The Southwester Dory is a lightweight and highly capable expedition boat, designed for sailing, rowing, motoring, or any combination of the three. Elegant and straightforward to build from a kit or plans, this is an ideal boat for family outings, beach cruising, WaterTribe-style expeditions, or just gliding through the marshes.
In 2014 we shipped our 500th Northeaster Dory design. The Northeaster Dory demonstrates all of the qualities that made traditional dories the most popular style of smallcraft prior to the age of fiberglass mass-production. It's easy and economical to build, carries a big load, and demonstrates uncanny performance under oars or sail.
While the Northeaster Dory has found fans on five continents and amassed an impressive catalog of adventures, six years of flat-out Northeaster Dory production has led to an accumulation of requests for modifications and variants. These ended up on the desk of designer John C. Harris, who resisted the temptation to complicate the original design. "The Northeaster Dory works because it's a gigantic amount of boat for the money, and quick and easy to build. If you start adding stuff, very quickly you don't have a light, economical boat any more."
What eventually motivated Harris to create a new design was a single persistent request: "60 out of every 100 questions I get about the Northeaster Dory are about where you can put a motor." The answer, he says, is, "Nowhere. There just isn't a place to put it, and regulations both here and in Europe require motorized vessels to carry a large volume of built-in flotation. That ruins the Northeaster Dory's flexible layout, easy construction, and low cost. The stock Northeaster Dory is a terrific rowing and sailing boat, and I mean to keep it that way."
To make room for an outboard motor, and to provide the built-in storage and buoyancy that are the hallmarks of a thoroughgoing expedition boat, the Northeaster Dory was stretched from 17 feet to 18'10" and the beam increased six inches, to 5'2".
The dominant feature of the Southwester Dory's interior is the bench seating along the sides of the boat. The compartments below the seats are filled with foam and provide 844 pounds of positive flotation. The wooden Southwester Dory is unsinkable already, but the flotation chambers make it easy to self-rescue from a serious mishap. They also make great comfortable seats---no sitting on the floor! This is a boat you sit "in," not "on." Large storage compartments at the bow and stern provide dry stowage for over 12 cubic feet of gear. Assuming the hatches stay in place, the storage compartments contribute another 790 pounds of flotation.
The Southwester Dory is exceptionally versatile. Builders may assemble their dream configuration by mixing and matching three kit packages. Everyone starts with the "base" kit, which includes everything you need to make a rowing boat, basically. To this you may add an outboard well, or a sailing rig, or both, or neither. Sailing rig and outboard well are modular units that may be added at any time, even long after construction of the hull is complete.
The outboard engine functionality required considerable experimentation and testing. Traditional dories have narrow sterns, so you simply cannot hang an engine there. The solution, dating back to the invention of the outboard engine more than a century ago, is a watertight "well" in the bottom of the boat, situated about five feet from the stern. This puts the outboard within easy reach of the crew.
From the start, Harris anticipated that many Southwester Dories would be built solely for use as a motor launch. The easily-driven dory hull, with a narrow waterline and fine ends, is suited to small outboards or electric motors. In tests, a 4-stroke 2-horsepower Honda outboard was sufficient to push the boat to a hull speed of about 6.5 knots. 80% power yields 5.75 knots; 50% power gives 5 knots. As an ultra-efficient motor launch to cruise rivers, lakes, bays, and harbors, the Southwester Dory is a singular good fit. "With the latest breed of electric motors," says Harris, "You could cruise for hours at jogging pace." An optional folding bimini top completes the motor launch package.
Comparison of the Northeaster Dory and Southwester Dory
The outboard well will fit a maximum of a 4- or 5-horsepower petrol outboard. The narrow hull will not plane, so piling on any more power will just be wasted effort and payload. A 4hp run just above idle would be very quiet and sip gas. The outboard may be turned to steer the Southwester Dory, but tests suggest that the traditional stern-hung rudder is more efficient.
