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 North Shore coast of Massachusetts centered on Swampscott. It is 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.[dubious ] The rounded hull provides more buoyancy for launching through surf than the slab sided banks dory. The flat bottom allows the boat to sit upright on the beach. The lack of a keel keeps the boat from being grabbed by a wave and allows the boat to pass cleanly through the surf. The boat still heels easily which allows large fish to be rolled into the boat vs having to lift the fish completely up over the gunnel.

The Swampscott dory is a melding of the earlier Wherry design and the river bateau, which later led to new construction techniques used in the mass production of the Banks dory.[citation needed] Swampscott dories are built with rounded sides and slightly less overhang stern than a banks dory. 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.

Lowell's Boat Shop markets a similar boat as a surf dory.[1][failed verification]


  1. ^ "Individual Boats Built by Lowell's". Retrieved 16 February 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Chapelle, Howard I. (1951) American Small Sailing Craft: Their Design, Development and Construction W. W. Norton & Company ISBN 978-0393031430
  • Gardner, John (1987) The Dory Book. Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic Connecticut. ISBN 0-913372-44-7