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

Free Goat Island Skiff Yawl Plan

Drake and family at the beach

Drake is getting built in the shop to test the fitting of the kit before they get shipped off to first customers in WA and PA. Kent Fosnes in WA will be exhibiting Drake next year at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival. All kits are tested more than once to ensure everything goes together properly. Many of these CAD drawn, computer numerically controlled (CNC) parts are cut to the thousandth of an inch! Accuracy and precision are among a number of value added benefits to a kit. More info about CNC cutting and those benefits is forthcoming.

The first GIS Yawl doing the Texas 200 endurance event.

After the busy summer, I am back in action. Just finished are some plans for my GIS yawl that I am making available for free on my GIS page. Enjoy looking at the yawl and the other tidbits of info I include. Our GIS will be going together in October.

Open Water Rowing in Casco Bay

"I like to get out there sit in the swell and look out" is how I think of a pleasant row in my home waters of Casco Bay, Maine. Along with dreaming of boats, like Culler's Otter, I dream of where to go in the boats. Next year's big row is out to Halfway Rock in the middle of Casco Bay, about 15 mile offshore. 

Rowing in open water like this scares the hell out of me. When I sit there, in the swell, looking out, the butterflies flutter inside, making it more challenging to assess the situation and peruse the mental checklist of precautions. Weather window, ferry traffic, tidal currents, my energy level, time of day, schedule back on land, amount of food in the dry bag, do I have all the gear I need, what is plan B, plan C....

But I am learning that these butterflies are annoying but good; they keep me alive and ultimately confident. Once I am out there in open water, and I am feeling strong, confident in the boat, and having a blast, I relax and therefore row better. In my open water boat, Drake, I can cover about 4 nm per hour and that is an average. Time slips away and life is good. Christmas has been wonderful, and the weather cold, and now I begin to plan big rows for next year. I am training for long distance rows and hope to make a 20-mile row somewhat routine. Halfway Rock, located below the 'Not' in "Not for Navigational Use" is uncannily "halfway" between the Eastern and western points that define Casco Bay. It is an exposed rocky isle with a lighthouse. Landing there will be difficult, so when I row there next summer, it will be my longest pull yet, at least 25 miles total, depending on the exact route.

Time to dream, be patient as the sun makes its way back north, and time to get in shape!

A Pete Culler Otter for Christmas

With a little time off to sit back at Christmas and reflect, new boats are dreamed of day and night and usually they are rowboats or sail-and-oar boats. Another problem is that I have many charts framed and hanging on my walls. So, it is far too easy to day dream of excursions in these new boats. Thus, for Christmas, I want a Pete Culler Otter for myself and to offer potential customers who also dream of rowboats and rowing. It is said by those who have rowed an Otter that is is about as fast as you can go in a fixed seat boat, though it is more oriented towards protected waters. Otter is 17-1/2' long, 3' beam, and draws 3". She is a narrow, flat bottom, double ended skiff (a 'clipper bateau, Culler calls it) that is cross planked on the bottom and carries three strakes of cedar on each side, with no gunwale timbers at all, and is pure simplicity. To get an oar span wide enough, Culler made extra long oarlocks which created the spread he needed to use up to 8' long oars. Culler is a giant in my mind, particularly with regards to oarmaking and rowing. I'll be teaching people how to make Culler style oars in a Wooden Boat School course and Lowell's Boatshop. Otter would make for a very light traditional boat, even planked all solid timber. I would use the newer flexible epoxies to glue the splines, bottom boards together and other sealants in the laps to get a trailerable, traditional boat. Here are some pictures I pulled from a thread in the Wooden Boat Forum about the Otter, and I appreciate the information the guys there have provided about this fabulous boat by Capt. Pete. I'd love to hear from others interested in this boat or about oars and rowing, Feel free to contact me by email or leave comments below. More on the Otter will be my Clint Chase Boatbuilder soon.