Somehow our Doryak class at WoodenBoat School in June attracted a truly astonishing group of wonderful, talented folks. Several were veterans of early classes I’ve taught, and all were extremely motivated. We did what we thought was highly unlikely if not impossible: build and finish two fully decked Doryaks in under ten days. We gathered the night before the class, introduced ourselves, and did a quick introduction to lofting from a table of offsets. On Monday morning we hit it hard.
We drew the whole boat full size, expanded the drawings for ribs, transom and bowpost, and began building them. Meanwhile another team scarfed all the side-panels and started glueing them up. By Tuesday afternoon we had all the parts ready for assembly. We were working so fast I didn’t get any pictures. But here’s a time-lapse of the hulls coming together. We set a new record–two hulls in under an hour.
Andy’s son Ollie came in a few times to help out.
Once the hulls were together we pulled the gunwales and chines out of the steam box and clamped them into shape.
On day three we got the inner chines in and the bottom on and still had time to prime the boats.
We celebrated with a hollow log party.
Whoa, steady there fella.
Day four, on with the outer chines.
Then we rolled them up and began the cabinetry.
I’d like to say it’s not all fun and games at boat school, but it kinda is. And besides, it was Cricket’s birthday. Annie took us out for the birthday sail.
And we paid a visit to Barry on the lovely Mary Day.
The weather put on a birthday light show as well.
Hatch framing and gutters.
Down to the dock for evening light.
Week two kind of blends together, as the hatches seem to take forever.
Ashley laying up the hatch lids with out customary system.
A crux move that requires a beer or two: at the end of the day we carry a boat out to the picnic table, clamp on a gunwale, and contemplate–up a touch here, down a touch there–it’s never more than a fraction of an inch, but my, oh, my does it make a difference.
Cricket seems to have dropped her braid in the epoxy. Time for a vinegar soak.
Closing in: hatch lids done, hinged, latched, and weatherstripped. Then an evening slide show in the boatshop.
We like to keep the decks free of clutter.
Day nine got very exciting. We got ahead of schedule and came in after dinner to paint the boats.
Somewhere along the way they’d gotten nicknames. Up in the Northwest, where fishing guides take their rowing very seriously, they refer to the recreational whitewater folks derisively as the splash-and-giggle crowd. We take that as a badge of honor
Mike and Cricket conspired on a superman shaped class placard. Below on the left is last year’s memento.
The morning of day ten we had a few minute’s worth of work putting on a few brass straps to stabilize the oarlocks. It took hours. Arghhh!
But by lunch time the boats were done and sitting on the trailer. After lunch we had a launch party. Here Splash and Giggle are consorting with their cousin Wild Rose–a classic ocean dory.
We had a record number of roll practices, and still ended up with pretty dry hatches.
Back on shore in time for the lobster bake.
A happy class and two very happy instructors.
And why not? Cricket started a series of Hunker Down contests, balanced on the Doryaks.
And on Saturday, away they went.
But wait. There’s more. We’ve already gotten several pictures of the boats in action. Check it out! Alex tearing it up in Splash on the Kennebec.
Ashley putting Giggle through her paces on the Jackson.
And meeting up with Mariah and her other Doryak, Hellbender, on the New River.
It makes us so happy to see them out there splashing and giggling.
Dear Brad and Cricket,
I have to say that I am bit hard…
I have wanted to build a wooden boat for over 40 years. I was flying back to San Diego, after closing down our cottage in Maine last fall, and was looking for something to read on the flight. The November Wooden Boat magazine caught my eye, and the story about Fretwater Boats and the Doryak intrigued me. After reading the magazine for the 8 hours of flights, I was inspired to drag out my 1978 copy of John Gardners “Building Classic Small Craft”, which renewed my enthusiasm for building a river dory for fishing on the Ogunquit and Mousem rivers in Maine. So image my surprise when I look up the WoodenBoat school and see that you taught a class!
I would be honored to participate in one of your upcoming classes. Please keep me updated on your schedule for next year. The Lowell North Shop class would be my first choice, but even a West Coast or Arizona class would be of interest!
I hope that you can keep my name for future classes or point me in the right direction to keep in touch!
Happy Holidays, Mark Francis
You’re in luck. Cricket and I will both be teaching courses at WoodenBoat School in Brooklin, Maine in June this year. Registration starts Monday at 8AM EST, and many classes fill within the first hour. Here’s their course selection for 2023:
Cricket’s class will be a great introduction to building an open drift boat/dory. Mine will cover that material and take it beyond into decking and hatchwork. Some folks tell me they are going to sign up for both.