Origins of the La Dee Dah

From pulling pots to tugging on heartstrings. The classic lines of Downeast Boats have created a niche that has stood the test of time. Around 1960, the traditional Maine lobster boat was easily recognized, low-profile fishing boat. However, that’s not where our story starts.

The History

The Lowell family’s roots in the Maine boatbuilding tradition run deep. Will Frost was one of the pioneers through the first half of the 20th century, designing and building everything from lobster boats and draggers to rumrunners and commuter yachts. Riley Lowell was his head man and son-in-law, in that order chronologically, learning the trade and passing the torch to his sons. Royal and Carroll Lowell, both of whom developed reputations as designers and boatbuilders.

Many of the Down East-style production boats in the water today were designed by the Lowell brothers. Including Royal’s Bruno and Stillman fleet of 35-, 42- and 55-footers; J.C. Boatworks’ 31 and 35; the Harris 35 and 38; the Sisu 22, 26 and 30; the Newman 46, 38 and 30; and the Holland 32 and 38, to name a few. Both Lowell’s remained active throughout their lives, producing the lines that defined a wide range of rugged working boats and yachts from 8 to 100 feet, vessels well-regarded for their comfort and steadiness underfoot in heavy weather.

The La Dee Dah

The La Dee Dah was built by Royal Lowell, who was born on Beals Island, Maine in 1926. Royal Lowell was born into a boatbuilding family, where he picked up the boatbuilding and boat design trade from a very young age. He built his first boat ever, a kayak when he was only ten. Little did he know, that was the start of something great. Royal not only became a master wooden boat builder and designer, but he was also a teacher. He was always willing to share his brilliance and wealth of boatbuilding to anyone that would listen. His passion for teaching even lead him to write a book, ‘Boatbuilding Down East: How Lobsterboats Are Built’, about building downeast boats. For Royal knew that wooden boats would never go out of style, for they were timeless.

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