South Haven Dory in a Week
By Jay Blackburn - England
I decided I needed some more exercise to go along with visits to the gym! Some time ago Id looked at the South Haven Dory and thought how sweet she was so...

I have built many boats and canoes and kayaks and do like to build the quick and dirty method particularly if it’s a ‘first timer’.

3 sheets of cheap Water and Boil proof ply £30 ($50) a gallon of Polyester resin and some 3” fibreglass tape £20 ($35) and away we go.

living room cleared for the marking out – about an hour. Then outside on my driveway and sabre saw the panels out – less than an hour. Now to butt joint the panels using polyester and glass. – about 30 mins. Now time for bed!

Trim up the panels with the power plane and belt sander – 30 mins. I had decided to put in a solid wood stem as in the original design. Sawed this out of a bit of 2x6 I had lying around, planed up the angle etc. – 40 mins - Cut out the transom and trimmed it – 30 mins - Now to put the boat together.

Out on the back garden as a gale had sprung up and I was getting blown away. Screw the stem and transom in and drill holes in ‘bottom edge of side panels – about an hour. Now with my battery drill and a handful of cable ties go round and attach the bottom – 30 mins.

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Turn the boat over get two bricks and a dead plant!!

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Here you can see I used a spreader to keep the boat in the right shape and I have glassed the seams - about an hour

Now we went back to the driveway and glassed the outside – I should say that all of this was done with just one pair of hands

Outside trimmed up and glassed - about an hour and a half

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Bottom panel fully glassed too

No building duties call at church

Trimming the glass and getting ready for the whales. These really were cheap! I used rough sawn roofing battens (Used in UK for slate or tile roofs) These are treated, straight and around 18’ long and approx 1-¼ x ¾ - perfect. These were attached with glue and a generous supply of temporary screws. – about an hour. (outside only)

Now I made up the seat ribs etc. and glassed them in. – 2 hours

Glued up the thickening blocks on transom and made the two blocks for the oarlocks. These were simply pieces of 2x4 shaped and glued on. – an hour

Now the inwhales which were purely cosmetic being roof batten split in two. Glued and screwed – an hour.

Various bits of trimming and finishing a few hours spent.

Skeg cut out trimmed and glassed on – fiddly and I bet it took nearly 2 hours!

So now the hard graft – Painting – This is the bit I really hate! 2 coats of outdoor undercoat and 1 of gloss and she was about ready except I also had oars to make.

I decided to use thole pins and used a couple of coach bolts with round heads as I intended to use Bolger's method of rope strops to row against not the actual pin. So by the Friday I had a boat to row although it took me another day or two to finish the oars having had my belt sander break down too.

By the Friday I had a boat to row

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Take my advice and don’t get too precious, it's only a tool

Good luck to anyone deciding to have a go – take my advice and don’t get too precious, it's only a tool and you don’t get so worried about beaching it or the rocks and at approx. £60 ($100) plus paint £30 ($50) who cares just get out on the water and enjoy!!

Jay Blackburn

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