River Crawler 22

A gentleman came into my shop a few years (Decades? Wow, time flies.) ago to discuss a small cruiser for protected waters. His requirements were fourfold: trailerability, shallow draft, a displacement hull, and a proper cruising cabin. Following the usual back and forth involved in a new boat design, we came up with the River Crawler.

This little cruising boat gives her skipper access to the little gems of anchorages that are off limits to larger boats. Drawing less than a foot, she would be equally comfortable in the Florida Keys or upper tributaries of the Columbia River. This shallow underbody is ideal for beaching and the keel protects the running gear. Generous access is given to the diesel sail drive via a large hinged hatch aft or this boat could conceivably be powered by an outboard in a well. An adequate self-draining cockpit leads to a cozy, yet comprehensive cabin. With a fully enclosed head to port and a galley to starboard, the skipper and mate have a lot of comfort for a boat only slightly over 22 feet. The helm and co-helm seats are afforded a great view through large windows. The bow has a large v berth, as indicated in the drawings. With an optional drop-in insert, the sleeping quarters can be made roomy enough for even the most acrobatic of sleepers. The River Crawler would be hard to beat for a couple who wanted to launch on a quiet creek on a Friday, explore for a couple days, then pull her out on the trailer ramp on Sunday. The humble River Crawler gives her skipper the full spectrum of gunkholing possibilities without the headaches that inevitably come with larger boats.

Unfortunately, the gentleman’s circumstances prevented the completion of this design. I’m hoping that somebody will come along and give the River Crawler the chance to come to life; she certainly deserves it. – Sam Devlin

The River Crawler is available as study plans. Contact Sam if you would like to see them developed into construction plans.


River Crawler 22 Specifications

Length 22 ft. – 2 in.
Beam 8 ft. – 2 in.
Draft 22 in.
Power Inboard diesel with sail drive or outboard
Hull Type Semi-Displacement


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Archimedes 22

The first seagoing steamboat that was designed and built for screw type propeller propulsion was the original S.S. Archimedes launched in 1839 and named in honor of the Greek scholar Archimedes. He is the man that is credited with the Archimedes principle which is used by boat designers almost daily to help measure the weight and mass of the boats we are creating. Perhaps a name with a provenance like this is a heavy burden to place on the stem of this little cruiser but then I rationalize, why not carry a decent name into battle? The enemy won’t always remember much about the battle but the name of a valiant foe always is.

Designed originally for a customer from Australia and intended to be used as the base of a steam engine and boiler for running about on Aussie waters, it wasn’t long into the design process that I started pondering what a wonderful platform she might be for electric power. Now mind you, I don’t really have an aversion to the idea of a steam boat in my boating dream life but when I start fitting the engine, the boiler, fuel and all into the boat, I quickly run out of space for myself and any crew that I might want to share the experience with. With our Archimedes 22, we have the space for all that and more, with room to either use a couple of repurposed antique wicker chairs for seating or if I am really slumming it, I will just sit on the side decks or the small stern transom seat at bulkhead #5 as shown in the construction view.


I truly do like the idea of the steam engine but I muse that many of you might not be so interested in firing the boiler, waiting for a head of steam to build, and the almost constant tweaking and oiling chores that a steamer involves. Imagine coming to the realization that you’ve been out in the boat with your sweetheart and nary given her a nod or a mention all day due to fooling with all the steam mechanisms. As many of you might conclude, that won’t be a proper way to spend a day for very long!

So let’s explore the idea of the electric drive. We looked at the options available to us and narrowed the list down to two options – either the Elco inboard electric engine, or the Torqueedo electric outboard. There is much more fooling around necessary for the Elco inboard as it is a conventional shaft type drive (very much like the steam engine) but makes for a neater and cleaner installation even with all the work spent on the installation. The Torqueedo drive is a no-brainer with the engine being mounted on the transom of the Archimedes, steering performed with the outboard and with a proper bank of deep cycle batteries in the belly of the little boat. But then the dilemma of why am I doing all this in the first place rears its ugly head. Yes, it is all about being on the water, but I keep thinking that the whimsy factor of boating is really almost as important to me as the water time. In fact, dreaming and scheming about being on the water is a truly fine thing to do with my short amount of idle time and that takes me full circle back to the steam engine. Even though it is complicated and involved, it easily takes the prize for the largest amount of dream whimsy factor and if I personally need to add another boat to my already bulging fleet, then I choose to live with the complication.

