Build Your Own Northeaster Dory

Location: The WoodenBoat School - Brooklin, Maine
Dates: Sunday, July 2, 2023 - Saturday, July 8, 2023

This Class in Brooklin, Maine, is offered by the WoodenBoat School; please register online starting January 2, 2023. Inquiries only to 207-359-4651 or

Instructor:  Andrew Schroeher

Register through the
WoodenBoat School 

Call 207-359-4651 for inquiries.

Tuition & Materials: 

NOTE: This is a six-day course ending Saturday afternoon.

Other Considerations:

Northeaster Dory - Build Your Own Boat in One Week
Northeaster Dory
Northeaster Dory - Build Your Own Boat
Northeaster Dory - Build Your Own Rowboat
Graceful round-sided lapstrake dories like this 17-footer were once the primary recreational craft on the New England coast.  You’ll assemble a faithful reproduction in just a week, using plywood and epoxy.  Capacity is three adults, and you can add a sailing rig after the class if you choose.  Enjoy fast rowing with one oarsman or two, or even add a sliding seat unit. 
A dory is a lot of boat for the money, which explains the enduring popularity of the type for 150 years or more.  This John C. Harris design uses Chesapeake Light Craft's patented LapStitch process, which yields boats of 19th-century appearance but with 21st-century weight and durability. 
By the end of the week, hulls will be assembled, ready for sanding and finishing at home.  If there's time, we'll get started on sailing rigs during the class for those who choose that option.
Boatbuilding Instructor Andrew Schroeher
Andrew Schroeher
With the help of the instructor, each student will assemble his or her own dinghy from a Chesapeake Light Craft kit. The hull utilizes CLC's patented LapStitch construction method, in which stitch-and-glue techniques are used to create lapstrake hulls of traditional appearance. First, the hull planks are glued to length using scarf joints. The planks are wired together to create the hull shape, then bulkheads are inserted before the planks are neatly "welded" together with epoxy. The students reinforce the hull with fiberglass cloth and mahogany rails, then add the daggerboard trunk and seats. (The sailing rig is optional, but the class will proceed under the assumption that the boat will be used for both rowing and sailing.) As with all of our courses in which students build their own boat, this will be a busy week, so expect to spend a few evenings in the shop. By noon on Saturday you'll have an assembled hull, ready for sanding and sailing rig.
Northeaster uses Chesapeake Light Craft's patented LapStitch process, in which pre-cut planking is assembled quickly with wire "stitches" and nothing more than a pair of ordinary sawhorses. Hull planking is 6mm okoume;  the bottom is 9mm, fiberglassed on both sides and up onto the side planking.  Bulkheads are laminated together from layers of 9mm plywood.  Epoxied together, the hull is light---only about 100 pounds---and very strong.  And with 800 pounds of displacement, this dory offers real versatility.  It's small enough to be rowed by one person, but big enough for tandem rowing with two adults.  Like all dories, the Northeaster tracks well, has a long glide, and stays dry in waves.  Even four adults have comfortable seating. 
Rowers looking for a high-performance dimension may add a sliding seat without modifying the interior.  In the stock rowing version, a drop-in sliding seat unit requires minutes to install so you can switch between fixed- and sliding-seat modes quickly.  With a sliding seat, the Northeaster Dory is fast and dry and would be a safe and fast open water racing boat.  (A sliding seat may be added to the sailing version as well, but requires minor modifications.)
The proportions of the sailing rig follow traditional recreational dory rigs very closely.  Under sail the Northeaster Dory is fast, stiff, and close-winded.  Given the narrow waterline, the hull is extremely easily driven and jumps up to speed in light air---the acceleration is really noticeable.  Dory sailors comment on the surprising absence of wake, visible evidence of a low-resistance hull.  But like all dories, the hull flares rapidly above the water, so stability comes on strong as the boat heels under sail. Although you'll sail more slowly upwind, a convenient "first reef" is to take in the jib.  Adding the "sailing upgrade" package puts the mainsail on a track for easier handling at the dock or marina, plus cam cleats for the jib for easier singlehanding.  
Note:  Boat kits for classes are specially prepared at CLC and delivered directly to the classroom.  These kits include essential supplies and may have certain parts pre-assembled.  Because of the particular nature of these kits, discounts and other promotions do not apply.