Godzilli 16 Design Notes

Godzilli16LogoWith the good fortune of having built the Godzilla 22 tug and seeing how she moved through the water and experiencing just how damn much fun a small cruiser/workboat like her can be, I was inspired one afternoon to start working on drawings for a small workboat/launch that could be serviceable for our boatshop.

What was needed was a boat small enough to not be a hassle to maintain and keep up properly and yet be stable enough to do all the myriad of jobs such a vessel is required to do with stability and style. We needed a launch to do jobs that could be as simple as ferrying us out to the moorings in deep water of our bigger boats, setting crab pots, or when needed, to tug larger vessels into the Marine Railway for bottom painting or servicing. That is a lot to expect of a small boat and a couple of extra requirements were necessary that really could put a crimp into the design of a boat. Our shop inlet is very tidal with a daily average of a 12 – 14 foot range from high to low water. At low tide, there virtually isn’t any water in the immediate small cove that the shop sits beside and the docks sit on soft deep mud with clams and barnacle covered oysters strewn about on its surface. Thus any small workboat that is going to be really serviceable should have the capability of sitting out the tide on its mud berth day after day without damage or excess wear.

An inboard diesel engine would be nice for the “tug” purpose of this small design but I discarded the option of the inboard due to the deeper keel necessary to protect the propeller and rudder. When the “Godzilli” sits out the tide, I wanted her as level and well supported as possible and so chose a 20 hp. high thrust Yamaha four/cycle outboard in an outboard motor well. That would allow the motor to be retracted up into the outboard well and the boat could sit on a shallower keel without heeling over in her mud berth. A couple of old worn out tires on each side of the keel with holes drilled in them to allow them to stay anchored into position, aid the upright sitting of “Godzilli” on the hard and when the tide comes back in, she floats free of her mud/tire cradle without damage. I also specified a self draining and bailing work deck for the “Godzilli” knowing that she would not have the luxury of being pumped out daily but instead needed to sit quietly at her berth, ready and patiently waiting her next duty without much care at all. With all the mud around during work performed at low tide, the decks would need to be sloshed down without fuss and in order to be kept looking somewhat neat and clean.

I put a small pilothouse on her knowing that most of the time when towing something large, I would need to stand at the wheel with one hand steering and the other free to gather in lines and make up to the tow bitt. That necessitated a pilothouse that could be used easily when needed for a weather break and to keep me dry but had to have instant and excellent entrance/exit capability for working her. I finally settled on this design with a hinged hatch on top that allows me to walk straight upright into the pilothouse but if needed could stand upright behind the clear lexan screen of the hatch and see forward. If time and towing duty allowed, I could then sit down at the wheel with full protection from the forward and sides of the boat from spray or weather.

A right proper tow bitt would be needed for the tug duties of “Godzilli” and I had in the woodloft a grown Hackmatack Knee that would fit right in. This was a mighty balk of wood a full 6 inches thick with legs 36 inches long and when properly fastened into the “Godzilli”, would not pale at the job of towing our 45 foot, 38,000 lb. Sockeye design into the dock from her deepwater mooring. “Godzilli” will have a purple-heart stem and keel on her, rounding out the substantial and very strong hull. With some hand knotted Bow Puddin and fenders, she’ll fit right into the shop’s gear, as serviceable as a huge large wheeled bandsaw and a bit more fun to use. If you are as taken with her as I am, the plans for home construction are now available and include a good boatbuilding manual that helps you though the process. I think that the bang-for-the-buck with “Godzilli” is very high and I can’t imagine a waterfront that wouldn’t look just a bit better with one of her hanging about, patiently waiting for her skipper to take her out for a jaunt. — Sam Devlin

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Bella 16

Bella16FrontBackThe Bella 16 rounds out our three-strong series of pulling/motoring skiffs. This largest version could easily carry three passengers, or even more if motoring instead of rowing. With only four 4 x 8 sheets of ¼ inch plywood and a few other odds and ends, the boatbuilder can have an attractive, easily driven, light craft. This boat is built upright without a jig, saving on time and materials. As with the Bella 10 and Bella 12, this boat is primarily a rowing skiff and her shape suits that purpose nicely. Whether fishing a pond in Wisconsin, rowing for recreation on the Puget Sound, or pulling her up on a Florida beach for some camping, the Bella 16 is a handy skiff. In a world that needs more boats, I’m happy to offer plans for the boater whose needs are balanced equally by aesthetics and utility. — Sam Devlin

The Bella 16 is available in study and construction plans.

