Blue Blazer 25 Design Notes

The Blue Blazer 25 was an unusual design request by one of my favorite customers. Jack had just purchased a weekend abode in Newport Rhode Island and needed a boat to use on his trips up there. He called me on a wet and cold winter day with the following requirements for his new boat. He didn’t need a boat that had lavish accommodations and he really didn’t need a lot of the gear that might go on a boat that had more serious cruising aspirations. This was intended to be a simple boat that he could travel around the harbor looking at other boats and seascapes, alone or with a pack of friends. The major use of the boat was to be in the summer months during the short New England boating season. The days would inevitably be warm and fair as he could afford the time to pick his boating days for ideal conditions and so outside standup steering was selected as the best option for control of the boat.

With my own weather being raw, wet, and cold at times, it’s difficult to be empathetic with the concept of the fair-weather use of such a boat but I was committed to doing my best interpretation. So armed with Jack’s list of parameters of boat use and gear, I retreated to the back of the design office where most of the serious boat drawing takes place. The hull wasn’t that hard to work up a concept for since we already knew roughly how big she needed to be but I kept getting gummed up on Jack’s requirement that there be under cover sitting spots for at least two people. Every time I tried to sketch in a covered roof area, the whole thing started to look like a small pilothouse. Now most of you that have looked at my designs know that I tend to be a pilothouse aficionado for both large and small boats because to my eye, they look well-proportioned and purposeful. So it would be safe to say that among the early preliminaries of this design, there were several boats that looked somewhat like stretched out low profileSurf Scoters with an amidships pilothouse and big cockpit.

Jack didn’t bite on these drawings at all. With his characteristic method of letting me down gently by never openly telling me that he didn’t like the drawings but just not exhibiting any great enthusiasm about the drawings, I clearly got the message. So back to the drawing board again, I returned only to confront the same problem — the minute I tried to put a covered house on the boat, she again started to look like a pilothouse boat that would be suitable in Alaskan waters. With each new version of the design I set down on paper, ultimately be rejected by Jack, my frustration level increased.

There is an old, old saying that all boat designers only have one good design in them and upon discovering that design, they spend the rest of their working life only drawing bigger and smaller versions of the same boat. While I hope this isn’t true that in my case, there certainly is some credence to the saying. I think it has a lot more to do with the designer’s eye and perhaps their mind taking a roughly similar slant on things with the result being that what looks right to the designer, most likely resembles other work they have done in the past.

So in my struggles with what felt like the tenth version of the preliminary design, I had an epiphany. It finally occurred to me that I could think of a boat as nothing more than a coat. In Jack’s case, he simply couldn’t picture himself in the coat that I was attempting to design for him. If you are familiar with Northwest area of the United States, there is a company in Seattle called “Filson” that is a mainstay in the outdoor clothing community. Filson has been in business over 100 years and was originally started to provide rugged outdoor clothing to the Gold Miners in the Alaskan Gold rush in the 1890s. Filson makes the heaviest and warmest coats imaginable and in most cases, out of virgin wool. My thought process went further with this analogy and I came up with the idea that what I kept trying to draw for Jack was a Filson Wool Double Mackinaw Cruiser Coat and that Jack just couldn’t picture himself in that coat motoring around swanky Newport Harbor. What Jack really wanted wasn’t a rugged wool, go-to-Alaska coat but a sharply tailored ‘Blue Blazer’. The wind is light, the day warm, and at most, a blazer is enough coat to suffice for the landscape and the company. In other words, Jack was looking for something a bit more formal, not enough to be stuffy, but still enough to be comfortable in.

The minute that thought process completed itself, I think the rest of the design process happened in less than an hour. I called the design “Blue Blazer” just to remind myself of her origins and she would be a dark navy blue color with tan trim and teak natural finished decks. She would have enough class to suit the owner and would be an eye-sweet addition to any harbor she runs in. She is, in other words, a “fast day-launch”, suitable to carry a pack of people about the bay in comfort.