For sailing or beaching, the outboard kicks up inside the well. A simple plug seals the aperture for sailing or rowing performance while the outboard is tilted out of the water.
The Southwester Dory is a pip to sail. Two balanced lug sails drive the boat easily and with little fuss. Upwind performance is excellent in all conditions, and the Scandinavian-style yoke-and-draglink helm is light as a feather. The boat heels readily but picks up very strong secondary stability at 10-15 degrees. The ergonomic seating makes it easy for the crew to trim the boat for all conditions. Pedantic sailors will insist this is a cat-ketch, but Harris argues that it is functionally a cat-yawl. Whatever you prefer to call it, the rig is easy to set up, well-matched to the interior layout, and undeniably elegant. Using balanced-lug sails allows solid spruce spars of simple shape and minimal rigging. Expedition crews will rig a boom tent between the two masts and add slats to span port and starboard seats, creating a large sleeping platform for two adults.
A pivoting centerboard and kick-up rudder make beaching the Southwester Dory easy. Builders of a motoring-only version will use a simpler, shallower rudder. Obviously the centerboard is deleted in a motor launch version, opening up a lot more sprawling room in the big cockpit. Likewise, the Southwester Dory sails and rows so well that many sailors will leave off the demon engine and its well, regaining legroom and payload.
Unsurprisingly, given the hull weight well under 300 pounds and the shallow, easily-driven hull, the Southwester Dory can be rowed fast and far. Harris found in sea trials that with 8'6" oars the boat could be rowed all day at a gentle pace, and could be rowed upwind even with the sailing rig in place. Well known as a sail-and-oar purist, Harris says he'd probably build the boat without the motor well for beach-cruising. "But even as a snob about engines, I really enjoyed the boat in pure motor-launch mode. It makes so little fuss and uses so little gas, it's just a great way to see the waterfront."
With the considerable interior fit-out, the Southwester Dory is a bigger project than the Northeaster Dory or our smaller sailing and rowing craft. Expect to spend around 250 hours on a sailing version with the motor well option; builders will find some experience with epoxy and fiberglass useful before undertaking a Southwester Dory project. Construction uses our proprietary LapStitch™ technique to render a beautiful round-sided lapstrake hull without a mold or jig or the need for sophisticated joinery skills. Kit builders will assemble the planks using "puzzle" joints, then stitch the hull together with copper wire over four integral bulkheads and a transom. We've drilled the wire holes for you, and frames are located with computer-cut mortises in the BS1088 okoume marine plywood parts. The entire hull is assembled within a dozen hours of opening the kit boxes. Fiberglass reinforcement inside and out is applied, and the seats and compartments fitted. Finally, mahogany rails are glued on. (Spacered inwales are optional, but likely to be a popular addition.) Everything is sealed in multiple coats of epoxy for rugged durability, followed by paint and varnish for beauty and UV protection.
The Southwester Dory is as versatile and fun a family boat as we can imagine. Whether tooling around the harbor with a small outboard, or undertaking a serious coastal expedition under sail, it's a design that manages to offer a little something for everybody without any boring compromises.
Frequently Asked Questions:
When will Southwester Dory kits and plans begin shipping?
Southwester Dory kits and plans are shipping now!
What is the Southwester Dory's payload?
Depends on which version you build. Based on early tests, these are the payload numbers, which leave a good reserve for performance in rough water:
- Base Rowing Version: 800lbs
- Sailing Version (no motor well): 632lbs
- Sailing Version (with motor well): 567lbs
- Motoring Version (no sailing rig): 667lbs
What if I don't want to add the motor well at first? Can I add it later? Can I add the sailing components later?
Sailing rig and outboard well are modular units that may be added at any time, even long after construction of the hull is complete.
How big an engine can I use?
