C-Dory 22 Angler: A Boat for Alaska

The Gillie: Our 2008 C-Dory 22 Angler taking a cruise on the Sacramento River

“Gillie” is a Scottish term that refers to a fishing or hunting attendant, much like a guide. As such, armed with an excellent electronic fish-finding unit, a dependable 90 hp Honda engine (and an 8 hp kicker), and enough open deck to comfortably fish two or three anglers (four in a pinch), this boat has proved to be a reliable gillie. Barbra and I have spent many nights both on the water and on land snuggly tucked away in the cuddy cabin, and the dinette table in the pilot house is just big enough for the two of us to enjoy a meal. These boats are capable of storing an amazing amount of gear, the hull is tough, and on flat water loaded down with fishing gear and four medium-sized adults, it tops out around 25 knots (about 29 mph). Inside the pilot house with the Alaskan bulkhead door closed, making long runs is both warm and quiet. The 90 hp Honda trolls beautifully when we’re running rigs for salmon, and the shallow draft (well under two feet) allows us to get in the rocks in pursuit of species close to shore.

Ask a typical boat owner what the best boat is, and they’re likely to tell you, “The one I own right now.” That’s how we feel about our C-Dory. With a beam of only 7’9″, it’s a breeze to tow, yet it’s enough boat to feel safe on fairly big water–from the California coast to the ocean bays of Alaska. You’ve probably heard the quip that goes, “The two happiest days in a boater’s life are the day he buys the boat and the day he sells it.” Not with a C-Dory. The happiest days are the ones we have it on the water.

12 thoughts on “C-Dory 22 Angler: A Boat for Alaska

  1. Interesting stories with beautiful photos. I’m thinking of getting a C-dory. A friend has one and I’ve gone out for several weekend trips. Great boat really. I understand why people don’t like them because I’ve been out in a same sized Olympic and had twice the comfortable ride but at twice the fuel cost. I think they handle great in the ocean, yes a little poundy in the chop. I would like a dry-deck too. The newer ones I think are dry. Cheers!

    • Most things in life are compromises between competing wants. When you find something that fits just right, it’s gold. Our C-Dory 22 Angler is one of those things. Our hearts sing every time we board this vessel. We shopped a lot of boats – Olympics, Arimas, Grady Whites, and many others. And I’ll grant you, the C-Dory’s aren’t for everyone. But if someone were to give us a different boat – bigger, smaller, faster, something with more doo-dads – it would remain tied to the dock while we continue to take our Angler out on the water or hitch it up and tow it to the next destination. The hull construction is sound, the layout is simple. It’s the easiest ocean-capable boat to trailer we know of. The amount of storage space in the pilot house is amazing, the overhead and the cuddy cabin (sleeping berth) provide enough room for a guy of my height (6’ 1” to be comfortable) and there’s something about the quiet manner in which this boat slips through the water that makes it a salmon catching machine. Many days we’ve come in with limits while even the guides – in their larger boats – were still scratching around.

      It’s like our Lance 845 camper. You couldn’t give us another RV. With the Lance on our trusty Chevy 2500, we can park anywhere, go anywhere, and the way we live, it’s plenty of room. Others would feel cramped in the space. We luxuriate in the options the small space creates. We’ve had our C-Dory up river in water too shallow for most 16’ open V-haul fishing boats. We’ve trailered it up and down the Al-Can highway without incident 6 times now. I wouldn’t want to try that with a Grady White. It bounces in chop. True enough. So you back off the throttle. I’ll tell you a negative hardly anyone talks about. C-Dories, with their shallow keel and high profile can be tough to dock in even light wind. But man, they are a joy to camp in, the Angler is a joy to fish from, they are a breeze to clean up, no ocean-capable boat trailers more easily… It really comes down to the individual matter of what a person wants in a boat. It’s fun to dream about boats though…

      • yeah, thanks for the reply. The ease in getting it on off the trailer at launch too. Another friend of mine has a 24′ North River inboard jet, what a beast to handle at the launch, and you can’t even really sleep in it or cook a meal in it!

        • saw your photo on the truck and camper website too, nice set up. I keep threatening my wife with that exact vision. Not sure she’s up for it, but if there’s a head maybe even shower available might seal the deal.

        • We really appreciate the shower in the Lance camper. And on the C-Dory, although you can have a Wallace stove installed, we just have a portable Coleman 2-burner stove. The setup works fine and from what I’ve read is probably less hassle than the Wallace. Anyway, good luck!

  2. Hi guys. my name is Luis Avila and i a’m heady to buy a C-Dory 22′ cruiser, in Master Marine in Mount Vernon, WA. I have a truck camper and I was driving on the I-5 north, heading to port of Anna cortes to take the ferry to Victoria island, British Columbia Canada, and follow in love with the C-Dory cruiser. I live in Cedar city, UT. and i have a old dream to pull the boat all the way to Corpus Crist, Tx. and go all the way to Mexico, by the golf of Mexico to port of Progresso, Merida, Yucatam. And than all the way, follow by the coast of south America to Vitoria, Espirito Santo, Brasil. Do you think that is enough boat to do all the way and come back to Corpus crist and than drive back home alive. Just kiting. Hall to find out what is the best season to do this adventure? what kind the equipment I have to install to do this trip safe. Please help realized this Dreaming. Attn: Luis Avila.

    • Hi Luis, I’m not qualified to specifically answer your question. Here are my general thoughts: Make sure the boat, engines and fuel capacity match up to give you the cruising range you need on any long voyage. Don’t accept manufacturer’s numbers: test this yourself. We frequently cruise 25 to 35 miles in comfort and have done one-way 90-100 mile trips with ease. A challenge on the trip you’re describing would be fuel/running range.
      To figure out the best season, either talk to sailors who cruise the area or use Google.
      Personally, if I was set on the cruise you’re describing, I’d look for a sailboat.
      Good luck to you, Luis. JD

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