Echo Bay Dory Skiff Kits and Caravelle Commission

The Echo Bay Dory Skiff (EBDS) by Eric Risch is now in the process of being organized into DXF files for CNC cutting. The first 5-7 kits will be released at the WOoden Boat SHow this June in Mystic, CT., where families will build the boats with Clint Chase in 2.5 days, launching on the third day at the show. Caravelle, the EBDS's big sister, will be on display before it goes to customers in Martha's Vineyard will use her for exploratory rowing with their doggy in the stern sheets and for use as a tender to their sailboat on their mooring. They will car-top the boat regularly.

Eric Risch, boat designer, expounds upon the development and merits of his two fine skiffs..........

"One’s first impression of the 11½ foot Echo Bay Dory Skiff and her longer sister, the 14½ foot Caravelle, is that they look quite different from most skiffs their size. If their steeply raked ends with faired sides seem to have the “spring” of a traditional dory yet have the comfortable feel of a skiff, such impressions would be correct. Both designs are a studied effort to marry the best of the flared sided dory and flat bottomed skiff. This involved some very delicate tweaking of proportions from 25 years of experience with my original dory-skiff. The intent was to start with the clean, simple lines of a flat bottomed boat and make it both easily driven and be able to handle a bay chop with more confidence than typical of small boats.

So in the dory-skiff tradition, the Echo Bay and Caravelle’s flared bow and raked transom provide lots of potential buoyancy allowing a drier ride when water gets “bumpy.” Although overhangs do come at the expense of waterline, my original 12½ footer handled a steep bay chop with aplomb and just loved to slide over the waves with minimal fuss.

The flared hull sides offer a wide range of stability while retaining a wide enough bottom for a comfortable feel of initial stability. The idea was to use some of the traditional advantages of a dory’s secondary stability but minimize initial tenderness—assuming one chooses not to carry a full load of fish! In addition, the moderately wide bottom enables both boats to be very easily driven under oar while the ample beam at the sheer provides a good placement for the oar locks.

Some flat bottom skiffs are famous for the tendency to “slap-slap-slap” in the bow region from the water hitting the bottom panel—this can be quite annoying. Consider too that pounding into a chop robs energy from forward motion. The Echo Bay and Caravelle’s bow stems terminate well below the waterline, making a nice quiet row. When coupled to their strong skeg aft for balance, the boats track very securely in a crosswind, providing a more solid feel than is typical of their length.

Both boats can also serve as capable tenders for moderate to larger yachts. I towed my original 12½ footer on cruises and was pleased how well she behaved. In addition, sailing versions will be available. Their compact sprit rigs keep the center of effort low for ease of handling a moderate range of wind. But narrow boats designed for oar tend to be quite spirited—this is a quality that is best appreciated by more experienced and agile sailors.

The Echo Bay Dory skiff is set up for a single rower and for one additional passenger. The Caravelle is essentially a stretch version for tandem rowing. Both boats have an open clean look and are quite light weight for their length to be car-toppable in a practical sense. Neither relies on complicated framing for stiffness and uses instead one ring frame in the single and two ring frames in the double. The hull is 6mm Occume marine plywood that has a reputation for looking beautiful for decades. Both have “screw-and-glue” chines making it boat that will remain tight whether on the water or in your garage."