Thursday, March 15, 2018

A Dory By Any Other Name

Out in the boatyard, we have a conundrum.

The famous Australian boat designer, Michael Storer was requested to design a boat for comfortable rowing in protected waters. What first came to mind?
"Of the modern, shorter, lightweight dories, the better ones of the modern kind paddle very easily but are tender until you have a load aboard and their speed is limited by the short waterline. The worse ones are so twitchy as to be almost useless."
And so the story goes. Dories can't handle rough seas. Dories are twitchy, hard to handle. Never own a flat-bottomed boat. Almost useless.

But when all is said and done, what emerges from Mr Storer's drawing board? I'll let you be the judge.
To be on the safe side, Michael has called his creation the MSD Rowing Skiff and Doryman has been commissioned to build one. From start to finish, I know well what it is, though I'll keep my thoughts to myself.

The MSD Rowing Skiff is a simple design with all the power and versatility of it's long heritage. Michael tells us this rowboat evolved from his Goat Island Skiff, which is also a time-honored sea-kindly vessel of a certain kind, well loved in these pages. Caution has been taken to be sure the MSD Rowing Skiff is not twitchy, is easy to handle, can hold up to a violent sea and goes like a yearling seal.

I'm not well versed in metric measurements, so the boat plans and I hit a hard spot right off. Rather than purchase a metric tape measure, I decided to struggle with conversions. Those of you with multi-amplitude will understand me completely when I say, metric measurements and the U.S. customary system are not compatible. What is a simple boatbuilder to do when 1 foot = 12003937 meters? Regardless, a fine rowing vessel has emerged, in the rough. We'll be following the progress of this worthy dory in the days and weeks to come.

Please stay tuned.....


robert.ditterich said...

Conversion will sorely try your patience, but I know you have plenty. Buy a metric tape- metric is easy, way easier than all those impossible fractions. I can use both, being born to 'imperial" rules, and converted at school. Mm are cool! Nice project!

doryman said...

My patience has limits. And you are more adroit that I, it's clear. It's to you and my friends in all the other former colonies I spoke.
I used conversion software when it turned out that the tape measure I thought had metric on one side, didn't.
The true problem is the conversion is so obtuse. A nice round number in metric turns into a whole number with a fraction never seen in boat building.

Next time I'll take your advise. I have a set of plans for a Sanpierotta, which is not only in metric but Italian.

Scott said...

Hey Michael,
I've got a metric tape measure you can borrow whenever you want. It is left over from my building John Welsford's Rogue. Just call me up.
All the best, Scott Marckx

doryman said...

Thanks, Scott (now you tell me). Come on by sometime and we'll chat.

Gulf Islander said...

Having grown up with imperial measurement and lived with metric measurement since 1970 here in Canada I appreciate your reluctance. None of the metric units seems that useful or intuitive. My errors often come from conversion from millimetres (mm) to centimetres (cm) to metres. In UK they seem to stick to mm for everything so you have seemingly ridiculously large measurements (a 9 inch step is 228.6 mm high). If the plans are metric I would stay in mm for everything you measure to eliminate the source of error from conversion between metric units.

doryman said...

Aye, It's the conversion of tenths of inches (228.6) to fractions of twelve that really give fits. In the future, if the plans are in metric, the boat is metric and that's a promise.

Anonymous said...

Metric is the way to go.

It`s really simple.

Get a metric tape.

Everything (mm to cm) is just units of ten.

No silly fractions = accuracy.

I don`t even think there is a boat built to 1mm tolerance.

Nice dor.. er ...I mean skiff Dory Man !