November 26, 2017


A sweet little boat — the Micro-Petrel

After years of admiring his designs, buying plans and getting to know him through the WoodenBoat School, I am at long last building a Sam Devlin design.

I need a dinghy for Tardis, and given the size of the mother-boat, the daughter-boat has to be versatile, light and simple.  That’s a perfect description of Sam’s Micro-Petrel.

But what really appeals to me is the build economy — two sheets of 1/4 inch ply and a dash of half-inch and you have a boat.  I knew I had something like that laying about the shop left over from Tardis and other projects, so I ordered the plans and began building.

Sam’s plans are very complete, so it has been as easy build so far.  I have had to make a few compromises to maximize the use of my scrap pile:

— The transoms (it’s a pram, hence two of them) are 3/4 inch ply since that’s what I had, and given my tendency to run into things, is probably a good choice.

— I had to join two pieces of half-inch together with a gusset to make the central frame, but that, too, probably adds strength in an important place.

— I only had half sheets of quarter-inch, so they had to be butt-joined and beefed up with biaxial glass tape.  Looks very strong so far.

— I cut the bottom panels from left-over Cappie Canoe panels, which were already very curvy.  So I had to make a full-size template out of some door skins that Ray had lying around.  Thanks, Ray.

So far I have only had to buy one piece of pine for the central seat.  Everything else I had, hence the dinghy’s name:  Offcut.

micro petrel drawing

That’s Sam rowing.


splicing frame

Butt joint and gusset to join the central bulkhead.

panel butt

Butt joining two four foot leftovers to make an eight for the side panels.

bulkheads and transomes

Transoms and bulkheads — all four of them. Tardis has 19.

bottom panel layout

Laying out pattern for the bottom panel

establishing sheer

Establishing curve of bottom panel with nails and a long batten

fairing biax

Fairing out biax splice with AwlFair


There’s a boat in there somewhere (I think I have heard that before)

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