The Dory Shop

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada | (902) 640-3005 |

While best known as rowing craft, dories also make for fun and versatile sail boats. With a fairly minimal investment, you can outfit all but our very smallest boats with a simple, and fully removable, sailing rig. Masts thread through a hole cut through the forwardmost seat, or thwart, and rest in a step fastened to the boat's bottom. Stays are not generally required. For best results, we do suggest the installation of a centerboard, which can be let down to act like a keel, keeping the boat on course while sailing, but can be hauled up when you wish to beach or trailer the boat. A rudder with a nice long tiller arm provides comfortable, reliable steering and is also designed so that it can be hauled up when not in use.

Balanced lug

A simple rig that's perfectly effective, especially for our smaller dories, the balanced lug is based on a single sail that is not attached to the mast in any way, but rather is laced to the boom and yard. This makes a lug sail easy to rig, to reef and to repair - but then again, there's not a lot to go wrong here and no expensive fittings to mess with.

Gaff jib and main

Want to add a little more sail to your dory? Then our gaff rigged jib and main is your choice. A little more traditional looking - though to be honest, a fishing dory carried only the simplest sail in hopes of catching a fair wind that would run them home to the mother schooner - this rig runs fore and aft, or bow to stern if you like. It includes a sizable main sail and a smaller triangular jib. See one sailing here:


Want to sail upwind? You’ll want to add a centerboard. This metal fin, housed in a wooden casing and fully retractable for beaching and trailering, will reduce the unwanted sideways motion when wind fills your sails and will keep your boat from drifting to leeward.


Highly recommended if you plan to sail your dory, a rudder is also a plus when using an outboard in a motor well. Rather than sitting on top of your motor, you can put the outboard in a fixed position and steer by the tiller. Steering in rough weather is also more reliable by this method.