Swampscott dory

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The Swampscott dory is a traditional fishing boat, used during the middle of the 19th century by fishing villages along the coast of Massachusetts. It is a type of dory designed to be launched off the beach. Dories were generally built by the fisherman themselves in the off season and later by more organized boatyards.


The Swampscott dory is a melding of the earlier Wherry design and new construction techniques used in the mass production of Bank dories. The Swampscott dories were built with rounded sides and slightly less overhang in the bow and stern than a bank dory. This created a more shapely boat that handled better than a bank dory with the advantage of being easy and quick to build in the bank dory fashion. Swampscott dories are generally from 14 to 18 ft in length, the longer boat being rowed by two oarsmen.

Eventually the Swampscott dory developed into a recreational sailboat as well, known as the clipper dory, and then the alpha and beachcomber dory. These inexpensive sailboats were raced along the coast of Massachusetts during the early part of the 20th century. The sail rig was typically a Leg of Mutton and small jib on an unstayed mast.

Howard Blackburn sailed a modified Swampscott dory, named the Great Western, from Gloucester in 1899, and reached Gloucester England after 62 days at sea.

Modern Boat Builders[edit]

  • Gig Harbor Boat Works www.ghboats.com
  • Nanepashemet Boatbuilders of Marblehead [1]
  • D.A.Noyes boat builder of Massachusetts [2]
  • Lowell's Boat Shop [3] - Established in 1793, Lowell's Boat Shop is the oldest continuously operating boat shop in America and is cited as the birthplace of the legendary fishing dory.


  • Gardner, John (1987) The Dory Book. Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic Connecticut. ISBN 0-913372-44-7

External links[edit]