Starting at the stern is a teak swim platform to help board the boat from a harbor taxi and just forward of the transom is a large daybed with foam fabric covered cushions for crews that like to sunbathe to have a place to enjoy the day. Forward of the daybed, which covers the engine box, is a bench seat settee that is the full width of the cockpit and at the center of that seat is a console type helm area. The Captain can either sit at the bench and steer or can stand and operate the boat. Engine controls are electronic and there is an interesting false top to the console that can be hinged back to expose other fancy electronics, GPS, VHF, Depth, and Speed instruments. The engine gauges are easy to read and accessible for controlling the boat. The steering wheel itself is a custom Italian thing that would not look out of place on a mid-sixties classic Ferrari. Forward of the center console are port and starboard upholstered seats that allow guests good side to side visibility out of the boat. There is a small windscreen with a convertible rigid top section and canvas top section that allows two people to sit out in the sun when folded forward and four people to sit under cover when folded aft and the weather is not cooperating. Under the forward deck area are two bunks long enough for a couple of tall people to comfortably stretch out on and up in the bow, a marine water closet can be fitted giving the whole forward cabin the capability of providing a degree of seclusion for head type activities. On deck, the bow has a hatch over the main part of the sleeping/head cabin and an electric anchor windlass powers up a polished stainless steel anchor on a bow roller. All cleats are of the stainless steel pop-up variety and deck trim is also polished stainless steel. The decks themselves are laid teak finished raw and when scrubbed a couple of times a year with bleach and water, they are the best non-skid material that exists and they lend a look of fine craftsmanship to the boat. There is a low bow pulpit to help keep your crew on deck and a low aft railing around the cockpit. The neatest feature of the exterior is the gracefully curved, varnished mast with some signal flags displayed and with a proper large ensign on the stern, the “Blue Blazer” looks dressed up for the occasion and ready to transport her crew around for the day.

I hope you like this little cruiser and as happens with most designs, it didn’t take very long before I started coming up with reasons and circumstances where she would work in very nicely with a little boating that I am planning in the future. So if she works for Jack, and I’m thinking that she works for me, maybe you, too, will find a little daydreaming potential in this little launch.

– Sam Devlin

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

Godzilla 25 Design Notes

After a successful launch of our Godzilla 22 and having some sea-time on her, I became inspired to build a bigger Godzilla-type tug, one that would have more interior room and that was large enough to allow cruising on the waters of Puget Sound or even potentially up to Southeast Alaska. And as it quite often works out around the boatshop, not much time passed before a prospective customer came out of the woodwork with similar musings. A short couple of months later, we had a hull being planked up in the shop for the new, larger Godzilla 25 design.

Russ’s requirements for the “Donna B” were for a boat that had day cruising aspirations along with the necessity of allowing a built-in double berth forward so that when needed, Russ or his wife could take a comfortable nap up forward. We needed more room in the fo’c’sle cabin and so I tried an idea that I had proposed originally on the 22 foot Godzilla prototype (but was not opted for by the owner) of a flush deck design from the front corner of the pilothouse to the stem of the boat. The flush deck design is remarkable for adding room to the fo’c’sle and results in a cabin that appears larger and spacious with more comfort and a less claustrophobic feeling. For ventilation during the warm summer months of the Wisconsin waters where the boat will homeport, we added a couple of 8 inch bronze portlights in the hull sides and a large opening fore deck hatch of 27 inch x 24 inch size. Russ has a woodworking company and planned on building the fore deck hatch, two side sliding pilothouse doors, pilothouse windows (which are all opening), and the pilothouse rooftop hatch, all constructed of teak. Russ also wanted the capability of doing some of the interior cabinetry himself and to respect his wishes, I let him turn his mind loose and was looking forward to his ideas and craftsmanship. All of the exterior of the Godzilla 25 would be finished and fully functional before shipping out to Wisconsin.

