Fishing schooners from the mid-1800s were like mother ships, with dories stacked like cups on deck and dispatched with one or two men each morning with hand lines, and bait, to catch and haul up to 1200 pounds of fish from the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.
With ten to twelve dories returning multiple times to the schooner, tons of fish would be landed in a day. The most common size dory, we still row in America’s Oldest Seaport, Gloucester, Ma., is 17 feet with two rowing stations, weighing just under 400 pounds. It is amazing how such a heavy boat with 9+foot oars can plow through the waves.
A great read, by Captain Barry Fisher, A Doryman’s Day, is an engaging adventure of a young boy in Gloucester that became a dory fisherman. Our maritime culture is preserved by many fine organizations: Gloucester Maritime, Gloucester International Dory Racing Committee, Cape Ann Historical Museum, and Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association.
Any day spent with my son Jason, and friends in Gloucester Harbor is a great day, Rowing is a super workout–on kayaks, dories, skiffs and at the gym. Your posture will be better for it.