This is not a planing hull, so anything more than is required to get you to hull speed (around 6.5 knots) is unnecessary. A 2hp will do this handily with two adults and two kids aboard. A 4hp run at low power will be quieter. 5hp or 60 pounds of engine weight is the maximum allowed.
Short or long shaft engine?
The outboard well is set up for a short-shaft (15") engine.
Can I steer with the outboard or do I have to use a rudder?
The outboard is five feet from the stern, so the boat turns faster if you use the rudder. Builders opting for a motor-only version actually build a different rudder design. It's shallower and eliminates the hassle of the sailboat's kick-up rudder.
Do I have to use the Scandinavian-style push-pull tiller?
If you're sailing, yes, no choice in the matter. You will quickly come to prefer it over all other systems, thanks to the flexibility it gives you in seating. Motor-only builders could revert to a conventional tiller, but because of the length of the tiller they will find it hard to turn sharply, and impossible to do so if a bimini is installed. We've shipped literally a thousand boats with this steering system and it really is a great fit for boats with narrow sterns.
When will a plans-only version be available?
They are ready now.
What are the plans and manual like if I want to build from scratch instead of from a kit?
Plans comprise full-sized patterns for every part in the boat, and both motoring and sailing options are included in all plans packages. The manual includes hundreds of step-by-step photos and diagrams covering all permutations.
Can you send me the plans digitally?
Sorry, until digital rights management technology for architectural work catches up to books and music, we are unable to transmit digital data, only paper plans and manuals.
Can I fit a sliding seat for rowing?
Yes, a sliding seat could slot in aft of the centerboard trunk. The standard drop-in unit would be very much in the way of operating the boat under sail, so it'd be something used only on special occasions.
Can two people row in tandem?
Not in a sailing version, no. Leave out the sailing components and the motor well and this would actually be a really capable tandem rowing expedition boat, however. You could even fit tandem sliding seats.
How much does the Southwester Dory weigh?
The stripped hull is about 200 pounds. A motoring version with engine in place weighs about 280 pounds. Rigged for sail, the hull weight is about 350 pounds.
What sort of trailer do I need for the Southwester Dory?
The Northeaster Dory is just light enough for cartopping on medium-to-large cars, but the Southwester Dory will need a trailer. The smallest, lightest trailer is plenty. Currently we carry our display model on a Trailex SUT-250.
Can I build the Southwester Dory in one of your build-your-own classes?
Alas, no. It's too big a project for the one-week class format. The classes get you through about 45 hours of construction, which is enough to complete major assembly of smaller, simpler boats like the Northeaster Dory and many of our other smallcraft. The Southwester's parts-count is just too high to be a good fit with the 5-1/2-day classes.
How skilled do I need to be to build my own Southwester Dory?
Patient first-time boatbuilders who have some experience with epoxy and fiberglass could manage a Southwester Dory, especially working from a pre-cut kit. We have gone to tremendous lengths to simplify assembly without compromising the boat's appearance or function. Most builders will probably have built something smaller like a kayak or a dinghy before taking on this project.
Are there other sailing rig options?
Not at this time. We think the specified lug rig is a really good match of "engine" to "chassis."
It’s unfortunate that “Jack of all trades” is so often followed by “master of none.” It is possible to do a number of things quite well, and versatility is often of more value than virtuosity. The new Southwester Dory from Chesapeake Light Craft (CLC) was designed to serve not only as a sailboat and a rowboat, but also as a motor launch, and it does well in all three capacities. Its predecessor is CLC’s Northeaster Dory, a boat that proved popular among the sail-and-oar crowd, but many prospective buyers asked about adding outboard power. Designer John Harris wisely left his Northeaster as it was and drew up a slightly larger boat that could accommodate a small motor.
The narrow, raked transom isn’t meant to support an outboard, and the slender sections aft won’t support the weight of someone at the motor’s tiller, so John situated the Southwester’s motorwell just aft of amidships. The centralized well, an optional module that can be installed at any time during or after construction of the boat, allows comfortable seating and makes it easy to get to the motor’s fuel cock, steering friction screw, tilt lock, and fuel-tank cap without having to hang overboard. It brings the motor’s noise into the middle of the boat, but in a small boat, there’s no escaping it anyway.