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Bella 16 Specifications

Length 15 ft. – 8.125 in.
Beam 3 ft. – 9.75 in.
Draft 6.5 in.
Power Oars, Outboard 2.5hp
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Snow Goose

SnowGooseDockI was asked just the other day which boat of all my duck-hunting boats was my favorite and while I am at first inclined to answer that you always should love the one you are with, (that means the boat I currently own, or the one I am using at the moment), the truth is I have real soft spot in my heart for the “Cackler” series of boats. These little “Garvey-type” hunting boats are properly most similar to a sled with decks. They are great all-around boats that do what is asked of them with little fuss and no whining. They can be used as proper and concealable hunting boats but also excel in other categories of use. Little things like being a great platform for the Spring trout opener on the local lakes, a proper water-ski boat for my young sons, a little beach/log salvage work on the salt-waters of Puget Sound, and many other uses. If there were a best all around boat Oscar category, then the Cackler-type boats would be nominated year after year.

SnowGooseTrailerThe Snow Goose is just the latest in our offerings of the boats in the Cackler series. She measures in at a length that falls directly between the large and capable Honker design and the smaller and more cancelable Cackler 14. She has a bit less freeboard (or side height) than the Cackler 14 and shares the same outboard mounting feature that the larger Honker has. The outboard motor (up to 40 hp) mounts on the stern of the boat with a bailing splashwell just in front of the engine. There is room below the splashwell for a 9-gallon portable fuel tank that is safe in place and out of view. On both sides of the splashwell are positive floatation chambers (to make the boat non-sinkable) and in front of that a very large cockpit, with proper side decks to allow for a reserve of buoyancy and camoflageability. In front of the cockpit is a foredeck with stowage below and in the very bow of the boat, another floatation chamber. She is unsinkable, will hunt up to 3 hunters, and is strong and solid. In my ever so humble opinion, this boat is dollar for dollar, pound for pound, the best bang for your buck! The Snow Goose is going to be my next boat and I’m thinking will be a proper member of my family for good. I hope you, too, will like this boat. — Sam Devlin

The Devlin Snow Goose is available in study and construction plans.

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Snow Goose Specifications

Length 15 ft. – 7 in.
Beam 5 ft. – 11 in.
Draft 7 in. Loaded
Power Outboard 40hp
Displacement 300 lbs.
Max Load 950 lbs.
Speed 35 mph w/ medium load
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Sculldugery

We have over the years designed and built 4 different models of scull boats and the Sculldugery is the latest in our offerings. For those of you who don’t know the idic scull boat for the waterfowler is a boat that generally fits a single hunter (usually without dog) and is not hunted in the idic sense over a clutch of decoys. This is a boat that is moved slowly and smoothly through the water towards raft of waterfowl with the hunter lying in prone position in the bottom of the boat. Propulsion is a single oar that extends out through the stern (transom) of the boat and thru a waggling motion the boat moves silently and smoothly forward. When the raft of ducks is closed to a shooting distance, the hunter then sits upright in the boat, ostensibly at this time the ducks take off in flight and with some fine shooting a limit of ducks can be paddled or sculled out to and picked up.

If you haven’t limited out with the first batch of shooting then the whole process starts all over, first the sneak-up, then the shooting. It is a slow and methodical process, and I must state here that it is not the kind of hunting for everybody, you must be patient and careful, but when the success ratio is good this is the closest thing to market shooting that exists in today’s hunting world. The market shooters did the same process the only difference being that they used an extremely large-bore shotgun loaded with just about anything that was on the workbench that was metal. The kill ratios were high and the bird populations suffered enough that the Feds got into the act and put a stop to the fun. The Sculldugery is a true scull boat that must be operated properly by a hunter interested in a type of hunting that few do these days. I hope that you will like the boat, but most of all when you lay down that first double without even setting one decoy and without having to sit for hours in a cold blind I am betting that you too will like this type of hunting. — Sam Devlin

The Sculldugery is available in study and construction plans.

Sculldugery

Sculldugery Specifications

Length 15 ft. – 6 in.
Beam 3 ft. – 2 in.
Draft 6 in.
Power Scull
Max Load 850 lbs.
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Nancy’s China DC

nancyschinadcCUIn this new version of our old favorite, Nancy’s China goes topless, and if you take a closer look at the rudder you will see her auxiliary power plant. We have added an electric motor. The motor is a 43 pound thrust electric, powered by two 8D deep-cycle 12 volt DC batteries. With three forward and three reverse speeds available, Nancy’s China DC cruises at 4 knots for approximately 14 hours. There is a built-in 20 amp battery charger that will completely recharge the batteries. Just hook it up to household current at home, or on the dock, and you are ready to go again. The batteries at 143 lbs. each also serve as ballast.

She is equipped with an amp-hour meter to measure battery draw, as well as a 50″ x 15″ solar panel to keep the batteries topped off when the boat is on a mooring.

The sailing performance is still great with the 124 square feet of sail area set on a fractional sloop rig. If you are looking for a little more performance off the wind, an optional removable carbon fiber bowsprit is available to set a 160 square foot asymmetrical spinnaker. Performance and ease of use have always been the hallmark of the Nancy’s China and with the additions to the DC we have only improved a wonderful boat. — Sam Devlin

The Nancy’s China DC is available in study and construction plans.

