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In March of 2008 I completed construction of a prototype, single frame, light dory of my own design. It was my intention that this boat would be light enough to car top and at the same time capable of handling choppy waters. When I launched it in April I learned that I needed to lower the rowing thwart to pull the center of gravity down a wee bit. It was more tender than I’d anticipated. While the initial stability made it feel tippy, I determined through experimentation (elbow on the sheer along with some rocking in the shallows) that the final stability was safe. When I load it up it feels solid under my butt. From that prototype, which I named the Oh-Eight (eight feet on the bottom and built in 2008), I went back to the drawing board with the idea of completing two more boats – legacy dories for my grandchildren. The products that came from a slight re-design are more beefy in their construction each having more beam and three frames. The result was two boats with much higher initial stability that a novice would feel secure in rowing. All three boats are a joy to row, but what else would I say? I’m biased. As to the first image, the prototype sits in the middle between the two legacy boats.
August 16, 2009