The well is long enough to allow the motor to kick up when it hits something or isn’t in use—a real advantage over a short well that requires removing the motor and stowing it elsewhere to transition to rowing or sailing, coming ashore, or coasting over shoals. While leaving the motor lowered creates a lot of drag, so does the motor well opening. So the Southwester has two inserts to fill the open slot, one notched to fit around the motor when it is in use, and the other to fill the entire slot. Toggles hold the plywood inserts in place.
The rudder has a kick-up blade. A knob on the pivot bolt is backed off to drop the blade and tightened to keep it in place, up or down. Applying a moderate amount of pressure to the knob will keep the blade down and still let it swing up over an obstruction. The rudder stock is 1” higher than the skeg, and the jog will help keep lines or kelp from slipping in between the transom and the rudder. If you’re rigging the boat for sailing, keep in mind that it’s easier to tend to the rudder blade when the mizzen isn’t stepped, but even if you have to snake around the mast to get to the rudder, there’s still enough stability to keep the boat upright.
The Southwester’s Norwegian-style push-pull tiller has a half yoke extending to starboard and a pivoting extension to reach around the mizzen mast to the center of the cockpit. The transverse arm is permanently fixed to the rudder head, making the assembly an awkward thing to stow. Instead of gluing the two pieces together, I’d add a few extra layers of plywood to beef up the slot in the tiller for a secure slip-fit over the rudderhead. Having the rudder in place while rowing can work well when there’s a second person aboard to take the helm, but for rowing solo, even with a pivoting rudder blade retracted, there’s enough of the rudder in the water to cause drag, slow steering, and flop over while backing. I prefer to have it unshipped. Removing the rudder will also allow you to use the notch in the transom for sculling. The notch is deep and partially enclosed, making it also well suited for using an oar as a backup rudder.
Unlike CLC’s Northeaster, which has three rowing stations to accommodate one or two rowers, the Southwester has only a single rowing station. It would be difficult to fit two more stations into the Southwester for tandem rowing—the centerboard trunk and motorwell are in the way—and I’d be willing to bet that folks drawn to the boat will choose passagemaking under sail or power. A single rowing station is all that’s needed for shorter distances.
At 18′10″ x 5′2″, the Southwester dory is a lot of boat to row solo, but the stitch-and-glue construction keeps the weight down; the boat has a light and lively feel under oars and carries its way well. The 8′6″ oars I used worked well enough but were a bit on the short side; the common formula for oar length suggests 9′10″ oars would be the best fit. A foot brace could easily be attached to the motor well for rowing solo very powerfully. While the insert in the motor well eliminates drag, it’s not gasketed, so there are always a few inches of water in the well. I wasn’t even aware of it while motoring or sailing, but as I was rowing, the rhythmic surge set the water to sloshing about, and if I rowed with gusto a bit would splash into the cockpit. The water does no harm, but the meditative aspect of rowing is incompatible with all the commotion in the well. A watertight insert with a self bailer or pumping out might solve the problem. Another fix is to have something to fill the space—say, foam blocks or a custom-built insert (the one I have for the well in one of my boats has a Plexiglas window for a view below).
Balance-lug rig is used on both the main and the mizzen masts. The spars are all rectangular in section, but their tapers keep them from looking clunky. The main’s downhaul takes a turn around the mast to serve as a parrel line. It holds the boom in its proper position while sailing; when striking the main, casting off the downhaul allows the boom to slide forward, as it must as the yard rotates to horizontal and pushes the sail forward. It’s a simple and effective arrangement for a lug sail.