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Nancy’s China DC Specifications

Length 15 ft. – 2 in.
Beam 6 ft. – 2 in.
Draft Dagger board Up/Down 10 in. / 2 ft. – 9 in.
Power Sail, 12v electric, or 2hp outboard
Sail Area 124 sq. ft. Bermuda Rig
Max Load 850 lbs.
Ballast 285 lbs.
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Drifter 15

I grew up in Eugene, Oregon which is considered the center of the universe for drift boats, the famed Mackenzie and Willamette Rivers providing plenty of action for these types of boats.  In fact, the Mackenzie River Drift Boat really evolved on these rivers and over a period of more than 50 years, it has undergone a lot of exacting refinement. In the early phase of my career, I built almost a dozen of these drifters with my Stitch and Glue process and would have kept building them had I stayed in Eugene but the salt water beckoned and in 1982, we moved our shop and workers to the shores of Puget Sound where we have kept pretty busy building salt water type boats and cruisers.

But as it happens over time, customers have been asking about a drift boat design and amateur construction plans from Devlin Boats. We’ve finally had the time to put together plans for a nice little 15 footer and the object of this write-up. The Drifter is a McKenzie-styled boat constructed from 3/8″ (10mm) BS 1088 plywood with our Stitch and Glue method. The bottom of the boat is additionally reinforced with an additional cold-molded layer of 1/4″ (6mm) plywood and there is an option of fastening a layer of UHMW board to the bottom, in addition to that layer, to help this little boat really slide over the rocks. She’s equipped with fully adjustable seats which allow the solo fisherman to take the bow seat out entirely to clear up the cockpit for fishing. An ample forward deck keeps non-spooled line neatly in one place while fly fishing. Foam-filled floatation compartments port and starboard do double duty as convenient storage shelves. This is a sturdy craft wanting to be rowed and fished hard. Simply and durably built, she will provide a lot of great memories to the builder and the fisherman. – Sam Devlin

The Drifter 15 is available in study and construction plans.

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Drifter 15 Specifications

Length 15 ft. – 13/16 in.
Beam 5 ft. – 11 3/16 in.
Draft 7.5 in.
Power Oars

 

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Duckling 14 Sail

Designed for one of my Sockeye 45 hulls owned by Henry and Holly Wendt of Friday Harbor, WA, the idea was for a proper rowing boat that could be carried on the aft house-top of the Widgeon (their aforementioned Sockeye 45). It was designed and built to receive a Piantedose sliding seat unit and with proper sweeps could provide the two of them exercise and joy while cruising the larger boat. We built her just in time for the launching of the Widgeon and she has lived happily on deck for the past several years.

She can carry the weight of a passenger lounging in the stern sheets and rows well either solo or with crew. I gave her a rather shapely hull 6 panels of plywood and it amazes me how nice a looking boat can be built with such a few number of parts. Later when I worked up the plans for home building, I was working on the design one fine Spring day with a nice breeze setting in and in a moment of inspiration, designed a neat sailing rig that could be fitted to her also with a daggerboard and sprit sail setting on a stayless mast. All the gear could be stowed in the hull and with just a few minutes of set up time, one could take advantage of those days much like the one that I experienced while working on the plans.

— Sam Devlin

The Duckling 14 Sail is available in study and construction plans.

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Duckling 14 Sail Specifications

Length 14 ft. – 4.5 in.
Beam 3 ft. – 5 in.
Draft 5 in.
Sail Area 57 sq. ft.
Displacement 268 lbs.
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Duckling 14 Rower

Duckling14PassengerDesigned for one of my Sockeye 45 hulls owned by Henry and Holly Wendt of Friday Harbor, WA, the idea was for a proper rowing boat that could be carried on the aft house-top of the Widgeon (their aforementioned Sockeye 45). It was designed and built to receive a Piantedose sliding seat unit and with proper sweeps could provide the two of them exercise and joy while cruising the larger boat. We built her just in time for the launching of the Widgeon and she has lived happily on deck for the past several years.

She can carry the weight of a passenger lounging in the stern sheets and rows well either solo or with crew. I gave her a rather shapely hull 6 panels of plywood and it amazes me how nice a looking boat can be built with such a few number of parts. Later when I worked up the plans for home building, I was working on the design one fine Spring day with a nice breeze setting in and in a moment of inspiration, designed a neat sailing rig that could be fitted to her also with a daggerboard and sprit sail setting on a stayless mast. All the gear could be stowed in the hull and with just a few minutes of set up time, one could take advantage of those days much like the one that I experienced while working on the plans.

– Sam Devlin

The Devlin Duckling 14 Rower is available in study and construction plans.

