NortheasterDory Questions


I am interested in and planning on building the NortheasterDory kit. This will be my first boat build, I am an experienced wood worker. As well as an experienced R/C Aircraft builder. I mentioned the planes because what I see in the construction details of the Dory is pretty much the same construction process used in many planes....just a bit larger scale! I will not be able to start this project for at least a year. I need to pay off a car first. That gives me plenty of time to study, learn and plan. I have a few questions right up front that I was hoping someone who owns this boat can clarify for me.


According to the web site this boat is best used with a trailer. I would like to avoid that if at all possible. I tow a travel trailer and would like to be able to take the Dory along with me. At approx 100 pounds it would seem reasonable that it could be carried overhead of my pickup on a rack. Would this be practical?


My other question is about the sails. I have sailed a bit in the past. Not enough to win any races but enough to pass the skill/safety test and rent a little 18 foot Sloop. That was 30 years ago. So I am familiar with the Sloop sail setup, looking at the pictures on the website. The Lug sail seems to afford more head room under the boom. Is this true or just a photographic illusion? How much speed is lost if the Lug sail is chosen?

Thanks for all your help in advance, this is going to be a lon road to completion but I am really looking foreword to it!

9 replies:

« Previous Post       List of Posts       Next Post »

RE: NortheasterDory Questions

Hey Mike,
The Dory is a popular build and well loved by owners.
My small wife and i put the boat up on my truck’s racks once. Wouldn’t want to do this regularly. Or at all single handed. Inverting the boat is a difficult proposition alone due to the width of the boat. I dreamed up a fixture to attach at transom to aid in the flipping process but found it easier to use a trailer. If you are young and sturdy and have a sturdy companion you could just count it as part of the fitness program.
Curt, who will probably jump in, has a unique approach to travel trailers and boat hauling. He has a fantastic set of pics of his build process too.
Properly tuned the Lug doesn’t loose much at all to the sloop. None if you count time at the ramp rigging. Lug has an unstayed mast and is dead simple to rig. John H. of CLC has a discussion somewhere on this site on performance of sloop vs. lug. Worth looking for. Managing the sail -reefing/striking - underway is much easier with the lug. There might be a little more clearance under the lug boom but not enough to make too much difference. You can still get clocked.
As for the hull build, it’s really straight forward. The only part that slowed me down is resolving strakes at the transom. Patient fettling gets you there. Sail kit took me as long as the hull, maybe a bit longer. Making spars was surprisingly rewarding.
There were quite a few Dory posts last year. Search forum for Moonchaser and Silver Salt and you’ll probably find most of them.

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.


RE: NortheasterDory Questions

Thanks for the reply Silver Salt. The Lug sail does look like a good option. And I hope Chris does reply, I would like to hear another opinion on trailers and boats. On this issue. I will have my wife with me so I will have help to lift it up. Would it be possible to place a eye bolt into the nose of the boat (sure that's the wrong term..nose?) Then have a wench in the truck. My wife could crank the wench as I lift the back. Could the front of the boat handle this type of force?


RE: NortheasterDory Questions

    ".......Would it be possible to place a eye bolt into the nose of the boat (sure that's the wrong term..nose?) Then have a wench in the truck. My wife could crank the wench as I lift the back. Could the front of the boat handle this type of force?......."


There was actually a fishing car here in Florida in the early 90's that had 2x4s bolted to the trunk up across the rear window and onto the roof. The winch was mounted at the front of the "ways" above the hood. One stood on the hood to slide the jon boat up the ways from the ramp to the roof of the old Ford Falcon.  If they can do it so can you.

I am unfamiliar with the boat you describe. Reinforce the "bow towing eye" as deemed necessary. 

I do know that no matter what the boat, it will seem heavier at the end of the day and unless you have an appropriate inclined plane angle, low friction surface,  with wheel roller, etc system that works real easy you will risk marital strife and likely stop using it cause it is too much trouble.  A roof top boat 17' long and nearly 5' wide will be awkward to put on a roof rack.  On a small vehicle the added lateral wind loads could be interesting.

Right side up or upside down?  One way collects water/weight.

I do know two things,

1. loading my 17' kayak at half the weight on the rack on top of my 4x4 truck with the big tires is tough to do some days.

2. Using the words  "wench" and "wife" in the same sentence  is dangerous territory.

RE: NortheasterDory Questions

   3. We carry two 17 ft kayaks on Yakima truck rack towers mounted on the bed rails. They have a 300# limit and are pricy but have been used and repurposed to three vehicles now.  Ladder racks would be better more stable. However ladder racks are not as flexible. 

I tow a 27 ft travel trailer behind the truck. That pushes the kayaks foward. Thus you have an 8ft bed with 2-3 ft over hang aft and 6 ft cantilever overhang fowarded. The boats need to be pushed foward to provide turning room for the trailer(jack-knifing). I'm adding Q- towers and the cross rail to the top of the cab to support the front of the boats.

A. On the kayaks we put "hully rollers" on the aft rail. Loading the boats we put one person on the tail gate to lift the boat up to the rollers while the other person pushes the boat up and over the truck. Doing it alone I lift the bow up from the side of the truck step up a 3 step stool and put the bow on the roller. Then move the stool aft and pick up the stern, walk up the steps and slide the boat foward. Boat must be straight or it will fall off the side.......don't ask.

B. Some of our canoe club buddies have racks with sliding top rails. They slide the foward rail out. They bring the boat up beside the car and place the bow end on the extended rail. Then they lift the stern and pull out the aft sliding rail(sideways to car).  Then they slide the boat back over the car. Some of the canoes are heavy. Most are not.

