November 2017

Reader Built Boat

HARMONY

David MacLean lives in Sedgwick, Maine, a town surrounded by the waters of Penobscot Bay. He sails a 32′ Eastport pinky, INTEGRITY, built in Rockport in 1972, and wanted to have a tender that would complement his classic sloop. A peapod, he thought, another smaller Maine-coast double-ender, would fit the bill.

INTEGRITY is currently getting a new, more easily managed rig. When she's afloat again she'll take HARMONY in tow.David MacLean

INTEGRITY is currently getting a new, more easily managed ketch rig. When she’s afloat again she’ll take HARMONY in tow.

 

Work began with 13 molds and two plywood forms for the stems.David MacLean

Work began with 13 molds and two plywood forms for the stems.

David, an architect, said he decided to design his own peapod, “to expand my design sensibilities and thoughtfully explore the world of naval architecture.” His pinky is a scaled-down version of a Howard Chapelle boat, so he turned his attention to Chapelle’s American Small Sailing Craft and took an interest in the “Old Sailing Peapod” on page 220. The lines for the type were taken from a peapod built around 1886. It was “the last of its kind in Washington County when taken off in 1937” and “of a type once much in favor among lighthouse keepers.” David saw a strong resemblance between the peapod and his pinky.

During the planking of the hull, cam-buckle straps pulled each new strip tight against its neighbor. A mahogany sheer strake, finished bright, will give the peapod a more traditional appearance when the rest of the hull is painted.David MacLean

During the planking of the hull, cam-buckle straps pulled each new strip tight against its neighbor. A mahogany sheer strake, finished bright, will give the peapod a more traditional appearance when the rest of the hull is painted.

 

With the cypress planking completed, the centerline can be smoothed or the installation of the keel and false stems.David MacLean

With the cypress planking completed, the centerline can be smoothed for the installation of the keel and false stems.

He purchased the plans for the Old Sailing Peapod from the Smithsonian and used the lines as the starting point for his tender. At 15′ 3″, the peapod was a bigger boat than he required; he opted for an overall length of 13′6″. He also decided to strip-plank his peapod to save on the weight of the original lapstrake construction.

Work resumed on the hull after moving the project to Eric Dow’s shop in Brooklin, Maine.David MacLean

Work resumed on the hull after moving the project to Eric Dow’s shop in Brooklin, Maine.

 

While many peapods have curved stems fore and aft, HARMONY, like its 1886 predecessor has a straight sternpost, which simplifies the installation of a rudder.David MacLean

While many peapods have curved stems fore and aft, HARMONY, like its 1886 predecessor, has a straight sternpost, which simplifies the installation of a rudder.

 

The strip-built hull, reinforced with fiberglass inside and out, offers a clean, easily maintained interior.David MacLean

The strip-built hull, reinforced with fiberglass inside and out, offers a clean, easily maintained interior.

 

Tom Wolstenholme of Rivendell Marine in Monument Beach, Massachusetts, was just 4 miles up the road David’s office in Cataumet, and David apprenticed himself to Tom from the lofting to the completion of the bare hull. Together, the two planked the boat with 3/8″ bead-and-cove strips topped with a mahogany sheerstrake before work paused as Tom got busy with other projects. Progress resumed when Eric Dow in Brooklin, Maine (WoodenBoat’s hometown), agreed to help David bring the boat to completion. The hull, still on its strongback, was loaded on a U-Haul truck for the drive north. Mahogany seating and trim were soon installed along with white oak rubrails and knees and iroko floorboards.

Trailered up in Eric Dow’s boat barn, HARMONY is ready for the water.David McLean

Trailered up in Eric Dow’s boat barn, HARMONY is ready for the water.

 

HARMONY is equipped with two rowing stations, one in the center for rowing solo or with two passengers, and one forward for rowing with a single passenger.David MacLean

HARMONY is equipped with two rowing stations, one in the center for rowing solo or with two passengers, and one forward for rowing with a single passenger.

The finished peapod was launched on Walker Pond, a short drive from Brooklin, and christened HARMONY. David reports the tender has “proven to be a dream to row and sail.” The first year’s sailing has been done with a sprit rig meant for one of Eric’s 13′ 6″ peapods. It proved a good fit for HARMONY, and the new rig David had Eric build is nearly identical.

David reports: "HARMONY is just a dream in the water. She rows effortlessly and..."Chris Raphael

David reports: “HARMONY rows effortlessly, feels very stable, and…”

 

"...and accelerates so fast when under sail."Chris Raphael

“…her acceleration under sail is quite impressive.”

HARMONY and INTEGRITY will make a well-matched pair on the Benjamin River, not far from David’s Maine home in Sedgwick.End of article

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4 Comments

  • David Peebles says:

    I’m wondering how close to the wind you can sail, lacking a centerboard. It does appear that you have 3″ or 4″ of keel, which I assume helps. Also, do you find that the rudder get sufficient grip, being shallow also? Bolger probably would square off the bottom of the rudder and put an end plate on it—but maybe you haven’t found that necessary.
    You’ve done a beautiful job on the boat, and the paint and varnish job is striking.

    • David says:

      We at first thought a deeper rudder would be necessary and built a second flip-up one. Did not improve. The answer was to gently head up into the wind and right before the sail luffs to push the tiller over and she comes about easily. Because she is light, it’s more difficult to gain enough headway otherwise. Once you’ve mastered her ability, she behaves beautifully.

  • Michael Colfer says:

    I used a similar keel approach with my 17′ faering. Having no centerboard or daggerboard trunk really opens up the interior. Very handsome peapod, David. She looks like a strong and stable boat.

  • David says:

    She tracks like she is on rails and handles impressively in both calm and fairly challenging circumstances.

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