On the Grand Canyon, we put multiple people in a Dory on 4 separate occasions, twice on the Colorado, once canyoneering, once spelunking. The following pix are from one of the times on the big river (others are forthcoming, once I get them from friends).
Configurations We Tried:
1. Canoe Style: Two in the raw (unrigged) Dory, one sitting on the seat pad, facing forward or aft (forward for rapids, aft for flatwater & afternoon tea), kayak paddles and/or halved paddles. Occupants in the 140-170 pound range, I’d guess.
Biggest Rapid Run: 5 on the Canyon Scale (1-10 scale), Class III, large waves.[/b]
Results: Very good. Very stable: the open dory gets a lot of water in it in the big waves and eddy lines, the but two people actually make it VERY stable. The most successful method was giving each paddling 1/2 a breakdown paddle, so they paddled like canoeists. The boat held up great, despite the large forces two people put on it. Having a bailer is highly recommended, as is a drysuit, wetsuit, etc… the boat gets a lot of water in it. Nobody swam.
2. Lewis & Clark style: pure comedy: 2 guys, (160 lbs. and 200+ lbs.) in the Dory, plus the oarframe. Non-rower had a kayak paddle
to brace. We ran constant riffles, a 4 (Zoroaster) and tried to surf unsuccessfuly (kept arguing like Laurel and Hardy, about how to get the wave).
Results: Hysterical. Giggled for about 1/2 a mile, straight, then got in a sea battle with our kayakers. Only swam when we jumped overboard in order to take the battle to the retreating enemy. However, it’s hard to get a good oarstroke with your buddy in the bow, as a result of how far forward the current oarlocks sit. Pix forthcoming.
3. Caving & Canyoneering: Used the Dory, unrigged, as a ferry-boat to cross canyon pools, and travel a couple hundred meters through flooded tunnels. 2-4 occupants, including multiple big guys (200+ pounds) at the same time. Hand-paddled, used pull-tethers, single-kayak-paddler, and commando-sneaking under low cave ceilings by pulling with our hands.
Results: Excellant. I hope the pictures come out. With 3 big guys, expect to ship water. The tubes get low in the water. We only carried 4 when the fourth was a pirate who jumped on board and hung of the back; much hilarity. However, the boat did great. At one point, a rock climber fell 5 or 6 into the Dory in a pool, directly onto the floor, and caused no damage. The fact that you can just throw the unrigged boat over obstacles and up steep rock came in handy, as well.
Two people in a Dory isn’t as maneuverable as being alone in the boat, for certain, but it’s a lot of fun, and viable for slow canoe-style ventures. We saw the boat will survive big, deep wave trains and eddy lines fine, but will ship a lot of water. I think big ferries or highly technical maneuvers might be very sketchy, at least without some sort of tandem spraydeck.
Stability = high.
Non-Technical Performance = Very Good.
Technical Performance = Unknown, beyond the design intention of the boat. ???
Has anyone else done multi-person Dory ventures?