70329RE: [bolger] Dovekie
- Jun 26, 2014
John’s description is, as usual, on the mark.
If his accurate analysis has sold anyone on the design, I have one for sale at:
Bolger was pretty ruthless when it came to designing a boat foe a specific purpose and he designed Dovekies for shallow water cruising. With the boards up, they draw about 4” and, with the bow centerboard, they can sail pretty well in 6”. They have a comfortable cockpit with chair height seating and a reasonable back rest. They have substantial form stability and you can stand up and walk around. The tenting does work, particularly with the “back porch” option. Camping on the cockpit floor with substantial air/foam mattresses is quite comfortable. Mast raising and anchor tending are done from a forward hatch and you stand about hip deep in the boat while doing this. You can, in fact, row a Dovekie, but the oars are very long and go through ports in the side—kind of awkward when coming along side a dock as you can’t lift the oar out of the lock. Moving around on the boat requires ducking under the boom gallows (aka “the roll bar”) and a lot of crawling around. The leeboards work but are raised and lowered by a crank handle. I found that lowering and raising the board took a considerable effort. They sail pretty well in light air. When the wind picks up, they need to be reefed, but the center of effort on the low aspect leg of mutton sail moves forward and generates lee helm. The lee helm can be offset with the bow centerboard, but the bow cb resists turning and heading up in a puff doesn’t work very well—you need to ease the main. Dovekies can be capsized and they hold a lot of water. They are constructed of fg over closed cell foam so they wont sink…
If you are young and/or limber and want to “beach cruise” or poke around where the water meets land, they are about as good as you will find. However, if you plan to go off shore, there are many better choices…
Not like the looks of Dovekie? That would be the first requirement! Apart from that, you’d have to be more specific about your intended cruising waters. Dovekie is for shoal water cruising, generally in protected waters. It’s a boat but you must want it for what it does well, what it was designed to do, or it might not endear itself to you You must not mind crawling about on hands and knees. It’s a two person tent. But not like the looks? It’s irresistible, like Raymond Loewy’s Studebakers!
I have a line on a Dovekie here in Western Michigan. I am interested in it, but know little to nothing about Dovekies. I am not particularly enamored of the looks, but would it be a capable camp cruiser in my native waters of Lake Michigan and the waters of Lakes Huron and Superior in the Upper Peninsula? I'd like to hear from folks about the pros and cons of the boat, especially those who have had experience with them. Thanks,
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