Meet Sam Devlin, TrawlerFest Superstar

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TrawlerFest superstar. At Bremerton, he is kicking off our signature “Boat Buyers Survival Guide” seminar with insight into the importance of hull design, lecturing on how to choose the right tender and participating in our Cruisers Roundtable.


Soundings magazine is a sister publication to PassageMaker. Here’s what Soundings Contributor Dieter Loibner wrote about Devlin in 2010:

Since going into business for himself in 1979, Devlin has built an impressive design collection that includes tiny rowing and sailing dinghies like the Pollywog and Guppy, as well as larger sailboats like the 23-foot Arctic Tern sloop, the sleek 36-foot cruising yacht Peregrine, and the 42-foot Oysta motorsailer. Over time, however,his focus has shifted.

“I used to design mostly sailboats, but sailing tanked 25 years ago,” Devlin says. “Today, it’s 80 percent power.”

Among these powerboats are duck boats and the aptly named 16-foot harbor tug Godzilli, the pilothouse cruisers Surf Scoter 22 and 26, and fantail tug yachts such as the Czarinna 30 and the oceangoing Sockeye 45. His latest is the Pelicano 18, which is available in center console skiff, bass boat, raised-deck and picnic versions.

“I’m a tinkerer, and I don’t like to do one thing and one thing only for too long,” he says. “All my boats start as a design for an individual. I tend to customize them for the owner, then I come up with spin-offs.”

That’s distinctly different from large production boatbuilders that invest big sums upfront for tooling to crank out a high number of the same boat with minimal variations. “Building many copies of one design is neither economically nor emotionally important to me. It doesn’t define success,”

Devlin says. More important is the personal experience in the use of the vessel he conceives.


The absolute best way to learn from Sam Devlin and all our experts is to purchase either one of our TrawlerFest VIP package deals. The five-day VIP Pass costs $499 but can amount to a value of morethan $1,100.

Here’s what the five-day pass includes:

  • General Admission to all three days of TrawlerFest’s In-Water Boat Show
  • Unlimited access to seminars (Tuesday-Saturday) (Diesel Engine course and Boat Handling Hands On is available as part of the VIP package)
  • Entry for one to Thursday’s Dinner and entertainment.
  • Entry for one to Friday’s Docktail Party

There is also a three-day VIP package for $399, which provides similar value for Thursday through Saturday seminars.

Most PassageMaker fans know that TrawlerFest is more than a seminar series. The event’s in-water boat show, runs Thursday, March 2-4. Dozens of power cruisers will be open for inspection on the docks and vendors will be on hand to demonstrate products and services.

SEMINARS: Tuesday, May 16 – Saturday, May 20

IN-WATER BOAT SHOW: Thursday, May 18 – Saturday, May 20

120 Washington Beach Ave, Bremerton, WA 98337

Kitsap Conference Center at Bremerton Harborside
100 Washington Ave, Bremerton, WA 98337

For more information, visit and navigate to TrawlerFest>Bremerton, or call 443-745-7785.