Bella – Bella 10 Rowing Skiff

The Bella 10 could be considered the complete distillation of Sam Devlin’s design aesthetic. It’s small, rugged, efficient, and can serve multiple roles. As a recreation rower, it leans toward efficient transfer of human power, as a tender it makes life easier for your larger boat. As a way to get outside of daily concerns, it rewards you as an inexpensive way to get on the water. As a building project, it doesn’t get much easier.

The Bella 10, formerly known as the 5×10 skiff, is probably the easiest way to get started in boatbuilding in the entire Devlin catalog, if not the entire world.  Originally designed to teach the Stitch and Glue boatbuilding technique, the Bella is an easy building, elegant design that comes together in a fast rowing, lightweight skiff. She’s a great family project. At 52 pounds, she is easy to handle and launch. She will fit easily into a small pickup truck bed; no special requirements to transport or store the Bella 10. Finally, she is our least expensive kit. Building your own boat doesn’t get any easier.

Here’s a way to skip ahead, straight to the reward part of the process in a ready to go version of the Bella 10. This one is ready to carry on your car to the nearest water and to start exploring the world of  destination awaiting you. The asking price is $3490, which is a bargain against the time of building it for yourself.. Contact Sam for more information or to arrange a showing.

Contact information is at the bottom of every page.



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Fairhaven Flyer 20

FairhavenSeatsThe Fairhaven Flyer is a 20 foot expedition rowing dory, designed with the signature Devlin strength, durability, and flexibility. She can be rowed either solo or double and converts from one one configuration to another quickly and easily. She can be rowed solo with passengers or a massive load of gear. The dory hull style excels at rowing performance and seaworthiness under a variety of load conditions. With a bit of customization, she can be set up for rugged expedition work, and in fact has carried Dale McKinnon on her solo run of the Northwest Passage. It’s a fine accomplishment for the woman – and the boat.

Read Sam’s design notes for the details.

The Fairhaven Flyer is available in study and full construction plans.


Fairhaven Flyer Specifications

Length 20 ft. – 3.75 in.
Beam 4 ft. – 1.75 in.
Draft 7 in. @ 795 lbs. total weight
Power Oars
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Bay Skipper

BaySkipperFrontYou like to paddle with a friend? You like to scull in a performance design? This is your boat. The Bay Skipper does both. She can can easily handle two paddlers in her large cockpit. You might even be able to bring a kid and a dog. This is great for quite explorations in peaceful waters. With a few minutes and a couple of boats, you can add a full sliding rowing seat and find yourself gliding along in this efficient hull. She’s light enough to manage single handed and using the Devlin stitch and glue method, she’s fast and easy to build. Plus, after using this boat for a year, think about those upper body muscles. Awesome!

Read about the inspiration for the Bay Skipper in Sam’s design notes.

The Bay Skipper is available in study and full construction plans.


Bay Skipper Specifications

Length 18 ft. – 1.375 in.
Beam 2 ft. – 11.25 in.
Draft 6-5/16 in.
Power Oars or Kayak Paddles
Displacement 530 lbs.
Hull Dry Weight 76 lbs.
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Bay Skipper Design Notes

This is a very interesting design I did originally for Chris Kemp who had the desire for a vessel that could be convertible between being used for one or two paddlers using kayak paddles on the skinny waters of Florida or one that could also be fitted with a removable sliding seat and used for sculling over the same waters. Chris had stated early in our conversations about her concept that he had approached more than a couple of designers with a request for the same and had been turned bluntly away. But I saw the utility of her uses right off the bat as there have been more than a few times when I might have wished for the same type of boat, convertible depending on my mood and the waters to be explored between sculling and paddling. I would love to tell you that we had the design done just a couple of days later but reality has a sting about it that never quite goes away and these small boat designs take almost as much thinking and stewing over as a design of one of the larger boats. So it was few weeks or perhaps even months, I cant remember now, before we finally printed out the full plans for her.

And what a delight she is with an elegant transition from the paddling to the sculling. I was able to talk Chris out of the angled forward transom that he had originally called for in favor of an upright and fairly plumb stem and also a fairly vertical transom on her with just enough rake aft to make her look good to my eye. She also has a deck on her with an oval cockpit coaming with a small hardwood edge that wont dig into your side uncomfortably while bracing for a wake from some inconsiderate power boater that just zoomed past. This decking provides a lot of reserve freeboard to the design and that translates to increased seaworthiness.

The sliding seat mechanism can be just set into place and two small bolts made up, one on each side, to fasten in her for rowing and while the sweeps are long, they couple nicely with this boat and its performance. With her long waterline, she really carries way quite nicely and will work very well for both propulsion purposes. With a couple of paddlers aboard and some well balanced kayak paddles, you can face forward and explore your local waters for evening paddles that do much to calm the soul and sooth the spirits after busy days.