The mizzen has a loop of line made off at the forward end of the boom and looping around the mast. It slides up and down as the sail is raised and lowered. The tail end of the mizzen sheet is tied to a bridle across the stern and its working end leads forward along the boom through a cam cleat on the mast.
The centerboard is lowered and held in place by a downhaul, which I prefer to a weighted board, which can’t be forced down if jammed and adds to the burden of moving the boat across a beach. The downhaul is held by a jam cleat and won’t release if the board runs into something, so a releasing cleat (by ClamCleat in the U.K.; click “Purchase Options” to find distributors worldwide) is worth having if you’re in an area of rocks or shoals—or if you’re like me and occasionally forget to raise the board before haulout.
In wind around 8 knots and waves under 1′, the Southwester’s 107 sq ft of sail had me scooting along at a satisfying pace—I’d be content to sail like that for hours. When the wind picked up to around 12 knots the sailing was more exhilarating, but not approaching the need to reef. The dory tacked quickly, carrying enough momentum to not get caught in irons. With the long Norwegian push-pull tiller I could sit where my weight belonged—amidships—and the wide side benches were comfortable, with room enough to move laterally to respond to gusts and lulls. With the sails largely self tending and only two sheets to fuss with, singlehanding is easy.
The 2.3-hp outboard motor available for my test outing wasn’t the one meant for the plug in the motor well, so I had to go with the well open. The motor supplied more than enough power to get the boat moving as fast as it will comfortably go, and while there was turbulence in the well, it wasn’t enough to slosh into the cockpit. At full throttle, the raked transom pulled up quite a pile of water astern. I enjoyed not having to reach behind me to get to the throttle and shifter.
In the bow there’s a recess for stowing a long line threaded through a hole in the stem. The hole squeegees water and seaweed off and any remaining water drains through two discreet holes though the planking. The line pays out again tangle-free and can be adjusted to any length with a figure-eight on a bight. It’s a dandy system. Stowage compartments at the bow and stern are fitted with hatches for access. The side benches enclose large flotation compartments filled with slabs of expanded polystyrene foam—the pink or blue insulation panels you’l find at home improvement stores. Ledges along the side benches support the thwart and it would be quite easy to add ledges along the well and trunk for inserts to create a continuous platform for a crew of two to sleep aboard. There’s an optional bimini top available for shade under sunny skies…which would be a good starting point for enclosing the cockpit for shelter in cold and wet conditions.
CLC has packed a lot of features into the Southwester without making it cluttered or complicated. It offers a lot of options for propulsion, and none of them feels like a compromise.
Christopher Cunningham is the editor of Small Boats Monthly.
CLC Southwester Particulars
|Hull, stripped||200 lbs|
|Hull, motoring, with engine||280 lbs|
|Hull, sailing, rigged||350 lbs|
Kits and plans for the Southwester Dory are available from Chesapeake Light Craft.
Is there a boat you’d like to know more about? Have you built one that you think other Small Boats Monthly readers would enjoy? Please email us!
CLC Southwester Dory
2017 Chesapeake Light Craft Southwester Dory
- Condition: Used
- Make: Chesapeake Light Craft
- Model: Southwester Dory
- Type: Day Sailer
- Year: 2017
- Location: Gainesville, Florida, United States
DescriptionThe Southwester Dory is a lightweight and highly capable expedition boat designed for sailing, rowing, motoring, or any combination of the three.It is sold as a kit from CLC.boat. I purchased the build and started building however soon realized I did not have enough time to complete. The was completed by a Master Shipwright located in Florida. I have all the invoices that can be shared if requested.This is an excellent boat that is very cabable and I sailed her in the Everglades Challenge over 300 miles from Ft Desoto to Key Largo without issues. You can sleep on the boat or easily pull her up on a beach for camping.It has a motor well that I sealed off because I soon realized that I did not want the motor taking up extra space and used the space for storage. The motor well could easily be modified to fit an electric motor or small outboard but my personal belief is it is better suited for electric motor. The boat can easily be rowed. I have rowed miles and easily kept up with my wife in her expedition kayak. Motor is not included. I have well over 20,000 dollars invested in this boat mainly for labor from professional boat builder.
