I am a pretty experienced boatman (rafts, WW kayaks, canoes, etc.) but do not have any experience with dories. I am interested in getting a dory that I can fish out of but its main purpose would be whitewater. I am in Idaho and we run a lot of trips down the Middle, Main, and Lower salmon. I came across this dory (pics attached). It is not decked and so I am assuming it is more of a fishing model but I am wondering if it could be modified into a whitewater dory?
More generally, what are the operative differences between whitewater dories and their flatter water brethren? Are the hull shapes the same but have different features or are they completely different boats?
Thanks in advance for your patience with my very basic questions. DHN.
Chris, your boat is looking wonderful. I greatly appreciate all the work you have done and quality that it shows. I also applaude your craftsmanship and your patience!
Boat looks great Chris!
In my experience, a 16' x 48" wood boat is great for running the Middle Fork of the Salmon, the Main Salmon, the Rogue, the Owyhee, and the Deschutes. These are multi-day trips. I have limited my load to one passenger, sometimes plus dog, cooler, tarps, rain gear, and depending on the trip, tent and sleeping bags. If you are going to do an outfitter quality trip with shower, mucho cooking gear, lots of dutch ovens, pans, ice, wine, beer, etc., then the trip will need a gear raft.
I'm in agreement with David - that's what I built my 16x48 for. Multiday trips, class III Idaho style water with backpacking loads, sneaking the bigger holes.
Do you guys add any floatation, have issues with too much water in the boat? I got directed down the wrong side of a rapid on the Main Salmon and filled my Avon Pro bucket boat chest deep with water as the bottom stretched.
Thanks to everyone for their comments.
Went and took a look at it and made some measurements.
From bow to stern, measuring from the top of the boat, the boat is 14' 1'.
The width at the top of the boat measures 66.5" at the oar locks, the floor is 46" wide at the oar locks.
The side wall height measure 24" at the oar locks and at the stern. The bow is 32" if you measure along the tip of the stern. it is 27.5 inches if you measure perpendicular from the floor of the boat straight up to the top. Crappy diagram attached to (hopefully) clarify what I am talking about.
Looking at the information regarding boat specs at High Desert Dories (http://hddories.net/about-whitewater-dories/dory-designs/) it would seem this boat is a little shorter and narrower than the "whitewater" McKenzie River Dory.
What do you guys think of these specs? Is it a class III river runner or a Class I-II fishing drift boat?
It is not clear to me whether the sidewalls on this boat are as tall as a typical whitewater dory. Any info on this would be appreciated.
I got to row it around on a lake for a few minutes today. It rowed really nicely. It did have a little water leaking into the bottom by the time I was done. I'd say a few ounces of water in ten minutes of rowing it around. Not sure how normal this is for a wooden boat?
That is a very unique boat you have there. Not too many double-ender McKenzie style boats out there any more and do I see only 4 ribs? Cool. Less ribs allows the plywood to flex and not crack in between the ribs when hitting rocks.
There are as many opinions as there are members on this site, all based on our own previous experiences and needs, so here goes mine:
Keep that very unique boat and use it for fishing and mild whitewater, class I-III. With an experienced oarsman behind the oars, that boat will run any water that David suggested. Then build your dream dory with compartments from new. As Chris says, the interior of a dory is the time consuming and expensive part. It won't take much more effort or money to build out a new whitewater dory hull and then put decking / compartments in it, then you will have a camping / whitewater boat just as you see fit. I would reverse engineer the size of your boat as well, lay out all of your camping gear that you can't live without, then build your boat to accommodate those dimensions, plus consider the size or river you will be running mostly.
As far as hull shapes go, there are many designs, if you really research and look at them; wide / narrow, flat spot / no flat spot, shallow rocker / high rocker, shallow flare / wide flare, and everything in between. In the olden days there was the standard McKenzie boat, the Rogue dory and the Briggs style boats. Now (thanks to the internet and sites like this) builders are designing all types of amazing lines!
Back to your specific question, Dories (Rogue and Briggs hulls) are very different from the standard McKenzie boat. Dories have more flare to the side, a long flat spot in the middle (for tracking and load carrying capacity), thus turning the boat is slower. McKenzie boats have more rocker, minimal flat spot (some modern designs have a little), less flare, thus less carrying capacity and more quick turning capability. If you deconstruct each boat, flatten out the sides on the floor, the McKenzie sides are straight cuts, the Dory has curved cuts at the front / back on the chine line (allowing more flat spot ultimately). Regarding bottom width, the choice is yours. In the olden days, most boats were 48 inches, conveniently the same width as a piece of plywood. Now even aluminum boats are going over 60 inches! A reasonable rowing boat is between 48 and 54 inches. It just depends on if you want it to fit down the Fish Ladder lining shoot at Rainie Falls or carry more gear and draw less water.
Safe Boating, Robb
If its free, its the perfect boat! Add some floation and go for it. If you are thinking about putting money into it I'd say build something closer to a Briggs. You could still leave it open for most runs but deck it for the Main in spring or anytime on the GC. I have a Briggs style and one similar to the pics (hindman 16 footer) see kellyneu.blogspot.com. The flair and the chine line on the Briggs is crucial to big water and super fun to row. The boat you show in the pics has much less flair to the hull and will tend to row fairly heavy in the water especially if you load it with gear. It will be a submarine boat but bring a snorkle and a wetsuit and it will be a blast too!
Kelly, I've followed your blog, reading it through several times, on my way to finishing my Briggs dory. I thought you had moved on since I haven't seen (or have missed) you around here or on your blog lately. It's nice to see your reply and have the chance to tell you again thanks for your help (along with many others) in my build.
You were able to right your boat alone…thats so cool! I am currently designing my next whitewater dory and was wondering if I could bug you about some details of your boat. Being able to solo right your boat is a huge safety factor. Do you have any pics of your boat? Oh, and glad to hear you made it to Tequila Beach in an oxygen rich environment!