Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lunenburg Dory

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!


Michael said...

No comments yet?

That's a pretty unique well. They may be common somewhere but it's the first one I've seen out of a book. If there are detailed fotos I'd like to see them. I thought about doing that to the Grunwald dory but she's a little narrow in the stern for it. I think it's the best spot in a small dory for a motor if the bottom is wide enough to carry the weight.

You could put a recliner in the middle and study the view ahead. Heh.

doryman said...

Jim tells me the well was moved forward in later years so buoyancy must have been an issue.
In a rowing dory, the well would have to be very near the center of the boat and as small as possible, don't you think?

Michael said...

In a real rowing dory, should there be a well? I am flirting with the idea of using a side mount for a Seagull on my banker. A dory with an engine in the center should be an inboard maybe?

The problem with interior wells is they lower the effective freeboard to the well depth. Not my favorite way to reduce displacement in a place where it is needed most.

A better transom well design is in Harvey Sucher's Building the Flat Bottom Boat. It shows a dory well thru the transom that doesn't compromise the shape of the bottom, and it has an interior wt bulkhead that prevents free flooding through the well. And restores the needed lift at that point.

A couple of times my Grunwald dory filled with water through the well while under tow. It takes a long time to empty a flooded bank dory. The small interior well is a mortal threat to the crew. And yes, there was a plug in the well, but they can come adrift underway.

The flaw, perhaps, in the Lunenburg dory well is the radical modification of the lower transom area. A loss of reserve buoyancy where it is needed both for lift and tracking.

I would like to take that boat out in the briny to see how she compares.


Anonymous said...

hey Michael this dory is the same as mine but mine is bigger the well is exactly the same and built by the same person and place still trying to figure out a rudder design with the moter in the center , perhaps a twin rudder design , any ideas would be appreciated.George G.

doryman said...

Hey George!

Yes, very similar boats, though I think this one is smaller than yours. You got me on the rudder design - seems to me it's either one or the other in this case, you can't have both.

Good to hear from you - we're anxious to see your boat when it's finished.

Unknown said...

Doryman, good to read your page, I have a boat shop in Hamilton Ontario, building and restoring wooden boats. I have been in your old shop a couple of times, i terific visit each time.
I am looking for a oar builder that Knew way back that made long oars using a water Mill, cant find him now.Do you Know of any one making 18' oars one peice, required 20 x 18ft, Gill Bibby boats

905 570 7824. Thaks.