Tenderly vs NE Dory vs Passagemaker Capacity

Well I continue to remain undecided in which boat to build first with the eventual desire to build the Pocketship or something similar. I was originally considering the Passagemaker or the NE Dory. Now with the Tenderly thrown in the mix I'm further paralyzed as I have yet another option.  I really like the looks of the Tenderly over the Passagemaker but with a smaller payload I'm torn.  I'd like to sail with my wife and I our kids (10 and 7) but that is putting us 25 pounds over payload limit on the Tenderly so then I come back to the Passagemaker or Dory.  Cost wise the Tenderly and Dory are about the same but then I have a much larger boat to haul/store if I go with the Dory.  Obviously we can sail in 2 or 3 at time to avoid much of this but I'm still torn. Maybe I just build the Eastport Pram to get my feet wet on boat building and then aim for the Pocketship sooner rather than later?

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RE: Tenderly vs NE Dory vs Passagemaker Capacity

  I am 50 percent done( paint and varnish for next few weeks) on the passagemaker take apart with lug rig. It is very roomy and lots of space for kids to sit in the hull or on seats .  Also it is wide and stable if they get antsy.  This is  one of the reasons I went  with the pram design.  Maybe rowing would be ok with 4 , but not sailing. A good selling point for me was the built in flotation fore and aft.

All the boats are beautiful in their own way so I cannot help you with that, sorry.


Hope this helps



RE: Tenderly vs NE Dory vs Passagemaker Capacity

   I'm in a similar quandary, but it's just my wife and I. The Tenderly is a beautiful boat, but for sailing, even two people seems tight, so I have ruled that out. I would be all over a 12' Tenderly.

I really like the NE Dory, though, and will probably go that route.

It's a classic conundrum - bigger boats take more room to store, and drain the bank account faster, but can carry more. We are spoiled for choices here, but that's a good problem.

I like the Passagemaker, too, but the Dory wins for carrying capacity.



RE: Tenderly vs NE Dory vs Passagemaker Capacity

Tenderly with two adults is a delight. Nice ergonomics for that.

In terms of sprawling room, your choices align with the boat's length: Tenderly has the least; the Passagemaker has noticeably more, and the Northeaster Dory has legroom for a crowd.

I get a lot of questions about payload capacity, how it's determined, why it varies so much between superficially similar boats, and about whether our posted payloads are conservative.

Tenderly, Passagemaker, and NE Dory make an interesting little study so I ran out this diagram, with my design software spitting out displacements with various loadings. (Click to embiggen.)

Tenderly Dinghy, Passagemaker Dinghy, Northeaster Dory

"Light load" is the waterline most commonly seen in photos of these boats. A couple of people and their lunch or whatever.

"Max displacement" is the maximum allowed weight of the boat, crew, and gear (and is distinct from "max payload"). This number is determined by the sealed flotation under the seats. At "max displacement" you have a reasonable chance of self-rescuing if swamped.

As you can see from the drawing, if you're in calm water and avoid swamping, the boats can take a LOT more weight before they sink, theoretically.  In all three cases, the limiting factor is the height of the daggerboard trunk, which is the boat's effective "freeboard." 

Tenderly's max displacement is 555 pounds, but the daggerboard trunk doesn't become a fountain until you're at 1683 pounds.  (My old 1965 Mini Cooper rang in around 1500 pounds.)  

Plug the daggerboard trunk and the theoretical max displacement is pretty wild. The Northeaster Dory slips under at 2900 pounds, more than the curb weight of a late-model Honda Civic.

RE: Tenderly vs NE Dory vs Passagemaker Capacity

   "The Northeaster Dory slips under at 2900 pounds, more than the curb weight of a late-model Honda Civic."

But would water pressure crush it in from the sides before 2900?

RE: Tenderly vs NE Dory vs Passagemaker Capacity

I am the very proud owner of a NE Dory. With 4 in your family, I really can’t see why you would consider anything else. The Dory as John said has room to stretch out, plus carry camping and fishing gear. It rows with so little effort it’s not really even a workout.  Sailing with the Lug sail is super easy, and she is stable as can be! This is my first season sailing and I have never felt in danger of swamping her. But she does heel over enough to give a good fun pucker factor! The Dory is light enough that even my old 68 VW Beatle could tow it. It’s also light enough for a truck to car top if needed. That’s how I carry mine. The Passagemaker only saves you 10lbs, but you lose 6 feet of seating/cargo space. The Tenderly actually show adding 30 lbs. of hull weight but the loss of 7 feet of space. Go with the Dory, you will not regret it.    