For the power in this boat, I suggested to Russ that we use a four-cylinder Yanmar engine of 75 hp. That of course was over-powered for this type of hull but it had the advantage of smooth, quiet power at about half throttle and with the heat exchanger, a truck or bus type heater could be installed for free cabin heat anytime the engine was running. The engine was housed in its own small trunk type cabin aft of the pilothouse and the main cabin seat (which Russ is building) covered the front of the engine. With some planning, the helm seat could be hinged or dislodged and excellent full headroom access to the engine would be possible making maintenance much more pleasant than most small boats can offer.

I tried unsuccessfully to talk Russ into raising the lazarette of the boat (stern deck) from bulkhead #5 to the stern up to deck level allowing better access to the steering gear compartment and with the bonus of functioning as a bit of a seat flat that you could perch on. But Russ felt that he preferred a couple of deck chairs to be used for seats and favored a completely single level self-bailing deck from the pilothouse to the stern. So to allow access to the steering gear, I installed a metal flush deck hatch just over the rudderpost.

Construction started in September 2003 and Russ launched his Godzilla 25 in Wisconsin in the Spring of 2004. — Sam Devlin

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

Dunlin 22 Design Notes

Whether you’re fishing for mackerel or cedar logs, giving a tow or taking it easy, as the world seems to get wetter there’s much to be said for a capable little motor cruiser with a warm wheelhouse.

Act One: It was a very cold November morning at my home on Puget Sound, here in the Pacific Northwest. Calm now but the night before, we had experienced quite a lively storm with lots of wind and rain and my little yard tugboat Godzilli awaiting me patiently for the day’s adventures. Looking about after these early winter storms, quite often one can find some good cedar logs – really trees – that have been washed down off the low banks of the bay and they are almost always free for the taking. Some pretty good timber can be had from the beach salvage of these logs and I gathered up my youngest son, Mackenzie, – aged 19 at the time – and we set out to see what we might rescue.

The Godzilli is a small 16′ {4.9m) boat with a good tow bitt and a strong hi-thrust engine, almost ideal for the task. We had a great day, ending up salvaging two neighbor’s boats that had drifted off their moorings, a dock – pontoon – that had also been blown off its mooring and finally at the end of the day we lashed on to a 60′ {18m) cedar log, not good enough for boatbuilding but it did yield some very nice siding for a small workshop we were constructing. After a long rewarding day it was great to have a bit of a drink in celebration of our achievements of the day and reflect on my little tug…

It was during this reflection time that I started down the path of scheming that eventually led to the Dunlin 22 design. The day’s wish list was for a galley, something that the small tug Godzilli lacked, a good solid fuel stove to warm my wet hands from a day of salvage and the final wish was for space enough in which, as the last rays of winter sun drifted away my son and I could sit down, warm ourselves up and enjoy a stiff drink! What was needed was a boat a bit larger than Godzilli but with her same simple lines and utility; shallow enough draft that I could nose her ashore close enough to allow me to get lashed onto the logs that I wanted to salvage and heavy enough that the large logs couldn’t pull me off course once I had a tow made up.

Those musings came into my mind just a few days later and roughed out a set of lines for the new boat.

Act Two: Don Blum walks into my office a few months later, visiting on a road trip from Oregon, just south of my home in Washington State. He is a tall and lean fellow and very shortly after sitting down, he begins outlining his ideal dream boat for his home waters on the Oregon coast.

Don lives on Coos Bay which has several rivers that feed it. The bay is large enough to allow lots of cruising and exploring in it and with the right weather conditions, think of running a boat out over the Bar to do a bit of fishing on the open Pacific. His dream was very close to my own and I don’t think more than 15 minutes passed before the rough set of lines that I had drawn months before were out on my drafting table and we were both busy talking through the details of the upcoming build project.

