It’s unfortunate that “Jack of all trades” is so often followed by “master of none.” It is possible to do a number of things quite well, and versatility is often of more value than virtuosity. The new Southwester Dory from Chesapeake Light Craft (CLC) was designed to serve not only as a sailboat and a rowboat, but also as a motor launch, and it does well in all three capacities. Its predecessor is CLC’s Northeaster Dory, a boat that proved popular among the sail-and-oar crowd, but many prospective buyers asked about adding outboard power. Designer John Harris wisely left his Northeaster as it was and drew up a slightly larger boat that could accommodate a small motor.The narrow, raked transom isn’t meant to support an outboard, and the slender sections aft won’t support the weight of someone at the motor’s tiller, so John situated the Southwester’s motorwell just aft of amidships. The centralized well, an optional module that can be installed at any time during or after construction of the boat, allows comfortable seating and makes it easy to get to the motor’s fuel cock, steering friction screw, tilt lock, and fuel-tank cap without having to hang overboard. It brings the motor’s noise into the middle of the boat, but in a small boat, there’s no escaping it anyway.The well is long enough to allow the motor to kick up when it hits something or isn’t in use—a real advantage over a short well that requires removing the motor and stowing it elsewhere  to transition to rowing or sailing, coming ashore, or coasting over shoals. While leaving the motor lowered creates a lot of drag, so does the motor well opening. So the Southwester has two inserts to fill the open slot, one notched to fit around the motor when it is in use, and the other to fill the entire slot. Toggles hold the plywood inserts in place.

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