Location: Orange Beach, Alabama, United States
- 09-13-2017, 02:35 PM#1
Southwester Dory compared to eg. Alaska Also thoughts on welsford pilgrim
I am researching a next boat build project for camp cruising New England and the Chesapeake. I might one day trailer to the west coast and do the inside passage or Baja too. I haven't seen a lot on CLC's southeast dory-- it looks like a capable boat; specs are similar to eg. Alaska, Penobscot 17, or Oughtred's Whilly tern or Ness Yawl, all of which appear pretty popular. Why has this design not gained more popularity-- is it because it's new.
Another boat I am considering, and is probably too much displacement for my aims is Welsford pilgrim. Anyone have any experience.
- 09-13-2017, 09:26 PM#2
- Join Date
- Feb 2007
- Waterbury, Connecticut
Re: Southwester Dory compared to eg. Alaska Also thoughts on welsford pilgrim
Did you mean the Northeaster? For cruising one complaint I have heard is the room that the centerboard trunk uses up between the flotation tanks (ignoring the option for the outboard well that would use up even more). Not a big problem if you are sailing solo and/or not planning to sleep inside. I think it is a lovely and capable-looking boat, especially if rowing is a significant part of one's plans. -- Wade
- 09-13-2017, 10:14 PM#3
- Join Date
- Jul 2012
- Somerville, MA
Re: Southwester Dory compared to eg. Alaska Also thoughts on welsford pilgrim
I think he's talking about the Northeaster's big sister the Southwester, which is bigger, heavier, and has decks and a motor well. It does look equivalent to Alaska in capability. They are both really nice boats. If you want a motor well, the Southwester is the one.
You can also consider Francois Vivier's Yakou-Lili:
Last edited by photocurio; 09-13-2017 at 10:19 PM.
- 09-14-2017, 12:54 AM#4
Re: Southwester Dory compared to eg. Alaska Also thoughts on welsford pilgrim
I like Vivier's designs. The Yakou-Lili weighs a bit more that the southwester or Alaska though...
stories, curated designs, and classifieds
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Small Craft Classified Ads
|Title:||19’ Southwester Dory|
|Advertiser Type:||Private Party|
|City:||Green Bay WI|
|Specific Location:||Menominee, MI.|
|Description:|| Designed and built to be a lightweight, safe and highly capable expedition boat. This one can be rowed, sailed or motored. The dory hull shape, is legendary for its ease of rowing, tracking and seakeeping ability. The balanced lug sails, on solid spruce spars with it’s simple rigging and control lines make it a “traditional” joy to sail. The newer (2017) 2-1/2 hp 4-stroke Mercury outboard gives this boat, great versatility. (When sailing or beaching, the outboard pivots up into the motor well.)|
The marine plywood/fiberglass composite hull construction provides for a strong yet lightweight cruiser. 844 pounds of positive flotation foam beneath the bench seats, along with the 12 cubic feet of gear storage in the fore and aft deck compartments (an additional 790 pounds of flotation) make this boat a very safe and virtually unsinkable.
The boat is in excellent condition. I built it over the 2016/2017 winter. It is one of my favorites and difficult to consider parting with, but currently have four boats and plans to build another one this winter, I simply can’t keep them all…...
Items included with the boat: Sails, spars, rigging, outboard motor, oars, boat cover and boat trailer.
I can also provide additional photos and videos, upon request.
|Check if Included:||Outboard;|
Contact e-mail: Privacy Mail
(2 e-mails was sent to ad owner)
Click the photos to enlargePhoto 1
The Southwester Dory is a lightweight and highly capable expedition boat, designed for sailing, rowing and motoring. The sailing rig and motor well are optional, so the boat can be built as a pure motor launch, sailing boat or both. This is an excellent boat for family outings, beach cruising and coastal expeditions.
