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Cape Kiwanda on the Oregon Coast Celebrates Dory Days
Pacific City

Dory Days celebrates the rich history of the Dory Fleet that launch off the beach at Pacific City

dory boat history

July 20-21, 2013

A time-honored celebration of a time-honored tradition in Pacific City.  Festivities include a parade through town of floats, dory boats and vintage cars.  After that, a marine artisan fair is held at the beach on Cape Kiwanda.

The modern Dory Fleet has evolved from boats that went to sea from Cape Kiwanda more than 100 years ago. There's no other marine fishery exactly like this anywhere in the world. Dory Days celebrates this rich history with a Parade, Marine Fair and Fish Fry (enjoy Dory caught fish!) at Cape Kiwanda, and an Artisan Fair in the downtown area.

More than 300 vessels call Pacific City their "home port" and are so recognized by federal, state and local governments on the west coast. Thousands of visitors travel to Cape Kiwanda every year to enjoy this unique and traditional activity.

The local dory's origins are from the turn of the 20th century surf dories and Nestucca River gill net boats that fished this area and sold their fish to the salmon cannery established in 1887 near the mouth of the river.

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.

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.

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