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Purchase plans from Duckworks

This modified version of the traditional gunning dory is built with lightweight ply and epoxy in a simplified double chine hull form. This new 16 footer is a lightweight version of our 19 foot gun dory which is a much larger big water design and is way too much boat for most people. The new boat has the same look in a smaller, easier to build lightweight hull that can be car-topped. It rows easily and properly equipped it makes a capable open water boat.

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 laminations. The hull exterior may be sheathed with glass cloth or glass tape can be laid over seams to save weight.

Structural storage compartments are easy to build and make waterproof using ply and epoxy, and also provide seating and emergency flotation capability should the hull fill with water. Compartments may be accessed by easily installed circular screw-outs, or by larger traditional hinged yacht hatches.

The smallest of electric or gas motors will push the slippery double chine hull, and a motor can be installed with a clamp-on side mount or in a custom built motor well conveniently located inside the boat. A typical motor well installation is included in the building plans.

There is room for two rowing stations, or the double ender makes a pleasing solo camp cruiser with room for piles of gear. A drop-in sliding seat rowing unit such as the Piantedosi can be installed and removed in seconds, and the boat is fast enough to make an enjoyable exercise rower which works well in waves that would disable a rowing shell. With appropriate seating the boat may also be paddled like a canoe, or poled standing up in calm water. Build two of these and enjoy rowing or cruising together, or just drifting a quiet stream.

The detailed building plans are $38 and include over 30 pages, all written for amateurs and first timers. These new gun dory plans are expanded with many new options for materials, reinforcements and interior layout, and include sketches, photos, material sources, step-by-step and discussion of many options to modify and customize the boat.

Paul,....I had finished my boat several weeks ago and was finally able to get it to the water today. It's always a joyous day launching a new boat especially one I've built and after about ten minutes the boat and I were one. A couple of power boats blasted by and we rode the wake with ease and it was very stable once I got the feel for it. For this first trip I used 6.5 foot oars but I'm going to switch them out for my 8 footers. The boat moved at a good pace and while I didn't bring my GPS today, I suspect it's easily as fast as my kayak if not more so. After some time I realized I need to fabricate some foot braces so I can push as I pull as I found myself using my arms more than my whole body.

All in all I am completely delighted with the build. The boat is light and nimble in the water and really is a treat to row. I was out very early in the day and there weren't many people around, but the ones that were couldn't believe how beautiful the boat is. One guy asked me lots of questions and wanted to know where I got the plans. Anyway, I had a wonderful time building the boat and now I'm going to have a wonderful time rowing it. Once I add the foot braces and anti slip seating, I'm sure I'll be able to row for hours. Can't wait to see your new plans for the sliding seat dory. Could be my winter project. Thanks for the great design and your help and assistance during the building process.

All the best Paul Sincerely, Ralph C. P. Salmon Arm, BC


Thank you for your response. I've drifted the Siletz river and have taken the gun dory thru moderate rapids with no problem.

Just puts a smile on my face when ever I test it a little. It's so responsive I can stop right in a good riffle and hold or manuver away from bad spots. Next year I want to take it out of Depoe Bay or Newport and do some bottom fishing which should be fun. I have 2 other boats and I fish the ocean quite a bit for tuna and salmon.

I used yew wood for the gunwales, skeg and seat. The epoxy didn't really like the yew as an adhesive, maybe too much oil or too dense but it's tough and looks nice. But all in all it was a very enjoyable experience. Thank you again.

Dan Moore, Oregon



I'm in Baghdad right now, but I'll be home in a few weeks. I'm planning to spend my leave on this Pacific Troller gun dory project when I get back to Ft Drum. Being able to go out to my shop and build and tinker has been one of the biggest things I've missed over the last year. I saw your article in Outdoor Life and though this would be a great project to relax to while I get used to being back home. I'll let you know how it goes.



I got into woodworking a few years back when I was a Career Fire Chief up in Maine and have always wanted to try a project like this especially being into duck hunting, fishing, etc... Thank GOD Outdoor Life ran that article or I'd have never found you.

I'll be sure to keep you posted on the progress, my son just got home from the Army so we plan to work on it over the summer. We're both looking forward to it.

Thanks for taking the time to contact me, it's great to see some companies still have the personal touch especially in today's fast paced Internet world.



.....this is the perfect boat for fishing the Sound for local salmon and trout.

Gary. Port Orchard, Wa


Hello Paul.

I like it. an open water camp cruiser I can cartop, with room for my dog and my camp gear. looks like a scandinavian pulling boat. Will nine foot oars work for distance rowing? do you have any ideas for a tent shelter?

Monte. Yakima Wa


Paul, My son and I finished the little gun dory (Pacific Troller) and theres more than enough room for 2 rowing stations, and I’m a pretty big guy at 280 pounds. An hour rowing on the lake here beats heck out of an hour inside the health club on those machines. I really need the upper body workout I get from rowing, and I know that because after the first long row I was really sore but after a few sessions I’m starting to feel my strength again. After I drop a few more pounds I might get one of those Piantedosi sliding seat units we discussed for a better workout. I love the way the dory slips through the water and my son likes it when we have some wave action and we always get comments when we cartop it around town. So do I get a cut on all the plans I sell for you? Rory. Utica, New York


Hey Paul, the dory finally splashed this weekend. Wow, what a fast rowing dory! I can't decide which I had the most fun doing, making the boat or just being on the water. She moves quickly with the 8 foot oars. I don't have much rowing experience, but this boat zips right through the water.

It took about 8 weeks to get everything together. As we discussed, I put in a transom so I can mount a little outboard or maybe an electric troller too. I hope to do a lot of cruising on the coast and bays around here, and on some of the local lakes and rivers - and some camping trips too. And thanks for all your replies to my emailed questions! The plans were great! Now I just have to decide what boat I want to build next. For now, I'll just spend some time getting to know this little dory.

Cheers, bob & gina arnold

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Ralph's Boat (click for more)

Krister's Boat (click for more)

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Dan's Boat (click for more)

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