Mark Wallace's Black Skiff

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Pacific Troller Dory

Paul Butler, in his Butler Projects site, has the plans for a very nice row boat called the Pacific Troller Dory that could be easily converted into a row cruiser as we have described on this site.

The Pacific Troller Dory with the Designer at the Oars

She is double ended, 15’ 4” (4.7 m) long, 4’ (1.2 m) wide... the bottom is 19.5” (49.5 cm) wide amidships, freeboard amidships is 12” to 14” (30.5 to 35.5 cm)  and 18” to 20” (45.7 to 50.8 cm) at the stems depending upon total displacement.

...Under Construction

A Fish's View

Dan Moore (on building the Pacific Troller Dory)...
“…After gathering all the necessities, it took me about 6 weeks to build. Real time working on the boat was a lot less. The boat is a dream to row. With a GPS I can row to 6 mph, can hold 4.5 mph for hours…
I was a little apprehensive about taking another person in the boat. Thinking it might not trim as well and affect the rowing. It makes almost no difference with a combined weight of 370 lbs. It still does 6 mph on the top and rows nearly as easy. It tracks perfectly and holds well in a wind.“
A Sea Gull's View

Paul Butler (the designer)...
“Construction is a straightforward process of stitching five full-length plywood panels together with plastic ties, then sealing seams with glass tape. No building base is required and bulkheads serve as forms to hold panels in alignment during assembly. To further streamline building, both ends of the gun dory are identical so the same plank pattern can be used 4 times. The hull interior is clean and open with none of the ribs, frames or stringers of traditional construction, making it easier to maintain, clean and repair. Hull reinforcement is provided by four full length chines, compartments, butt-blocks, seats and gunnel lamination. The hull exterior may be sheathed with glass cloth or glass tape can be laid over seams to save weight.”
Built in Norway, Used for Hunting and Fishing

She can be rowed, paddled, electric trolling motor either in a well or on an arm clamped on the gunnels at the stern… one builder even set it up to sail, with a centerboard, rudder and lateen rig.

As I would do with all open boats, I would make the following additions to convert it to an oar cruiser as I've defined it in the "About me..." section of this site:

  • Move the two bulkheads so they are approximately 7 feet (2.1 m) apart, accessible by large bulkhead mounted waterproof hatches,
  • Add decks fore and aft, using skin-on-frame to minimize weight,
  • Add transverse style slatted floorboards to provide anchor points for the rowing seat and foot rests (and a dry sleeping platform),
  • Provide a 'tent' cover for sleeping and eating out of the rain... see shelter options for various ways to accomplish this.

Plans include detailed building instructions with options for materials, interior layout, and customization…

I really like this design... easy to build, fast and good looking. Comments very welcome!


  1. Thanks, this looks really interesting. Will think about it.

    1. Thanks... Let me know what you come up with.