For you my friends, the plans of the boat can be used in any way you can rationalize your own dreaming and we offer them in all flavors with the tyro being able to build his or her steamboat or electric inboard launch, or as an electric or I suppose, even a gas outboard. The choice is yours. Construction is our normal Stitch-and-Glue method with hi-grade marine plywood used throughout along with epoxy resin and fiberglass and Dynel cloth sheathing for abrasion resistance. I am thinking of throwing away all logic and painting her a stunningly bright and shiny black and buff colored decks. Green bottom paint mixed custom for my color palette finishes her out. I am even thinking of hand carving the little scroll work shown on the bows, why not make her a proper launch! – Sam Devlin

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



Archimedes 22 Specifications

Length 22 ft. – 10 in.
Beam 5 ft. – 4 in.
Draft 22 in.
Power Outboard, Steam, Electric
Displacement 1600 lbs.
Hull Type Displacement
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Little Cod 21

The Little Cod 21 is a larger version of our popular Cackler line of boats that we already have in 14, 16, 18 ft. versions. This is not just simply a blown-up larger boat though it was born of original thought on what would work as a large and fast skiff, one that could be beached if needed and one that could be trailered to the head of its many adventures.

These Garvey type boats (bow transom, Vee bottomed) make for a really good and rugged skiff. With so much volume forward, the boat can be nosed into the shoreline and the skipper and friends can safely and securely walk off the bow. There are good and sturdy centerline keel and bilge keels that keep the boat off the bottom in a beaching or grounding situation and with a 100-150hp outboard, the Little Cod will run at over 40 mph, depending on the load, with good safety and fuel economy.

A center console rounds out this design but you could work out many different arrangements for passenger seating or even fit a removable small cabin on her like the Honker design. A concept drawing for a Little Cod 21 houseboat is included in the study plans. With enough interest or a build commission, we could definitely flesh out the remainder of the houseboat’s plans. – Sam Devlin

The Little Cod 21 is available as study and construction plans.


Little Cod 21 Specifications

Length 21 ft. – 5 in.
Beam 7 ft. – 7 in.
Draft 9.5 in.
Power Outboard, 100-150hp
Displacement 2600 lbs.
Hull Type Planing
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Chinook 21

ChinookRenderThe Devlin Chinook 21 is a wonderful little cruiser. Her power is a 18hp Yanmar fresh water cooled diesel engine located at the stern of the boat and cruises burning about 1/2 of a gallon of fuel per hour at 6 knots. She runs smooth and quiet. In fact, at lower than 5 knots speed, you are almost tricked into thinking that she has an electric engine. She has 5 ft 6 in headroom in the pilothouse and a double berth and a nice hidey space for a porta-potti. There is no inside steering station — the controls are on the exterior side of the house so you’ve room to sleep in comfort. Her cockpit is large enough to take along up to 5 or 6 of your friends if you desire and her built-in 20 gallon fuel tank will allow many hours of running.

ChinookSternShe also has a small mast that mounts a postage stamp of a steadying sail which helps stabilize her when running in big seas or high winds, but I like it for the capability of setting a cockpit awning that will shade the captain and crew when they need a respite from the sun. With her diesel engine, if desired, you can mount a bus type heater for a little extra comfort. She is very trailerable when you want to relocate her for new adventures.

I never worked up the home-builder plans for this design, but if enough coaxing is done, i.e. priming the old coffer pump, I might be persuaded.  – Sam Devlin

The Chinook 21 is available as study plans.



Chinook 21 Specifications

Length 20 ft. – 9 in.
Beam 7 ft. – 8 in.
Draft 1 ft. 10 in.
Power Inboard 18hp diesel
Displacement 2700 lbs.
Hull Type Displacement
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