Mark Wallace's Black Skiff

Sunday, May 14, 2017


“(Peapods) were used by fishermen first as fishing boats, then as lobster boats. They had to be reliable and trustworthy in big waves and had to be easy to row. They also had to resist capsizing as the heavy weight of the lobster traps was hauled over the edge. The fishermen would sometimes row their peapods standing up, using longer oarlocks, looking forward to steer around obstacles and islands. They would also sit facing backwards and row.”
John Gardner, in his book Building Classic Small Craft, tells us that peapods were developed on the coast of Maine in the mid-1800s…
“Long familiarity with the canoe and its good qualities had stamped the image in minds of the fishermen so that later on when the special needs of the lobster fishery called for husky, easy-rowing boats, some of these would naturally turn out to resemble the canoe… the typical Pod was…15’ (4.6m) in average length; both ends exactly alike.” 

Construction of Peapod (

Peapod at Work (

Examples of Currently Available Peapods

Grapeview Point Boatworks offers both a 13’ (4.0m) and 15’ (4.6m) Peapod that can be sailed and rowed.

Grapeview Point Boatworks' Peapod

Length                  13 ft.                     15 ft.
Beam                    52in.                     52in.
   C/B Up:            3 in.                       3 in.
   C/B Down:       18 in.                     18 in.
Approx. Weight  125 lbs. (56.7 kg)  140 lbs. (63.5 kg)
Sail Area             54 sq ft. (5 sq. m)  58 sq ft. (5.4 sq. m)


Arch Davis offers plans and kits for a glued plywood lapstrake peapod.

Arch Davis's 12' Peapod

Length over all:  12′ 3″ (3.7m)
Length waterline:  10′ 7 1/2″ (3.3m)
Beam:  4′ 5″ (1.3)
Draft, board up:  0′ 6″ (0.15m)
Draft, board down:  2′ 3″ (0.7m)
Sail area:  61 sq. ft.  (5.7 sq. m)
Weight:  85 pounds.


Charlie Hussey of Marine Carpentry offers  a beautifully finished carvel planked Peapod.

Charley Hussey's Peapod; Construction Detail...

...and Overview...

...and Sailing

Length: 14.8’ (4.5 m)
Beam: 5’ 3” (1.6 m)
Draft: 3’ (0.9 m) (centreplate down)
Displacement: 330 lb. (150 kg)
Sail area: 80.7 sq. ft. (7.5 sq. m) (sloop rigged standing lug)

Peapod Plans

John Gardner, on pages 132 and 138 of Building Classic Small Craft, shows plans for two Peapods.

A 14' Rowing Peapod

A 15' Sailing Peapod
Note the differences between the two designs:
  • The sailing version has a 6" (152mm) deep keel to provide lateral resistance while sailing -- no center board. The rowing version has a keel only for construction purposes.
  • The sailing version has a flat bottom leading to 'hard' bilges to provide more stability for sailing. The rowing version has a slight "V" bottom leading to relatively slack bilges to reduce wetted surface and provide some directional stability.
The plans for the rowing version (page 138) include a full table of offsets.

Please let us know if you have a 'peapod'... send me photo(s), description and your experience with it. Send to and I'll add a post.

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