dory vs. fjord explorer

Hello, Alpackans!

I purchased a dory about a year ago, and I have had a lot of fun with it, some of which I posted here on this forum (e.g. bike-rafting with it on the Mississippi, using it to shepherd someone on a cross-lake swim, and a whole lot more general goofing around in the water).

I have used the rowing-frame pretty happily, but of course it is also kind of bulky and gets in the way. Bulky even when collapsed for packing. Gets in the way when you are using it–e.g., no way to get a second person into the bow with you if you are rowing. (Though I did get two people into it a few times in kayak-paddle mode. Once it was me at 190 lbs plus older brother at 240 or so lbs, and we found we had plenty of freeboard and could get up a good head of steam with two kayak paddles.) The rowing feature makes a huge difference to flat-water speed–there’s just no way to kayak-paddle it as fast as you can row it.

Anyhow–the new Fjord Explorer looks even better. I’m wondering just how jealous I should be. Here are some specific questions:

a) Is the raft itself pretty much the same? I see two differences: the velcro frame-attachment loops are positioned differently, since the frame is different, and the oral inflation tube is a different color! Pretty minimal.
b) is it possible to purchase the new frame and oars and retrofit them onto the old dory raft? I’m thinking that if its just a matter of the velcro-attachments, it might work. Any thoughts on this, e.g. pricing?

Constant innovation is cool. If it means last year’s purchasers wish they could have this year’s model, that’s a small price to pay. Still, if there’s an upgrade path, that’s even better.



Hi Fred,

It’s Sheri answering. Here are the differences in the dory and the explorer.
The boat itself is the same, nothing changed on the hull, just the color of the elbow valve, like you noticed.
Only the frame changed. And the upgrade was to get rid of the bar going across the middle of the boat. It has worked quite well.

I can upgrade your dory with the new frame. It is best if we do it at the shop. i just did one 2 days ago, it was my first upgrade and it was trickier than I thought. Getting the grabloops on in the right place is a real pain, but completely doable. Yes, The oarlocks are positioned closer to the rower by 3 inches. I felt I had the oarlocks a little too far forward on the Dory.

All in all I think the new frame is a good improvement. It is so nice not to have the bar across the center of the boat.

Hope that helps!

Cheers, Sheri

Thanks, Sheri!

And the new frames a little lighter, did I read? How about the paddles–can I keep those from the old rig?

Anyhow–I’ll email you about pricing.

Fact is, I’ve got the dory up in dry-dock for the winter, so this is a good time to send it in to you for retro-fitting.

Thanks for making great products, and for making them better.

best wishes, Fred

Hi Fred,

The oarframe is a little lighter - about 1.5 lbs., vs. the old 2.5 lbs. I’m just finishing up the new manual. The oars haven’t changed so your oars will work fine.

What would be really cool is if we could make the frame multipurpose someday, but I don’t know how that would work… “It’s an oarframe! And an ice axe! And a can openner!” I was real into Transformers as a kid. :smiley: