RIP wooden boat builder Harold “Dynamite” Payson

We here at Chine bLog were sad to hear the news earlier this week of the passing of Harold “Dynamite” Payson. If the late, great Phil Bolger deserved eternal bliss for designing the Gloucester Light Dory, Dynamite Payson deserves the same for making the great design so accessible. Dynamite Payson literally wrote the book on building the Gloucester Light Dory, the one I used when I built one at age 16. How to Build the Gloucester Light Dory: A Classic in Plywood is a well-produced, easy-to-follow guide to building the boat, and it made the project possible. I even contacted Mr. Payson a year later to inquire about the feasibility of adding a sliding seat to the boat. He responded graciously to a 17 year-old kid without much forethought on hydrodynamics. I wish I could have met him.

Carl Cramer, of Wooden Boat Publications, did know him, and wrote a nice obituary on Monday. Carl is also quoted in one in the Bangor Daily News that gives more background on the man. Read these and learn about this obviously great man and important contributor to the resurgence of wooden boats.

6 Comments for “RIP wooden boat builder Harold “Dynamite” Payson”

Steve Branam


I’m sorry to hear that. I bought his “Instant Boatbuilding” book last year with the intent to build a sailing dinghy to keep on the Damariscotta River in Maine. I loved his practical simplicity. Build a simple boat, then go have fun in it.

I’ll hoist a sail in his honor when it’s done.

Mark Boese


I will miss his articles in WoodenBoat. I allways looked for “Dynamite,s” distinctive toque in every picture and then I knew his article would have the same practicle and enjoyable approach to his craft.

peter vayeos


What can I say that others haven’t. He was a friend, a teacher and a mentor. Now I am older, but not wiser. I crack jokes in prostibules. And nobody in laughing.

Peter vayeos


My cindilences to a mentor and great man. He was a leader and an inspirational leader giving everybody good advice, he was a very good athlete and a great swimmer in the YMCA in Beverly, where single handed tought me how to swim and thanks to him I (as we speak) am the past National President Navy League of the United States of America. His departure is a huge loss. I remember the time we went sailing and he fell out of the boat but never dropped his beer. Thanks for the memories, you always have a place in my heart.
Harry and Peter Vayeos

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