Small-boat designer and builder Daniel Noyes launched his Beachcomber-Alpha dory—with some alterations—in 2008 as a kind of tribute to maritime historian John Gardner. Living as he does in Newbury, Massachusetts, he was well aware of the type, which originated in the late 1800s in nearby Marblehead. These towns are near Gloucester, north of Boston, where dories thrived in the schooner fisheries and were soon enough adapted as racing sailboats when the sport took hold in the late 1800s.In the 1970s, Gardner documented the Beachcomber-Alpha dories not once but twice, first in his Building Classic Small Craft (International Marine, Camden Maine, 1977) and again in The Dory Book (International Marine, 1978). Gardner was a vocal advocate of traditional designs for small craft and also of traditional and practical construction. Dan’s dory touched water for the first time at WoodenBoat’s waterfront in Brooklin, Maine, hours before the Small Reach Regatta (SRR) in 2008. He brought it back again in 2009.

Beachcomber-Alpha DoryLauren Noyes

Originally intended for spirited racing, the Beachcomber-Alpha dory can be an exciting handful to manage. With three crew, one handles the jibsheet, another the mainsheet, and the third steers by means of a continuous loop of line made off to a yoke over the rudderhead.

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