In our latest My Boat column, we’d like to introduce you to Max Stevens and Molly McCarthy, and their awesome Devlin Surf Scoter 22, Loyal. Built in 1992, their Surf Scoter is homeported in Des Moines, Washington, where they’ve kept it since buying the boat in July 2021. Perfectly sized for the couple, they enjoy getting away to destinations around Puget Sound and look forward to gunkholing in the San Juan and Gulf Islands in the years to come.

Tell us a little about your boating background.

I (Molly) came to boating because I fell in love with a handsome young Canadian boat nerd 20+ years ago. I have done a lot of sea, surf, and whitewater kayaking under his influence. Max fell in love with sailing on the Glenmore Reservoir in Calgary and has been doing his best to be either sailing or building watercraft ever since then.

Have you owned other boats before this one?

Max and I have only owned smaller craft. We have six kayaks, two paddle boards, and a rowboat at home, and five of those small craft were built by us. Max did own a Hobie Cat with his friend Paul that they kept on Lake Washington for a few years, but that was more than a decade ago. They’d go out and sail on the lake and often come home wet and bleeding. For us, it wasn’t exactly a strong advertisement for boating life.

Tell us the story of how you found your boat and what makes it special to you.

We had been thinking it might be nice to get a piece of land on one of the San Juan Islands that doesn’t have Washington State Ferry service. Then we realized that we didn’t need to pick just one island if we had our own little boat. We chose a powerboat specifically for gunkholing in the San Juans.

Honestly, Loyal was the first boat we looked at and it was so perfect in every way, we just went for it and have no regrets. It was a big surprise that our first “big” boat was a motor boat. Because Max grew up sailing, he still can’t believe his first boat doesn’t have sails.

What’s the history of your boat? Where’s it been? Who built or designed it? Tell us its story.

The boat was designed and built by Sam Devlin in Olympia. Sam has been a great resource to us since before we even bought the boat. I love that Max sends him an email and Sam immediately calls him.

We bought the boat from a lovely couple in Port Townsend who had it for a few years; they bought it from someone in Seattle who had it completely refurbished in the 2000s. Loyal might have previously been named Peregrine, at least that is the name on some of the tools inside.

What do you like best about your boat?

It’s perfectly sized for the two of us to putt around Puget Sound, with a V-berth, tiny kitchenette, and chemical toilet. We can go just about anywhere, although with an average boatspeed of 6 knots, we’re not going there particularly fast. The space in Devlin boats is used very efficiently, I am always amazed at how there is a place for everything. The boat also has a propane heater, which is lovely for winter adventures.

What do you know now about your boat that you wish you’d known when you bought it?

Nothing. Maybe I’d love it if it went a smidge faster… maybe.

Molly (right) enjoys summer fun in Loyal’s cockpit.

What’s your favorite story involving your boat?

During our second overnight trip on Loyal, we rescued a man from the middle of Drayton Passage by Anderson Island. His kayak had some sort of catastrophic failure and he was in the middle of Puget Sound with no wetsuit and an improperly-donned life vest. The Coast Guard had put out a call and we were nearby, so… that’s how we found out that the boat came with a rope ladder!

Thankfully, the man is fine, though the Sound is no joke and he could have gotten hypothermia. His wife called and thanked me a few times; I kept asking if she’s bought him a wet- or drysuit yet.

My other favorite story is from our fourth overnighter. We ended up towing Race to Alaska competitor Wraith2AK off the rocks inside of Port Townsend’s Boat Haven when their pedal drive failed.

Where do you plan to take your boat? Do you have a dream destination?

Summer 2023 is when we finally get to go on the long-planned trip to gunkhole the San Juans and maybe the Gulf Islands. We can’t wait!

If you could have any other boat, what would it be and why?

I like how this question assumes that someone ever gets rid of a boat. That isn’t really allowed in my house! Max is building a SCAMP in the garage at the moment and he’s one-third done. After the SCAMP, he’s thinking of building a Dudley Dix-designed Cape Henry because he thinks gaff-rigged cutters are “sexy” and it meets my requirement of a V-berth — I’m not interested in sleeping in a solo bunk on cold nights! At some point very soon, we’re going to have a hard time storing so many boats at our home in South Seattle.

What didn’t we ask you about your boat that you wish we had?

You forgot to ask about the awesome Devlin community. We met the owners of two other Surf Scoters when we moored at Swantown Marina in Olympia. Shout out to Whistler and Lil’ Toot! It is fun to be part of the Devlin club and compare notes with fellow owners.

Want to share the story of your boat in a future column? Contact