She was to have a 60hp outboard mounted conventionally on the stern, one of the hi-thrust models that are available these days. The hoped-for performance was a top speed of cruise speed of about 15 mph {13 knots) and a cruise speed of 10 mph {8.7 knots). Fuel economy had to be good as it just didn’t make sense to have a new boat built that gobbled down excessive amounts of expensive and valuable fuel. The cockpit was vital to the success of the boat as Don anticipated several diverse pursuits with the boat. He is a scientist and avid birdwatcher so would use the boat as an active blind to observe animal and bird life in his home waters. He also is keen fisherman and wanted a serviceable cockpit that would accommodate that pursuit without compromise. A large hold was planned in the middle of the cockpit to house gear that didn’t need to be strewn about the deck; it would also serve as a working table and seat perch in the middle of the cockpit. A crab pot puller would be mounted on the starboard side of the cockpit as the crabs on Coos Bay are numerous and succulent.

The wheelhouse would be entered by a centreline bi-folding door and full headroom of 6’3″ (1.9m) provided, plenty enough for Don’s height to avoid head banging in rough seas. A solid fuel stove built by Navigator Stove Co of Orcas Island, Washington was specified to be mounted in the pilothouse on the portside aft up against the rear bulkhead. This model. the Little Cod, is a wonderful little piece of cast-iron heaven, burning just about any fuel – we favor small 2″ {50mm) diameter alder hardwood limb cuttings about 6″ (150mm) long – and provides radiant heat that will knock the chill out of the marine air in just minutes. A galley counter to port and counter to starboard form the edges to the pilothouse and Don suggested foregoing any fixed helm seat in favor of the more flexible and useful movable stool for seating.

Up forward, beneath a large dash area – formed by the foredeck planking which extends into the pilothouse by 18″ (0.45m) – is a large port-to-starboard double berth. The cushioned platform is 16″ (0.4m) above the pilothouse sole and has stowage built into its base. A space was also planned for a porta-potti to be accessible below the berth flat and a hinged lid swung up to expose it for use. There is pretty good sitting headroom over the berth top; you can’t sit fully upright but with a pillow to lean back against, it works out well and it is fairly easy to swing into and out of the bunk.

I planned on cold moulding the bottom – a very shallow vee – with an extra layer of V4″ (6mm) marine plywood over the original skin of V2″ (12mm) marine ply with epoxy glue and then sheathing the entire exterior of the hull with a layer of Dynel cloth set in epoxy. This will give us a very strong and stiff bottom for her life of being stored at times on a trailer and allows the elements to be kept at a distance from her structure. She is built with the Stitch and Glue method and this is the first boat that we experimented with stapling the panels together rather than using the normal wire stitches as was more traditional for Stitch and Glue construction. The staples augmented a few wire stitches and we had the 6 hull panels – 2 bottoms, 2 lower sides, 2 topside panels all fastened together over the mandrel of 6 athwartships bulkheads in just about 90 minutes with two fellows doing the work. That is very fast assembly of a hull and within the first day of setting bulkheads up on the mould floor, the panels were all in place and we had the first go-around of interior tabbing at the bulkhead/hull intersections done. The second day saw her exterior seams taped with two layers of 12 oz biaxial tape in 4″ and 6″ (100 ft 150mm) widths and about half of the interior seams fully glassed with the same laminate schedule.

It was many months later that we launched her to the joy of the crew and her owner and on early sea-trials, the 60hp Yamaha 4-stroke outboard showed a top speed of 16mph and a good and easy cruising speed of 12mph. She floated exactly on her lines and is now beloved by her owner in her home on Coos Bay.

Act Three: Don and his wife are at a friend’s party in their hometown and the talk is all about his new boat. Before long someone asks: How much did she cost? Don thinks for moment and answers: Nothing, she didn’t cost me a dime.

All the money he used to buy the boat was part of an inheritance that had its old home in the Lehman Bros brokerage on Wall Street, New York. Don had cashed in the fund to pay for the boat. Just a few weeks after we delivered her to Don, Lehman Bros went bankrupt. If Don had not used the money to have her built, he would have lost it all. So his quick answer was quite true.

