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Sooty Tern

Drawing on the experience with our 23 Arctic Tern Sailboat the Sooty Tern design was an extension of a similar concept with the biggest change being the Gaff Rig design and a 2 foot longer boat. SootyTernSide

A diesel engine was planned for in the design and a 3/4 length full keel allows shoal draft capability with the easy balanced helm of a fully separate rudder system. This Keel/ rudder combination allows a very sensitive helm that tracks extremely well and has a bit more efficiency than a normal full keel/transom hung rudder arrangement. And with the transom hung rudder a very strong rudder connection is possible and servicing and maintenance is easy and quick. A large cockpit was planned to accommodate up to four adults for sailing with comfort, and single winches for headsails are right at hand and convenient to use.

All sail raising and lowering is done from the mast base with a bronze belaying pin type gooseneck allowing organizing of the halyards and easy non fouling access to raising and lowering of the sails. With her traditional rig, and idic lines but yet very simple and easy to set up and take down sails the Sooty Tern should be a breeze to go out for a quick daysail or if time allows you can go out for a more extended cruise. The Gaff rigged sloop sailplan is remarkably easy to use and sail and the Gaff rigged mainsail can be boomed out for downwind sailing almost obviating the need for expensive hard to handle down wind headsails. With her traditional appearance but yet crisp, pure performance the Sooty Tern harkens back to a time when sailing meant personal enjoyment and intimacy with the boat and the water.

Going below there is a very small head to starboard, double berth forward and quarter berth to port extending slightly under the cockpit seats. The small galley is more than adequate for a boat of this size where food preparation is simple and basic. Good space, comfortable berths, and a warm dry cabin can make a good days sailing complete, and with the company of a couple of good friends what more could one ask for.

One feature of the Sooty Tern that has been dealt with straightforward is auxiliary power. Instead of fooling with outboard brackets on the stern or a even less desirable a compromise outboard motor/well with its drag and loss of performance, the Sooty Tern has its own 10 hp. diesel engine in a proper engine box with sound insulation and room enough to keep the engine clean and well oiled. These small diesels can be one of the best shipmates imaginable, converting dying breezes or a short sail that needs to be terminated to get back to our busy normal schedules. With the engine always at hand and the turn of a key the only move necessary to get one out of an embarrassing moment this little diesel can be an important feature in a small personal cruiser such as the Sooty Tern.

The Sooty Tern is available either as a custom built boat from Devlin Designing Boatbuilders of Olympia, Washington or as full amateur building plans for the home builder using the Stitch and Glue boatbuilding method. — Sam Devlin

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Sooty Tern Specifications

Length LOD 24 ft. – 7 in.
Beam 7 ft. – 8 in.
Draft 42 in.
Power Inboard diesel 10hp
Displacement 2850 lbs.
Sail Area 328sf Gaff Rig
Hull Type Displacement
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