Skerry questions

Hello there. I am thinking of building either of skerry or a NE dory for the purpose of light day sailing and long range, multi-day coastal cruising here in my home state of Alaska. i'm a little torn on which design to go with. My father owns an old St. Pierre dory so I am partial to the dory designs, but the skerry has a lot going for it.

 I have two questions about the skerry... in a lot of the photos of the skerry as built by others, the sailor (the designer in many of the photos I believe) is shown sitting on the bottom of the boat just aft of the central seat and daggerboard trunk. Is this where people are supposed to pilot the boat from, or can it be piloted from the central seat? I just think if I was spending long days sailing the skerry, I wouldn't want to sit on the bottom in whatever water I take onboard and also get a sore back. 


My second question is this: can the forward and aft compartments (which are watertight, correct?) be converted into storage by installing a threaded plastic hatch cover like you would use on a kayak?  I wouldn't want to store too much gear in there, but maybe a few flares, my expensive camera, etc.

 Any info in this regard would be most helpful. Additionally, the skerry looks like it would be slightly more stable for sailing than the dory and the rig a bit easier to handle. Is this correct?

 Many thanks,


3 replies:

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RE: Skerry questions

Both boats are sailed from a seated position on the bottom of the boat but you can install floorboards so you don't have to sit in any water you might take in. With a tiller extension it's possible to sit on the seat in the Skerry. I've sailed both boats in 25 knot winds singlehanded and the Skerry is a bit easier to handle due to it being 2' shorter and only one line to handle. I've rigged my Dory with cam cleats on the middle to handle the jib lines so I can single hand it. Both boats heel well and I've not taken water in even on rough days. Both baots are remarkably comfortable to sail even sitting on the bottom.

The Skerry seats can have screw type hatches installed and many people do just that. The one drawback to the Dory would be the lack of built in flotation but that can be accomplished with foam under the seats as CLC has done to their demo boat.

Hope this helps.

George K

RE: Skerry questions

Hi Kachemak,

I can't speak of performance yet; my Skerry is a week away from hitting water. From what I've read, the Skerry sails best when upright and not heeled over like you see many racing dinghies do. I believe this results in a much drier sailing experience. If you will be sailing solo, perhaps you might consider adding ballast such as equipment or sandbags.

See picture #159 of my build album for the installation of the deck plates you describe.



RE: Skerry questions

Hi Kachemak,

I've heard of people using kid's beanbag chairs for comfortable floor seating in small boats. 

Or, you might be able to employ some minicell pads to keep you above the bilge water and make your piloting position more comfortable.  It comes in all kinds of thicknesses and is quite easily sculpted.  Using velcro attachments would make them removable.


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