Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Doryman's Boatyard

Tweezerman has asked the question and henceforth I am not responsible.
Since the addition of Lively to the fleet, the question is "how many?"
When the weather was sunny, I wanted to take a turn around the Doryman boatyard with a video camera, but when the weather is warm, Doryman is either working or sailing on a boat.

So, as the (unusual) freezing weather takes hold here on the coast, we'll take a pictorial tour instead. (It's pretty hard to build boats when it's 20 degrees F)

First is the bateau Huckleberry. She's a take on John Harris' Peace Canoe.When building Huckleberry, I thought I would shorten the canoe as planned, so that it would be the length of two sheets of marine grade mahogany plywood, thus saving the price of the remaining sheet.

The plans call for installing the sheer guard and chine log to the side panels before completing the boat. I used an African mahogany called Oboto, which resisted bending so much that Huckleberry ended up with a transom. Thus are new designs made!

Next up is the wherry yawlboat Lamb Chop. She is built of Port Orford cedar on yew wood frames. This little tender was used on the island of Nashawena in Massachusetts to rescue sheep who had fallen on the beaches and bring them to higher ground. Because of this, the boat has come to be known as the "sheep boat". Thus; Lamb Chop.
Pete Culler, famous for his yachty interpretations of working boats is responsible for this little wherry yawlboat.

The Rhodes 33 Caper is a project in process. This classic boat is an orphan waiting to be loved. I am keeping her alive with infusions of TLC during the summer months that allow work outside. If I were a younger man, this fine old vessel would get a complete work-over, she deserves the best! Hopefully someone will take her to a good home. She is planked with African mahogany over oak frames.

Love of my life! The Pete Culler Good Little Skiff Paku! She came to me as a pile of boards and with two years of loving restoration, this is the result. Constructed of cedar planking on mahogany frames, with a cross planked bottom of African mahogany, Paku is a durable skiff and beautiful, too.
Once again, Pete Culler outdoes himself.

She leaves me speechless.

Sandy Douglas designed the Thistle racing dinghy in 1945 and this is hull #16 of that one-design class. Sweet Sixteen was built in 1946, the first year of Thistle production and was another old boat on the skids. It took three months of research to learn how she was originally designed. One-design rules dictate that the boats be held to a strict standard to be raced. There is no reason this 63 year old wood boat would not be competitive with a modern Thistle (made of plastic). She's a dream to sail, but I have to sell her. Can't keep 'em all, I guess!

Mistral is my self designed/built 36 foot, five ton cruising dory. The design for this boat was conceived in 1989 and construction started in 1990. From then until now, I figure there are about 12,000 hours spent on her. The greatest fault with taking twenty years to build a boat is all the changes that can happen to the boat, and to the builder! The sail rig was an afterthought, so you might imagine what that entailed! She has not had a proper mainsail yet, but will as soon as the handwork is done. Stay tuned!

Newest to the fleet is the Ed Monk 15’-6” Knockabout, Lively. Lots of fun! A simple and attractive plywood skiff, with thoroughbred sailing characteristics, easy to trailer and launch - we are very likely to hear more about Lively in the months to come.

With a new mainsail, I may be tempted to race her, she's that good!

The boat in the shed is one of Sam Devlin's original Egrets. This boat was given to me this year and I think she deserves some attention. Can't say much about her yet, but when she's re-launched you'll be the first to know.

One of the first boats I built is the 13 foot light dory Otter. A dory is measured on it's bottom. Otter is 15 feet over-all, built of fir plywood with stitch and glue construction.

After 30 years and many changes and upgrades, I gave her away this year. She's a great little boat and never shipped a single drop in all the trials I've put her through.

Her new owner has dressed her in all the finest.

When I see her again, I'll let you know...

This is a 20 foot Old Town Freight Canoe named Woody.

No, I didn't name her.

I had this idea that I would take this rare old canoe and fit her with oars, since the bursitis in my shoulders makes paddling very painful. She would be more like a peapod. I think this would have been a good idea, but as the boat's old luster began to surface, it became apparent that the canoe should remain true to it's heritage.

