Eider Design Notes

I was a much younger man back in 1978 and my fledgling design and Boatbuilding Company was also very young and we needed a small cabin sailboat design to build as a stock boat, one that could bring on a bit of regularity to our rather spotty and erratic cash flow.  I wanted her to be trailerable and accommodate a couple in cruising mode with some shelter from the elements, but it was also important that she have a really large cockpit that could handle a couple of extra bodies for day sailing purposes.  The result was a design called the Eider (after the duck) and we managed to build about a dozen of these little boats before moving onto other designs and builds.  She was a great little boat with all the look and panache of larger boats but in a very compact and trailerable package.  Unfortunately I never drew up the design for home builder construction and while all the original boats are still floating about and much beloved by their owners we just didn’t have anything in our quiver of home builder plans that captured the particular niche that the little “Eider” did.

Now in my middle age I will still see some of those little boats sailing about and it always bring on memories of a far simpler day when a personal little boat made so much sense, easy to care for, easy to trailer, and most importantly easy and rewarding to sail.  So I decided to go back to the drawing board and apply myself to the concept but with some of the experience of the years kicked in and the result is this new little design once again called the “Eider”.

I wanted to give her a centerboard for sailing about in some of the shallower waters that we might find, and for the fact that with the board up she will load to a low powerboat type trailer and not need a deep and steep ramp to launch or retrieve.  Her rig is one of my favorites being a gaff sloop with a jib that if needed can have a bit of a boom attached and could be set self-tacking. But for my purposes I still don’t mind tacking a jib, and the extra efficiency of a properly sheeted jib is not to be discounted.  A small bowsprit fit the look and style of the new design and it gives the boat a much more shippy feel.  All is not just about efficiency these days as sailing a boat that looks a bit whimsical is part of the appeal of an afternoon spent scooting about paying attention to the zephyrs.  Her small cabin has good room to sleep two with a bit of extra space for gear to be stowed and not have to be moved out of the cabin when the sleeping bags are unrolled.  In years past we had great times on the “Eiders” with a simple wooden galley box that held a small butane stove, a couple of Pyrex pie dishes for a combo bowl/plate and if stocked with a couple of cans of beef stew along with a good loaf of bread and a little cheese, a great dinner can be had in about 10 minutes.  Back that up with a proper bottle of red wine and a banquet suitable for royalty can be set.  I love the idea of the cabin if for nothing more than the sense of security that it gives if the evening wind dies and I really don’t feel like lighting up the little outboard and bearing a long motor back to home.  I can just toss the hook out, tidy up the lines of the boat; have a drink and a good cigar, contemplating the day’s adventures and later a spot of dinner, a bit of time with a good book in the evening light to read, and early to bed.

The Mast is set in a tabernacle and folds down without much fuss; a simple Cross arm support on the cockpit seats makes for an easy lash up for trailering.

I put a self bailing cockpit on her to allow me to not have to keep her bailed out when on a mooring or at the dock.  You could build her without the self bailing cockpit and end up with a far more comfortable seating geometry but it’s just too tempting to be able to leave her without worrying about rowing out and bailing her on a daily basis in our rainy Northwest Spring and Fall.  On the other hand maybe it would be a good discipline to go for a short row daily to check on her and give my arms some workout to boot!

Amateur plans are $175 and consist of 13 drawings printed on 24X36 inch paper and a simple building booklet.  We are planning to produce simple hull and bulkhead panel kits for her and look forward to seeing many of these little sloops on the water.

– Sam Devlin

Share This:

Oarling II

OarlingVertSleek lines and a beautiful sheer make the Oarling a delight to row and own. She is light, responsive and easily maneuvered, providing great transportation for the single oarsman or with passengers and cargo. Dory hulls with their characteristic flare pick up displacement very fast and lose little performance when loaded or in rough sea conditions.

At 95 lbs. the Oarling is a very car-toppable boat, easy for one person to handle. She is a little longer and much faster than the Gloucester Gull-type dory and the extra length seems to pay dividends in versatility. Folding pattern oarlocks and eight foot spoon blade oars give her a lot of power. In the Northwest, Oarling has made some respectable showings in rowing regattas and meets.

A flotation seat compartment and the natural buoyancy of her wood make her unsinkable. For leisure rowing, or as an exercise machine, a more graceful and beautiful rowing boat would be hard to find.

The Oarling is available in plans and CNC precision cut kit.


Oarling II Specifications

Length 17 ft. – 3 13/16 in.
Beam 3 ft. – 10.5 in.
Draft 6 in.
Displacement 331 lbs.
Dry Weight 85 lbs.
Share This:

Candlefish 13

The Candlefish 13 is a versatile small fishing boat. Originally designed to be a cartoppable fishing skiff for high latitude rivers and lakes, she has also proven to be an excellent yacht tender.

With one person aboard, she only draws about 4.5 inches. On an ultimate hunting trip, loaded with gear, she could carry 1323 pounds, draw 10.5 inches  and still have over 13 inches of freeboard at the lowest point of the sheer.

Under normal loading, she planes at 20+mph with an 8hp outboard. Sam recently built one of these as a tender for his beloved Josephine, and reports that he loves it.


For the full story, read Sam’s design notes on the Candlefish 13.

The Devlin Candlefish 13 is available in study and full construction plans and as a CNC cut hull kit.


Candlefish 13 Specifications

Length 13 ft. – 4 in.
Beam 4 ft. – 11 in.
Draft 4.5 in.
Displacement 445 lbs.
Dry Weight 165 lbs.
Share This: