version of the traditional gunning dory is built with lightweight
ply and epoxy in a simplified double chine hull form. This new 16
footer is a lightweight version of our 19 foot gun dory which is
a much larger big water design and is way too much boat for most
people. The new boat has the same look in a smaller, easier to build
lightweight hull that can be car-topped. It rows easily and properly
equipped it makes a capable open water boat.
Construction is a straightforward process of stitching
five full-length plywood panels together with plastic ties, then
sealing seams with glass tape. No building base is required and
bulkheads serve as forms to hold panels in alignment during assembly.
To further streamline building, both ends of the gun dory are identical
so the same plank pattern can be used 4 times. The hull interior
is clean and open with none of the ribs, frames or stringers of
traditional construction, making it easier to maintain, clean and
repair. Hull reinforcement is provided by four full length chines,
compartments, butt-blocks, seats and gunnel laminations. The hull
exterior may be sheathed with glass cloth or glass tape can be laid
over seams to save weight.
Structural storage compartments are easy to build
and make waterproof using ply and epoxy, and also provide seating
and emergency flotation capability should the hull fill with water.
Compartments may be accessed by easily installed circular screw-outs,
or by larger traditional hinged yacht hatches.
The smallest of electric or gas motors will push
the slippery double chine hull, and a motor can be installed with
a clamp-on side mount or in a custom built motor well conveniently
located inside the boat. A typical motor well installation is included
in the building plans.
There is room for two rowing stations, or the double
ender makes a pleasing solo camp cruiser with room for piles of
gear. A drop-in sliding seat rowing unit such as the Piantedosi
can be installed and removed in seconds, and the boat is fast enough
to make an enjoyable exercise rower which works well in waves that
would disable a rowing shell. With appropriate seating the boat
may also be paddled like a canoe, or poled standing up in calm water.
Build two of these and enjoy rowing or cruising together, or just
drifting a quiet stream.
The detailed building plans are $38 and include
over 30 pages, all written for amateurs and first timers. These
new gun dory plans are expanded with many new options for materials,
reinforcements and interior layout, and include sketches, photos,
material sources, step-by-step and discussion of many options to
modify and customize the boat.
Paul,....I had finished my boat several weeks ago and was finally able to get it to the water today. It's always a joyous day launching a new boat especially one I've built and after about ten minutes the boat and I were one. A couple of power boats blasted by and we rode the wake with ease and it was very stable once I got the feel for it. For this first trip I used 6.5 foot oars but I'm going to switch them out for my 8 footers. The boat moved at a good pace and while I didn't bring my GPS today, I suspect it's easily as fast as my kayak if not more so. After some time I realized I need to fabricate some foot braces so I can push as I pull as I found myself using my arms more than my whole body.
All in all I am completely delighted with the build. The boat is light and nimble in the water and really is a treat to row. I was out very early in the day and there weren't many people around, but the ones that were couldn't believe how beautiful the boat is. One guy asked me lots of questions and wanted to know where I got the plans. Anyway, I had a wonderful time building the boat and now I'm going to have a wonderful time rowing it. Once I add the foot braces and anti slip seating, I'm sure I'll be able to row for hours. Can't wait to see your new plans for the sliding seat dory. Could be my winter project. Thanks for the great design and your help and assistance during the building process.
All the best Paul Sincerely, Ralph C. P. Salmon Arm, BC
Thank you for your response. I've drifted
the Siletz river and have taken the gun dory thru moderate
rapids with no problem.
Just puts a smile on my face when ever
I test it a little. It's so responsive I can stop right in
a good riffle and hold or manuver away from bad spots. Next
year I want to take it out of Depoe Bay or Newport and do
some bottom fishing which should be fun. I have 2 other boats
and I fish the ocean quite a bit for tuna and salmon.
I used yew wood for the gunwales, skeg
and seat. The epoxy didn't really like the yew as an adhesive,
maybe too much oil or too dense but it's tough and looks nice.
But all in all it was a very enjoyable experience. Thank you
Dan Moore, Oregon
I'm in Baghdad right now, but I'll be home in a few weeks.
I'm planning to spend my leave on this Pacific Troller gun
dory project when I get back to Ft Drum. Being able to go
out to my shop and build and tinker has been one of the biggest
things I've missed over the last year. I saw your article
in Outdoor Life and though this would be a great project to
relax to while I get used to being back home. I'll let you
know how it goes.
I got into woodworking
a few years back when I was a Career Fire Chief up in Maine
and have always wanted to try a project like this especially
being into duck hunting, fishing, etc... Thank GOD Outdoor
Life ran that article or I'd have never found you.
I'll be sure to keep you posted on
the progress, my son just got home from the Army so we plan
to work on it over the summer. We're both looking forward
Thanks for taking the time to contact
me, it's great to see some companies still have the personal
touch especially in today's fast paced Internet world.
.....this is the
perfect boat for fishing the Sound for local salmon and trout.
Gary. Port Orchard, Wa
I like it. an open water camp cruiser
I can cartop, with room for my dog and my camp gear. looks
like a scandinavian pulling boat. Will nine foot oars work
for distance rowing? do you have any ideas for a tent shelter?
Monte. Yakima Wa
Paul, My son and
I finished the little gun dory (Pacific Troller) and theres
more than enough room for 2 rowing stations, and I’m
a pretty big guy at 280 pounds. An hour rowing on the lake
here beats heck out of an hour inside the health club on those
machines. I really need the upper body workout I get from
rowing, and I know that because after the first long row I
was really sore but after a few sessions I’m starting
to feel my strength again. After I drop a few more pounds
I might get one of those Piantedosi sliding seat units we
discussed for a better workout. I love the way the dory slips
through the water and my son likes it when we have some wave
action and we always get comments when we cartop it around
town. So do I get a cut on all the plans I sell for you? Rory.
Utica, New York
Hey Paul, the
dory finally splashed this weekend. Wow, what a fast rowing
dory! I can't decide which I had the most fun doing, making
the boat or just being on the water. She moves quickly with
the 8 foot oars. I don't have much rowing experience, but
this boat zips right through the water.
It took about 8 weeks to get everything together. As we discussed,
I put in a transom so I can mount a little outboard or maybe
an electric troller too. I hope to do a lot of cruising on
the coast and bays around here, and on some of the local lakes
and rivers - and some camping trips too. And thanks for all
your replies to my emailed questions! The plans were great!
Now I just have to decide what boat I want to build next.
For now, I'll just spend some time getting to know this little
Cheers, bob & gina arnold
Ralph's Boat (click for more)
Krister's Boat (click for more)
Dan's Boat (click for more)