Song Wren 21

SongWren21FullSideThe Song Wren 21 extends the Wren series in several ways. She’s a bit larger than the Winter and Marsh Wrens, with room for up to three berths, and plenty of cabin space for all the amenities of cruising. She maintains the light and balanced feel of the smaller Wrens and adds the performance of a larger gaff rig and cutter sail arrangement. Although she can be built with a traditional keel, Sam has designed a swing keel that allows the exploration of shallower waters. Perhaps more importantly, the swing keel allows the boat to be trailered on a powerboat trailer, which means simpler storage and the means to take her to new and isolated waters – new adventures in a Song Wren.

Read about the best place to make a BLT in Sam’s design notes.

The Song Wren 21 is available in study and construction plans.


Song Wren 21 Specifications

Length on deck 21 ft. – 3 in.
Length overall 26 ft. – 7 in.
Beam 7 ft. – 5 in.
Draft   up/down 24 in. / 47 in.
Displacement 2800 lbs.
Ballast 900 lbs.
Sail Area 302 sq.ft.
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Song Wren Design Notes

Here is a sailboat that might tickle your fancy, something that could be the recipient of many idle time dreams and musings. She looks very much the part of a good peaceful sailing scene and with her Gaff rig and Cutter arrangement for the sailplan, I can easily envision the Song Wren nicely heeled to the water. There is a smooth and steady breeze keeping the sails full and drawing and just the slight occasional water noise for backdrop as she gently glides along in her groove. After several hours of sailing, a nice quiet cove is a great place to round her up into, dropping the hook just minutes before the evening breeze completely dies down to nothing. Now is the time to light a little fire in the Shipmate solid fuel stove warming the cabin up and heating some water for a tummy warming toddy as the last bit of light in the day drifts away into the still evening black. The stars are out, the cabin warm and cozy and the rum almost makes me drowsy but its really a meal that I am thinking about now. I know what is in the cooler and its an easy chore to add another couple of bolts of quick burning fragrant red cedar to the stove. Soon the skillet is hot and ready for its bit of business. After frying up 4 strips of thick cut bacon, I slather a bit of mayonnaise on a couple of slices of bread, lay on a bed of lettuce, top it off with a sliced thinly tomato and I have a meal that will not only fill me up but fills the cabin with fragrance. After the meal I sit in the cockpit again marveling at the night calm and puffing on a good cigar, its own fragrance and smoke drifting off very slowly adding its own spice into the night. The loons were calling at dusk and the memory of their calls just adds backdrop to the scene. Its not long though before I drop back into the cabin, splash a bit of water across my face and crawl into my sleeping bag. There is enough warmth in the cabin left over from cooking dinner that I leave the hatch open knowing that I can either get up a little later and close her up or bank up the fire in the stove for another dose of warmth. But what really happens is that I sleep so soundly that I don’t bother doing either of those chores and wake up to a well ventilated cabin and a bracing coolness to start the new day. Its a quick job to light the stove again, heat my water for tea and cleaning up from last nights dinner. All I have to do is sit up on the deck reading a bit and waiting for the days breeze to fill in.

After sailing home, putting the boat away is the conclusion to a really fine and satisfying couple of days. This is the sort of stuff that most likely only adds days to your life and doesn’t subtract anything. It can be done alone or with a crew, your choice, or you might find that taking along your Black Labrador best friend is the way to go. The conclusion should always be that time spent on the water, living by the whims of the breeze, is a fine way to spend time.

The Song Wren will do all this without much fuss and with her tabernacle mast, you will be able to drop her rig without much effort and trailer her home for the Winter where you can do your winter cruising sitting in the cockpit in some storage shed while the storms wail away. She also has a centerboard (although with our deep waters in Puget Sound that isn’t really all that necessary) that allow her to sneak into shallow spots or allows you the luxury of sitting her on a powerboat trailer for moving her about from one waterway to another. Some of the finest sailing I have ever experienced was in the Mountain Lakes Wilderness in Central Oregon near where I grew up.

The rest of this design only needs to be studied a bit and you will figure out your own ways to use her best. The only compliment is a nicely balanced helm and a boat that responds quickly and smoothly to the wind. You being able to spend some peaceful time in her and you will find the rest works its own way out.

