Monday, July 20, 2009

DIY Dory Plans - Can You Build a Seaworthy Dory From Plans?

DIY Dory Boat Plans - Seaworthyness of DIY Dory Boats

These questions are very difficult to answer.

All types of boats are designed to operate independently of the storm or weather they find themselves in. If you and your dory boat manage these conditions depends on a number of factors - the dory plans and workmanship is one of them, and the other is the skill of the operator.

Classic wooden boats are designed to be a collection of individual framing pieces that carry the burden created by the water, transferred between all parts of the hull. This has been an effective method of building wooden boats that served the coastal community of thousands of years.

Newer boat models use a unibody construction that is very similar to modern cars. The original cars had a solid steel welded chassis, which was attached to the body, but the body and frame are integrated into a one piece structure much stronger than the original. Most all of the available dory boat building plans today are built upon this model. There are framed plywood dory plans and what is called "stitch and glue" dory plans that produce lighter, stronger and more seaworthy dory hulls.

A "stitch-and-glue" boat hull uses panels of plywood edge-glued to distribute the load of water evenly throughout the dory's hull. These are well known, but less known is the unibody boat hull construction that uses modern adhesives to join the different elements of the dory hull into a one-piece structure able with withstand the effects of force and seaworthiness. Despite these using clips or fasteners to hold the elements together while the epoxy glue or polyurethane cures, once it has fully cured you can remove all the clips and the resulting boat hull is incredibly strong.

Dory boat construction using a unibody design creates a vessel with added advantage: the resistance of shock. Although direct impact with submerged rocks and other outcroppings can poke a hole in the hull just as it would a fiberglass or any other type of hull, the impact of typical collisions are distributed throughout the hull bond joints, rather than focusing only on the immediate hull framing. This means far more substantial impact loads can be taken before major damage is done. The choice of epoxy and polyurethane adhesives in the construction means that the joints are flexible and not prone to crack or break when exposed to sudden impact loads.

The quality of construction also plays an important role in the dory hull's seaworthiness. If the selection of materials is low quality, the workmanship haphazard, or the application of adhesives and closures are not up to the strength requirements of the water conditions, overall hull strength will be compromised. The strength of materials and overall design affects the dory's seaworthiness. Poorly constructed hulls of ships never seem to withstand the rigors of open ocean for long. They have a bad habit of coming apart when you need them most, like when you are hurtling through breaking ocean waves, or plowing through wind and whitecaps, or being blown into underwater obstacles by gale-force winds.

The exercise of care when choosing your dory boat plans is the best remedy for maintaining a lifetime of seaworthyness.

Practical seaworthyness is really a function of the dory boat operator, however, not the boat. The vast majority of accidents at sea and accidents on land or in the air, for that matter, are caused by operator error.

Incredibly long-distance journeys at sea are actually quite safe for small boats.

In 1876, in celebration of the 100 year birthday of the United States, Alfred Johnson of Gloucester Massachusetts sailed from the North Atlantic to England in a 20-foot Grand Banks Dory called Centennial. Up until this time, few sailed a boat of this size on the high seas for such a distance through the storms and treacherous waters along this journey to get across safely.

Seamanship is not something that a person is born knowing. Instead, these skills are learned over time and experience on the water. A responsible boat captain with some experience and a good dose of caution goes a long way towards boating safety. Take all the training opportunities available to learn about navigation, weather, and other aspects of seamanship and piloting and you'll be a strong captain of a stout and seaworthy dory that you've built yourself.

Article by Wooden Dory Boat Plans - Build your own Grand Banks dory using step-by-step plans with digital images - Save $1000s and end up with a seaworthy Dory that will last a lifetime.

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