The Life of Boats

By John C. Harris
November, 2013 

Just under a year ago, we built the first 23'9" CLC Team Dory with a group of volunteers from the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia. Several more have been built and tested extensively, and the feedback has been uniformly positive.  You can watch a time-lapse of the build here.

There are a number of multi-oared training craft designs out there, and they continue to gain in popularity with youth and adult rowing programs.  Less skill is required to row a wherry-type hull like this compared to a narrow rowing shell, and you may safely venture into cold and even rough water.

The problem with most of this ilk is that they are difficult and expensive to build.

We think we've fixed that.  The CLC Team Dory is suitable for amateurs.  A team of volunteers can build the hull in about 50 hours, with another two or three weeks of sanding and finishing.  The ease of construction and a complete kit cost of $2999 is a low barrier to entry.  It would be plausible to build one of these a month and have a fleet of them very quickly.  Epoxy-sealed hulls, strategically reinforced with fiberglass, keeps maintenance near zero.

 CLC Team Dory Kit

 A nice rendering by CLC's draftsman, Jay Hockenbery.

We were able to get in a photo and video session on a windy, chilly day in November.  CLC staffers stood-to in heavy layers for a few hours on the Severn River.   Watch the on-water video below:

The Team Dory's clean lines.  Each seat doubles as flotation, making the boat unsinkable and easy to recover from a swamping.

The Team Dory is the big sister to our Northeaster Dory.  From a distance they look very much alike.

The interior is laid out to fit rowers from 5'6" to 6'5", with ease.

A coxswain (preferably, but not essentially, light in weight) keeps everything together in the stern, steering the yoke rudder.

We borrowed 9'6" single sculls from CLC's showroom.  The consensus was that these were a good 12" short for best performance.  The kit includes plans and patterns for sweeps that fit the Team Dory specifically.

Six knots was easy without trying very hard.  Sprint speed is around eight knots. Everyone aboard agreed that we should try a big crossing as soon as possible.


It was choppy but the boat is very dry, another good feature of the traditional dory shape.

At full tilt, but very little wake!

A local stinkpot provided a good test of the boat's handling in steep waves.  We took on about a bucketful of water.

The high bow with plenty of volume lifts nicely over waves. 

Les Cheneaux Row is a rowing club in Cedarville, Michigan.  Working with the Great Lakes Boatbuilding School, they've built two Team Dories and plan to build several more.

Les Cheneaux Row's current fleet, which includes both Northeaster Dories and Team Dories.

One of the Les Cheneaux boats under construction.

Team Dory completed at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia.

A Northeaster Dory sitting in one of Les Cheneaux's Team Dories.  The full-sized Team Dories may be stacked three or four high to save space in storage.

"Rehab," one of the Les Cheneaux Team Dories.