Amateur plans consist of 15 drawings printed on 24×36 inch paper. We are planning to produce basic hull and bulkhead panel kits for her and look forward to seeing many of these fine looking Cutters on the water. — Sam Devlin

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Fairhaven Flyer 20

FairhavenSeatsThe Fairhaven Flyer is a 20 foot expedition rowing dory, designed with the signature Devlin strength, durability, and flexibility. She can be rowed either solo or double and converts from one one configuration to another quickly and easily. She can be rowed solo with passengers or a massive load of gear. The dory hull style excels at rowing performance and seaworthiness under a variety of load conditions. With a bit of customization, she can be set up for rugged expedition work, and in fact has carried Dale McKinnon on her solo run of the Northwest Passage. It’s a fine accomplishment for the woman – and the boat.

Read Sam’s design notes for the details.

The Fairhaven Flyer is available in study and full construction plans.


Fairhaven Flyer Specifications

Length 20 ft. – 3.75 in.
Beam 4 ft. – 1.75 in.
Draft 7 in. @ 795 lbs. total weight
Power Oars
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Fairhaven Flyer 20 Design Notes

One of my customers, who had built an Oarling previously and had rowed it quite a bit around Puget Sound, came to me on an early spring day in 2005 and had an interesting request. Her name was Dale McKinnon and she was setting her goals on being the first woman to solo row the Northwest passage from Alaska to Puget Sound in Washington State and the second woman ever to row that same passage following Betty Lowman Carey who did the trip from Guemes Island in Puget Sound north to Ketchikan in 1937 but not as a solo trip. Dale had very strong ideas on what the new boat needed to do for the trip and her experience with the Oarling design informed her very well in deciding features on the new design. She had a very short amount of time allocated to building the new boat and she virtually had no time to sea-trial and adjust the boat after the build before transporting the new boat named Bella to Ketchikan for the start of the trip. So I threw out all the other projects that I was working on and focused on the new design in order to meet her deadline. The design was named the Fairhaven Flyer and Dales trip in 2005 was an epic and fantastic adventure. During one phase of the voyage, she even encountered another of our Devlin Family of boats cruising the Northwest Passage, one of my Sockeye 45 designs the Edwin S. Dawson and I heard many reports of sightings of her during the trip. Dales trip was a successful one and it has left her with the prospect of other voyages to add to her accomplishments.

It took me many years to go back to the design, blow the dust off the original drawings and finish her up for our home-builder market. So with a bit of fresh thinking, the Fairhaven Flyer design has come to light for the rest of us. Here are her specifications — this is a boat with the capability to be either rowed as a recreational single or double oarsman, or a single with a passenger or two. She can also be used for expedition-type rowing with a single oarsman and gear enough for a trip of some ambition like Dales trip from Alaska to Washington State in 2005. With some snap on canvas covers for the bow and stern and the simple addition of a couple of bulkheads to divide up the bow and stern stowage sections, gear could be kept stowed away, safe and dry and the reserve buoyancy of the two covered areas reduces the cockpit to a smaller section for truly ambitious expedition work. All this is done with a good looking dory type hull which has the unique quality of allowing a broad variety of loading to be applied to the boat without degrading the performance or the speed and rowing ability of the boat. Dories are simply the best hull shape for doing this and allow the boat to be the most sea-worthy possible for the type. With a drop in sliding seat, you can arrange the boat to be convertible between all the uses stated above with just a couple of bolts set up with an allen wrench.

We look forward to hearing of other ambitious and adventurous customers dreaming up their own voyages. — Sam Devlin

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Scout 20

Scout20Beauty1The Scout 20 was built over the stretch of a long year and was launched early fall of 2009 for John and Helen Carlson of Washington State. John had brought in the well thought out design to us from his own hand and we converted his basic hull shape to the Stitch and Glue boat building method. Once we agreed upon a price, we started in immediately by cutting out the bulkheads and other structural members and set them up on a simple building mold in the shop. A couple of days later, the plywood was scarfed for the hull panels and we had the bulkheads skinned over and were starting the cold molded layers (1/4, 6mm) on the bottom of the boat.

Many months later, both John and his wife were present for a quiet and solemn launch ceremony. Just moments after touching the water however, the engine was throttled up and she roared off over the bay. All of us were pleased with the speed and her presence on the water and it’s really quite hard to imagine a larger little boat design that might exist. She has an interior that has two bunks, the proverbial porta-potti, a galley complete with pressure water, wood stove for interior heat, hanging locker, and lots of sitting headspace. She is really quite the little cruiser and offers her owners the pleasure of getting somewhere in a short amount of time and once the hook is firmly set on the bottom, a calm and comfortable evening lounging in either the cockpit or in the cabin.

Her speed with a Yamaha 90hp outboard topped out at 27mph and cruising at a comfortable 18-20mph. For our South Puget Sound waters, she is ideal for poking in an out of all the small coves and sheltered anchorages.