Based on the proven Northeaster Dory design, the Southwester Dory is extended from 17 feet to 18′ 10″ and the beam increased six inches to 5′ 2″. This provides room for the large built-in buoyancy tanks that have been added to the design, as well as the optional motor well – a frequently-requested modification to the Northeaster Dory, but one which there just isn't space for in the smaller design.
The Southwester Dory's interior is lined with comfortable bench seating along the sides of the boat, with foam-filled buoyancy tanks beneath them making the boat easy to self-rescue from a serious mishap. The large dry storage compartments at the bow and stern will fit over 12 cubic feet of gear, as well as giving the boat even more buoyancy.
The Scandinavian-style push-pull tiller gives you flexibility in seating and makes it easy to turn sharply compared to a conventional tiller of this length. This steering system is a great fit for boats with narrow sterns.
The Southwester Dory is exceptionally versatile. The base kit includes everything you need to make the rowing version of the boat. The sailing rig and outboard well options are modular units that may be added during the build or retro-fitted to an existing Southwester Dory hull.
The bare hull weighs about 200 pounds. A motoring version with engine in place weighs about 280 pounds. Rigged for sail, the hull weight is about 350 pounds. The boat will need a trailer, but the smallest and lightest trailer will be enough.
The Southwester Dory's payload depends on which version you build:
- Base rowing version: 800 lb
- Sailing version (no motor well): 632 lb
- Sailing version (with motor well): 567 lb
- Motoring version (no sailing rig): 667 lb
The stern of a traditional dory is too narrow to mount an outboard motor there, so it is necessary to build a watertight well in the bottom of the boat, about five feet from the stern. This puts the outboard within easy reach of the crew.
From the start, designer John Harris anticipated that many Southwester Dories would be built solely for use as a motor launch. The easily-driven dory hull, with its narrow waterline and fine ends, is suited to small outboards or electric motors. As an ultra-efficient motor launch to cruise rivers, lakes, bays and harbours, the Southwester Dory is a singular good fit. An optional folding bimini top completes the motor launch.
The outboard well will fit a short-shaft (15″) petrol outboard up to the maximum 4 or 5 horsepower. This is not a planing hull, so any more power would just waste effort and payload. A 2 HP outboard is enough to push the boat to hull speed (about 6.5 knots). A 4 HP run just above idle would be very quiet and sip fuel. The outboard may be turned to steer the Southwester Dory, but the boat will turn faster if you use the rudder.
The centreboard is not needed in a motor launch version, opening up a lot more sprawling room in the big cockpit. There is also a simpler alternative rudder for a motor-only Southwester Dory which is shallower and saves the hassle of the kick-up rudder used for the sailing version.
For sailing or beaching, the motor tilts up inside the well. A simple plug seals the well for sailing or rowing performance while the outboard is tilted out of the water.
Two balanced lug sails drive the boat easily and with little fuss. Upwind performance is excellent in all conditions and the Scandinavian-style yoke-and-draglink helm is as light as a feather. The boat heels readily but has very strong secondary stability at 10-15 degrees. The ergonomic seating makes it easy for the crew to trim the boat for all conditions. The pivoting centreboard and kick-up rudder make beaching the Southwester Dory easy.
The rig is easy to set up, well-matched to the interior layout and undeniably elegant. Using balanced-lug sails allows solid wooden spars of simple shape and minimal rigging. Expedition crews will rig a boom tent between the two masts and add slats to span port and starboard seats, creating a large sleeping platform for two adults.
The Southwester Dory sails and rows so well that many sailors will leave off the motor well, regaining legroom and payload.
Sea trials showed that the Southwester Dory can be rowed all day at a gentle pace and can be rowed upwind even with the sailing rig in place, thanks to its light weight and shallow, easily-driven hull. We recommend 8′ 6″ oars for this boat.
