Thursday, February 18, 2016

Fishing Dory

The first time I saw a dory I was amazed. Dad brought home this fishing dory that had a hole in the bottom and two bows. He explained that the outboard motor went inside the hole. Well, how can that be? Wouldn't a hole that big cause the boat to sink? And why two bows? The short answer is it didn't. However the 19th Century Dories were powered by men with oars. Below is an illustration of a fifteen foot dory as well as a description of it from a "Report on the Ship building industry of the United States." ©1884
These dories are often painted in works of art from this time period, as in Winslow Homer's The Fog Warning 1882.

A variety'of other boats are built along the New England coast for fishing, some to go with vessels, others for alongshore use, primarily intended for rowing, but often having also some sort of a small fore-and-aft sail, with a pole for a mast that can be unshipped and taken down readily. The shore boats are for lobstering and fishing with hand-lines, seining, etc. They are regularly framed keel boats, usually open, and are sometimes clinker built and sometimes sharp at both ends. The seine boats are always sharp at both ends; they are rather full on the floor amidships, are well modeled at the ends, and are given a good sheer. On the coast of Maine some of the shore boats have a little caddy forward, in which is placed a stove, to keep the men warm in winter, and also to prevent the lobsters from freezing until they can be brought to shore and sent to market. The general model of the open boat is a legacy from early times. It came into existence at a very early period, owing to the exigencies of the peculiar calling in which it is employed, which has compelled the shore fishermen to adopt a boat suited to flat beaches and having the properties of light draught, buoyancy, stability, and stowage capacity for fishing apparatus and fish. The object of building the boats with sharp ends is to e nable fishermen to launch and land through the surf with facility and to handle the boat in rough water with safety. The New England fishermen of to day have been accustomed to this general model from childhood, and they pin their faith to it with the utmost tenacity. It is the model which forms the basis of the admirable boats used in the United States life-saving service. The crews of the life stations have been largely recruited from the sea-coast fishermen, and the bureau at Washington gives them the model they know so well and can handle with such remarkable skill.

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