Millie Hill 28

MillieHill28RenderHelmA good friend and boatbuilder in Korea commissioned this design. It followed some correspondence that we had about a preliminary design on the same concept done originally in 25ft. of length with a 10ft. beam but we quickly realized that if we really intended this to be a potential live aboard “Shanty Boat”, that some extra length and beam would pay dividends and give us much more room to work and live with and we quickly landed on this 28 ft x 12 ft version.

This idea of a “Shanty Boat’ is a beguiling one that holds many hours of musings and dreams in its web;  the concept of doing a vessel that is commodious enough to really be comfortable as a live-aboard and one that could be moved from place to place either by water or by land as she is still of a size that a good flatbed trailer could move her about with ease.  Imagine all the different adventures that we might have with her, perhaps starting down the Mississippi River, stopping for any length of time in all the interesting spots you discover, anchoring when privacy is desired and stopping MillieHill28RenderGalleyperiodically at marinas to pick up enough supplies to keep us in food and drinks.  With the proper sized outboard, she could actually move-about under her own power enough to justify the expense and mess of rigging a control station. But a real salt would match her with a small tug (something like one of our Godzilla 22 or 25ft. models) and tow her about, using the tug like the car/pickup that all conventional landlocked campers have.  Anchor in some secluded little bight in the waterway and use the tug to go to town re-stocking the larder or perhaps just for a break and a meal.  Return to the mother ship and you’ve got your home intact and waiting patiently for you.

She has a good amount of space on her covered rear deck. This deck is at a lower level closer to the waterline which helps make boarding and exiting the boat easier and also allows us to sit in the shade on a warm day.  If you fancy doing a bit of sunning, you’ve got a couple of options — either the fore-deck or it wouldn’t be all that difficult to climb up onto the foreward cabin top for a view of the world that would be unmatched.

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MillieHill28RenderSalonBut it is the cabin with its volume and spaces that really is the attraction of this boat with all the functions of a normal home — kitchen, bath, lounging, sleeping, stowage, bookshelves and entertainment center.  If you really fancy living off the grid, a simple little gas or diesel generator could be fitted that would allow her to be fully functional and self-contained, but she also would be fitted with shore power connections that allows you to hook up to electrical at the marina.  It is also simple to hook up to marina pressure water making her a completely functional floating home.  The Millie Hill 28 has a full sized queen bed that can be arranged in a couple of ways and with both sides of the bed accessible, it’s ready to crawl into easily and comfortably.  There is a full dinette that can seat 4 adults for a meal and with the opposing seat/couch, you can find yourself with a couple of possibilities for settling in for the evening. Stowage is built into the bases of these seating areas, always with the thought in mind that there seems to never be enough space for MillieHill28RenderPlanstowage on a boat.  There are little bonus areas also — a computer desk on the starboard side that allows a space for this very vital function of modern life and a hanging locker on the port side.  There is a shower in the head compartment and if desired, there’s even room for an all-in-one washer/dryer to be fitted into the underside of the linen stowage area in the head.  Virtually every function of the normal home can be accommodated but most importantly, you can move the Millie Hill to wherever you desire which is really the key to this platform.  There might be many hundreds of options of how you configure your own interior or set her up but the footprint of a bi-level cabin, with boarding area in the stern and the possibility of moving her about either under her own power or with a tug tow, is not to be understated.

Plans are available for $225 dollars and we have both Metric or Imperial measurement versions. — Sam Devlin

The Millie Hill 28 is available in study and construction plans, and as a custom build from Sam and his team.

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Millie Hill 28 Specifications

Length 38 ft. – 5 in.
Beam 12 ft. – 3 in.
Draft 13 in.
Power Outboard
Displacement 14000 lbs.
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Millie Hill 20

MillieHill20SternviewThe Millie Hill and her larger sister vessels are houseboats with an added layer of smart Devlin design. The 20 foot version is an affordable option with ultra efficient use of space to maximize the livability of the design. She can be moored in a small slip over the long term, or with the addition of a small outboard, she can be driven to interesting and beautiful places to create your own special getaway with all the comforts along for the ride. In the era of tiny houses, the Millie Hill offers the full experience of a home on the water.

Unsurprisingly, Sam has put a great deal of thought into this style of vessel. Read more about it in his design notes.

Check out this gallery of Millie Hill build photos.

The Millie Hill is available in study and construction plans.

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Millie Hill 20 Specifications

Length 20 ft. – 0 in.
Beam 8 ft. – 2 in.
Draft 12 in.
Power Outboard
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Millie Hill Design Notes

Have you always wanted a waterfront getaway but couldn’t afford the luxury? This cozy retreat is our answer to the problem. Winter, spring, summer or fall imagine yourself anchored in some beautiful backwater in this little vessel. Equipped with a wood cook stove and galley you can catch or bring in the ocean’s bounty or something from Safeway. Have the guys down for a weekend of duck hunting or poker and a pot of chili on the stove. She sleeps four with the settees converting into double berths. The head has a shower and private entrance with a wet hanging locker. There is a dry locker closet near the front deck area. The galley has full standing headroom with comfortable sitting headroom in the settee area for reading, writing or card-playing. The front deck has screening for ventilation in the summer and canvas awning for covered dry storage while on board.

If you don’t want to leave Millie in the water all winter, bring her home on a flat-bed trailer and use her for a guest room during the holidays. However you use this boat, use your imagination and you’ll find that you will also long for a private little get away, easy to keep and easy to keep up.

Update – 2008: After many years and several boats with our old venerable design called the “Millie Hill”, we set about to see what might be done to improve on the older design and build the smallest houseboat/shanty boat cruiser that might be possible to live aboard… and right about that time, along came John Zummo looking for a simple live-aboard. He was living in Friday Harbor Washington at the time and needed more space than the 26 ft plastic powerboat that he lived on could provide. So drawings were dusted off and sketches flashed back and forth in emails, and before long a signed check for down payment was in my hand and was quickly deposited in the bank to start construction. A very simple boat was proposed with a deeper hull than the old “Millie Hill” design and more established room for the twin sized bed… John and his dog would be mates on the new boat and they eventually decided to reside in Olympia, very near my shop.

The new boat floated on her lines when she was launched May 4, 2008 (even with all the gear a live-aboard might have) and with a 10 hp Yamaha hi-thrust outboard, she powers at what I would guess is 5 knots top speed. The covered afterdeck will pay dividends for barbecues on nice days and simply sitting and reading without being in the hot sun… We are thinking of drop down curtains for the winter that would make the afterdeck a covered and weatherproof porch in the winter and help keep the interior dry… Home builder plans are still available for the original design and this newer version should have its plans online in the next couple of months. As per usual for me, during the whole construction process, I kept dreaming of my own “Millie Hill” with a small wood stove in it for some heat on a cool day and a lazy anchorage in some of the quiet coves nearby… That would be a very peaceful and satisfying way to spend some time! — Sam Devlin

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