Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Potomac River Dory Restoration
A 1931 Potomac River Dory, built by Francis Raymond Hayden in Banks O’Dee, MD is now undergoing restoration in the boat shop of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland, US.
She measures a stately 37'-0" x 12’-7” x 10-1/2".
Over the next several months museum shipwrights, apprentices and volunteers will be replacing bottom planks, fabricating a new forefoot on the stem and a section of deadwood aft with a new shaft alley. Approximately 60% of the boat will be reframed.
Please look closely at this boat. I would call this a sharpie. Often the difference between a dory, a sharpie and a skiff can be blurred. You may think this is pedantic and you would be correct. Here at DoryMan, this topic comes up often and you might be surprised to hear me say there is no clear answer.
But when, in old working boats, we find such simple, graceful beauty as this, it hardly matters what you call it.
The Potomac River dory boat originated around the 1880s and was built almost exclusively in the area of St. Mary's County, Maryland. How the name "dory boat" came to be is not known. This unique design features a V-bottom, planked lengthwise instead of the usual cross-planking. It is believed this style derived from an earlier flat-bottomed Potomac River craft called the Black Nancy, so named because it's black hull was preserved with tar made from local pine trees.
Designed for working the Potomac River and its tributaries, the dory boat was originally built as a two-masted sailing craft used for tonging and dredging of oysters. It is estimated that 400 to 500 of these very fast and easy to handle boats were built between the 1880s and the early 1930s. Sporting traditional shear stripes of green, red and yellow, this is one of seven that have survived and are now in regional museums.