Building a Dory
a 16 foot Grand Banks Dory From Plans
As a kid I did a lot of boat building, mainly as a helper to my dad. He was an avid fisherman, and enjoyed carpentry as a hobby. So, there was always a wooden fishing boat under construction in our garage. I learned a lot helping my dad with his boat building projects. And I learned even more fishing with my dad in the boats we built together.
A few of the boats we built would take on a little water. Not quickly, but gradually water would seep in below the floorboards and it required using a hand pump to pump the water out. My dad would usually be rowing or running the engine while I would do the pumping.
I remember one particular day we launched our most recent home-built fishing boat - it was just 12 feet long and built from plywood. I was rowing while my dad was rigging up our fishing rods, and by the time we were in the middle of the river, it was clear we were sinking. I stopped rowing to grab the hand pump and pump out the water. But this didn't keep us from sinking. It only slowed down the process of sinking. So my dad took over the oars and started to row again - fast - hoping to reach dry land before the little boat sank.
Just before the boat's gunwales started to sink, we managed to jump ashore. Here we watched as our beloved fishing boat slowly sank to the bottom of the river. It was then that we realized we'd gotten to the wrong side of the river and this left us with a problem. We either had to walk to the nearest bridge, about 18 miles upriver, or swim to the other side.
We chose to swim. We did not see anyone around, so we quickly stripped down to our birthday suits, and with one hand holding our clothes above the water, we managed to get back to our own side of the river. Just as we were struggling to get out of the water a group of boys from my school were passing by, and I can tell you I absolutely mortified!
This all happened a long time ago. My dad has long since passed away. And there have been many times in my life I have had dreams of building a boat again. I have spent a some time researching and looking at boat building plans, but with boats, especially fishing boats, size can make a difference.
I started out looking at larger boats plans - 25 to 35 feet - but the amount of work involved always overwhelmed me and I lost my excitement to start my boat building plans.
Recently I've had a change of heart and decided to start with a smaller hull - Something big enough to fish from on the ocean, yet small enough to easily trailer and store in my garage.
So, I've decided and found the plans - I am going to build a wooden 16 foot Grand Banks dory which I plan to power with an outboard motor.
I've purchased the dory plans, I've got the working space, and although I'm going to take my time and enjoy the project, I hope to have my Grand Banks dory built and ready to launch in time for spring Chinook salmon fishing in my area.
After building the 16 foot dory, who knows, I might build a 35 footer and tow my "Bankers" dory behind it. That way if my 35 foot yacht sinks, I can always get to safety in my Grand Banks dory - but dry and with my clothes on this time.
For those of you who are interested in building your own wooden fishing dory... Click that link to see the plans I'm using for mine.