Northeast Dory vs. Chester Yawl

I'm considering building the Chester Yawl or the NE Dory.  It would be my first build using stich and glue, but I am a reasonably competent carpenter/woodworker.  Which is better for a first time builder?
I'm planning to use the boat  primarily for rowing but also for fishing.  I'm wondering how tippy the dory is-had some experience with other dorys before and found them rather tender. And, I do prefer the look of the Yawl.  
So, which would all of you recommend?  Thanks in advance for your help.


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RE: Northeast Dory vs. Chester Yawl

For pure rowing I imagine the Chester Yawl will move a little faster.   But my NE dory rows extremely well.   The narrow waterline means a lightly loaded dory doesn't have a lot of wetted surface or cross section, so it's very easy to move with 8 foot oars. Put two people in it rowing tandem, it really moves.  



for fishing  I think you would find the much larger interior and higher load carrying capacity of the dory (800 lbs vs 450) to be a big advantage .   Especially if you like to fish with a friend or two.  After all, dories evolved as fishing boats!  

the dory is not that tippy. I can step into mine from a dock and walk around in it while underway (even under sail) with no trouble .  With its hull shape it will handle seas much better than the yawl.   The Chester yawl is a Whitehall type, these were designed for ferrying passengers around in protected waters.

For the rowing-only version, the dory is easy to build.  The only real woodworking is shaping the thwarts and the rails but they all come pre-milled.  The woodworking is more significant for the sailing version because you have to shape the foils (rudder and daggerboard) and the spars.








RE: Northeast Dory vs. Chester Yawl


I bought a Chester Yawl already built by a woodowrker, not a craftsman. Adequate job but not A+. After owning it for 2 months and rowing 3-4 times a week, I fell in love with the experience and the exercise (required by MD). I row for 30 minutes, rest and have water and row 30 minutes home. Average slightly under 4MPH without killing myself (70 year old OFG). Bose bluetooth headphones and Yanni/Steamroller music helps + GPS + heath apps adds to the experience. Nothing like keeping track of your accomplishments. As I write this we, wife and I, are attending the NE Dory Class of 10315 in Port Townsend, WA. This is NOT an executive retreat. Hard work, early and late hours and the most knowledgable boat builder that I have ever met. On Saturday we will leave with a completed boat with many hours of fit and finish, but completed. There is a fellow classmate who has 2 uncompleted boats at home and decided that the only way he would complete a boat was to take a class. Why the Dory? 850# capacilty, rows tandem, rows as easy (maybe easier) than the Chester to row solo, row out and sail home, or sail all day. Same weight, same cost as a kit, skill level, Chester maybe a little harder. Whichever you go with make sure that you buy good long oars. The Chester that I bought has 6.5' spoon oars which are shorter than recommended and I can tell the difference. PM me if you have any other questions. donc at






RE: Northeast Dory vs. Chester Yawl

   I don't have any personal experience to add here, except to note that both of the previous posts seem sensible. It seems to me that the yawl might be slightly better just for rowing, but that the Dory is considerably more versatile.

I'm in the early stages of building my own Northeaster Dory and am enjoying the process. On the topiic of boat building, my first observation is that I have been spending more time getting ready to work on the boat than actually doing so. I've found myself creating lots and lots of 4" PVC pipe clamps, putting a deck of old plywood on a flatbed trailer for a work surface, rounding up plastic sheeting of various sizes, unpacking CLC's well-packaged boxes, and so on. The boat building itself is easy and fun.

I'm already thinking forward to putting the boat in the water (perhaps in the spring) and DonOne mentioned oars. How long should the oars be 8'? 8.5? 9'? And is there a significant difference between flat-blade oars and spoon-blade oars?

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