Cape Ann’s hearty and historical maritime heritage is known throughout the world. One way we honor the traditions of our coastal culture is by celebrating it in our community and inviting others to join us, by doing so, we keep our connections alive and vibrant.
The annual International Dory Races held in June in Gloucester and August in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia are a prime example of a tradition that lives on. The 63rd meeting of rowers has now concluded but the goodwill and love for the simple craft remains strong.
Every year since 1952, two non-profit organizations have worked collaboratively to arrange the competition between Gloucester and Lunenburg. Visit the Websites of the Gloucester International Dory Racing Committee and the Canadian Racing Dory Committee to learn more about these competitors and the fantastic boats that they pilot.
The history of the fierce but friendly competition of strength, speed and stamina has inspired the best dory boat rowers from Cape Ann and the maritime communities of Nova Scotia in a set of races that test the abilities of men, women, seniors and children. The twenty foot long flat bottom wooden planked boats designed to carry heavy loads of fish with room for two rowers were arguably first crafted in Amesbury by Simeon Lowell, founder of the Lowell's Boat Shop at the end of the seventeen hundreds. Since then, strong dory building traditions continue in Gloucester and in several ports in Nova Scotia.
Since that time, these strong and functional boats were mastered by fisherman who powered the boats by oar overcoming the harsh and demanding North Atlantic. The dory, under able command, has endured challenges of work and performed well for pleasure, even under sail.
The strong connections between these two fishing towns are separated by the Gulf of Maine and the Grand Banks but they are brought together by a mutual respect for the challenges of earning a living from the sea and a friendly rivalry to demonstrate rowing prowess.
If you did not have a chance to see this year’s racing you still can come to Gloucester and watch the Oarmaster’s Cup Race on Saturday, October 11th at 10 AM at Maritime Gloucester.
Authentic, hardworking men and women are hallmarks of Cape Ann. Come and enjoy a day with friendly and fun-loving people and you too may find yourself in a dory.