Nil Desperandum

In Festival Boats 2018

Nil Desperandum is seven years old now, and with each passing year I appreciate Sam Devlin’s design eye more and more. While it looks thoroughly traditional—perhaps late 19th or early 20th century—the plywood/fiberglass composite hull is thoroughly modern. Devlin’s skilled way with architectural line and proportion are beautifully illustrated here; at least to my eye it does not look simply “”cute,”” but rather elegant—and that’s difficult to pull off in a pocket cruiser only 18’8″” on deck. The hull’s graceful curves also belie its humble plywood origins. Under sail, N.D. is nimble and responsive, even in Puget Sound’s notoriously modest breezes: 3 knots of wind, and we’re sailing. At 15 knots, on the other hand, we’re going home. Nearly all the ballast (650 lb of lead) is internal, which has its limitations.