We still have a few open spots in our Doryak Class at WoodenBoat School August 18-31.
Building the Doryak River Dory at WoodenBoat School
All our other classes for this year are sold out.
Here are five reasons you need to sign up for this delightful class today:

Boatbuilding is good for the soul. As the late great boatbuilder and author Dynamite Payson said, “Among the men who ply the various trades, I have observed that the ones who work with boats—designers, builders, and users—are usually happier than most others, and of these, the very happiest in my opinion are boatbuilders who use edged tools and work in wood.” It is the craft of building things of function and beauty–incredibly gratifying at the each of each day.  It’s a marvelous learning process, with problem-solving a constant companion.

WoodenBoat School is one of the most wonderful places in the Milky Way (that I am aware of). Located on the shore of Eggemoggin Reach, a branch of Penobscot Bay, WoodenBoat School occupies a magnificent estate built a hundred years ago. The classes are held in the beautiful old slate-roofed brick horse barn complex.

After class you can row or sail classic boats, or sit back and enjoy the view over a restorative beverage.

The accommodations and food plan are fantastic, or you can choose to pitch your tent or camper in the school campground. The staff is universally friendly and helpful. And the sunsets–OMG.

You need to build yourself a boat. Or boats. Once you’ve taken this class, you will have the skills to build many different types of drift boat or river dory. It’s impossible to describe the feeling of building yourself a boat. The first one can be a bit frustrating, but that’s why we’re here to help you over that hurdle. But then, the joy of taking it to the river, loading your gear aboard and heading downriver in a boat you yourself built–well, there’s nothing like it.

Rowing a Doryak is guaranteed to cause Multiple Oar-gasms. We designed the Doryak in October 2019. We were trying to hybridize the classic plastic one-person rowboat called the SportYak, popular on mild whitewater in the 1960s and ’70s (below, right), with the classic 1971 Briggs Grand Canyon Dory—the uncontested king of  upon which nearly all whitewater dories are based (including all the boats we build.)(below center)

The result was Peekaboo (above, left), a 9′ long cutiepie that we really weren’t too sure about in terms of big whitewater capabilities. But we were pleasantly astounded. We built a second model, slightly higher with a more graceful bow: Spooky. Cricket and I took them through Grand Canyon in spring of 2020 and were blown away with how they performed. This is a GoPro shot of the very moment I realized the boat worked, coming out of a giant cruncher in Soap Creek Rapid.

Lava Falls didn’t even knock them down. Cricket ran right, of course, and I ran a more conservative left.

They spin effortlessly, climb the biggest crashing waves and are nearly telepathic in doing what you want them to do.

People who have tried them complain of cheek cramps from grinning too hard.

Brian Whitney summed it up after rowing one for half an hour in Grand Canyon, “I feel like I’m cheating on my wife.”

We went into production and there are now around twenty Doryaks out there rocking the rapids of the Rogue, Salmon, Lochsa, Owyhee, John Day, White, Green, Upper Colorado, Gauley, New, Cheat, Ottowa, San Juan, and more every day.

And they’re more than just a boat. With four watertight (not always waterproof, mind you) you can carry enough gear for extended voyages. They’re a bed!

They even work in the ocean!

They’re a great party boat:

You can even motor them*

*Ummmmm…not sure this is really a good idea.

Last but not least:

Building boats with Cricket and Brad is just plain fun. (And fun is really fun. That’s why it’s called fun.)

Cricket and Brad have been working and teaching together for a decade and are passionate (obsessed perhaps?) about teaching the ever-evolving art and craft of boatbuilding.

In the winters they, along with Cricket’s husband Glade, run Fretwater Boatworks in Arizona, churning out a variety of whitewater dories and kindred vessels.

Our shenanigans are the subject of several recent magazine articles and documentaries, and all witnesses and participants agree, You Can’t Beat This Place For Fun. Check out these two wonderful films:

Can’t Beat This Place for Fun

Fretwater Boatworks at Lowell’s Boat Shop

Bonus Sixth Reason you need to take this course:

Depending on class size we will be building one or two Doryaks. On the last day of the course one (or two) lucky winners will go home with Doryaks for the cost of materials. Here are the winners of our last Doryak class at WoodenBoat:

Okay. That settles it. Sign up now and we will see you in August! If you’re not convinced yet, re-read until you are. Woot woot!

Building the Doryak River Dory at WoodenBoat School