The Dory Shop

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada | (902) 640-3005 |

Stories from the The Dory Shop

Sydney and the September classic

There’s a pleasant change in the air these days, a cool but fresh onshore wind that’s rustling the leaves of the trees across the street from the Dory Shop sales office and letting us know that autumn has arrived in Nova Scotia. It’s really the only predictable season here, and because of it, the most pleasant. Clear, crisp days that lead to coolish nights and the inevitable dilemma of how long you can procrastinate before you have to turn the furnace on, or in Jay’s case light a fire in the Dory Shop stove. He should be good for a little while yet as the days remain warm enough and a frugal Lunenburger simply does not turn the heat on until it is necessary. Autumn also brings that distinctive honeyed light that falling on the buff and green of an overturned dory makes for the perfect picture. And it’s still a fine season for sailing. In fact, the Nova Scotia Schooner Association’s annual September Classic, a full day of good-natured sailing competition, followed by a pig roast and beverages at The Dory Shop Boatyard, will be coming up in a little over a week. In the meantime, we’re scurrying to complete a refit on a fascinating little boat Capt. Dan hopes to sail in the Classic. Her name is Sydney.

Building a boat yard

In addition to building dories, other fine wooden boats and repairing sundry craft dragged into our yard, Capt. Dan aims to turn the Dory Shop into a full-service boat yard, taking care of the fine wooden craft in our area, as well as the many that sail in from around Nova Scotia and New England.

Class in session

Lots of action, and people, at the Dory Shop these days as students from the Halifax-based Dalhousie School of Architecture join us to build a 13-foot-bottom Handline dory while also studying the relationship between form and making, making and place.

Pirate dories

We’ve always thought our boats were things to be treasured. Well, now we’ve got confirmation from the folks who know booty best! I’m talking pirates of the oh-so-currently-hot film and television variety. Firstly, there’s Pirates of the Caribbean, one of the biggest movie franchises in history. We actually had dories in all three films.

Customization and tradition – our latest dory

Our latest dory is a great example of a boat that’s faithful to tradition but also customized to the client. The boat in question is a 13-foot bottom handline dory. It’s the traditional size for a single rower in the days when dories were still used in the offshore fishery and is capable of carrying 1700 lbs. of fish and gear. Our client wants to row the dory, sometimes alone and sometimes with his wife at a second set of oars, and he really appreciates the heritage of these boats, the traditional lines, color scheme and features. But of course, he also wants the boat to be functional for his usage.

Modified Black Rocker

Now you have to understand that our 11-foot bottom dory, the Black Rocker, is named for the picturesque South Shore community more commonly known as Stonehurst. This seaside village is just a 10-minute drive from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada, adjacent to the perennial artists’ favorite, Blue Rocks, so named for the slate rocks that line the shore.

Mahogany dory a hit with showgoers

She was the belle of the Halifax International Boat Show. Our 11-foot Little Sister dory, constructed of Fijian mahogany with copper fastenings and clear finish, was a true must-see for attendees of this annual event

Mahogany Dory

You had to see the twinkle in our boatbuilder Jay’s eyes when we milled the wood for our latest project. It’s an eight-foot bottom Little Sister Dory that’s being made of the most beautiful mahogany. “Look at that grain,” he kept saying. And it is turning into a truly striking boat.

Two Refits

We’ve been burning the candle at both ends lately, completing a couple of interesting small boat refits in time for the departure of the tall ship Picton Castle. The ship, whose dock is just a ball’s toss from our location on the Lunenburg, Nova Scotia waterfront, is bound for the Caribbean where she’ll spend the winter sailing from one tropical island to the next.

Transom Dory Coming Along

We are having some kind of gorgeous finest kind day here in Lunenburg. Sharp warm sun, crystal blue sky, light north-westerly, sunshine sparkling sunshine out on the Harbour. The Picton Castle, our neighboring world-voyaging barque-rigged sailing ship cuts a fine figure against the sky and sea at a nearby wharf. And our Transom-Dory is almost finished.

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