Monday, October 28, 2019

Doryak 1.0 : Peekaboo

For several years now we've been talking about making the ultimate personal-sized dory--something akin to the classic SportYak that the Belknap clan popularized in the 1960s and '70s with their row-your-own river trip. "Why should the boatmen have all the fun?" they asked. SportYaks have faded from the scene, but the concept was a good one. Randy Fabreze built a line of small dories called Ouzels in the early '80s but they failed to catch on. Some have said it's just not a viable boat.

Nevertheless we persisted. I messed around with some lines in July, and Monday morning we drew it up, fiddled with the lines a bit, and began building the Doryak. It's modeled on the classic Briggs Grand Canyon Dory because why wouldn't you? About 1/2 the length, 3/4 the width, and somewhere around 2/3 the height. One of the parameters was that you had to be able to get both sides out of a 4x12 sheet of plywood, and make the floor out of a 4x8 sheet. Economy and ease of construction are important. Here are the frames going together on the lofting table that afternoon.

The stem is insane, flaring out at 60 degrees at the top and 49 at the bottom. Thats an 11 degree rolling bevel--meaning the sides converge at 120 degrees at the top and 98 at the bottom. Nutty. A veritable snowplow. Here's Cricket carving the roll.

As we do with all new designs, we built a strongback.

Then we bent on the side panel blanks to mark them for shape.

We cut two identical panels and drilled the screw holes.

To our astonishment, she went together without too much of a fight.

An amazing two-day sprint. Definitely cause for a celebration and a haircut at 2:30 AM.

On Wednesday we put on the bottom.

And steamed on the outer chines and gunwales.

Thursday we bolted own the gunwales and made some rudimentary fore and aft decks.

At 10:00 Thursday evening we loaded her atop two other dories for a weekend jaunt in Glen Canyon. Here we are at daybreak Friday, pausing for breakfast at Cameron Trading Post.

The usual suspects showed up and six dories headed upstream. I towed the Doryak, which Cricket has named Peekaboo.

I actually think Briggs boats look kinda cool with motors.

Peekaboo! Andy Hutchinson and Cricket got a few photos...

Everyone that tried her out smiled hard and said the same thing: "I want one."

Three's kind of a crowd, but it still works. The thing is really fast, stops dead in a half a stroke, spins 180 with a nudge, and is just incredibly fun to putter around in. (Thanks to Harlan Taney for the next three photos.)

Then it got really silly. We just had to know what would happen if we put a motor on her. I held down the bow while Cricket fired up the 6hp Tohatsu. Justin made me put a life jacket on. With the motor at an idle, Cricket gingerly shifted into forward. A little power. Yes. More. Yes! Full throttle. YAASSSS!

And not only that, you can spin it in circles at full throttle and the water stays in the river. It's nuts. Justin tried a solo run, full throttle, abandoning the tiller and clinging to the bow, leaning to turn. That worked too. I do not think I have laughed that hard in many years. We may be onto something.

Back in the shop today we pulled off the gunwales and framed in all the hatchwork, cut the gutters, spiled the decks, fastened them on, and glassed the seams. Now she just needs a footwell, hatch lids, and paint. Proper Dory Colors, of course.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

The Season Winds Down

My traveling boatbuilding mania is over for the summer and I got to wind down with a couple great river trips in my old dory Cataract. Here's a peculiar sign as you approach Lees Ferry. I'm pretty sure the view is doing just fine.

Cataract catching a little lunchtime shade.

The tranquility of Kanab Creek.

The reason we bring beer cans on the river. For this purpose we have to drain them.

Between trips a party of old dory folk, about to send a 100th birthday greeting to Esther Litton.

Then it's back upriver for Dory Moon's most preposterous trip yet: a 23-day trip from Glen Canyon Dam to Pearce Ferry. Logistics ranged from impractical to improbable to simply implausible.

Ryann, who spent a year or more assembling the incredible Glen Canyon exhibit up in Green River, gets her first look at Glen Canyon Dam and sends it her best.

The classic Horseshoe Bend photo from river level.

Beneath the Dory Moon, the eternal watchers observe our evening campfire and await our awakening and morning groover activities. 

Glen Canyon Rocks.

On day three we passed Lees Ferry and headed down into the Great Known. Coming out of Sapphire Rapid.

Pausing at Elves Chasm.

Tim and the Great Unconformity.

Deer Creek Falls. 26 rafts, 9 dories, 3 kayaks, and 2 duckies. Perhaps the greatest October cluster of all time.

On across the reservoir we went, ending with a last walk to Pearce Ferry Rapid. It is eating away the rock barrier quite rapidly. It'll be interesting to see the gradient claw its way upriver in the next few years. 

And now its back to the boat shop for a winter of boatbuilding. Yippee!