Small wooden boats are built for the water conditions they will be used in. Comparing the 100+ year-old Millicoma Family Boat used on Coos Bay, now in the Coos History Museum, with a Deer Isle peapod, designed originally as a lobster fishing boat for the coastal waters of Maine, will show how both boats are suitable for where they were used.
Both boats, though used in waters 3000 miles apart, are very similar. They are shallow draft row boats that could be sailed, mostly downwind. They were used mainly in inland waters with a safe maximum capacity of four people.
Their differences are also significant. One has a carvel planked hull; the other is lapstrake. One is double-ended; the other has a wine-glass stern. One was never intended to be used with a motor. The other was converted later for an outboard. One has a centerboard and uses a sprit sail rig. The other used a light-weight mast that hoisted a small lug or gaff sail.
Ralph Mohr, the owner of the peapod, will compare and contrast both boats at the new Coos History Museum, Saturday, June 6, 1 PM. Mohr will use photos, boat plans, and the boats themselves to show how and why the builders of the original designs made their boats. He will explain what he has learned sailing and rowing the peapod on the lakes, rivers, bays and estuaries of the Coos Bay area and apply that knowledge to the Millicoma Family Boat, of which little information is known.
The Millicoma boat was donated to the Coos History Museum by Jerry Alvey, and it had been sitting upside down on trestles next to his shop in Eastside for many years. As far as anyone knows, it is the sole surviving example of personal craft in use on Coos Bay before 1900. Mohr hopes that a comparison with the peapod, a design about which much is known, will help to understand why the Millicoma boat was built and used.
Admission is free but donations are welcome.