Curlew 24

Back in 2005, a customer came down to the shop to visit. He and his wife owned one of our Nancy’s China sailboats and loved her dearly, but they were getting older and wanted something that they could cruise in more comfortably.  This was just about the same time as I was starting to branch out from the tried and true paper on drafting table design to CAD or computer assisted design.  So what I ended up with was a hand drawn boat that had quite a bit of CAD backup, but not to the extent that we would have full computer files including the presentation, lines, sketches, and accommodation drawings; all these were done by hand.  It will be a good comparison to look at these drawings and compare to the newer CAD stuff that we do today.  The computer still has a really tough time with line quality and density; all those were good tricks to the hand drafting methods that I practiced for so many years.  With a hand drawn drawing, you can literally start with one end of the line being drawn and either make it heavier on each end of the line or conversely one can start with lighter pressure at the end of the line and as the pencil moves into the middle of the line press down heavier (for a more bold and slightly wider line) and then lighten back up as you reach the end of the line being drawn.  All this points to the idea that boat design can be for many of us fine art and one needs to practice for many thousands of hours with techniques that help give depth or lend perspective to the drawing.  Another hand drawn vessel, the Camarone 34, will illustrate more in depth this idea of line quality. That design was to my recollection literally my last hand drawn drawing, and while it may seem weird, there are many times that I think one day I will frame that drawing up and hang on the wall to remind me of another time in my now fairly long career of designing and building boats.

Enjoy the little Curlew Sailboat. It’s too bad the customer bowed out for another design because this one would have made for good viewing heeling to an afternoon breeze from the shore. – Sam Devlin

The Curlew 24 is available in study plans. Contact Sam if you would like to see the concept developed.


Curlew 24 Specifications

Length 24 ft. – 10 in.
Beam 8 ft. – 1 in.
Draft 40 in.
Power Inboard diesel 10-20hp
Displacement 3692 lbs.
Hull Type Displacement
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Mud Dauber 23

The whole concept of the Mud Dauber 23 is wrapped around the goal for her to be the quintessential beach boat. It’s the boating equivalent of carrying a good knife, a Leatherman, and a whole box of good tools. The Mud Dauber can take you to wild remote beaches and can haul the gear and supplies necessary to keep you well occupied with these voyages. She is high sided with a bow platform that has removable boards that can be configured to build a bow ramp and you can beach her and unload without hurting your back. Even a tractor or small sawmill could be carried and unloaded if that is something you might want to do.

The Mud Dauber would work very well with something like a 90-115 h.p. outboard or perhaps even better with a pair of 60-70 h.p. outboards that would provide you with redundant power and allow turning and control in tight spots that would not be possible with a single engine. She is very beachable with twin bilge keels and a very prominent centerline keel with sacrificial UHMW plastic shoes on the bottom to keep her protected from beaching strains. There is also generous below deck stowage for gear that needs to stay dry and kept onboard accessible with flush deck hatches. Both of her deck areas are self-bailing and any water that comes onboard runs back off quickly.


Like all Devlin boats, she is constructed strongly, capable of doing hard work for many years. If you see a need for a boat that can “project power” into any remote spot with a beach, then the Mud Dauber 23 is calling your name.*

*Webmaster note: This thing is calling my name and I have literally no possible use for it.

The Mud Dauber 23 is available in study and full construction plans.



Mud Dauber 23 Specifications

Length 23 ft. – 1.5 in.
Beam 8 ft. – 7 in.
Draft 1 ft. – 0 in.
Power Outboard
Displacement 4000 lbs.
Hull Type Planing
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Surf Scoter 22

It hSurfScoter22Harboras been over 20 years now since we first conceived of and built the first of our venerable Surf Scoter 22 vessels and it was high time that we sat down to the drafting table, put the thinking cap on, and re-think and re-conceive the design. Many things have changed over the years and in todays world it’s almost impossible to buy a 2 stroke outboard engine. The 4 cycle outboards have taken over the market and brief forays into small diesel inboards and larger diesel Stern drives have all come and gone. SurfScoter22HelmWhat makes the most sense in todays market, with the cost of everything boat related in the far stratosphere price-wise, is to use the wonderfully quiet, smooth running, and efficient 4 cycle outboards that are so readily available these days. Mounting them on the transom makes the most sense and this gives a cockpit that has the space to accommodate everything in use from the fisherman to the long distance cruiser.

