Sam has been writing a series of articles for Soundings magazine. Collectively, they are entitled “Sketchbook” and he spends time writing about the designs he has dreamed up – in many cases highly developed plans are drawn – but for numerous reasons, these designs remain on the drawing board. They could be summed as the peak of a 40 year career in boat design, but I’d bet Sam wouldn’t give himself that much credit.
The latest article just appeared in the June 12 issue. It reveals Sam’s work on a 62-foot version of his venerable Sockeye design. It’s a true long-range cruiser drawn on the lines of oceangoing trawlers of decades past, but bringing all the advantages of his stitch-and-glue technology along for the ride.
As with all things Sam Devlin, and with the sheer amount of space on offer, the Sockeye 62 can be fitted out in any number of ways to meet your dreams of a boat that will literally take you anywhere on the water in supreme comfort and yes, style.
Check out the updated drawings on the main Sockeye 62 catalog page.
Well, it’s generally good to keep everything up to date, but this is not one of those times. We’ve had a number of subtle problems with the store since we upgraded to the latest version. After spending quite a bit of time trying to track down the issues, the end result is that the latest version is not ready for primetime. As a result, I’ll be pulling the store down tonight. It shouldn’t take more than an hour or so to reconfigure everything. I just wanted to let you know it’s coming.
When I took this gig, I thought I knew something about boating. I was wrong. Devlin operates on a higher level than what I have encountered in my history of Tennessee ski and bass boats. However, I do know paddling from a first person pile of experience, and I am targeting the one paddling design in the whole Devlin catalog. That is the Pond Skipper. It’s a sea kayak design in the tradition of Devlin stitch and glue technology. It is strong, bulletproof from a kayak perspective. It is light from the perspective of other materials used in kayak construction. It is much faster to build than traditional strip built designs, which means that it can be ready in time for summer. Summer in some places means the water is warm and you can perfect your paddling skills in a comfortable, risk free body of water. In the Pacific Northwest, it means that you can make mistakes without dying in five minutes in bone chilling water. So yay, Summer!
My first exposure to paddling was in an aluminum canoe, purchased at Woolco in a mall in Nashville, TN. Woolco is gone, and the mall has turned into one of those gypsy conclaves of third tier shop owners. In those early days, my impatient father would pile the entire family into this 17′ canoe, and head off down the Harpeth River. I don’t think he ever really relaxed, even though we were all strapped into our life jackets, and we all knew how to swim. The rapids consisted of a slight ripple in the current and for the most part the river was shallow enough for even my younger brother to stand. In those days, canoeing seemed rather stressful and dangerous. My dad had a gift for making things stressful and dangerous.
I mastered the single bladed paddle in a few years, after we moved and the river of convenience became the Duck River in Southeastern Middle Tennessee. At the same time, we developed a habit for daily water-skiing and frequent high stress (Thanks, Dad!) fishing, I was learning the song of the paddle on my own. Thanks to a gentle river, I could solo the trip, putting in at the bottom, paddling upstream and floating back down. Eventually, I reached the limits of that aluminum canoe, and started branching out into better boats. I tried my hand in Old Town canoes in the heavy whitewater of Western North Carolina, always picking the largest size I could manage from the middle.
Whitewater led to kayaks, which were hard to find in my size. Kayaks led to extreme rivers, shooting waterfalls and equally insane plays on the immortality of youth. But in the midst of splashing chaos, I eventually tried flat water kayaking, the southern equivalent of sea kayaking. I bought a hybrid kayak, efficient on flat water and capable of mild whitewater, which was the worst I would find in my local area. I would drop it in the lake where I grew up and paddle until I ran out of lake, some 8 miles upstream. I would explore every cove and head into the creeks until I ran out of water. I would see wildlife, too bewildered by the sight of me to even be afraid. I would set my paddle down and coast into a family of deer drinking the water, stopping right in the middle of unafraid creatures and slowly, slowly I would be pushed away without ever disturbing their moments. I would see a bizarre fight between a mink and groundhog and follow it along the shore until the combatants finally tired and left each other in peace. I would cruise around bends where Herons hunted the shallows and pass by without disturbing them in the slightest. I would track the circling of Turkey Vultures in the hope of spotting their quarry. I would ply the open waters in the rhythmic pull of the paddle, refining my stroke until I could literally paddle all day. I rested my mind in the rhythm while my arms and torso did all the work.
It is with this background that I present the Pond Skipper, Sam Devlin’s single foray into dedicated paddling in a vast catalog of boat designs. As it turns out, the Pond Skipper is very similar to that hybrid kayak I spent so many hours paddling. It’s not the cutting edge of open water kayaking, but it is light, strong and efficient, with enough maneuverability to get in and out of tight spaces.
