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Glen-L Lucky Pierre Dory: Third Build’s a Charm

On May 31, 2019, in Glen-L Styles, by Gayle Brantuk

The Glen-L Lucky Pierre is a 29 foot Saint Pierre Dory. This boat is designed for a well-mounted outboard, standard inboard or a traditional dory haul-up type of inboard.

We often wonder how many of our boats have actually been built. We sell a lot of plans, but unless the builder sends us photos of the finished boat, we don’t know whether it’s been built.

Such was the case when I got the following email from Mark Smith and then the response from one of our builders. I hope you enjoy their comments…

I just returned from Seattle and the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival.  Wow what a great collection of wooden boats of all shapes, sizes and description.   While walking the docks, my eye caught a distinctive shape, a Glen-L Lucky Pierre dory.   The owner Thomas … and his wife invited me aboard to see their Solar Electric version of  the Lucky Pierre named “Daddy’s Third”, since it’s the third Lucky Pierre he’s built, each a slightly different take on the design.   His wife told me they have cruised the Puget Sound area with their two daughters quite comfortably and have felt very safe in their 3  St Pierre dories over the years.  

Thomas has set up this version to be Solar powered with a large array, sophisticated batteries, and modified twin trolling motors to drive it.   He’s modified the motors with the power heads mounted on struts on either side of the boat, and both controllers are mounted on a pedestal next to the tiller inside the boat.   He says the electric motors move the boat along nicely with no sound, and the solar array and batteries will last for hours at cruise power, and still have excess for LED lights, computers and phone charging (the daughters are teenagers now).  Without the need for a motor-well, the aft end has more room.   Thomas has rigged a large cover over the aft end that provides plenty of stand up room.  He’s also rigged a control station under the wheel house for bad weather, but can still use the tiller when the sun’s out.  This is a lesson learned from a previous version. I’m a sucker for stories of guys who keep tweaking something till it’s perfect for them.  Or maybe it’s the enthusiasm and pride they have for the finished product.  Anyway thought you might be interested in the story of “Daddy’s Third”. 

Mark Smith

Dallas, TX

The builder Mark mentioned is Tom Hruby who had sent in photos of his first Lucky Pierre that are in our Gallery. I contacted him to find out about the other two Lucky Pierre’s he built and this is his response…

Hi Gayle,

Here are some pictures of Daddy’s Third; the third St. Pierre dory I built from your plans.  As Mark mentions in his e-mail, my building the dories has been an evolving project. My first one, built in 1995 had an inboard electric motor (36 volt golf cart system) using lead acid batteries. That was the technology available at that time.  I also reduced the dimensions by 10% because I did not feel comfortable towing an 8′ wide boat at that time.  (Note from Glen-L: We don’t recommend reducing the beam of a design, just the length.) We cruised Puget Sound in that boat for 10 years.  My two daughters were teenagers at that time and started to complain the cabin was too small (my wife and I slept in the cockpit over the motor).  So, I built the full size, 26′ version.  By 2006 the technology had improved and I could use two 36 volt trolling motors for the power.  I put them in an inboard well.  These are the pictures of the dory I posted on your site.

It took me 5 years to realize that the trolling motors can be separated from their throttle heads and attached to the sides.  I guess it’s hard to think outside the box! So I sealed up the well and put the motors on the outside.  That worked fine until we got caught in a thunderstorm.  I was stuck on the transom cowering in the rain while my wife and daughter were in the cabin laughing at me.  At that point I decided to build my third dory and included a more protected steering station.  That is Daddy’s third.
By 2012 the technology of electric propulsion had again made big improvements.  Instead of lead acid batteries I installed Lithium iron phosphate batteries and solar panels.  The lithium batteries increased my range 3 fold. The batteries fit within the same footprint as the 12 golf cart batteries and I had to add another 150 lbs of ballast because they were lighter.  At hull speed I can now get 60 miles and at 3 knots I can get 180 miles on a charge.  The solar panels can propel the boat at 2.8 knots directly or I can get 1 hour of cruising at hull speed for every 4 hours of sunlight. 

This is “Daddy’s Second”. The rest of this version can be seen in Tom’s Gallery
“Daddy’s Third” – See more in Tom’s latest Gallery

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