With Johns permission, we are working on the full homebuilder plans for her. I hope that you will enjoy the pictures of her under construction and cruising in the Sound and think that you will agree with me that this little boat has a real presence on the water. — Sam Devlin

Scout 20 build photos.

Let Sam know if you would like to see plans developed for the Scout 20.


Scout 20 Specifications

Length 20 ft. – 2 in.
Beam 8 ft.
Draft 15 in.
Displacement 2985 lbs.
Power Outboard 90hp
Speed 27mph (Top) 18-20mph (cruise)
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Millie Hill 20

MillieHill20SternviewThe Millie Hill and her larger sister vessels are houseboats with an added layer of smart Devlin design. The 20 foot version is an affordable option with ultra efficient use of space to maximize the livability of the design. She can be moored in a small slip over the long term, or with the addition of a small outboard, she can be driven to interesting and beautiful places to create your own special getaway with all the comforts along for the ride. In the era of tiny houses, the Millie Hill offers the full experience of a home on the water.

Unsurprisingly, Sam has put a great deal of thought into this style of vessel. Read more about it in his design notes.

Check out this gallery of Millie Hill build photos.

The Millie Hill is available in study and construction plans.


Millie Hill 20 Specifications

Length 20 ft. – 0 in.
Beam 8 ft. – 2 in.
Draft 12 in.
Power Outboard
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Millie Hill Design Notes

Have you always wanted a waterfront getaway but couldn’t afford the luxury? This cozy retreat is our answer to the problem. Winter, spring, summer or fall imagine yourself anchored in some beautiful backwater in this little vessel. Equipped with a wood cook stove and galley you can catch or bring in the ocean’s bounty or something from Safeway. Have the guys down for a weekend of duck hunting or poker and a pot of chili on the stove. She sleeps four with the settees converting into double berths. The head has a shower and private entrance with a wet hanging locker. There is a dry locker closet near the front deck area. The galley has full standing headroom with comfortable sitting headroom in the settee area for reading, writing or card-playing. The front deck has screening for ventilation in the summer and canvas awning for covered dry storage while on board.

If you don’t want to leave Millie in the water all winter, bring her home on a flat-bed trailer and use her for a guest room during the holidays. However you use this boat, use your imagination and you’ll find that you will also long for a private little get away, easy to keep and easy to keep up.

Update – 2008: After many years and several boats with our old venerable design called the “Millie Hill”, we set about to see what might be done to improve on the older design and build the smallest houseboat/shanty boat cruiser that might be possible to live aboard… and right about that time, along came John Zummo looking for a simple live-aboard. He was living in Friday Harbor Washington at the time and needed more space than the 26 ft plastic powerboat that he lived on could provide. So drawings were dusted off and sketches flashed back and forth in emails, and before long a signed check for down payment was in my hand and was quickly deposited in the bank to start construction. A very simple boat was proposed with a deeper hull than the old “Millie Hill” design and more established room for the twin sized bed… John and his dog would be mates on the new boat and they eventually decided to reside in Olympia, very near my shop.

The new boat floated on her lines when she was launched May 4, 2008 (even with all the gear a live-aboard might have) and with a 10 hp Yamaha hi-thrust outboard, she powers at what I would guess is 5 knots top speed. The covered afterdeck will pay dividends for barbecues on nice days and simply sitting and reading without being in the hot sun… We are thinking of drop down curtains for the winter that would make the afterdeck a covered and weatherproof porch in the winter and help keep the interior dry… Home builder plans are still available for the original design and this newer version should have its plans online in the next couple of months. As per usual for me, during the whole construction process, I kept dreaming of my own “Millie Hill” with a small wood stove in it for some heat on a cool day and a lazy anchorage in some of the quiet coves nearby… That would be a very peaceful and satisfying way to spend some time! — Sam Devlin

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Marsh Wren

MarshWrenDaySideIt would be safe to call the Marsh Wren an evolutionary design in the Devlin catalog. She’s a refined synthesis of a long history of sailboat design in a form that is small enough for convenience and large enough for an entire family as a daysailer. In cabin form, she’s capable of longer cruises. In either form, the Marsh Wren is  a well balanced and efficient sailboat, light on the helm and easy to handle alone.

The Marsh Wren is the response to a body of customer feedback. Read about it in Sam’s design notes.

The Marsh Wren is available in study and construction plans.


Marsh Wren Specifications

Length 20 ft. – 2 in. LOD
Beam 7 ft. – 5 in.
Draft 34 in. fixed keel
Power 10hp Diesel sail drive or 6hp outboard
Sail Area 244 sq. ft. gaff sloop
Displacement 2050 lbs.
Ballast 700 lbs.
Max Load 1350 lbs.
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