A 20' wooden freight canoe is a rare find.

As it turned out, Woody went back to it's previous owner who was intrigued by the fine looking boat that emerged from the dust.

The little dory and the canoe gave way to plans for new boats. (Can't have enough boats!;-)

First up on the list of new construction is an 18 foot Chesapeake Light Craft kayak. The plans are on my desk.

Sanpierota plans! I can't tell you how excited I am about this new boat. The sanpierota is an ancient Venetian design, and is still occasionally found there.
But I doubt if there is a sanpierota in the US, so I hope to be the first. The plans came from Gilberto Penzo in Italy and are notated in Italian and lofted out in metric. I don't read Italian and have never built a boat to metric specifications, so this boat is scheduled for next year to give me time to get up to speed!

Doryman is behaving like the kid in the proverbial candy store.

Too much Fun!

If I had a better memory, we could take a journey back to all the boats I've owned and built, but you've been given a reprieve for now...


Bursledon Blogger said...

Inspirational Michael,

we had "consolidation" of the fleet a couple of years ago and are down to 7 boats which includes a couple of inflatables and a very nice white dinghy which is planted with herbs!!

We have no excuses now - I need to knuckle down to a winter project!!

doryman said...

I've never understood how some think one could have too many boats. Each has it's unique application, after all.
Storage space is often the reason offered, but when that happens to me, I get a bigger yard.
My neighbors are very considerate and never mention to me (out loud) what they really think, except there seems to be some confusion about which boat I'm working on at the time. (I guess they all look the same to some.)
It's cheaper than therapy!

It's your turn... please show us your fleet!

bonnie said...

Great fleet! I have an uncle in Michigan who, with a bunch of friends, likes restoring old canoes - it's always so amazing seeing how beautiful those old boats turn out after a little (no, make that a lot of) tlc.

Thanks for the overview, that was fun.

doryman said...

Happy to have you along, Bonnie.
I have to confess something to you. As much as I love bringing an old boat back to life, there is invariably a moment when the shear tedium of the task sets in and scraping and sanding have a limited attraction. The old canoe was a test of will. All those frames, with all those empty spaces in between! Three coats of paint to remove, only to find a cracked rib, a fractured plank!
I was indeed happy and amazed to see the beautiful boat that emerged, but some of my joy was simply relief!

Tweezerman said...

Wow! Very impressive! As far as I can recollect, over the years, I've met only one gent who built a boat bigger than 25' part time (I've seen many more large hulls in various stages of incompletion and tons of restoration projects). To build one 36' is huge and from the photos, a very good job at it as well! You have a fair number of flat bottom boats in your fleet but only maybe about 1/2 of the total. So the handle of DoryMan may be somewhat misleading! Thanks for the list. Now we have a reference for future posts.

doryman said...

I go in for big projects, which I'm afraid has left me a bit debilitated. There are a few more boats on this list if we go back far enough, but not today...
DoryMan is a super hero of sorts. The title comes from having built possibly the biggest dory in the world, singlehandedly. If I am to put to sea in a row boat, let it be a dory, please!
Other than that, I am a pretty competitive sailor (even when cruising), thus the performance boats. If I am to put to sea to win a sailing race, please don't ask me to do it in a dory! This conundrum has been addressed a few times in these pages. Fact is, the beautiful balanced lug sail, which is one of my favorites, is incredibly frustrating when trying to pinch to windward. For that, give me the old Thistle any day.

bonnie said...

Hi! Jim let me know that he's updated his blog with a new post about the peapod's progress!

bonnie said...

Ah, p.s., I think you've just given a very good reason for why my Canoe-Building Uncle's construction & restoration of canoes DOES always involve him and a bunch of friends.

And there usually seems to be some beer around, too!


doryman said...

Thank you! And please thank Jim for me... he is building a very fine boat, we'll definitely have to take a close look at it - very soon.
Tell your uncle for me that he is a very fortunate man to have such friends. Life is much to short to labor like a slave. Work should be fun. Why not? I raise my glass to him!