RE: Tenderly vs NE Dory vs Passagemaker Capacity

>>>>But would water pressure crush it in from the sides before 2900?

Gosh, no, the boat would fine unless really point-loaded. Otherwise the boat would be an eggshell.

In the Coast Guard's tank test we got the Peeler Skiff all of the way to 5000lbs without structural issues:

CLC Peeler Skiff

And that's 5000lbs all concentrated just on the bottom panel!

RE: Tenderly vs NE Dory vs Passagemaker Capacity

While I agree with all of Mikefly's comments and I'm happy he's happy with his boat, I think there are a couple of factors that might need to be taken into account.

The 17' NE Dory requires much more material and two scarf/puzzle joints per plank.  Doubling the effort/expense just to get to the point of stitching the boat together.  It could possibly take an extra year to complete a boat of that size if you don't absolutely dig into the project, meaning you'd miss an entire season of use from the boat, therefore diluting the amortization schedule.

Hauling a 17' boat vs. a 12' take-apart boat are two completely different things.  The NE Dory requires a real boat trailer ($), where you could ostensibly take a PM apart and shove it in the back of the truck.

From the original post, it seems that starting to build a boat you maybe can't afford to finish or might take too long to finish can be a deal-breaker.  Making a cheaper boat that doesn't meet your needs will just result in the painful disappointment of not being able to truly appreciate and use the boat you spent so much money and effort on.  For these reasons and many others is why I've chosen the Take Apart Passagemaker as my next build.

Building a CLC boat is a substantial investment in both money and effort, starting with a decision that should not be taken lightly.

RE: Tenderly vs NE Dory vs Passagemaker Capacity

Hi CaptainSkully!

Obviously everyone has their own opinion, and we are all right!!  You can’t make a mistake with any of these boats I am sure.

I know that I was somewhat obsessed when I built my Dory. But I completed my kit in just over 1 winter. Adding a 2nd scarf per plank does not add any time to the build, just a little more epoxy. The planks are glued up both joints at once. The trailer is an expense, that’s why I did not buy one yet. I just toss my dory up on a pair of racks I bought from Amazon for about $300.00. As far as the starting cost of the boats in question. I added up the coast of the kits plus the sails.

NE Dory $2900.00, Passagmaker take a part $2744.00, Tenderly $2898.00

Really not that much different. Of course we all know that is far from the final cost, but is a good judge. The biggest issue that might make the smaller boats appealing would be the space you have to build in. I built mine in a smallish 2 car garage, and that 17-foot boat pretty much dominated my garage! No chance of getting anything else in there at the same time. If you are building in a 1 car garage or a basement? I would go for a smaller boat as well.

Pick your dream boat, get the kit coming, and most important. RELAX AND HAVE FUN! Dream of all the time you and your family will spend together out on the water. It’s a great way to spend time together!!  


RE: Tenderly vs NE Dory vs Passagemaker Capacity

   Pocketship is another order of magnitude in building from the dory or any of the other open boats.  I've been meditating on one for a while, but am honest enough with myself to know that I don't have the space or time to attempt building one.  I've built a Sassafras 12 and a Skerry and they are quite easy really, for anyone with modest time, space and a little aptitude.  As an engineer, I've always been willing to tackle well documented projects, and all of the CLC kits are that.  I could do a Pocketship, if given the space and time, but it ain't happening in real life, not and keep a career and marriage both going.  The biggest project I'd be tempted to try would be the SW dory. It's longer than the Pocketship, but length doesnt say it all.  Scarfing one plank or ten is not my measure of difficulty, and is just the beginning of a build.  It's the sheer mass and internal complexity of the Pocketship that would stop me.

If I were to tackle a Pocketship, I'd just go right at it. I wouldn't have the free time for 2 years to do much with a smaller boat anyway.  Maybe rent sailboats or take a sailing class to get used to sailing, or keep your hand in if you already are sailing, but concentrate on the build.

The NE dory would likely hold 2 adults and 2 kids just fine in nice weather for daysailing.  My skerry actually seems to sail better when my wife is along.  A little extra load slows the motion of the boat and lets it punch through small chop that has it bobbing w/ just me. It would not be good for more than 2 adults though. The NE is longer and more capacious, so probably is fine for more than 2 adults.  I've sailed 10' dinghies before, and while 2 might fit, not more.  And the PM is really not set up for more than 2 sailing just due to its internal arrangement.  For daysailing, it may be all one needs.  