I’m doing this now for two reasons. The first is that we are late in the building season, and this is a design that anyone could build and finish in time for summer exploring. The second reason is that paddling is a great way to experience the water. In the right boat, it’s quiet, peaceful and can make you one with the world around you. Animals will accept you, the water will carry you with amazing smoothness, and you will be able to explore the most extreme limits of your local waterways. On top of that, you will cover distances that will surprise you, and you will return home with a sense of connection and well being and a new set of stories to tell.
If I could spare the time, I would build a Pond Skipper, choose a body of water and start paddling. I know from experience it would pay off. – Jim
In that spirit, we are offering 50% off on downloadable Pond Skipper construction plans. We hope you will experience the joys of paddling this summer!
It would be hard to find a more sterling example of a customer built Devlin boat. This Blue Fin 54 was built by Temur Rukhaya and his crew in Russia. Temur named her the ‘Lucky Star’. He not only builds a beautiful boat, but he makes great videos as well.
Here is his showcase video for the ‘Lucky Star’.
In Temur’s own words…
About four years ago (or more) I ordered the Blue Fin 54 boat project.
In the spring of 2014 the boat was launched.
I called the boat “Lucky Star”
Today the boat ran over 8,000 nautical miles.
This year, I came to the White Sea and was in Sankt- Petersburg.
During this pass, I crossed about 100 locks. On Ladoga Lake was a heavy storm.
Technology “stitch and glue” deserves the best endorsement.
The boat is very comfortable, quiet, easy to use and on the go.
Temur was kind enough to make a build video.
Being a boat building company, we always want to know the details. Once again, Temur delivers in fine fashion.
Installed engine Vetus 231 hp / 2500 rev / min
Transmission 1: 2.78
Propeller 4 x 28 “x 27”
Displacement about 8500 kg
Fuel consumption: 14 knt – 0.75 l / km
9 knt – 0.5 l / km
Max. speed (unloaded boats) 16-17 knt
Two fuel tanks 1,100 liters each.
Diesel generator Vetus 4kW
Solar cells 6 x 140 watt
Water tank 2×230 liters
Black water tank 230 liters
Air Conditioning 9000 BT
Heating – diesel boiler combined with the engine cooling system.
When sailing – the boat is heated by the engine. On mooring – from the boiler(diesel heater).
Although Temur has noted the comfort, quiet operation, and ease of use of the “Lucky Star’, the hallmark of the Blue Fin 54 is her easy running efficiency. Here are his calculations for fuel economy.
Fuel Consumption (l/h)
Fuel Consumption (g/h)
As an example of what this kind of efficiency means in practice, look at this video of the acceleration of a 54 foot boat.
Our congratulations to Temur for a spectacular build, and our thanks for all data to go with it! All that information folds back into Sam’s ongoing understanding of how to design great boats across the spectrum of nautical goals and dreams. The ‘Lucky Star’ is more than a boat. It’s a builder’s example of what can be done with a dream, a design, and dedication.
Now, finally, some interior shots of the build, including the ever popular “Dog is my Co-pilot” shot. Lucky dog!
It’s safe to say that Chip Hanauer is one of THE names in unlimited hydroplane racing, which my father called the most dangerous sport on Earth. Bear in mind my dad once owned a Bumblebee Bass boat capable of 110 mph, so what would he know? Chip is an inductee of the International Motorsports Racing Hall of Fame, he has won the APBA Gold Cup 11 times, and he drove the Miss Budweiser in the 1990’s, for goodness sake! In fact, his accolades as a boat pilot are too many to mention. Why would a man who spent his career at the ragged edge of boat performance choose a Devlin Candlefish 16 as a recreational boat?
One could imagine that a man who spent his life on the water, testing the boundaries, would eventually decide that the water itself was enough of an answer, and when it comes to a purist vision of getting out on the waters of the Puget Sound, the Candlefish 16 ‘Stanley’ is a good answer.
I’ve got about 15 hours on Stanley and I absolutely love it!
The Candlefish 16 can carry a heavy load in comfort and stability. In the case of Chip’s boat, she is a simple tiller driven skiff design that carries Chip, his friends, and everyone’s gear in relative performance and safety, all of which is built into a design which takes in to account the safety off all, including the gear. Sam Devlin doesn’t design a boat without considering all the use cases of the design. In the Candlefish 16, as well as most of the rest of Sam’s design catalog, it safe to think of the boat as a platform that can be built in a number of ways, with a vast number of final details. Here’s an example from Chip:
We ran into another Candlefish 16 on Lake Washington. It was a kids sailing school on the east side and it was used as the, committee, safety boat. The young guy waved us over and excitedly asked, “Is that a Devlin Candlefish?” He said he loved theirs as well, but that was envious of our 60 HP engine. Theirs had a center steering station. I’m glad I have just the tiller, as I’m really enjoying the spaciousness and openness of the boat. It makes it very flexible as far as where to put things and where people like to hang out.
