The Grand Banks Dory Rowboat

The common straight-sided Fisherman Dory, also known as the Grand Banks Dory rowboat, is an old favourite. It is an excellent rowboat for lakes and rivers and it makes a fine fishing platform because of its shallow draught and stability, however it can be beached easily with its flat bottom. The Dory rowboat is a small boat and is not heavy and clumsy unlike some old fishing models, which were very deep so they could carry enormous loads of fish. In making the Dory rowboat more shallow, it was possible to give the sides greater flare resulting in a rowboat better suited for general use. The Dory is an attractive boat, rows easily, and is very stable.

The Spindrift Grand Banks Dory custom rowboat is a five-plank design that gives a fine traditional look to be proud of. The varnished woodwork is made from mahogany and the gunwale rails are riveted together with copper nails and roves for strength. The Spindrift rowboat hulls are made of laminated fiberglass that is hand laid and there is built in flotation in the bow and stern with removable hatch covers for storage and inspection. All the work on the rowboat is completed by hand and not by automated production. The Dory rowboat can be handled easily by one oar man but has positions for two.

The lines for this Dory rowboat were worked out by John Gardner at Mystic Seaport Maritime Museum and printed in his book “Building Classic Small Craft”. The rowboat was originally used for cod fishing off the Grand Banks of Nova Scotia at the turn of the century, circa 1800. The Spindrift Dory rowboat was not designed for sailing with her flat bottom, and should only be used as a rowboat. Although it is difficult to mount a motor on her, it is not impossible. I am also able give the boat a little bottom curve so it’s not so flat, however it will increase the width at the top of the gunnel.




Man with cap and lifevest in a rowboat


  • 150lbs in weight
  • Length at the water line is 12’ and overall length is 16’
  • Beam is 30” at the water line and 48” at the gunwale, or widest point
  • Heights from the bottom are: stem 21″; amidships 20″; stern 24″