The Story of the Pacific City Dory
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 is truly unique how we 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 to
the salmon cannery established in 1887 near the mouth of the
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 need to be launched
in the lee of Cape Kiwanda.
This larger dory was called a "double ender" because it was
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 fishing during the day and then removed
when rowing back to the beach.
Once outboard motors because 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 do drop the outdrive or outboard motor
and then powered through the surf into the open ocean. Even with
modern motors, many dorymen still row through the surf just as their
fathers and grandfathers did before using their motors.
When ocean conditions allow, Pacific City dories fish the waters off
of Cape Kiwanda, launching from and sliding back up on the beach
in the lee of the Cape. Many dorymen trailers 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 its incredible safety record. Dorymen
are often the first responders to distress calls and other marine
emergencies. In 100+ years only 6 know dorymen have lost their
lives at sea, making the Pacific City dory and the men and women
who sail them some of the safest mariners in the marine environment.
The success of the Pacific City dory belongs to the stalwart and visionary
dorymen and women who recognized how 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 us by the pioneers of our fleet. The
Association supports Oregon's public beach laws and regulations
and work 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.
The 'wall' in the picture above is a tribute to the past and current
dorymen and dorywomen of Pacific City, Oregon. The wall also displays
the story of the Pacific City Dory.