Life can be amazing these days; perhaps the best tack is to enjoy what we can of it, while we still can! — Sam Devlin

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

Song Wren Design Notes

Here is a sailboat that might tickle your fancy, something that could be the recipient of many idle time dreams and musings. She looks very much the part of a good peaceful sailing scene and with her Gaff rig and Cutter arrangement for the sailplan, I can easily envision the Song Wren nicely heeled to the water. There is a smooth and steady breeze keeping the sails full and drawing and just the slight occasional water noise for backdrop as she gently glides along in her groove. After several hours of sailing, a nice quiet cove is a great place to round her up into, dropping the hook just minutes before the evening breeze completely dies down to nothing. Now is the time to light a little fire in the Shipmate solid fuel stove warming the cabin up and heating some water for a tummy warming toddy as the last bit of light in the day drifts away into the still evening black. The stars are out, the cabin warm and cozy and the rum almost makes me drowsy but its really a meal that I am thinking about now. I know what is in the cooler and its an easy chore to add another couple of bolts of quick burning fragrant red cedar to the stove. Soon the skillet is hot and ready for its bit of business. After frying up 4 strips of thick cut bacon, I slather a bit of mayonnaise on a couple of slices of bread, lay on a bed of lettuce, top it off with a sliced thinly tomato and I have a meal that will not only fill me up but fills the cabin with fragrance. After the meal I sit in the cockpit again marveling at the night calm and puffing on a good cigar, its own fragrance and smoke drifting off very slowly adding its own spice into the night. The loons were calling at dusk and the memory of their calls just adds backdrop to the scene. Its not long though before I drop back into the cabin, splash a bit of water across my face and crawl into my sleeping bag. There is enough warmth in the cabin left over from cooking dinner that I leave the hatch open knowing that I can either get up a little later and close her up or bank up the fire in the stove for another dose of warmth. But what really happens is that I sleep so soundly that I don’t bother doing either of those chores and wake up to a well ventilated cabin and a bracing coolness to start the new day. Its a quick job to light the stove again, heat my water for tea and cleaning up from last nights dinner. All I have to do is sit up on the deck reading a bit and waiting for the days breeze to fill in.

After sailing home, putting the boat away is the conclusion to a really fine and satisfying couple of days. This is the sort of stuff that most likely only adds days to your life and doesn’t subtract anything. It can be done alone or with a crew, your choice, or you might find that taking along your Black Labrador best friend is the way to go. The conclusion should always be that time spent on the water, living by the whims of the breeze, is a fine way to spend time.

The Song Wren will do all this without much fuss and with her tabernacle mast, you will be able to drop her rig without much effort and trailer her home for the Winter where you can do your winter cruising sitting in the cockpit in some storage shed while the storms wail away. She also has a centerboard (although with our deep waters in Puget Sound that isn’t really all that necessary) that allow her to sneak into shallow spots or allows you the luxury of sitting her on a powerboat trailer for moving her about from one waterway to another. Some of the finest sailing I have ever experienced was in the Mountain Lakes Wilderness in Central Oregon near where I grew up.

The rest of this design only needs to be studied a bit and you will figure out your own ways to use her best. The only compliment is a nicely balanced helm and a boat that responds quickly and smoothly to the wind. You being able to spend some peaceful time in her and you will find the rest works its own way out.