What ever you do remember it will be six feet up in the air. awkward.  Personnally I'm thinking about a mast and gantry hoist to work with my existing  bed mounted electric winch to lift up the kayaks.



RE: NortheasterDory Questions


If that worked it is a picture of the truck, boats, and trailer. Note this is likely day two of a three day trip to Merrit Island Fl biolumenessence paddle out of Kelly Park. The boats are in the normal position. Thus they woulld be farther foward if the trailer were to be hooked up. Note the height up in the air.

Would the dory be right side up or upside down?


RE: NortheasterDory Questions


RE: NortheasterDory Questions

Hi there Mikeflys 

Some great comments provided, that's great....I'll add some comments I hope are useful...also, the part below about the "T" bar and bow eye are not easy to put into words, so feel free to call me at 817 456 2878

Ah a fellow RV'er...We have a motorhome that we live in 6 months out of the year, spending 3 months "up North", in the summer to escape the TX heat, so we have two modes,

1) In transit:  Tow Honda Element behind motorhome with dory upside down on the top of the Element on a 2x6 rack and a swiveling "T" bar on the front of the Element, the Trailex 250 trailer is disassembled inside the Element.  This is to transport the dory from TX to wherever we will be for 3 months.  We dont get it down in transit to use it, unfortunately it is too hard to get up and down off the top of the Element especially with the spars, oar bags, sail bag, all strapped to the rack under the boat. So as we unhook the car from the motorhome on little local drives on the way there and home, we drive around with the dory upside down on the Element..yes, it does cause some drag when accelerating in a head wind, and some cross winds can be fun, but overall, it's worse than you are used to towing a travel trailer. and next picture

2) Once arriving at our summer location, the trailer comes out of the Element, is assembled, the boat comes oft the top of the Element, goes on the trailer, the sail rig is installed, cover put on the boat and it's ready to take to local places to go sailing towing the trailer/boat behind the Element to a boat launch or sandy beach area.  By the way, the trailex 250 aluminum trailer is so light it can be moved around like a dolly...really easy to move around with the boat on it or even launch it by hand.

As far as a bow eye on the boat, yes, another good phone call discussion for positioning the eye bolt, reinforcing the bow, flipping the winch on the trailer and other ideas people have used to winch a boat on top of a car.


As far as the selection between sloop and lug, without a doubt, the lug!!  I too used to do some sailboat racing so have had my share of standing is SO nice on the dory to drop the mast into the mast thwart and voila, done!  Agree about the John H write up...good reading...if you were purely racing, maybe the sloop rig is an option but for sailing for the appreciation of the boat, the wind, and the sea, I am SO glad I picked the lug....Dont know if the headroom is that much different but it is much more adjustable, easier to reef, and easier to install a topping lift system!

I also added a split downhaul, adjustable topping lift, and halyard, all lines led aft.


One thing you didnt ask about....kick up rudder option...that's a whole separate discussion


Curt...feel free to call!


Boat Build Photo Journal:

RE: NortheasterDory Questions

Thanks again for all the great information! Curt your picture of the Dory on your Honda Element really gives me hope that I can use this how I want.  I have a Toyota Tundra, great truck but it has a couple of issues that will help as well as hinder getting a Dory up top. It is a long bed with a full double cab. Its as long as a school bus! No problem for the length of the boat, the truck is over 19 feet long. Here's the kicker, its also tall. I have not measured it but the previous owner bought it with an off road package. Its not “Monster truck” tall but it sits higher than 80% of the trucks I park next to. I was doing some research last night and 12Vdc electric winches are not expensive at all. I have a vision of mounting one on the front bumper, figuring out how to run the cable without scratching my truck and using that to pull from the front while I lift from the back. If there a will there's a way. I will figure it out when the time comes.

You have all successfully convinced me to go with the Lug sail. The way I see this happening now, as I said I pay off my car this year. Next winter I will start with the boat kit and truck rack. Have fun for a summer with a nice row boat. Catch a few record breaking trout. The following winter purchase the Sail kit and finish it off.

RE: NortheasterDory Questions


I think you'll be very pleased with a lug-rigged Northeaster Dory. I'm nearing the end of my building project (with only the final varnishing yet to complete) and have had my boat on the water for several long tests. It's a superb rowboat -- both for a single rower and for tandem rowing. You'll be surprised at how much room there is when you and your wife are tandem rowing together. It's nice to keep the strokes synchronized, but there is enough space between rowing stations so that you don't need to obsess about it. The real charm of the boat, though, is that all the lug rig sailing stuff can tuck inside the boat while you are rowing. . . . If the wind comes up, it's no problem to step the mast, attach the rudder, drop in the daggerboard, and haul up the sail. 

The manual that comes with your kit is superb. If you read it carefully (and repeatedly before big steps), you will have very few problems building the boat. The "Tips for Boatbuilders" on this web site are an additional resource, as are the many experienced builders who frequent this forum. I've had a thoroughly pleasant experience building my boat.

"Moonchaser" Curt has well over a hundred great photos that show his craftmanship, and Laszlo ( has lots of experience and willingly gives great advice. John Harris (the owner of CLC), too, frequents the forum and generously shares his expertise.

My blog --

-- provides an accurate account of what I have been experiencing as a first-time builder.

You are going to have a great adventure!


« Previous Post     List of Posts     Next Post »

Please login or register to post a reply.