I think Chris was right on with the concept and I’m pleased to offer it to the rest of you who might be able to find her useful. — Sam Devlin

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Bella 16

Bella16FrontBackThe Bella 16 rounds out our three-strong series of pulling/motoring skiffs. This largest version could easily carry three passengers, or even more if motoring instead of rowing. With only four 4 x 8 sheets of ¼ inch plywood and a few other odds and ends, the boatbuilder can have an attractive, easily driven, light craft. This boat is built upright without a jig, saving on time and materials. As with the Bella 10 and Bella 12, this boat is primarily a rowing skiff and her shape suits that purpose nicely. Whether fishing a pond in Wisconsin, rowing for recreation on the Puget Sound, or pulling her up on a Florida beach for some camping, the Bella 16 is a handy skiff. In a world that needs more boats, I’m happy to offer plans for the boater whose needs are balanced equally by aesthetics and utility. — Sam Devlin

The Bella 16 is available in study and construction plans.



Bella 16 Specifications

Length 15 ft. – 8.125 in.
Beam 3 ft. – 9.75 in.
Draft 6.5 in.
Power Oars, Outboard 2.5hp
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We have over the years designed and built 4 different models of scull boats and the Sculldugery is the latest in our offerings. For those of you who don’t know the idic scull boat for the waterfowler is a boat that generally fits a single hunter (usually without dog) and is not hunted in the idic sense over a clutch of decoys. This is a boat that is moved slowly and smoothly through the water towards raft of waterfowl with the hunter lying in prone position in the bottom of the boat. Propulsion is a single oar that extends out through the stern (transom) of the boat and thru a waggling motion the boat moves silently and smoothly forward. When the raft of ducks is closed to a shooting distance, the hunter then sits upright in the boat, ostensibly at this time the ducks take off in flight and with some fine shooting a limit of ducks can be paddled or sculled out to and picked up.

If you haven’t limited out with the first batch of shooting then the whole process starts all over, first the sneak-up, then the shooting. It is a slow and methodical process, and I must state here that it is not the kind of hunting for everybody, you must be patient and careful, but when the success ratio is good this is the closest thing to market shooting that exists in today’s hunting world. The market shooters did the same process the only difference being that they used an extremely large-bore shotgun loaded with just about anything that was on the workbench that was metal. The kill ratios were high and the bird populations suffered enough that the Feds got into the act and put a stop to the fun. The Sculldugery is a true scull boat that must be operated properly by a hunter interested in a type of hunting that few do these days. I hope that you will like the boat, but most of all when you lay down that first double without even setting one decoy and without having to sit for hours in a cold blind I am betting that you too will like this type of hunting. — Sam Devlin

The Sculldugery is available in study and construction plans.


Sculldugery Specifications

Length 15 ft. – 6 in.
Beam 3 ft. – 2 in.
Draft 6 in.
Power Scull
Max Load 850 lbs.
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Drifter 15

I grew up in Eugene, Oregon which is considered the center of the universe for drift boats, the famed Mackenzie and Willamette Rivers providing plenty of action for these types of boats.  In fact, the Mackenzie River Drift Boat really evolved on these rivers and over a period of more than 50 years, it has undergone a lot of exacting refinement. In the early phase of my career, I built almost a dozen of these drifters with my Stitch and Glue process and would have kept building them had I stayed in Eugene but the salt water beckoned and in 1982, we moved our shop and workers to the shores of Puget Sound where we have kept pretty busy building salt water type boats and cruisers.

But as it happens over time, customers have been asking about a drift boat design and amateur construction plans from Devlin Boats. We’ve finally had the time to put together plans for a nice little 15 footer and the object of this write-up. The Drifter is a McKenzie-styled boat constructed from 3/8″ (10mm) BS 1088 plywood with our Stitch and Glue method. The bottom of the boat is additionally reinforced with an additional cold-molded layer of 1/4″ (6mm) plywood and there is an option of fastening a layer of UHMW board to the bottom, in addition to that layer, to help this little boat really slide over the rocks. She’s equipped with fully adjustable seats which allow the solo fisherman to take the bow seat out entirely to clear up the cockpit for fishing. An ample forward deck keeps non-spooled line neatly in one place while fly fishing. Foam-filled floatation compartments port and starboard do double duty as convenient storage shelves. This is a sturdy craft wanting to be rowed and fished hard. Simply and durably built, she will provide a lot of great memories to the builder and the fisherman. – Sam Devlin

The Drifter 15 is available in study and construction plans.