Amateur plans consist of 15 drawings printed on 24×36 inch paper. We are planning to produce basic hull and bulkhead panel kits for her and look forward to seeing many of these fine looking Cutters on the water. — Sam Devlin

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

Fairhaven Flyer 20 Design Notes

One of my customers, who had built an Oarling previously and had rowed it quite a bit around Puget Sound, came to me on an early spring day in 2005 and had an interesting request. Her name was Dale McKinnon and she was setting her goals on being the first woman to solo row the Northwest passage from Alaska to Puget Sound in Washington State and the second woman ever to row that same passage following Betty Lowman Carey who did the trip from Guemes Island in Puget Sound north to Ketchikan in 1937 but not as a solo trip. Dale had very strong ideas on what the new boat needed to do for the trip and her experience with the Oarling design informed her very well in deciding features on the new design. She had a very short amount of time allocated to building the new boat and she virtually had no time to sea-trial and adjust the boat after the build before transporting the new boat named Bella to Ketchikan for the start of the trip. So I threw out all the other projects that I was working on and focused on the new design in order to meet her deadline. The design was named the Fairhaven Flyer and Dales trip in 2005 was an epic and fantastic adventure. During one phase of the voyage, she even encountered another of our Devlin Family of boats cruising the Northwest Passage, one of my Sockeye 45 designs the Edwin S. Dawson and I heard many reports of sightings of her during the trip. Dales trip was a successful one and it has left her with the prospect of other voyages to add to her accomplishments.

It took me many years to go back to the design, blow the dust off the original drawings and finish her up for our home-builder market. So with a bit of fresh thinking, the Fairhaven Flyer design has come to light for the rest of us. Here are her specifications — this is a boat with the capability to be either rowed as a recreational single or double oarsman, or a single with a passenger or two. She can also be used for expedition-type rowing with a single oarsman and gear enough for a trip of some ambition like Dales trip from Alaska to Washington State in 2005. With some snap on canvas covers for the bow and stern and the simple addition of a couple of bulkheads to divide up the bow and stern stowage sections, gear could be kept stowed away, safe and dry and the reserve buoyancy of the two covered areas reduces the cockpit to a smaller section for truly ambitious expedition work. All this is done with a good looking dory type hull which has the unique quality of allowing a broad variety of loading to be applied to the boat without degrading the performance or the speed and rowing ability of the boat. Dories are simply the best hull shape for doing this and allow the boat to be the most sea-worthy possible for the type. With a drop in sliding seat, you can arrange the boat to be convertible between all the uses stated above with just a couple of bolts set up with an allen wrench.

We look forward to hearing of other ambitious and adventurous customers dreaming up their own voyages. — Sam Devlin

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

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

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

Marsh Wren Design Notes

The Marsh Wren was designed at the request of one of our Nancy’s China customers. He was ready to graduate up from the smaller Nancy’s China and was no longer interested in a boat that had a cabin and sleeping accommodations. His family had grown and his children were now high school and college students and his wife now had many distractions in her life and so my friend was left without his traditional crew. His career at the point where he didn’t have much extra or spare time for sailing anyway! Most of his sailing adventures were relegated to slipping away from the dock for a few hours on a weekday evening just after work. If he was organized enough, he would stop to buy a sandwich at a local delicatessen and could sail on through the dinner hour returning to the dock just before or just after dusk. But nevertheless, sailing was still important to his life. Without the need for overnight accommodations, he opted for a boat with a larger cockpit, one that allowed the crew to spread out (when he had crew) and yet easily sailed alone if that was the way things shaped up. He loved the character and distinctiveness of the Nancy’s China and wanted to retain that flavor in the new boat.

So off to the drawing board I went and with pencil in hand, I came up with a new design that I felt would work for his needs. I used as a model my old Winter Wren design but drew the new boat out a little longer. Increasing the length from 18’8″ on deck to 20’2″ on deck, the new design looked better and hydrodynamically had a better run aft thru the water. One of the problems the Winter Wren had when she was overloaded with too many people in the cockpit was dragging her stern in the water, creating drag and wasting some of the power of the wind. But with the new design, moving the center of gravity forward of the ballast and crew helped to come up with a faster boat that would balance well with a single person sailing or with a crew of up to 6 people on board. I felt the same Gaff rig similar to the Winter Wren to be the best option as it sails very effectively close-hauled and off the wind, is actually much more efficient than a conventional Bermuda sloop. The Gaff also helps play to the distinctiveness that my customer had requested be retained.