One of those details on Stanley is the vertical bar, perfectly positioned for Chip to operate the motor while standing. Here’s what he has to say about it:
The, “stripper bars” are so useful! They are positioned perfectly for stepping up into the boat from the fender step on the trailer. Great for stepping down, into the boat from the dock. Both of us just found ourselves with a hand on it all the time at the tiller. It’s super sweet when you are standing up while operating the boat. I only got about three hours on it today, but I’m telling you, I’m already very much in love with it.
Apparently Chip didn’t completely abandon performance when he stepped down from turbine powered racing boats.
As far as speed goes, faster is right! I’d guess over 40! A friend has a gps app. that should let us know for sure. I can’t leave the throttle open until I get the motor more broken in. But bottom line it’s fast! You were certainly right about going with the 60HP, engine as opposed to something smaller. I had two people in the boat, totaling about 325lbs total and having the horsepower was really nice.
Chip’s own video of his break-in hours on ‘Stanley’ gives a sense of what he is saying.
A lot of thought, discussion, and consideration go into every Devlin-built boat. The result is an elegant balance in a rugged, lifelong boat. You can fish from it, you can hunt from it, and you can simply escape to your yacht or a weekend getaway in a package that melds classic, proven design with the need to ‘just get out there’. A Candlefish 16 will just handle the work you need to do, without fuss, in a smooth-riding platform that allows you to go where you want to go, do what you want to do, and come up smiling at the end of the trip. For a boat company, a smiling Chip Hanauer is a great reward.
But then, Chip says it best.
Sam, in a word, ‘Stanley’ is perfect!” I know there is no boat which is actually perfect, but for my intended use, ‘Stanley’ couldn’t be better! It rides solid and smooth. Both of us could stand at the rail on one side and the boat barely heeled over at all. That’s great for crabbing out of a small boat. It quiet and has a solid sound and feel to it. I couldn’t open the engine up beyond half way, as it’s still in break in mode. But half throttle was plenty and perfect for fast cruising.
Chip’s site is currently down for maintenance, but his Facebook feed is chock full of goodies.
We are making a significant change to the store. We’d rather not, but we must in order to do accurate sales tax reporting in the state of Washington. Although it only applies here in our home state, the Tax Man must be fed. We’re turning off the guest checkout option, which means that you must create a store account to purchase.
There are a couple of benefits to you. You only have to do it once. Creating an account means that you can login and see all the usual account information, but more importantly, it means that you will always have access to your downloadable purchases.
We keep your address, which is really only because it allows us to do those pesky tax calculations. We do not share this information with anyone. We DO NOT keep (or even have access to) your credit card or PayPal information. All of that happens on the PayPal side of the checkout.
***Update*** There was a hitch with the sale timekeeping system. Apologies to anyone who tried to shop when the sale was accidentally down.
*** Update*** Thanks to Igor for pointing out a really should-have-been-obvious flaw! There was really no way to to get to the Shopping Cart. Now, the Store link has sub-links to go directly to your Cart and to Checkout. Also, if you have something in your cart, you’ll see a list on the right hand side of the page. My bad… We’re extending the sale until midnight to make up for it.
We seem to have the download issues ironed out. That said, there may be some minor mistakes in linking products to their respective downloads. I went through them quickly on Friday night. Please let me know if you get the wrong file for your order, and I will fix it.
I’m also aware that we are delivering insecure images alongside secure content. It’s because the images were added before we moved to our new secure server. I can assure you that it does not compromise your security; there are 6 layers of security protecting your account and transactions. But, I can understand if makes you nervous. I’ll be looking for a way to secure those images today.
***Update Friday night***
I fixed all the download links and updated all the orders to make (pretty) sure the downloads work. For those of you who ordered as guest, I sent out new emails, with updated links.
***Update Friday afternoon***- Ok, we figured out the download problems. It will take a few hours to fix. For those of you who had trouble downloading, I believe I have sent out plans, but if I haven’t, please let me know. I will also go back and fix the existing orders with new download links. If you ordered with an account, you can go to your account and get fresh links soon. If you ordered as a guest, I can send you a new order email with updated download links.
It came to my attention that people are trying to sign in with old store credentials. In short, they are gone with the old store. It’s an entirely new system. There is no way to incorporate them into the new store without making a mess, so please sign up for an account on the new store if you wish. That way, you can get back to your purchases any time.
The store is up. At long last.
The old store links will no longer work. You can reach the new store through the main menu link on the site.
The designs in the catalog with plans are linked directly to the correct products.
You can also find products through the main site search as well as the store search. I may separate the site and store searches. Site search returns a lot of results.
Plans are grouped by boat design. There are three types of products right now. Downloadable study plans, downloadable construction plans, and printed construction plans. The downloads are in zip files that contain pdf files. You can read pdf files on anything, or easily have them printed. Printed files are the plans we print for you and ship.
Everything is linked back to the catalog entry for that boat. You’ll find the return links in the product description.
Pond Skipper Downloadable Construction Plans 50% OFF!