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Long and skinny or ... long and wide?

Posted by Sandy 
Long and skinny or ... long and wide?
April 01, 2021 12:22PM
Long and Skinny or Long and Wide?
Should a white water dory carry its passengers in the middle? Or out at the ends the ends of the boat, like a Briggs?

I want the weight in the middle of the boat rather than out at the ends. For a lot of reasons.

In a high rocker boat passengers out at the ends are high up rather than low down. That makes the boat unnecessarily tippy.
Weight in the middle is more side to side stable and easier and quicker to turn.

Traditional Oregon dory builders know this. They have always put the payload as two or even three passengers across on a front seat relatively far back from the downstream end of the boat. That's how they perform best.

Two rogue traditions changed that: fly fishing and the Grand Canyon. For fly fishing you have to separate the two passengers. The boats become less maneuverable but that's the price you have to pay. The Grand Canyon is an odd story. Martin Litton paid Keith Steele to make a decked boat big enough to take four passengers. The Susy Two. Keith wasn't into it. He chopped in 15x48 boat in half and stretched it out to 19 feet long instead of scaling it up proportionately, so it was a long skinny boat with passengers at both ends.

He didn't want to build any more so Martin Litton got Jerry Briggs to do much the same. Not many Grand Canyon runners have ever tried to change anyhing. They build long skinny boats that are annoyingly side to side tippy. If a 19' foot boat had been scaled up proportionately, from the original Keith Steele boat, it would have been 60" inches wide not 48.

If it had been scaled up proportionately it could have carried all four passengers in the middle instead of the the ends. Which is how Oregon dories are supposed to work.
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