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Duckling 14 Rower Specifications

Length 14 ft. – 4.5 in.
Beam 3 ft. – 5 in.
Draft 5 in.
Power Oars
Displacement 268 lbs.
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Black Brant III

All right, “What is this nonsense about a Black Brant III and why the new design?” In order to properly understand the way life goes out here in Devlin Boat Land, you must first of all take a long distance view of the operation with enough time factor thrown in to really view the scene in geological perspective. Over the twenty some years that I have been designing and building hunting boats, there has been a lot of time and years with which to evolve more than a couple of designs. My Dad says that I am an almost constant “tinkerer”, which is probably a nice way to say that, while I think my designs are the best available and I believe in them without reservations, that I am also aware that nothing in life is perfect and that the way to Nirvana is to continually strive to do better. All this might just be the internal conflict with a Protestant work ethic or some other type of spiritual psycho-babble but the bottom line is that many of our designs get changed, little by little, until they reach a better plateau of use.

After the HuuntBut in some cases the new design, while it has its strengths, doesn’t in a definitive way do the job that much better than the preceding design. In the case of our Black Brant designs, I already had a boat that did its job very well. That job was to allow two to three hunters to safely and efficiently hunt. But along came the desire of some of us to travel faster under power in less draft of water, thus was born the new design – the Black Brant III. This boat is simply a shallower draft and faster speed version of the Black Brant design, and if that is what you need, then this is the boat for you. But the difficulty of replacing the Black Brant was not simple because it also did its job extremely efficiently. So if you find that most of your hunting is in open water and you really aren’t traveling more than a couple of miles from ramp to your hunting area, then the Black Brant design is the best for your purposes. She is quite a bit deeper and a reasonable amount slower than the Black Brant III.

Happy DogBut if you are finding that you need to operate in shallower water and are traveling quite a distance from launch-ramp to the hunting area and a couple of inches more of sitting blind height doesn’t hurt, then by all means choose the Black Brant III. In both cases, these boats are about as thoroughbred of hunting boats as you are going to find and both have undergone trial by fire for more than a few hunting seasons. I hope you can make up your mind as to which is the best for you. — Sam Devlin

The Black Brant III is available in study and construction plans.

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Black Brant III Specifications

Length 14 ft. – 0 in.
Beam 5 ft. – 10 in.
Draft 7.75 in. Loaded
Power Outboard, 25hp
Displacement 225 lbs.
Max Load 780 lbs.
Speed 20mph medium load

 

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Black Brant II

blackbrantIIPerspectiveWe have by now built well in excess of 60 of these boats and at around 130 hours each building time, that adds up to something like 7,800 man-hours of working time. Let’s see….that equals the output of someone working full time for almost 4 years. You would think that after all that time, and I couldn’t count how many hours spent in the marsh using the boats, that we could come up with what might just be the quintessential, premier “Duck Hunting Boat”. I am sorry, did I hear trumpets playing in the background? Well this “Black Brant” is really a fine Duck Boat under anyone’s consideration. She has several features that are worth noting, the first of which is her very interesting outboard motor well configuration. You see, the outboard motor fits not on the stern of the boat but on a bulkhead that is forward of the back of the boat by about 24 inches in length. This allows the operator of the boat to sit further forward in the boat than would be the case with the outboard mounted on the stern, and allows the foam flotation of the stern area to be made up in the sponsons on either side of the outboard well. The outboard itself since it is further forward is now more conceivable and in a position that the birds flying overhead can’t see it as clearly and distinctly. Forward of the outboard well is a cockpit large enough to for up to 3 hunters with 2 being an ideal number, especially if you’ve got a good retriever along to pick up the downed birds.

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blackbrantIIDogThere is space to carry up to 6 dozen decoys in the boat and your able dog won’t have much trouble getting back on board with a bird in its mouth. All you need to do is have the dog swim up alongside the cockpit of the boat with the bird in their mouth, and if you place your hand behind its head the dog will place its front paws on the side deck of the boat, push against your hand and pop-up on board. Your hand gave the dog the leverage that it needed to swing up onboard and it all happens quicker than the description takes to write about. A single day of hunting on board a boat like this and your dog now looks forward to hunting in a way that it never could before.

The Black Brant has a covered foredeck in front of the cockpit with storage below and foam compartment way up in the bow of the boat. This is coast to coast, one fine duck boat, and her owners are her biggest fans. Talk to one and you will find a hunter that knows they have found the best tool for their hunting pleasure. — Sam Devlin

The Black Brant II is available in study and construction plans.

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Black Brant II Specifications

Length 14 ft. – 0 in.
Beam 5 ft. – 10 in.
Draft 11 in. Loaded
Power Outboard, 25hp
Displacement 225 lbs.
Max Load 780 lbs.
Speed 20mph medium load
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