The final result is a splendid sailor with a very balanced and light helm. The tiller just takes mere fingertip control and she sails so well as to literally negate the need for an auxiliary engine. I found by the second sail that I was sailing into complicated moorings with ease, docking in a variety of winds and tide conditions. It had been a long time since I could remember enjoying simple daysails so much.

Of course not long after building the first boat, someone came along wanting to place a cabin on the boat, so I finished the plans for either the original daysailer (long cockpit) version and for a more conventional cabin version. Either should be a delight to sail and spend time with. — Sam Devlin

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

Curlew 20 Design Notes

This is a new design done as a very simple and approachable powerboat capable of being the perfect companion to adventures on the water. Originally designed for Florida waters, I think she would fit in just about anywhere. Built as an open boat, a variety of other concepts and options can be worked into this relatively simple hull, all of them allowing the builder and boatman to tailor this vessel to suit their own needs and desires. She is on the narrow side being very similar to the Pangas of Mexico and the Caribbean that I am very familiar with. As a fishing boat on the bonefish flats, she really shines with a casting deck built into the forward area of the boat where you have plenty of room to keep your feet under you while standing up to cast into the clear waters.

Power can be up to a 90 horsepower outboard but keep in mind this hull does not need a lot of horsepower to be driven economically at a good clip over the water. There is a center console arrangement that helps keep the helmsman in an area of the boat with excellent visibility and control. The cockpit deck is self-bailing if you keep her on a mooring with the sole being 3 inches above the loaded waterline. Plugging the scuppers when carrying a load of friends on an outing is a simple solution to keeping the cockpit sole low enough to still keep you in the boat when fishing. There is 17 inches of height from the cockpit sole to the top of the side decks in the main cockpit area which is 11 feet 3 inches in length and almost 5 feet wide. The forward casting deck is over 4 feet in length and almost 5 feet wide at its widest point and stands up 14 inches higher than the main cockpit sole.

For seating in a boat like this I really prefer to use loose folding type chairs. West Marine sells a wonderful seat called the Kingfish II that has built in armrests and with its low stance, it stays put in any kind of waters and conditions. I like these seats so well that I keep a couple of them on the stern deck of my old salmon troller “Josephine”. On the Curlew we can also sit on the 6 inch wide side decks if we desire the 17 inch height of the railing above the cockpit deck which is just about the perfect height for seating.

Construction is our normal Stitch and Glue method with hi-grade marine plywood used throughout combined with epoxy resin and fiberglass and Dynel cloth sheathing for abrasion resistance. Paint her a light color with a gray or beige colored decking and she will keep well and look clean and shipshape for a long time. This Curlew 20 would be the perfect workboat, capable of doing just about any job required of her. Construction is straightforward and easy with her 4 paneled hull.

This type of hull design with her vee bottom running from a relatively sharp entry and reducing in deadrise gradually to the stern where the deadrise aft is the flattest of the run allows for great performance in a variety of waters. We ran a full length spray rail all along her sides just above the waterline and this will help keep spray down when blasting about on a brisk day. It is very easy to see myself beaching her on a sandy beach after a morning on the water with my fly pole and hopefully a couple of bright fish in the cooler staying fresh until I kindle a fire on the beach for their grilling. A couple of cold beers in my belly and some very tasty grilled fish makes for the conclusion to a great day. I hope you can see yourself in the same picture or even better make your own picture for the Curlew and you.

We are offering the building plans set at $125 dollars for the download version and $155 for a paper set printed for you. There are 7 sheets of drawings in the set total with panel expansions done for you and everything designed for the stitch and glue building method. She is planked up with ½ inch marine plywood in her single chined hull, set-up drawings are done for you and this is a very easy boat to build. With about 450 hours of labor and few thousand dollars of marine plywood and epoxy, you will be ready to use her in your own dreams. — Sam Devlin

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin