Peapods Launched

Yesterday was an unusually warm (for Annapolis) February day and I had the privilege of joining the CLC gang and John Guider for the launching of the two Peapod prototypes.

The creek was quiet that day my friends - like a young man trying to put on his pants in the closet without rattling his pocket change. The water was glassy with scarcely a ripple and nary a hint of a breeze. We got the boats off the trailer, rigged one for sail and left the other plain for rowing. As was only right, John Harris took the first Peapod out for a test row while John Guider photographed the event. (John S. completed the trio of Johns at the the event. Travis and I were feeling left out and were considering legally changing our names.)

The boat moved easily through the water. It tracked so straight that the onshore crowd got nervous every time it got close to a piling or the rocks, but it always turned long before any actual danger. Once John finished putting it through its solo paces, I was invited onboard for the 2-person test. The stern rode a bit low because of the uneven weight distribution but, as is usual with double-enders, the vicious drag of a dragging transom was absent and the boat continued to move easily through the water.

Next, Travis joined us for the three-person test. He restored the boat's balance and we still had plenty of displacement left, some 2 1/2 strakes between the water and the sheer. John also verified the stability points by leaning the boat over. It has excellent secondary stability and stopped turning when the sheer strake came in contact with the water. Good thing, too. That water was cold.

Then it was back to shore to rig #1 for sailing in tandem with #2. But first, John let me take it out for a quick spin. It took every ounce of self-control and adult responsibility I had to take that boat only once around the buoy and bring it back. It was such a joy to row that I really wanted to continue down the creek and on out into the river. Between the tracking, the balance and the fine hull slipping through the water like a hot knife through butter, there was no wasted energy. Every pull of the oars made the boat move smoothly and efficiently, leaving almost no wake. When it came time to turn, in spite of the tracking, I felt no need to use both oars to make the turn. The starboard oar by itself was enough. But then it was back to shore.

Travis and John S. rigged #1 with a balanced lug rig, while John H. took #2 with the balanced lug yawl rig out for its first taste of water and wind. Although the the lack of wind was disappointing to the sail racing types, I thought that it demonstrated the boats' low speed sailing capabilities wonderfully. While not as dramatic as a bone in the teeth, the efficiency would be very much appreciated at the end of a day of sailing when the wind begins to die down before one gets back to shore. And any boat that can move in that little wind should fly once the wind comes up enough to make a chop.

All good things come to an end, and we had to get back to CLC, so it was time to load the boats and leave. These are not cartoppers, BTW. Builders should plan on a trailer.

My personal impressions of the Peapods are:

1. Visually very striking with elegant lines and lovely interiors. If I was building one, I'd pay a little extra and use bronze hardware instead of the stainless steel and I'd build carefully enough to leave the boat bright inside and out.

2. The cockpit feels much larger than a 13-foot boat.

3. It rows like a dream, good tracking balanced with maneuverability.

4. Oars or sail, it moves very efficiently through the water. With a well-designed side mount, it's a good candidate for electrification.

5. The yawl appears to be a bit faster than the simple balanced lug.

6. It's very stable. In addition to the tilting tests while rowing, John H. also spent a fair bit of time standing up while sailing it.

In general, this did not feel like the first launch of a prototype. This had the feel of a well-polished production unit that's had years of tweaking and tuning. CLC made this look way too easy, hitting it out of the park on the first pitch of the game.

7 replies:

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RE: Peapods Launched

Swoon. These are stunning. Thank you for the report and the tantalizing photo.

I'll start saving my pennies now.

RE: Peapods Launched

   I’ve been drooling over this boat since it showed up in the course description on Wooden Boat School’s website. A great report on a tantalizing model. Almost as tantalizing as the getting dressed in the closet thing.

RE: Peapods Launched

Is that another Peapod hull off to the left of John G's new boat in the Shop Cam frame?


RE: Peapods Launched

Nice looking boats. Not much wind though to make the sails full.    

RE: Peapods Launched

Thanks for the write-up Laszlo!  It's almost like being there.  I was really happy to see them launched.  Like others, I've been waiting a long time via shopcam to see that happen.  The Peapod is definitely on my short list.

RE: Peapods Launched

The best laid plans . . .

I wasn't going to make another boat.  :-(

RE: Peapods Launched

   OK, so for a name, "CLC Peapod" doesn't cut it - agreed.  But in a nod to both its heritage and a CLC familial connection (NE and SW Dory) how about "Downeaster Pod"?  I gotta build one.

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