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Purchase plans from Duckworks

Next up is this lightweight ply/epoxy Norwegian Gunning Dory drawn with inspiration from the classic lines of Scandinavian watercraft.  These types of work boats evolved for a variety of uses in the Norwegian fjords and along the 15,000 miles of dramatic coastline with weather to match.

The ply/epoxy hull is much simplified from traditional built plank-on-frame versions and the lightweight version can weigh less than 60 pounds which makes an easy cartopper.   Instead of the traditional V bottom there is a flat panel on the hull bottom to simplify construction and provide extra stability.  Directional stability for open water rowing can be enhanced by a shallow keel or in rougher water a short skeg works best.

The taped double chines in the  hull provide fore and aft stringer support and in place of traditional ribs and frames there are fore and aft watertight compartments which provide additional hull support plus the safety of flotation spaces  and dry storage for gear.   Additional compartments are optional and may be added depending on how the boat is used and open water versions can even be built self-bailing by leaving a small volume footwell with a drain. 

There are a number of optional interior layouts and room for 2 fixed seat rowing stations, or a single sliding seat.   For a full-body workout the lightweight boat is fast enough to make exercise rowing with a sliding seat interesting.  The 15 foot 9 inch overall length and the 45 inch beam provides close to ideal spacing for 7 to 8 foot oars. 

If you’re looking for an historically accurate replica all copper rivet fastened with steam bent ribs and hand hewn planks of Norwegian Spruce soaked in boiled linseed oil—this probably isn’t what you’re looking for, but if you want a lightweight, tough, low maintenance rowing boat with workboat character and good manners in open water this might work.  Loaded down with gear for camp-cruising, or a passenger and gear, the boat becomes increasingly stable for general recreation, fishing, drifting small streams and exploring waterways.  Maintenance is much reduced with epoxy sealed plywood and the slick, hard graphite covered bottom allows dragging the hull over parking lots, launch ramps and gravel beaches.

The 31 page building plans include photos, sketches, step-by-step directions and a discussion of many options to help the amateur builder customize the boat to suit usage.  Plans will be available when the boat publishes in Outdoor Life magazine, scheduled for early in 2010. 

Additional questions can be sent to:

.....ideal for fishing and exploring small streams here in Oregon and its light enough we can slide it down these steep banks almost anywhere and pull it out where its convenient. I did sheathe and graphite the bottom panel like the plans suggested and because its so light I drag it over trails with a tether. The 8 foot oars were too long for really small streams and I bought some cheap 5 footers that I use in brushy narrow backwaters. With just me in the boat I think it floats in a little over 3 inches of water so I can get right into the shallows. We car-top it into Newport. Ron Gau

Hello...sending along some snaps of my Norwegian Gun Dory. You could have done the plans in four pages or so, we really didn't need all the details and choices and would prefer to just start cutting patterns. I used a combination of traditional and epoxy construction techniques and we do like the boat. Lonnie and Andrea. Biloxi MS

I put a seat all the way aft and I am able to sit and paddle it like a canoe when exploring small streams. Before laminating on the gunnel strips I cut down the ends 2 inches so it would just fit an overhead space in the garage and I like the flat bottom panel for standing and packing gear for camp-cruising. Its a good cartopper and on calm water I can stand and cast, carefully, but a passenger or some gear really makes it stable. William P. San Diego wife calls it my Viking boat and has promised to get me a sheepskin vest and one of those cow horn helmets if I'll row it in the Christmas Boat Parade. Bryon H. Costa Mesa CA

I bought a used Piantedosi drop-in sliding seat off E-Bay and got some fiberglass sculls for the gun dory. Now I find myself waiting for a little weather to make rowing more fun, but I think I will glue on a slightly larger skeg to give it just a bit more control. Raleigh F. Chicago

Paul....this was our first boat and I doubt I could have done it without the detailed start to finish step-by-step you provided. I liked the way you were able to anticipate the problems we might encounter and solutions. My 12 year old son and I were able to figure out thanks for all the explanation. I had planned to paint it but this plywood looks so nice I'm just going to varnish. Bill C. Phoenix

paul...I built your Max boat about 8 years ago and now that its been passed along to my grandkid after many fun camping trips I need a lighter rowing boat. The boats seem to get heavier every year once you break the 70 year old barrier. But since I am now an "expert" with plywood and epoxy I think the NGD might be enough boat to get me out there and still light enough to car-top. Liam. Anchorage

....I glued on a long keel mostly to protect the bottom, but like we discussed it really doesn't work that well, so I'm going back to the skeg you originally suggested. The long keel makes it too hard to turn when rowing especially in small wind waves, it just gets going in one direction and won't turn. I'll just shave it off with a plane and glue on a small sacrificial skeg. I was able to get some good epoxy down here in Baja and my biggest problem was keeping the shop cool and maybe should have bought some slow hardener. I bought drift boat plans from you many years ago when you were still in Montana. Brian B. aboard the sailboat Mary Rose.

Hey Paul....snaps included.  Sorry they're so dark it was just a stormy weekend up here in BC but we got in lots of fun rowing anyway and I found out I can pull my 50 pound Labrador Retriever into the boat without swamping.  The kids took the boat into the shallows and filled it with water and then got in and rowed it around and those big compartments really work.  I didn't silicone seal one of the Beckson ports well enough and it leaked but now I know.   Glenn F.   Sydney BC, Canada


Paul's Boat (click for more)

Steve's Boat (click for more)

Cameron's Boat (click for more)

Jesses Boat (click for more)