A sliding seat rowing frame could be fitted aft of the centreboard case, though it would get in the way of operating the boat under sail, so it would be something used only on special occasions.
Leave out the sailing components and the motor well and it would be possible to row in tandem; this would actually be a really capable tandem rowing expedition boat. You could even fit tandem sliding seats.
Construction uses CLC's patented LapStitch™ technique to render a beautiful round-sided clinker hull without a mould or jig or the need for sophisticated joinery skills.
With the considerable interior fit-out, the Southwester Dory is a bigger project than the Northeaster Dory or our smaller sailing and rowing craft. Expect to spend around 250 hours on a sailing version with the motor well option. Kit builders will assemble the planks using puzzle joints, then stitch the hull together with copper wire over four bulkheads and the transom. The frames fit into computer-cut mortises to make sure they are positioned correctly. The entire hull is assembled within a dozen hours of opening the kit boxes.
The hull is reinforced inside and out with fibreglass fabric, then the seats and compartments are fitted and the rails glued on. Broken inwales are optional, but likely to be a popular addition. For durability, everything is sealed in multiple coats of epoxy before finishing with paint and varnish.
Building the Southwester Dory is achievable for patient first-time boatbuilders who have some experience with epoxy and fibreglass, especially if they are building the boat from our pre-cut kit. Construction has been simplified as much as possible without compromising the boat's appearance or function. Most builders will probably have built something smaller like a kayak or a dinghy before taking on this project.
The rowing hull kit includes:
In addition to the above, the rowing/motoring hull kit includes the pre-cut plywood and solid wood parts to install a motor well in the Southwester Dory. It includes a rudder specifically for motoring. If the sailing option is also installed, the longer rudder included in the sailing option should be used instead.
What is in a boat kit.
A sailing option can be retrospectively fitted to either the rowing or rowing/motoring hull to turn the Southwester Dory into an able sailing boat. The sailing rig can be added to the Dory at any time, even years after the hull is complete. Please note that the base kit (or a completed hull) is needed in addition to the sailing option.
The sailing option includes:
- Lug sails
- Wooden mast, boom and yard
- Mast step
- Centreboard case
- Blocks and cleats
The sailing option does not include the warp.
Broken inwales option
Broken inwales add elegance to any boat by mimicking the ends of the ribs in traditional frame-built boats. This option includes everything you need to install broken inwales in the Southwester Dory:
- Pre-cut breasthook and quarter-knees
- Rowlock riser blocks
- Spacer block material
Some trimming and fitting will be necessary. Broken inwales take longer to install because each block has to be carefully positioned and glued in place. Sanding and varnishing are also made more complex. We recommend reading the installation instructions before deciding to install broken inwales.
Plans and manual
These plans and manual contain sufficient information on the cutting of the panels to make it possible to build the boat from scratch. The plans include full size templates for hull panels, bulkheads, thwarts and sailing components. Bulkhead and stitch-hole positions are marked and complete details for the sails and spars are included.
This is intended for pre-build study or to help with the decision to purchase. Reading this manual will help you decide whether or not you can build the boat. It is the manual that accompanies the kits. It describes all of the techniques that will be used during the building and also a step by step guide to construction. Scale drawings are used throughout as well as photographs of critical jobs.
If, later, you decide to purchase the kit the cost of this printed manual will be deducted from the kit price.
This does not contain the plans of the panels with the cutting instructions so it is not possible to build the boat from scratch using only this.
PDF study manual
The construction manual for the boat is also available as a PDF download. After credit card authorisation a download link will be sent to the email address put on the order form.
PDF study plans
These study plans are intended to give you an overview of the construction of the boat. They are in PDF format that can be viewed using Adobe Reader. There are two pages and they measure 279 × 216 mm (11″ × 8½″). They can be printed for carrying around.
After credit card authorisation the plans will be sent to the email address put on the order form.
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