The Dory Shop

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

Stories from the The Dory Shop

A dulsing dory for Grand Manan

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As explained in a post about a wooden boat we built earlier this year, there is a modification that can be made to the transom of a Banks dory that allows the boat to carry an outboard motor directly from the stern.

We call the dories that have this feature Grand Manan dories as the modification has historically been most popular with dulse harvesters from this small but colorful island in the Bay of Fundy.


For the uninitiated, dulse is a sea plant that is harvested in Ireland, Iceland, Atlantic Canada and the Northeast United States for use as food and medicine. Dark purple in colour, it is one of the so-called ‘super foods’ as it is so full of vitamins and minerals – especially when compared to most vegetables – as well as being a good source of fibre, protein and iodine.

It’s also pretty versatile as the fresh product can be cooked into soups and chowders, or served in salads, while the dried product can be pounded into an easily disguised powder for cooking and baking or served as a crispy snack food.

It’s a bit of an acquired taste, to be sure! But those who like dulse like it a lot, and my grandad Johnny was one who did!

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Anyway, this Grand Manan dory is truly headed to Grand Manan Island where the dulsing season has just ended but her future owner, Shawn, will be all set for next season.

The islanders prefer dories because of the fact they draw so little water, enabling them to enter the sometimes shallow coves where the dulse grows. The boats also carry an incredibly heavy load for their size, and wet sea plants weigh a lot! And of course they are legendary sea boats –  a point brought home to us recently when we spoke with another Grand Manan-er who’s owned a few of our boats.

Gene described being off Southern Head Light when it “breezed up suddenly and the seas were just curling, and that dory still kept me alive and put me up on that other sea. They really stand some sea those boats,!” he said.

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Jay still has a nice wide stern seat with locker to build in to this dory before he’s finished, but I thought our followers might enjoy seeing how a resourceful boatbuilder carefully manipulates a straight piece of oak, soaked overnight in the harbour, to form the distinctively curved gunwale of a Banks dory. And all without asking anyone for a hand, especially Dory Plug, ’cause she’d probably do something wrong and it would crack and then the builder would be angry and it would have ruined everyone’s Friday!

Dory Plug

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The Dory Shop