Drifter 15 Specifications

Length 15 ft. – 13/16 in.
Beam 5 ft. – 11 3/16 in.
Draft 7.5 in.
Power Oars


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Duckling 14 Rower

Duckling14PassengerDesigned for one of my Sockeye 45 hulls owned by Henry and Holly Wendt of Friday Harbor, WA, the idea was for a proper rowing boat that could be carried on the aft house-top of the Widgeon (their aforementioned Sockeye 45). It was designed and built to receive a Piantedose sliding seat unit and with proper sweeps could provide the two of them exercise and joy while cruising the larger boat. We built her just in time for the launching of the Widgeon and she has lived happily on deck for the past several years.

She can carry the weight of a passenger lounging in the stern sheets and rows well either solo or with crew. I gave her a rather shapely hull 6 panels of plywood and it amazes me how nice a looking boat can be built with such a few number of parts. Later when I worked up the plans for home building, I was working on the design one fine Spring day with a nice breeze setting in and in a moment of inspiration, designed a neat sailing rig that could be fitted to her also with a daggerboard and sprit sail setting on a stayless mast. All the gear could be stowed in the hull and with just a few minutes of set up time, one could take advantage of those days much like the one that I experienced while working on the plans.

– Sam Devlin

The Devlin Duckling 14 Rower is available in study and construction plans.


Duckling 14 Rower Specifications

Length 14 ft. – 4.5 in.
Beam 3 ft. – 5 in.
Draft 5 in.
Power Oars
Displacement 268 lbs.
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ZephyrSideThe Zephyr was designed as a delightful daysailer inspired by 1870-designed Melonseeds and Seaford Skiffs of the New Jersey and New York coast. These boats were used as rowing and sailing-hunting boats. With a large cockpit and the reserve buoyancy of a decked design they were capable of going out in a variety of weather and sea conditions.

The Zephyr uses a spritsail rig with a low aspect sail plan that is stable and remarkably fast. This is the type of boat that you can both teach your kids to sail with, and keep yourself satisfied on a spirited evening sail at the end of the days struggles. She is lightweight enough to be cartopped, but if I were to use her I would invest in a small trailer. I could keep all the gear in the boat protected with a cockpit canvas cover, ready to hook up to my truck and trailer her down to the ramp for an evenings sail.

She’s small enough that I can handle her alone and selfishly enjoy some time with only myself to pick on. Plans are of course available and she can be built in just over 100 hours time. Let’s quit writing and get started building a Zephyr so I can get some sailing in before the spring breezes give out.

The Devlin Zephyr is available in study and construction plans.



Zephyr Specifications

Length 13 ft. – 6 in.
Beam 4 ft. – 6 in.
Draft Centerboard up/down 8 in. / 2 ft. 10 in.
Power Oars and Sail
Sail area 66 sq. ft. Sprit Rig
Max Load 425 lbs.
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On some days when I have pulled on the starter rope until my arm is aching and the (S.O.B.) engine is still not wanting to start, my thoughts and fantasies go to a simpler time when such smelly things weren’t considered a regular part of the hunting boats necessary equipment. On one of those days, the seeds were planted for the simple Poleboat. This is a proper boat that can haul and hunt up to two hunters and one that can be properly rowed and or poled out to the hunting grounds. Back in the days when you didn’t have to run out 5 – 10 miles to get to the hunting area and back in the days when there weren’t established launch ramps all over the place, these types of boats abounded. In fact, what you would have seen is many flavors of these types of boats with a compact and stowable sailing rig hunting all over marshes (where birds can be found). Rowing out in the morning before first light and before the wind built for the day, and at the end of the hunt as soon as your limit was reached, stepping the mast and sailing back as quickly as possible. This is a real hunting experience and one that few of us hunters these days can and will experience.

The Poleboat is light enough in weight that you could car-top it (if the bed of your truck is filled with something else) and you can launch it without much fuss in an area that doesn’t have formal launch ramps. I often find that it is easier to unload from the truck at marsh’s edge and simply grab onto the bow and slide it over the grass and cattails until I reach deep enough water to float her. If I wear hip-waders then I can flip over the side into the cockpit, reaching down to grab the push-pole and force her the rest of the way through the cattails to deep water. Some of this hunting with only a dozen high-quality hand made decoys at most is really productive and enjoyable. Think about it, there might be a better way to hunt than with all the junk that has to go along with a motored boat. Sometimes simpler is indeed better, and in that case, the Poleboat shines. — Sam Devlin

The Devlin Poleboat is available in study and construction plans.


Poleboat Specifications

Length 13 ft. – 2 in.
Beam 3 ft. – 8.5 in.
Draft 5.5 in. Loaded
Power Oars, Pole
Displacement 98 lbs.
Max Load 360 lbs.
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