Deblois Street Dory

Early Summer 2015

Early Summer Activities and Updates

Prep, prep, prep!

Mostly my work focuses on watching four Deblois Street Dories getting finished, one of which has hit the water. Compass Project's Dory launched successfully with a a bunch of excited students who helped build her. Compass is looking for another big project commission to use in their work with at-risk youth.

2015 Compass Project launch of the DSD.

I am busily preparing the cutting of more Echo Bay Dory Skiff kits which will be built in Maine. This is the very latest version of the Skiff and any tweaks in the design demand a lot of attention to make sure all the details get done correctly. Those files are done and ready for more customers. It is hard to believe over 30 Echo Bay's have been built now!

Also in the works are the files for cutting the first ever St Lawrence River Skiff kit for the Bain & Co. Annie model. I am back in the computer model after quarter scale modeling the hull.

Quarter Scale Model of the St. Lawrence River Skiff,


to be built at ABM in an August 10th workshop.

Here is the information for my workshop in August. Spread the word! Contact me for more info.

NEW! St. Lawrence River Skiff Building

Clint Chase, an instructor at the WoodenBoat School, The Landing School, and The Compass Project, will teach how to build a St. Lawrence River Skiff. 

This boat is plywood and strip-composite constructed.

 One kit will be built in the class and raffled off to one student on Saturday. The boat will have some finish work to still be completed by the raffle winner.  Participants must register by July 27 to make sure the class will run.  

For more information about the boat visit the webpage about the Skiffs.

Instructor: Clint Chase

Session 1: August 10– 15, 9 AM- 5 PM

Tuition: $1000

Planking the Deblois Street Dory

Deblois Street Dory Building

Bar Harbor, Maine

Planking the hull

I spent the last 24 hours in Bar Harbor helping a customer get the planking going on his DSD. He has been pining after his own D' Street Dory for a few years and is very excited about his project. We met at the Small Reach Regatta, where he and his wife row and sail their current stitch-and-glue dory. He wanted to build a real dory and one with more performance and capacity than the others available. He chose the DSD!

Hull #1 built in 2007, on the shores of the Maine Coast

He set up the strongback very accurately, scarphed planks, and got everything ready for my visit. I arrived at 11am and after the 10-cent tour of his new, beautiful, custom house perched on the edge of Acadia National Park, we got to work. By 8pm we had the garboards fit and glued and looking perfect. Pretty good time for 2 people going hard at it and taking a lunch and dinner break, too. Garboards are often a two-day project because they can be the trickiest to fit.

The latest mkII version of the DSD under construction on MDI

The DSD kit is available, just give a call at 207.602-9587 or email

A Deblois Street Dory

to The Compass Project in Portland, Me is building a DSD with a group of kids and they are doing a great job.

The boat is built like dories have always been built, using the bottom to erect stem, frames, and transom, then turning over the boat upside down on a strongback. Everything is plumbed and braced then planking begins.

Here the garboard has been installed and the sheer clamp is being fit. This is the only departure from traditional dory construction, the incorporating of the clamp helps tie together the frames into plumb and lock in the ends of the boat. It is a bit of a 3D puzzle!

Deblois Street Dory

Now that Deer Isle Koster kits are shipping and and I have moved shop back to the home based-shop, I am enjoying some new found time to carry on with the newest, refined version of the Deblois Street Dory.

The changes are mainly in the lining off of the hull and the fact that the hull is now modeled in 3D CAD allowing for precut parts to be made and a lot of tweaking to get the lines "eye sweet".

The DSD was featured in the latest Maine Island Trail newsletter and there may be a follow up article this winter after I get started on this build.

I am very pleased with how she is coming out! What do you think?

The Perfect Rowboat, Sailboat, or Both?

Do you like the idea of a boat that can row and sail but they often don't like the idea of compromising on one or the other? It is a trade-off. A good sailboat's lines are not good for rowing and a rowboat's lines are not good for sailing. The latter is true mainly because the hull is quite narrow and fine on the waterline, especially at the ends. A fast rowboat's lines just don't provide the stability, often, for sailing and the addition of a slot for the board introduces drag and makes the boat slow for rowing. Wooden Boat's long time manager of their boathouse often cites the Joel White Shearwater as an example. Reluctantly, listening to customer demand, Joel White added the centerboard and it really made a difference in the sailing ability: it made it possible. But it also introduced noticeable drag when rowing: the boat was slower under oars.


is very similar to Shearwater, only narrower and longer on the waterline, no daggerboard, and therefore faster under oars.

because of the moderate keel to provide some lateral resistance and enable excellent tracking for rowing. We don't have a centerboard, so there is no drag induced (though a tight fitting plug for a daggerboard trunk can fair the slot to the hull reasonably well). I've been asked a number of times, and I just will not add a daggerboard to Drake. She is just a blast to sail downwind and can sail as high as a beam reach quite fast. The sail adds tremendous range when you consider the sail as auxiliary power.

Deblois Street Dory

But if you want to sail upwind, and row well, you need a boat with a lot of flare in the hull and a shape that provides excellent secondary stability. Joel White's Shearwater and his 18' version of the boat are good examples. Another ideal example is the dory. What I love about the dory is that it is narrow at the waterline and flares out to a generous width, for a rowboat, at the rail, usually 4'8-5'. The Deblois Street Dry is nearly 5' at the rail. The stability this shape produces lends itself to sailing (see photo of me sitting on D St D's gunwale), but the narrow width at the waterline when the boat is not heeled means that it will row well. The double ended shape of the waterline on a dory keeps the ends fine for rowing ability. Drake shows a similar shape (see photo): narrow waterline, 4'1" at the gunwales provides secondary stability.

The Marblehead Gunning Dory is, to me, perhaps the perfect boat. If I could have only one boat (let's not think about that...what a shame that would be!), I would have a gunning dory or a Swampscott Dory. Come to my annual

Shop Talk & Messabout

to see both of these dory types in the flesh and meet two experts on dories: Sam Manning and Walter Wales.

Thank you to Chris Partridge, blogger in the UK:

Rowing for Pleasure

for bringing up the subject of rowing vs sailing characteristics in a boat