SurfScoter22ForeaftIn addition to updating our traditional Pilothouse model, we have produced a cruiser model with a stretched Pilothouse with a neat enclosed head so that those skippers amongst us that desire our first mates to come along on our cruising adventures will be equipped to keep them comfortable and agreeable! There is still plenty of room for a galley, helm and co-helm seats in the pilothouse with 6-4 headroom. Under the foredeck, you’ll find sitting headroom in the port and starboard berths and with a filler plugged into the middle, a huge double berth can be made up.

This new model is quite a bit wider than the older version and the resulting stability will be appreciated by all. With a 90 hp outboard on the stern, the top speed is 26mph and a cruising speed of 18 mph is quiet and economical with a fuel burn of less than 4 gph at speed.

The plans are complete for both professional and home builders and we offer them in both measurement formats – American and for our International customers, Metric. We are very pleased to have had the chance to revisit this old concept, throw a couple of new ideas at it and we hope that you will love the result as much as we do! — Sam Devlin

Sam’s complete design notes are here.


The Surf Scoter 22 version is available in study and construction plans. Also available as a CNC cut kit.




Surf Scoter 22 Specifications

Length 22 ft. – 8 5/8 in.
Beam 8 ft. – 1.5 in.
Draft 1 ft. – 6 in.
Power Outboard
Displacement 3940 lbs.
Hull Type Semi-displacement
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Sea Chaser

SeachaserEngineThe Sea Chaser was designed for a customer in Bermuda who was looking for a boat that was easy to build and seaworthy enough to be usable as a platform for offshore fishing in the Bermudian waters. A wide variety of fish would be sought after so the Sea Chaser had to be fast and convertible enough to carry the different gear and rigging necessary for the different styles of fishing to be encountered. An inboard gas engine was called for both for the weight to horsepower advantage that gasoline engines have and for the economy of initial purchase of the engine itself. A good gasoline inboard can quite often be bought for about 1/2 the cost of an equivalent diesel engine. A Straight line drive system was also specified for its ease of installation and maintenance.

The result was a boat of striking appearance with a tall windshield just aft of a boxy trunk cabin. There is a slightly lobster boat type appearance to the Sea Chaser with a long balanced bow platform to help the lines out a bit and occasionally allow the fisherman to spear swordfish from the pulpit. A long and commodious cockpit that is self bailing allows the boat to be easily hosed out after a long, messy day of fishing.

The cabin has two bunks in it, port and starboard, with a small porta-potti hidden under the cushion and a bit of a galley flat forward. This cabin is a place for gear to be stowed in a lockable cabin and allow the fisherman a place of refuge out of the sun or weather to allow enough rest time to get out and start fishing again. But also don’t forget beach cruising with a boat and small cabin like this can be very enjoyable and the simpler the systems, the less that can go wrong.

The Sea Chaser has been designed to easy and quick to build and while no one should think that a project like this can be built in just a few weeks, this boat is an approachable project that could be built in a few months and could provide a lot of enjoyment for the effort. — Sam Devlin

The Sea Chaser is available in study and construction plans.


Sea Chaser Specifications

Length 22 ft. – 11 in.
Beam 8 ft. – 1 in.
Draft 1 ft. – 11 in.
Power Gas Inboard 150-200hp
Displacement 4700 lbs.
Hull Type Semi-displacement
Top Speed 22 knots
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Godzilla 22

Godzilla22BowWhat is it about tugboats? They have a certain charm, a certain toy-like quality that may go all the way back to this classic children’s book. In the case of the Godzilla 22, that magical quality is available in a boat small enough to avoid licensing requirements, agile enough to use in tight harbors, strong enough to work like a mule, and durable enough to last for decades. Built around a unique diesel drivetrain of Norwegian make, the Godzilla is ready to push and pull heavy loads all day long. Constructed of Devlin stitch and glue technology, the Godzilla is as tough as its engine, and with routine maintenance, will never let you down. For the details, read Sam’s design notes.

