Build Your Own Row Boat Plans
These plans are for a building your own row boat.
One day while hiking in the woods
of southeastern Massachusetts with
my young sons, we came to a cranberry
bog reservoir and spotted a boatlike
shape in its depths. We pulled it ashore
and found it to be the battered remains
of a little dory. A real old-timer, with
frames made of natural crooks of apple
wood, pine planking and clinched boat
nails. Easily 50 to 75 years old and obviously
the product of a master dorybuilder!
She was too far gone to rebuild, but
we covered her bottom with polyethylene
plastic to make her float long
enough to try out. And as we had anticipated
from the looks of her, she
proved to be one sweet little rower. At
the same time, she was wide enough
across the bottom to have none of the "crankiness" for which dories are both
famed and feared.
Using her as a guide, we built a new
dory. This reincarnation is just as sweet
a rower—and not as fussy to build as
you might suppose.
Build her as a utility
boat, as a tender, as a silent sneak-upon-'em fishing skiff, as a trainer and
fun-boat for the kids—or just as a conversation
piece. The first time you take
her out you'll be flabbergasted at how
easily she darts along with light pulls
on the oars.
Of course, she can also be sculled—
propelled by a single oar stuck through
a hole in the transom and wiggled back
and forth with a certain twist of the
This gives a narrow rig that can
sneak between moored boats and dock
piles like an eel.
And as a bonus, she can be sailed;
she's just the right size and width to do
well with the rig from a sailing surfboard
or dinghy—say something between
45 and 65 sq. ft. area. If you don't
care to sail in a bathing suit in April or
October, pop your sailing board's rig
into this dory and sail in dry comfort
until warm weather comes!
Make a Row and Sail Dory