For cruising with a whole family, I'm sorry, I'd just find a good used sailboat in the 23-30 foot range.  There are trailerable 23-27 foot boats that can cruise a family but more than a couple of days, and kids will be killing each other on anything smaller.  Your mileage may vary!

RE: Tenderly vs NE Dory vs Passagemaker Capacity

I agree with your comments on Pocketship. I daydream about building one, or even better JoySprings! That would be the boat for me!! But I don’t think I could build one in my current location. Pocketship is shorter than my Dory, but it is taller by quite a bit. My garage only has 8 feet of clearance. I think that would make it tough. I have thought about temporary outdoor shelters, which would be OK late spring through early fall. I would be shut down for a majority of the year if I could not maintain heat in an enclosure. But it is fun to dream. I also thought at first I wouldn’t be able to build a Dory. Now I am happily sailing one!    

RE: Tenderly vs NE Dory vs Passagemaker Capacity

   Wow, this is a great thread. Thank you all for the valuable information.



RE: Tenderly vs NE Dory vs Passagemaker Capacity

   Thanks for all the insight and suggestions.  I can certainly appreciate wanting to get the most "bang for your buck" and no doubt the NE Dory is has that in spades.  It may be what I end up doing so I don't hamstring myself when the boat is done wishing could move more passengers. Storage/transport are obvious factors as well so I'm still drawn to the smaller boats in that respect.  Thanks also to John for the info on displacement in regards to each boat.

From everything I've ready it looks like passenger capacity for these boats is along the following lines in respect to the payload limits?

Eastport Pram: 2 adults

Tenderly: 2 adults (maybe a child)

Passagemaker: 3 adults

NE Dory: 3-4 adults

Does this look accurate?


RE: Tenderly vs NE Dory vs Passagemaker Capacity

Birch2 >>   "The Northeaster Dory slips under at 2900 pounds, more than the curb weight of a late-model Honda Civic."

But would water pressure crush it in from the sides before 2900?

John >> Gosh, no, the boat would fine unless really point-loaded. Otherwise the boat would be an eggshell

For those who like numbers, a quick & dirty approximation of the NE dory results in at least 6000 square inches of surface area for the hull. Since the 2900 lbs is buoyed up by a force equal to the displacement, the water pressure on the hull is about 2900 lbs / 6000 square inches, or less than 1/2 lb per square inch or 0.03 atmospheres (or 3.4 kpa to the rest of the world). The pressure from the sides would be less than 1/10th of an atmosphere (1.5 lbs/square inch) and would be the strongest where the boat is the strongest, along the bottom.



RE: Tenderly vs NE Dory vs Passagemaker Capacity


Oddly enough I have never had more than 2 people in my Dory. Me and my wife or Me and my daughter. With that said, I could see that it would be easy and comfortable to put 3 adults in my Dory. I can see that 4 would be doable in a pinch. That is with the mast up and sailing. If I was just going to go fishing, leave the mast behind. 4 adults would be a snap.


RE: Tenderly vs NE Dory vs Passagemaker Capacity

Hey guys,

Just got back from the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival and had a blast.

I spent a good amount of time drooling over the Tenderly.  It's a bit larger than I expected for a 10' boat (vs. my 8' Eastport Pram).  But more importantly, it's a lot more boat.  It's got the floorboards and optional scuppered inwales.  The okoume thwards were stained which nicely match the tanbark sails.  All in all, an overwhelmingly sexy presentation.  It's seriously making me rethink the Take Apart Passagemaker.

While I'm in love with the elegant simplicity of the Norwegian-derivative Passagemaker pram design, the classicly beautiful lines of the Tenderly are hard to ignore.  I feel like I'm considering cheating on someone I've made a commitment to...

Anyway, the booth was awesome, as usual (although I missed the Passagemaker), had my usual great chats with the guys working the booth, etc.  Got some good feedback, advice, etc.  The numbers are better for the TAPM, but my hear really sings for the Tenderly (especially after watching these last few weeks of builds), so we'll see...

Just wanted to post this while the impressions were still fresh from the show...

