The Gloucester Light Dory


The Gloucester Light Dory

Editors note: Harry James is building 3 Dorys. You
can read more about them in Harold Payson's book


Fritz and Mary Ann
(click to enlarge)

That's Fritz and Mary Ann talking at the back of her boat. Check out the lumber on the flat bed in the back, I have some 20 ft lengths of clear 2x12 spruce back there-$2.00 a foot green and rough, plus yellow cedar of varying grades. I sure like messing with it. Bingo the boatyard dog shows that there are many uses for a Gull.


The plan is to camp out of the Gulls; we have a lot of little islands close to shore locally and I think that the Gulls are safer than Kayaks. I don't think my wife can get back into a Kayak after a wet exit, and I know I can get her back into a second dory. You can put 100lbs of camping gear into a Dory without changing its handling; that's an excessive load in a Kayak. I like my folding chairs and other luxury goods.


The Eagles were not distant but very loud in the trees behind the launching picture, 5-6 of them chirping loudly (they don't really screech),and waiting for the salmon in the creek beyond the trees. The creek, appropriately named Salmon Creek, is one of a couple of hundred in Alaska.

We built a mold and pulled three hulls off in fairly quick order. We put a stem in one, and stitch and glued the others. We used the side panel lay out that comes with the plans, and it came close to the mold. We made a cheap pattern out of underlayment and routered the sides with a pattern bit. Dave Ryan stitch and glued his sides; I think that the design should be built with chines in it. Getting the chines in place took some time, but they completely change the curve of the plywood at the bow. It is much sharper with the chines in.

It is not an instant boat, though with some experience it wouldn't be that difficult. The time sink was in the finishing. The green boat has cheap plywood and latex paint. The red one has fiberglassed sides and system three paint, plus Mary Ann took great pains with the interior. I would guess 40 hrs in the Green one, 200 plus in the red. We could have put another 25-40 hrs on the red boat's sides and bottom for perfection. Headquarters told me to put down the sander, summer was going by and there is a lot of yard work to be done.

check those reflections

One more to go, awaiting the paint to come in the mail, system three bright yellow. How do you like the finish on Mary Ann's (red one)? I didn't get the 1 foot finish, but we got close.