I had an opportunity to drive a buddy down to the Corn Creek put in on the Main Salmon River last week. The group we were meeting was supposed to have to dories but I didn't know anything about them. As we approached Corn Creek we ended up following them in. I thought that one of them looked a little familiar. After they parked I had a chance to go over and take some pictures. The wooden dory had a Fretwater Boatworks plaque on the inside of the port gunnel. I made the assumption that Brad Dimock had built the boat. Roy, the owner said that no he had built the boat and he had been apprenticing with Brad.

The shape of the boat was familiar was familiar but the name was unfamiliar. It greatly resembled the Great Thumb, a boat that had appeared at the McKenzie River Wooden Boat Festival a few years ago. The owner had plans to restore the boat. Some time ago Brad Dimock had obtained the Great Thumb and rebuilt it. He called it the "Betty Boop" the same name as it was originally. The first picture below shows the Great Thumb as it appeared in Oregon.


Rather than tell the entire story I will refer you to Brad Dimock's website and the story of his restoration of "Betty Boop".


Anyway, here's a picture of the boat on the launch ramp. She is a clone of "Betty Boop" with a little twist in her name! Yep, "Brown Betty"! Roy did a great job of building her. I was impressed with the details I could observe while they were prepping for their trip.

The road to Corn Creek is being treated with a slurry of chemicals making for a very sticky mud. Betty is true to her name with all the brown mud on her.

Roy and Brad built a great boat. One thing you can't see under the ropes is a bronze fitting that Brad cast at his shop. The bow also has a Fretwater bow line connector also cast there. The oarlocks also come from Brad's shop.

Here is picture of some of the interior details  with the Southco latches and a poor view of the heck-for-stout oarlock.

Great job Roy!

The second dory is owned by Roy's father Bob. It is a very solid Briggs design. As the moniker suggests it is "Built to Last", being shaped and welded up from aluminum. It is also very well made.

Classic Jerry Brigg's design. Wide and has the flat spot in the middle of the bottom of the hull rather than the almost continuous rocker a traditional McKenzie boat has. Built to carry a huge load on multi-day big water trips. This is also a very well built boat made by some very talented craftspeople.

A nice cockpit for Bob to enjoy the river from.

That's all for now. Nate, another of the guys on the trip has promised to post pictures of his upcoming build/conversion of his boat. It was great to see the dories getting ready to go. If I win the lottery maybe I will deck my boat and try for a permit.

Rick Newman

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