The Shipwright’s Next Project – TTG


"He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist." – Saint Francis of Assisi


Last year I introduced a series of videos where Master Shipwright Louis Sauzedde built a traditional work skiff in his Rhode Island workshop. I quoted Saint Francis then and it is appropriate to do so again. This year Lou designs and builds a sport dory of his own design using both traditional and innovative techniques and materials. I hope many of you find the series as entertaining and enlightening as I do.

In the first video Lou examines several types of dories and explores the mathematics of the designs. This reminded me of the programs supported by the Alexandria Seaport Foundation. Here former director Joe Youcha started an apprenticeship program for “at risk” youth to teach mathematics through building boats. Joe is now the director of the Building to Teach organization where he is expanding his concepts nationwide.


I believe Saint Francis would recognize the artistry of Lou and Joe with appreciation and admiration. May you all enjoy Lou’s videos in the same light. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my fellow committeemen


Season 2 – Building the TotalBoat Sport Dory

Alexandria Seaport Foundation

Building to Teach

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15 Responses to The Shipwright’s Next Project – TTG

  1. Fellow Traveler says:

    Had a dream of Lou (that voice!) doing a barrelback. It would be my end. Would have to quit my job, sell everything, cash out the 401k, move to New England and live in a cold van outside a workshop. I’d need St. Francis and a few dozen other saints.
    In the meantime, I’ll stick to my timber frame shed/cabin project and paw my Barr chisels.
    But if you wanted to start the Abbey Constructeur de Bateaux… We could brew beer on the side.

  2. Cortes says:

    The Foundation seems to be doing great work similar to an organisation close to where I am:
    Thanks, and good wishes to you and yours.

  3. GeneO says:

    Surf dories are for those with better seamanship than me. I’ll stick to a modified V-hull. Although I wouldn’t mind a small dory or maybe a batteau for quiet water.
    Don’t they have batteau festivals back in your neck of the woods?

  4. Fellow Traveler,
    I had to look up that barrelback. That’s a sweet little craft. That might be worth living in a van down by the river to have one of those.
    One of my brothers built a timber frame house and carriage shed in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He built his own road, cleared the land, milled the lumber and did it all with the help with a few neighbors and two other brothers. One has his own logging business and the other has a large machine repair business. My father brews the beer in his cellar.

  5. GeneO,
    That’s the annual James River Batteau Festival, a week long journey down 120 miles of the river. The batteaux used are replicas of colonial cargo craft although they are escorted by lots of canoes and kayaks.
    My brother and I sometimes launched open canoes into the surf. Usually it would take a few tries. I think the surf dory launch would be easier as long as you can handle the oars.

  6. dilbert dogbert says:

    I wish Louis Sauzedde had given credit to John Gardner’s “Dory Book” for the plans in his first video. I built a double ended dory style 20ft Pulling Boat from Gardner’s plans. He modified Herishoff’s plans and I increased the beam to 4ft. It was a fun project where I did a full scale lofting to develop station molds. I need another lifetime to build and sail all the boats I admire.

  7. GeneO says:

    TTG –
    I was thinking Lake George or Lake Champlain. Or maybe Maine. Had no idea they were used in Virginia. But it makes sense as they were a great river boat. The drift boats they use here on northwest rivers for fishing salmon and steelhead are most certainly a derivative. They are the best thing for shallow rocky-bottomed rivers and creeks. Some daredevils even shoot the rapids with them. ost are aluminum now, but there is a craftsman in Montana that still makes the traditional wooden versions.

  8. GeneO,
    I can see why you thought that. The lakes, rivers, rocky shores and forested hills of the Northeast shaped me, but I am now a displaced Yankee living in the great Commonwealth of Virginia. I do love my new home, but the Northeast will never leave my heart. I don’t know if there are any batteau festivals in the Northeast that rival the James River festival. Seems odd since the batteau was a common craft there as well. I did find a thesis about the Lake George batteaux in the colonial wars in that area. Just took a quick look at it and found it pretty interesting. Some of the construction details of those old batteaux remind me of the refined lines of the Adirondack Guideboat. Now that’s a beautiful boat.
    I remember reading an article about those wooden drift boats in Wooden Boat Magazine. Pretty wild. Maybe it was about that Montana dude. They remind me of the Grand Banks dories in general design.

  9. outthere says:

    Thanks for that video.
    Best day I ever had fishing was in a drift boat on the Rogue River, caught so many steelhead.
    Those boats remind me of the Australian surf boats, which have been put out of work by the jet skis, but are still much loved.

  10. outthere says:

    link to oz surf boat competition

  11. GeneO says:

    Outthere –
    Steelies are my favorite, better than salmon. I once caught an 18 pounder. I had been fishing some deep pools in the Wynoochee River with only one small fish. So just before going home I tried the shallow whitewater and hooked up this big steelhead knee deep behind a rock. Go figure. She was wild with no clipped fin so released her after weighing. Broke my heart.
    Who gets to choose starting position on the beach in those Australian surf boat races? Seems to me that the team at or near the rip current would be hard to beat.

  12. TimmyB says:

    Having grown up in Swampscott Massachusetts, I became aware of the “Swampscott Dory.” These small boats were beach launched craft used by fishermen and lobstermen. Here is a link to some photos.

  13. GeneO says:

    Timmy –
    West coast also has beach-launched dory fishing boats. Cape Kiwanda in Oregon is one spot where they are still used. Motorized nowadays though, not with oars. And probably not wooden anymore either. Newport Beach in Southern Cal also used to do it, not sure if they still do but if they do I suspect it is just for the tourists.

  14. Sans Racines says:

    TTG. Not sure we have these traditions in these parts but I’m happy to have just taken ownership of a table saw, to have raised up a tree-root ball to clear the way for a sapling blossom tree in its place, and for my son to have just received a hand-turned mallet from a friend of a friend with which to hit his first carving chisel – the old trunk and boughs will make a good target! Just maybe we’ll get around to boats one of these days… Thanks for the post.

  15. outthere says:

    Australia surf boats are featured in this famous 1961 Bruce Brown surf movie. Starts about minute 13. Shows some nice details, even the footstraps. Fibreglass and plywood, no planks.

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