MicroPetrelCU

Micro Petrel Design Notes

Here is a simple little Pram-style dinghy that can be built from a few sheets of ¼” marine plywood using the Stitch and Glue method of construction and weighs not much more than a feather. She will fit into the back of a small pickup or could be car-topped if you prefer to drive something that isn’t of the easy carrying mode.  If you would indulge me with a read of the description of her larger sister, the Lit’l Petrel design, you could follow the concept of how a small boat like this can respond to real life needs of carrying a wide variety of weight and keep herself still in a stable and well performing mode.  But what follows is the real story of why we took the time and energy to do another design and why that exercise was necessary.

I have a very good customer who I am quite fond of named Cyndie and she owns one of our larger Devlin’s that we designed and built for her several years ago.  Cyndie loves her Devlin and uses it often either by herself or with a phalange of friends and our story follows one of these Saturday outings on Puget Sound.

Cyndie and two companions were out on the water, buzzing about doing a bit of training and in general just enjoying the water and the company of each other.  Just ahead was a sailboat that was in distress and  so she and her crew stood by to render assistance.  The weather was stormy and the boat in stress was having issues getting a line passed across so that they could be towed to safety and before anyone could react, the large skiff that was on the stern of Cyndie’s boat got swamped by a large wave and took enough wave force to literally tear it off the swim step of her boat.  It was only with quick action that the broken hull could be saved.  Cyndie and I had talked previously about using this skiff (not a Devlin skiff) on her boat as the tender, and I had aired my concerns of it as the hull was lightly built and not up to the rigors of a life tipped up vertically mounted on the swimstep of a larger boat.  So I hate to say, that it wasn’t a surprise to me to later hear the story of how the skiff was torn off and damaged greatly.  So without a proper shore boat it wasn’t long before Cyndie and I had a conversation about  having us put a proper dinghy on the stern of her lovely boat, a dinghy that was purpose designed for the stress and rigors that she would subject it to.  That was the catalyst for the Lit’l Petrel design and now this sistership the Micro Petrel.

The smaller design was done in quick succession to her larger sister as our answer to the need for a smaller pram styled dinghy that would allow the maximum boat to be built without scarfing being necessary on the 4ft.X 8ft. sheets of plywood.  This boat is just about as large of a skiff or dinghy as one can build from full sized sheets of plywood.  A great little boat, very easy to build, good capacity and very useable in real life use.  Strongly built she is a great option as the tender to a larger mothership or you can use her on her own…

Plans cost $65 dollars and with a couple sheets of marine plywood, a few gallons of epoxy and a couple of planks of ¾” hardwood you can build your own version.  Her weight of 57 lbs. will allow you to handle her without straining your back and she is a great project boat, perfect for teaching your kids or grandkids how to build something in a world where most of us have completely detached from building anything with our own hands… What a fine way to spend a few hours, both building and using her!

– Sam Devlin

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