while ago I spent a season cruising in a very capable light
dory I'd designed, the trips ranged from a week which took
me from Dargaville down the Kaipara harbour to Helensville,
to an afternoon trip up to Riverhead and back.
It's a lovely way to see the coastline, surprisingly
fast in the right sort of boat and a lot easier than shouldering
a pack through the bush, a doctor friend tells me that fixed
seat rowing is one of the most beneficial and least destructive
forms of exercise. ( I've no doubt that exponents of other
disciplines will disagree but few dogs will bother chasing
I sold the dory to fund the next design and
build project, but I missed the ability to be afloat within
moments, and the glow of well being after a good hard row
down the channel. I missed being able to take wife and daughter
with thermos and picnic lunch exploring places as dissimilar
as Westhaven Marina and the upper reaches of the Puhoi estuary.
the workshop was empty so it was back to the drawing board
again. I fancied one of the classic round sided dories, the
last one had been of the better known straight sided type
adapted to plywood and to our our local conditions. With this
new boat I'd a mind to try for the efficiencies of the the
more complex round bilge shape while trying to stay with the
dories simple construction.
Joansa, the name is derived from our family,
John, Jan and Sarina - there is now a Brendan but he wasn't
even a twinkle then if you know what I mean. You try and do
better with that lot!. She is an adaptation of a late 1800’s
Chamberlain Dory skiff, native to the inshore fishing industry
of the north east coast of North America . Smart rowers, seaworthy,
simple to build and maintain, and nice lookers.
My modern day version is light enough to root
rack on our old Toyota Starlet, fast enough to win races and
carries enough weight to take the three of us and gear on
a weeks camping holiday.
proved popular, she is a very pretty craft that attracts a
lot of attention and plan sales have been so good that at
least two boatbuilders took them on as a stock boat".
Our Joansa did a lot of miles for us, travelling
quickly and easily - some of the mileage done under power
with our 2hp Honda outboard but mostly under the oars she
was designed for. We loved her lots but inevitably the time
came around for another project and it was a couple of years
later that we built Seagull to replace her.
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