Mark Wallace's Black Skiff

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Devlin's Duckling...

Sam Devlin’s Duckling is a beautiful, light weight and fast boat that can be rowed with either sliding seat and/or fixed seat.

Sam Devlin's Duckling (S. Devlin)


  • Length 17′ 3.6″ (5.3m)
  • Beam 3′ 5.75″ (1061mm)
  • Draft 5.25″ (133mm)
  • Displacement 346 lbs (157Kg)
  • Hull weight 95 lbs (43Kg)


Sam Devlin's Duckling Profile... (


...and From Dead Ahead (


(Quotes from Dale McKinnon’s article in April 2016 issue of Small Boats Monthly
“…The Duckling 17 is very stable…” 
“…Generally, faster boats sacrifice stability for speed, but in six hard pulls I had reached a GPS-measured 5.7 knots. With a waterline length of 15′ 7-1/8″, the Duckling 17’s theoretical hull speed is 5.3 knots. I settled down to a little over 5 knots at about 22 strokes per minute…” 
“…Although Devlin envisioned the Duckling 17 as a performance rowing craft, not as a load-carrying boat, I’d consider adding battens on the sides during construction to provide a place to attach plastic or metal pad-eyes. With bungee cords and dry bags you’d have secure load-carrying capacity for fast touring coastal waters…” 
“…I’d add a Venturi auto-bailer to take care of any water that might get shipped in rough seas…” * 
“…The thought of arriving comfortably at a destination 20 miles away half an hour sooner is quite appealing. I have no hesitation in recommending the Duckling 17 as a boat for fast and light touring, as well as recreational and open-water rowing.”
(From the Duckling Site Description) 
“Sleek lines and a beautiful sheer make the Duckling a delight to row and own. She is light and responsive and easily handled, providing great exercise for the single oarsman. As a three-panel per side design, she’ll glide through the water nearly effortlessly.
At 95 lbs. the Duckling 17 is a very car-toppable boat, easy for one person to handle. Folding pattern oarlocks and eight foot spoon blade oars give her a lot of power.”

Converting to an Oar Cruiser:

For oar cruising, including sleeping onboard, the following would need to be done:

  • Provide floorboards that span the V-bottom… see here and here for examples.
  • Provide shelter for sleeping, cooking, etc…. see here and here for examples.
  • Provide fore and aft, and possibly side, decks which could be skin-on-frame to minimize weight.

This would make a beautiful and fast oar cruiser that would take you through most any inland waters.

* For a Venturi style bailer, see Duckworks


  1. She looks gorgeous; long, low, sleek, and to my eye a lovely sheer.

    Are you going to model her?


    1. Hi Lou... Agreed... a beautiful boat. And I like the speed, as Dale relates in her write-up.

      Probably will not model her... what I'd really like is to build her... the additions I'd make is what I've proposed in many of boats covered in the blog... as always, not modifying the hull design, just doing additions to make it an "Oar Cruiser"...