The Godzilla 22 is available as study and full construction plans.



Godzilla 22 Specifications

Length 22 ft. – 0 in.
Beam 8 ft. – 1 in.
Draft 2 ft. – 6 in.
Power Inboard diesel
Displacement 3000 lbs.
Top Speed 6 knots at 1800 rpm
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Godzilla 22 Design Notes

One of my owners, John Heater, who also has aBlack Crown 31, has had an everlasting intrigue with tugboats and over the years that we have known each other, many sketches and drawings have crossed both of our desks as we attempted to translate the other’s ideas and wishes. His latest sketch was for a small, 22 foot long harbor tug, well under the 26 foot length limit that requires a Masters License for operation as a true tug. Accommodations would be Spartan and befitting the size of the boat with mostly day use as a small push-boat and barge hauler. I was instantly captivated by the type and his sketch immediately sent me to my drawing board where in just few hours the “Godzilla” concept was given life. Off to the post office to send the drawings back to John and in a couple of days and a few phone calls later, a deposit check was in hand, lumber ordered up and a clear shop waiting for another boat start.

A few months later, the little “Godzilla” was launched and she is a real “cutie” in all the sense of the word. I can’t tell you how much fun this little tug has been to build with her small but perky pilothouse and fantail stern. I felt like a little boy building my dream boat just waiting for her days out in the sun poking around the shallow waters in our inlet. The finish was purposely intended to be simple and work-boat-like with no shiny fancy paints but just good old paintbrush-type ones that you apply by hand and take joy in her annual maintenance, The beauty of this type of finish and work-boat character is that with just a few hours of care each year, the boat looks and feels new with the added bonus of the sweet, faint smell of fresh drying paint for a couple of months whenever the sun comes out.

For her engine the “Godzilla” has a used, but rebuilt, Sabb (not related to the car and aircraft manufacturer Saab) diesel engine, a big, single cylinder beast with a large heavy flywheel that makes a reassuring chunk-chunk-chunk noise when she is running. These little engines are made in Norway and find themselves into the most interesting boats, almost all of them as eccentric as the engines themselves. They don’t use a normal reduction gear with forward and reverse shifting but instead, have a feathering propeller that, with a lever, moves the blades of the propeller back and forth and with rotation all the same direction, gives you forward, reverse or stationary all without a clutch shifting. Getting used to this kind of an engine and drive takes a couple of hours but in time becomes second nature with its capability of going from forward to standstill to reverse all without changing the rpm and all uncannily calm and smooth. The boat needs to be literally built around such an engine and much of the installation is unlike your normal Yanmar or other such small diesel. With the Sabb engine, she runs out at a top speed of almost 6 knots with a flat and very unnoticeable wake (this is a good type of boat for running around marinas or places that have a restricted wake zone). Top rpm on the Sabb is 1800 rpm and she seems happy at almost any revs including the 300 rpm idle.

There’s lots of deck space on the “Godzilla” with twin port and starboard opening doors on the pilothouse and a short, 6 inch step down into the house. The deck is walk-around, self bailing and deeply bulwarked. There is a small trunk cabin forward with a berth flat long enough for most at 6 foot 6 inch length and with a small air mattress, you could take a nap or the off-watch crew could sleep on a long tow. We fitted the cabin with a small butane cooker, teapot, pan for heating soup, and a plastic cooler to hold drinks and the groceries. That’s about as small, compact and useful a galley as you can get but it works extremely well. There is excellent visibility through the nine windows in the pilothouse, all of simple, laminated glass construction and when it gets too hot, you can open one or both of the pilothouse doors for some air. A large bench seat, the full width of the pilothouse, can seat up to 3 adults and the best helm seat is a bar-stool. John came up with a neat sounding chime horn that runs with compressed air. With polished copper air lines and a brass ball valve for the control, it can toot with the best of them.

There are tow bits forward and aft, substantial things of heavy wood construction with grown knees for reinforcement at the decks, a mast with the required 3 white towing lights shown and that about sums it up except for the excellent fenders that Barbara Merry made for us. A bow puddin forward for pushing and six fenders at the sides for coming up against a barge, dock, or boat. The fenders are aircraft tires with a puddin of baggywrinkle for chafe resistance. All and all, she looks very workmanlike as she sits at the dock waiting to start her day’s worth of work. John just sent me a sketch of a twenty foot barge that his small John Deere tractor can fit on and with a small deposit check, it looks to be the next project. As for me, I am content with thinking about building my own “Godzilla” and can just imagine idling away a warm summer day. Taking a break from the grind by letting her just drift on the tide with the engine shut down listening to the small noises it makes as it cools down. A cup of good strong tea and if it’s a special day, perhaps a good cigar saved for just this type of moment. Ahh….life can’t get any better than this, unless I add a bit of rum to the tea! — Sam Devlin

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Dunlin 22

The Devlin Dunlin 22 began as a larger version of the pocket workhorse Godzilli 16. After Sam was finished, he expanded the boat into two configurations, both of which can provide you with all the work and play you could want in a boat this size. With a 60hp high thrust outboard and a very strong structure, the Dunlin can be used for a wide range of pursuits. With a cabin designed for plenty of headroom, a heating stove, a double berth, stowaway space for a port-potti, and a galley counter, it can also serve as a comfortable place to relax after the work is done. For the details and thought that went into this versatile workhorse, check out Sam’s design notes.


The Dunlin 22 Cruiser version is available in study and construction plans.

The Dunlin 22 Pilothouse version is also available in study and full construction plans.


Dunlin 22 Specifications

Length 21 ft. – 7 7/16 in.
Beam 7 ft. – 10 in.
Draft 17 in,
Power Outboard 65hp high thrust
Displacement 3290 lbs.
Hull Type Semi- Displacement
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Dunlin 22 Design Notes

Whether you’re fishing for mackerel or cedar logs, giving a tow or taking it easy, as the world seems to get wetter there’s much to be said for a capable little motor cruiser with a warm wheelhouse.

Act One: It was a very cold November morning at my home on Puget Sound, here in the Pacific Northwest. Calm now but the night before, we had experienced quite a lively storm with lots of wind and rain and my little yard tugboat Godzilli awaiting me patiently for the day’s adventures. Looking about after these early winter storms, quite often one can find some good cedar logs – really trees – that have been washed down off the low banks of the bay and they are almost always free for the taking. Some pretty good timber can be had from the beach salvage of these logs and I gathered up my youngest son, Mackenzie, – aged 19 at the time – and we set out to see what we might rescue.

The Godzilli is a small 16′ {4.9m) boat with a good tow bitt and a strong hi-thrust engine, almost ideal for the task. We had a great day, ending up salvaging two neighbor’s boats that had drifted off their moorings, a dock – pontoon – that had also been blown off its mooring and finally at the end of the day we lashed on to a 60′ {18m) cedar log, not good enough for boatbuilding but it did yield some very nice siding for a small workshop we were constructing. After a long rewarding day it was great to have a bit of a drink in celebration of our achievements of the day and reflect on my little tug…

It was during this reflection time that I started down the path of scheming that eventually led to the Dunlin 22 design. The day’s wish list was for a galley, something that the small tug Godzilli lacked, a good solid fuel stove to warm my wet hands from a day of salvage and the final wish was for space enough in which, as the last rays of winter sun drifted away my son and I could sit down, warm ourselves up and enjoy a stiff drink! What was needed was a boat a bit larger than Godzilli but with her same simple lines and utility; shallow enough draft that I could nose her ashore close enough to allow me to get lashed onto the logs that I wanted to salvage and heavy enough that the large logs couldn’t pull me off course once I had a tow made up.