RE: Tenderly vs NE Dory vs Passagemaker Capacity


You ended your original post with:

"Maybe I just build the Eastport Pram to get my feet wet on boat building and then aim for the Pocketship sooner rather than later?"

I got the Eastport kit as a "Spring Break" project and found it was more of a project than I expected. That said, its an excellent first boat build project! I had a new, small workshop & most of the tools needed. None of the tasks involved are beyond my capability. The hull was very much together after the first week & I felt like a hero!

After Spring Break I worked on her on-&-off but fairly regularly. I enjoy the work but it is slower going than I thought it would be. I am kinda anal, though, & am not rushing the job, preferring to make fewer (I have made some, though :-) mistakes along the way.

I am taking my time & using this build to really learn how to do it! I'm glad I got the Eastport. If the Tenderly had been available at the time I might have gone with her instead. In hindsite, that might have been too much of a project for my first. I'm well on my way to finishing my Eastport. She won't launch this Summer but will be ready to go in the Spring. All-in-all, it will take me a little less than a year to complete. It will absolutely be worth the time & effort I put into it. I suspect the Tenderly would be a frustration right about now.

I'm a couple years from retirement & I might try my hand at another boat when I have more unrestricted time available. I rerally like the lines of the Tenderly & its on the short list. I already own a small FG cruising sloop so I don't need to go to the PocketShip although its a very cool design.

Anyway, I vote for the Eastport as a first build if you don't have much experience. I sensed a bit of hesitation from your OP &, if that's the case (be honest with yourself!), go Eastport first! Highly recommended!


RE: Tenderly vs NE Dory vs Passagemaker Capacity

   I've gotten distracted from my dory build but up till then the kit was going together very quickly.I've built 3 clc kayaks and a paddle board. Working from a kit with the panels glued lengthwise it took about3 hours to get the hull wired together. The kit with puzzle joint and pre drilled holes seems an easier build than the mill creek16 was,after all your not building a deck ,just a hull.the only difficulty I've had is manuvering it around my garage  by myself,with a little ingenuity i can do it

RE: Tenderly vs NE Dory vs Passagemaker Capacity

   I built a Passagemaker last fall and I've found that when sailing comfortably getting the whole family (me, wife, 3 kids between 10 and 4) in the boat is impossible.

I have the sloop sailing kit, so you will have slightly more room with a lug rigged dinghy, but not a lot more.

Realistically, when sailing the Passagemaker it's either two adults OR an adult and (max) two kids if you don't want to be sitting on top of each other.

Something that people seem to forget when planning for comfortable capacity is the other stuff you plan to bring and the space taken up by the boat components. For example, if I'm bringing the kids it means, at a minimum, a small cooler with drinks and a bag of snacks kept easily accessible (so, not inside either of the seats). The tiller also means only one person on the rear seat (or floor).

Now, that being said, when I have all of the sailing rigging off and we're out motoring I can comfortably have my family of 5 on the boat for a relaxed putter down the river for half a day. There's enough room for the kids to shift around and trade places with little issue.

I'm not disappointed. Really it's a good excuse to get one on one time with each child while sailing... and to build a second small sailboat, because the 10 year old is nearly old enough to be in charge of his own boat (while supervised of course).

RE: Tenderly vs NE Dory vs Passagemaker Capacity

>>The tiller also means only one person on the rear seat (or floor).

Lose the straight tiller that sweeps across the entire stern and replace it with a push-pull tiller like the Skerry's. It only needs to move back & forth, notall the way across.


RE: Tenderly vs NE Dory vs Passagemaker Capacity

Good point, Laszlo, but that adds another degree of freedom to the tiller confusion issue.  It's difficult enough to learn instictually "tiller towards trouble" without the push/pull factor.  This may be a good solution for seasoned sailors, but not on anything that might be considered a training boat.

RE: Tenderly vs NE Dory vs Passagemaker Capacity

I've got to respectfully disagree. The Skerry is just as much a training boat as the Passagemaker. In my experience, sailors who start with p-p tillers are fine with them, sailors who start with swinginging tillers are fine with those. It's only when you have folks who are used to one and trying to convert to the other that problems occur. Muscle memory gets in the way.

A p-p tiller is basically a hiking stick with the yoke being the actual tiller. If someone has be working through a mnemonic, they can think of it like that and the mnemonic still works.

But 1/2 hour of practice for several days in a row will do away with the need for mnemonics for either tiller style.



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