Jul 11, 2016

The Pacific City Dory

We went to Pacific City Oregon to surf but there was so much more to offer in Cape Kiwanda Natural Park! I'll begin with the Pacific City Dory boats as the sight of these boats throwing themselves through the shore breaks and onto the beach was quiet remarkable. They have quite a history and I took a photo of the dedication wall in the harbor parking lot and wrote it out so you can read up about the Dory if you are interested. Just scroll down this post for that and a video if you'd like to see the action.

For more than a century, boats have gone to sea from this sandy beach and shelter of Cape Kiwanda. There is no other harbor, port, or fishing fleet anywhere in the world exactly like this. It’s truly unique how it evolved.

The dory’s origins came from the turn of the 20th century surf dories and Nestucca River gill net boats that sold their fish tot he salmon cannery established in 1887 near the mouth of the river.

After 1927 commercial fishing was only allowed in the open ocean. Since the Nestucca had a shallow dangerous bar accessible only at flood tide. a new larger surf boat was needed to be launched in the lee of cape Kiwanda. 

This larger dory was called a “double ender” because it was a pointed at both ends. It had two sets of oars, able to be rowed through the Pacific surf and out to sea. Later double enders had a motor well near the stern. There, small outboard motors were installed after negotiating the surf, for sighing during the day and then removed when rowing back to the beach.

Once outboard motors became powerful enough and more reliable the modern “square stern” dory was born. The Modern Pacific City dory is open hulled and flat bottomed and is pushed or rowed into the Pacific surf until deep enough to drop the outboard motor and then powered through the surf into the open ocean. Even with modern motors, many doormen still for through the surf just as the fathers and grandfathers did before using motors. 

When ocean conditions allow, Pacific City dories fish the waters off of Cape Kiwanda, laughing from and sliding back up the beach in the lee of the cape. Many doormen trailer these rugged marine plywood and fiberglass dories to Oregon ports  from Brookings to Astoria fishing for Chinook and Coho salmon, Dungeness crab, Albacore tuna and various rock fish.
The dory fleet is renowned for it’s incredible safety record. Doormen are often the first responders to distress calls and other marine emergencies . In 100+ only six known dorymen have lost their lives at sea, making the Pacific City dory and the men and women in sail them some of the best mariners  in the marine environment. The success of the Pacific City dory belongs to the stalwart and visionary doormen and women who recognized now versatile  it could become.

In 1996, a Dorymen’s Association was founded . It’s a non profit organization with the primary mission to preserve and protect the historic traditions given to them by the pioneers of the fleet. The association supports Oregon’s public beach laws and regulations and works with local, state, and federal agencies.

The Pacific City Dorymen’s Association welcomes you to the Home of the Dory fleet. to all who come this way, may you find enjoyment here.