Those musings came into my mind just a few days later and roughed out a set of lines for the new boat.

Act Two: Don Blum walks into my office a few months later, visiting on a road trip from Oregon, just south of my home in Washington State. He is a tall and lean fellow and very shortly after sitting down, he begins outlining his ideal dream boat for his home waters on the Oregon coast.

Don lives on Coos Bay which has several rivers that feed it. The bay is large enough to allow lots of cruising and exploring in it and with the right weather conditions, think of running a boat out over the Bar to do a bit of fishing on the open Pacific. His dream was very close to my own and I don’t think more than 15 minutes passed before the rough set of lines that I had drawn months before were out on my drafting table and we were both busy talking through the details of the upcoming build project.

She was to have a 60hp outboard mounted conventionally on the stern, one of the hi-thrust models that are available these days. The hoped-for performance was a top speed of cruise speed of about 15 mph {13 knots) and a cruise speed of 10 mph {8.7 knots). Fuel economy had to be good as it just didn’t make sense to have a new boat built that gobbled down excessive amounts of expensive and valuable fuel. The cockpit was vital to the success of the boat as Don anticipated several diverse pursuits with the boat. He is a scientist and avid birdwatcher so would use the boat as an active blind to observe animal and bird life in his home waters. He also is keen fisherman and wanted a serviceable cockpit that would accommodate that pursuit without compromise. A large hold was planned in the middle of the cockpit to house gear that didn’t need to be strewn about the deck; it would also serve as a working table and seat perch in the middle of the cockpit. A crab pot puller would be mounted on the starboard side of the cockpit as the crabs on Coos Bay are numerous and succulent.

The wheelhouse would be entered by a centreline bi-folding door and full headroom of 6’3″ (1.9m) provided, plenty enough for Don’s height to avoid head banging in rough seas. A solid fuel stove built by Navigator Stove Co of Orcas Island, Washington was specified to be mounted in the pilothouse on the portside aft up against the rear bulkhead. This model. the Little Cod, is a wonderful little piece of cast-iron heaven, burning just about any fuel – we favor small 2″ {50mm) diameter alder hardwood limb cuttings about 6″ (150mm) long – and provides radiant heat that will knock the chill out of the marine air in just minutes. A galley counter to port and counter to starboard form the edges to the pilothouse and Don suggested foregoing any fixed helm seat in favor of the more flexible and useful movable stool for seating.

Up forward, beneath a large dash area – formed by the foredeck planking which extends into the pilothouse by 18″ (0.45m) – is a large port-to-starboard double berth. The cushioned platform is 16″ (0.4m) above the pilothouse sole and has stowage built into its base. A space was also planned for a porta-potti to be accessible below the berth flat and a hinged lid swung up to expose it for use. There is pretty good sitting headroom over the berth top; you can’t sit fully upright but with a pillow to lean back against, it works out well and it is fairly easy to swing into and out of the bunk.

I planned on cold moulding the bottom – a very shallow vee – with an extra layer of V4″ (6mm) marine plywood over the original skin of V2″ (12mm) marine ply with epoxy glue and then sheathing the entire exterior of the hull with a layer of Dynel cloth set in epoxy. This will give us a very strong and stiff bottom for her life of being stored at times on a trailer and allows the elements to be kept at a distance from her structure. She is built with the Stitch and Glue method and this is the first boat that we experimented with stapling the panels together rather than using the normal wire stitches as was more traditional for Stitch and Glue construction. The staples augmented a few wire stitches and we had the 6 hull panels – 2 bottoms, 2 lower sides, 2 topside panels all fastened together over the mandrel of 6 athwartships bulkheads in just about 90 minutes with two fellows doing the work. That is very fast assembly of a hull and within the first day of setting bulkheads up on the mould floor, the panels were all in place and we had the first go-around of interior tabbing at the bulkhead/hull intersections done. The second day saw her exterior seams taped with two layers of 12 oz biaxial tape in 4″ and 6″ (100 ft 150mm) widths and about half of the interior seams fully glassed with the same laminate schedule.

