Cape Ann Dory

Drawing of a dory boat

Cape Ann Dory

The Cape Ann Dory, also known as the “Gloucester,” is a variant of the beach dory or Swampscott dory, both of which are descendants of the Banks dory. Like all dories, it has a flat bottom. The Cape Ann Dory has enough room on it for two or three people.

Designed to be launched behind a breakwater and into moderate surf, the Beach dories are often used for fishing or lobstering, but they are still raced as the Town Class. They typically have a small spirit rig sail, a short folding centerboard, and washboards, which run along the sides of the boat to keep water out when heeling. Oars were generally used to propel them to the fishing grounds. The thole pins are vertical wooden pegs that should be used as an oarlock when rowing.

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Many will find that due to the V shaped hull, the Cape Ann Dory may heel sharply at first, especially when entering or exiting the boat. However, as the boat stiffens up, you will find that it offers great stability. It even allows the weight of a fisherman to be applied to the rails to pull in a heavy catch. In fact, the Cape Ann Dories are so sturdy that in 1876, Danish fisherman Alfred Johnson sailed in one from Gloucester, Massachusetts to Liverpool, England in 66 days. Rather than having a small spirit rig sail, he equipped his boat, known as the “Centennial,” with a square sail and two jibs. It proved enough to be able to fish the rough Atlantic Ocean.

Dory Photo