Saturday, June 16, 2012
The Banks dory was ubiquitous up and down the eastern seaboard of North America at one time, so much that it's origins on this continent are debatable today. There is one place however that stands alone as a stalwart of the old dory building traditions and that is the Dory Shop in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.
The Lunenburg dory has been built in the same shop since 1917 and is still built the same way today as it was ninety years ago, with defining features such as one piece grown knees, breasthooks and braces.
While hundreds of dories have come from this shop, it's rare to see one on the west coast of the US. But it turns out there has been one nearly in my backyard for some time, resting on a couple old tires out in the bushes, waiting for someone to save it.
That person is my good friend Jim Ballou.
Jim loves these old dories and the history they represent. He's a diligent restorer with a keen eye for tradition. He acquired his new prize just three months ago, at the Depoe Bay Boat Show and it's already back in the water, looking like new. You can see from the photos, the boat was in pretty sad shape before.
This boat was built by W. Lawrence Allen, who owned the shop in Lunenburg from 1949 and 1972 when it was called Dory Builders Ltd. Somehow it ended up 3000 miles away, abandoned in the little town of Seal Rock, just a few miles south of here. Jim followed up on a sales listing for an old dory and when he discovered it was from Nova Scotia, he was hooked.
He has outfitted his new boat with two new pair of oars and thole pins from the Dory Shop. The boat has been painted dory buff, with the brightwork done in oil. Good as new and ready to go fishing!
Congratulations Jim, on your new dory. I hope to take a turn on those beautiful oars soon!