Doris the Dory


I've just drained a glass of beer to celebrate the launching of Doris the Dory, with the help of my friend Jim and his son Michael - 'doris' is French for dory, btw.

She rows pretty quickly, as you might expect, and overall I'm delighted.  Nothing's perfect, though, and I wish I'd made the oars just a shade longer - and remembered to bind the oars in way of the rowlocks. We'll fix both of those some time.

I'm delighted, I must say. She's comfortably stable, fast and carries loads well. I think we'll have some fun with her. Everyone who has rowed her - Jim, Michael, me and Jim's neighbour - stepped out of her, smiled and said 'It's really fast!'. Doris makes a big change for someone whose usual sail is a beamy plastic racing dinghy with firm bilges and planing sections.

I'll be fascinated to see how she works with the ballast and rig I've been planning.  I'll start with a standard D4 spritsail made from the cheapest polytarp - I expect some experimentation will be required.  By my calculations, with displacement of 400lbs or so the righting moment of this dory at 15 degrees is the same as the righting moment of the Flying Mouse at 250lbs. Now the FM is just fine with a D4 sail, so I'm expecting something like it to be ok with Doris - so long as I put a little weight in the area under the thwart. I doubt I'll get particularly good upwind performance and I think trying to do so will be a bit hairy, but I do think the performance on other points of sailing will be fine.

Gavin Atkin