are more slab-sided than rounded, have a tendency to heel sharply at first, but are stable and very seaworthy with the chine acting as a keel.
In 1876, Danish immigrant and fisherman Alfred Johnson sailed a customized twenty foot Cape Ann Dory from Gloucester, Massachusetts to Liverpool in 66 days, proving the design built for fishing the rough Atlantic Ocean could handle nearly any weather.
Johnson's dory, the "Centennial" was outfitted with a square sail and two jibs instead of the simple sprit rig usually found on traditional Cape Ann Dories.
In the Tasman Sea, Trevor Davidson is commodore of the local yacht club in Western Port, Victoria, Australia. The members of the yacht club there decided to build the 22 foot version of the Cape Ann by Howard Chappelle, as outlined in “American Small Sailing Craft”. The purpose was to encourage young people in the area to get involved with boating, sailing and boat building - as Trevor says - “all the good things in life”.
They recruited the help of a local shipwright, Ossie Whittley , “a boat builder from way back”.
(His nephews now run the international Whittley Marine.)
Trevor tells me:
“Ossie has an encyclopedic knowledge of boat building - timber planked, ply construction and fiberglass. He helped pick out the Cape Anne Dory as an ideal project, so we started by laying out the lines full size in our club's storage shed. The drawing is in the background in some of the photos.”
“First we set up a simple jig, dynabolted to the concrete floor. You will notice that the frame side members have been cut over length proportionately and are attached to the jig. This is a great setup and puts the hull at ideal working height and is very simple to do. From there on every thing is very straight forward and I think the photos tell all. Interesting to see the hull turned upright with extended side frames, which of course are quickly trimmed to size.”
“The frames are what we call Oregon, but to you is Douglas Fir. All the longitudinals are Philippine Mahogany/Meranti. The plywood is a very good grade of exterior ply, called Fijian Cedar, made in Fiji (if this is the same Fijian plywood I’m familiar with, it is a meranti mahogany - doryman). The side planks are quarter inch and the bottom is half inch thick. The boat is built very heavily and I don't regret this, as it is reasonably stable at rest and when she gathers momentum goes into a tack stately but surely.”
“In the pics the distinguished looking gent fairing the bottom after glassing is Ossie Whittley, the bloke in the blue shirt is me.”
Thank you, Trevor for sending in these pictures. Those guys in Oz sure know how to build a boat! What a beauty!
Trevor has promised more pictures of the Cape Ann, as a finished project. Hopefully we will see her under sail soon…