Pond Skipper

A small and easily launched kayak gives me an outing and lets me explore in a way that the skiff wouldn’t accommodate. Quite often really all I am interested in is to get a little exercise for my upper body and some vigorous paddling with the Pond Skipper allows me to look around in very shallow waters if I choose and explore to my heart’s content. She is light weight, can carry paddlers up to 250 lbs. without a problem, and is more exciting to use than her plastic roto-molded sisters. The building is easy and uses 4mm marine plywood and our venerable Stitch and Glue building method. She is a proper project for those long winter evenings when warm water and warm days are nothing more than dim memories.

For my own boat, I keep two of them on board, one for me and one for my wife, easily launched over the side and just waiting us to start poking around. I take my binoculars with me now as I have found my interest flows to birding, a pursuit that I had years ago but have recently been enjoying again.

She is a great little boat, an easy paddler, lightweight and really does her job very, very well! We arent pretending that she is the type of boat to paddle to Alaska and back in, but for a cartoppable boat, or if you want to add a couple like me to your mothership, these little Pond Skipper kayaks are a real joy! Plans are $65 dollars and call us to request prices for a simple plywood kit.

— Sam Devlin

The Pond Skipper is available in study and construction plans.

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Pond Skipper Specifications

Length 13 ft. – 9.5 in.
Beam 2 ft. – 6.25 in.
Draft 4.75 in.
Power Paddle
Displacement 282 lbs.
Dry Weight 36 lbs.
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Zephyr

ZephyrSideThe Zephyr was designed as a delightful daysailer inspired by 1870-designed Melonseeds and Seaford Skiffs of the New Jersey and New York coast. These boats were used as rowing and sailing-hunting boats. With a large cockpit and the reserve buoyancy of a decked design they were capable of going out in a variety of weather and sea conditions.

The Zephyr uses a spritsail rig with a low aspect sail plan that is stable and remarkably fast. This is the type of boat that you can both teach your kids to sail with, and keep yourself satisfied on a spirited evening sail at the end of the days struggles. She is lightweight enough to be cartopped, but if I were to use her I would invest in a small trailer. I could keep all the gear in the boat protected with a cockpit canvas cover, ready to hook up to my truck and trailer her down to the ramp for an evenings sail.

She’s small enough that I can handle her alone and selfishly enjoy some time with only myself to pick on. Plans are of course available and she can be built in just over 100 hours time. Let’s quit writing and get started building a Zephyr so I can get some sailing in before the spring breezes give out.

The Devlin Zephyr is available in study and construction plans.

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Zephyr Specifications

Length 13 ft. – 6 in.
Beam 4 ft. – 6 in.
Draft Centerboard up/down 8 in. / 2 ft. 10 in.
Power Oars and Sail
Sail area 66 sq. ft. Sprit Rig
Max Load 425 lbs.
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Poleboat

On some days when I have pulled on the starter rope until my arm is aching and the (S.O.B.) engine is still not wanting to start, my thoughts and fantasies go to a simpler time when such smelly things weren’t considered a regular part of the hunting boats necessary equipment. On one of those days, the seeds were planted for the simple Poleboat. This is a proper boat that can haul and hunt up to two hunters and one that can be properly rowed and or poled out to the hunting grounds. Back in the days when you didn’t have to run out 5 – 10 miles to get to the hunting area and back in the days when there weren’t established launch ramps all over the place, these types of boats abounded. In fact, what you would have seen is many flavors of these types of boats with a compact and stowable sailing rig hunting all over marshes (where birds can be found). Rowing out in the morning before first light and before the wind built for the day, and at the end of the hunt as soon as your limit was reached, stepping the mast and sailing back as quickly as possible. This is a real hunting experience and one that few of us hunters these days can and will experience.

The Poleboat is light enough in weight that you could car-top it (if the bed of your truck is filled with something else) and you can launch it without much fuss in an area that doesn’t have formal launch ramps. I often find that it is easier to unload from the truck at marsh’s edge and simply grab onto the bow and slide it over the grass and cattails until I reach deep enough water to float her. If I wear hip-waders then I can flip over the side into the cockpit, reaching down to grab the push-pole and force her the rest of the way through the cattails to deep water. Some of this hunting with only a dozen high-quality hand made decoys at most is really productive and enjoyable. Think about it, there might be a better way to hunt than with all the junk that has to go along with a motored boat. Sometimes simpler is indeed better, and in that case, the Poleboat shines. — Sam Devlin

The Devlin Poleboat is available in study and construction plans.

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Poleboat Specifications

Length 13 ft. – 2 in.
Beam 3 ft. – 8.5 in.
Draft 5.5 in. Loaded
Power Oars, Pole
Displacement 98 lbs.
Max Load 360 lbs.
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Mallard

MallardBeauty1This is an old and venerable design by now with the first design and boat built more than 20 years ago as I write this. She is of the “SneakBox” type of boat with the transom accommodating up to a 15 hp outboard motor, but she also rows or poles very well. In fact, of all the “SneakBox” types of boats that we design and build, the little Mallard is the best at rowing. Now all that good rowing performance does cut down into her top speed under power and if you envision blasting around the duck marsh at something exceeding the frostbite limit of the end of your nose then you would do well to search on to another of our designs. But if you are looking for a very fine little duckboat that will power well under oar and will hunt with you and a buddy in a safe and efficient manner then the “Mallard” is a fine selection.

There is positive foam 3 point flotation that allows the boat to float level and upright even if the cockpit were full of water. There is a lot of piece of mind to this flotation and we use it on all of our hunting boats. The hull is built of high grade marine plywood covered with epoxy resin and sheathed on the exterior with epoxy resin and fiberglass cloth. The result is a lightweight, durable boat that isn’t as noisy as straight fiberglass or metal boats and the hull itself is more insulative and on a cold day in the marsh, that makes a lot of difference in comfort.

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Our “Mallard” is a great boat for the hunter that likes to occasionally hunt alone, or with a buddy and a good dog. She accommodates up to about 3 dozen decoys with two hunters on board and is very concealable (low profile). This is a good, quality duck hunting boat, designed for the marsh and her purpose in life is to place you in circumstances and situations that might just be life memories. — Sam Devlin

The Mallard is available in study and construction plans.

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Mallard Specifications

Length 12 ft. – 11 in.
Beam 4 ft. – 10 in.
Draft 5 in.
Power Oars, 15hp Outboard
Displacement 155 lbs.
Speed 15 mph (medium load)
Max Load 580 lbs.
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