It was many months later that we launched her to the joy of the crew and her owner and on early sea-trials, the 60hp Yamaha 4-stroke outboard showed a top speed of 16mph and a good and easy cruising speed of 12mph. She floated exactly on her lines and is now beloved by her owner in her home on Coos Bay.

Act Three: Don and his wife are at a friend’s party in their hometown and the talk is all about his new boat. Before long someone asks: How much did she cost? Don thinks for moment and answers: Nothing, she didn’t cost me a dime.

All the money he used to buy the boat was part of an inheritance that had its old home in the Lehman Bros brokerage on Wall Street, New York. Don had cashed in the fund to pay for the boat. Just a few weeks after we delivered her to Don, Lehman Bros went bankrupt. If Don had not used the money to have her built, he would have lost it all. So his quick answer was quite true.

Life can be amazing these days; perhaps the best tack is to enjoy what we can of it, while we still can! — Sam Devlin

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Arctic Tern

ArcticTernShowMany designs go through several stages before they finally turn into a boat. Arctic Tern is one of those designs. The latest and final version is a logical extension of the Winter Wren. The lines are similar but the Arctic Tern’s are finer in both the entrance and exit. The sheer is strong but not overstated, with reasonable freeboard for the sea conditions she is likely to encounter. The cockpit is self-bailing and has sea lockers and lazarette for gear storage. A large bridge deck can accommodate either a small inboard auxiliary or a storage locker. Its amazing how much gear accumulates on a boat this size and the more stowage the better.

Down below there is a hanging locker and galley to starboard, settee (quarter berth) to port with full sitting headroom. Forward is a 76″ long double berth. The outline of the cabin allows seating both on the settee and double berth, and easy access to the galley. Double portlights port and starboard provide ventilation and good lighting below.

The Bermuda sloop rig offers an all inboard rig of 262 sq. ft. The rig has double reefs to reduce the generous sail plan in heavy weather. Arctic Tern is truly in the cruising size range and will make good passages from port to port in a variety of weather. The long keel and balanced helm make her a single-handers dream whether sailing alone or with crew.

The Arctic Tern is available as study or full construction plans.


Arctic Tern Specifications

Length 22 ft. – 8 in.
Beam 7 ft. – 6 in.
Draft 3 ft. – 6 in. fixed keel
Power Sail, Inboard diesel 10hp or outboard 9.9hp
Sail Area 262 sq.ft. Bermuda sloop
Hull Type Displacement
Ballast 1050 lbs.
Max Load 1500 lbs
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A customer occasionally graces me with his conceptual drawings for a new vessel. A while ago he brought in a drawing for a motorsailor. She had a cat/yawl rig with the masts folding down in a tabernacle for low bridge clearance and to allow storage in a boat house. After a little editing, the Auk is the result.

She is a perky vessel in most eyes. The flush deck yields lots of interior space. The pilothouse adds light to help relieve the claustrophobia of rainy coast life. A simple, yet functional, interior design affords more lounging comfort for two than most boats in her size range.

The power is a small lightweight diesel running through a saildrive in the stern. She uses an outboard rudder for steering with a small mizzen to help balance the helm in a breeze. The mizzen can be unstepped and used as a sailrig on a dinghy, perhaps a Polliwog.

I have noticed a lot of people deciding to forgo cruising with two or three couples in exchange for a sane afternoon of gunkholing in some out-of-the-way place in a small but very able vessel such as this. — Sam Devlin

The Auk is a concept drawing at this point. Contact Sam if you would like to see the design developed.

Auk Specifications

Length 22 ft. – 6 in.
Beam 8 ft. – 2 in.
Draft 3 ft.
Power Diesel Sail Drive
Hull Type Displacement
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