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History of the Peep Hen

The Peep Hen was one of a series of "Hen Boats" that originated with designer/builder Reuben Trane in the 1980s, beginning with the Marsh Hen. Trane explains:

"I was looking around for a shore bird that had not previously been used as a boat name. I always liked Egret, Sand Piper, etc. A few trips thru Audobon got me Marsh Hen. I liked the unusualness of it, easy to remember and it rolled off the tongue."

Writing in the Hen's Nest group, Trane also explained the name of the company and the humerous logo:

"I am a proscratinator by nature. I left the creation of my ads for Small Boat Journal to absolutely the last possible moment. Likewise, I enjoy having fun. At an Annapolis sailboat show, we were having breakfast with the Mengers (builders of the Menger Cat, among other boats.) They had a kids menu, which the waitress felt I should get. It was a cutout puppet with a moving mouth. So I put mine together and took it to the show. With some magic marker, it quickly became the "Hen Expert" and I used it to entertain the kids at the show.

"Somewhere along the way, I decided this "Hen Expert" needed a name, and thus Mon Poulet was born. And for print advertising, I found a quick, down and dirty way to get ads writen fast - Q. & A. to Mon Poulet. So I drew him up, gave him a hat with "Hen Expert is IN/OUT" and wrote in some typical questions like I'd field at shows.

"This lead eventually to "Mon Poulet's Guide to Henning," a totally non-existant book about Hens. I'd write a page of copy as though it were a page torn from the this book, sometimes starting and stopping in the middle of a sentence. This was a really free form way to get across the ideas of the Hens to the readers of SBJ. I was able to get away with all sorts of fun drawings... a bird's eye view of a sea gull with a topless woman's bra in its beak.... a young girl sitting on a porta potti... under water views of the Hens... even did some pubic hair on a nude woman once... Had a lot of fun doing those ads.

"As for the other names. I did consider leaving the Hen behind and coming up with more "normal" names. Didn't do it tho. Next was the Bay Hen (formerly the "Lightfoot"), then the Mud Hen, the Peep Hen, the Summer Hen, the Sand Hen (formerly the "Bahama Sandpiper"), the Sand Hen, the Queen Hen, etc. Some of these saw only one unit built. Others a couple. But most were Marsh Hens, Mud Hens, Bay Hens and of course the Peep.

"Of all my hens, I like the Peep best!"

Trane's Florida Bay Boat Company built the Peep, and the other Hens, from 1981 through 1987, when the molds were sold. (His current venture is Island Pilot, a builder of power yachts based on the design of classic working pilot boats.)

A series of builders produced some or all of the Hens following the sale of the molds:

With the death of Nimble founder Jerry Koch in 2003, production of the Hens (and all Nimble boats) came to a halt. The molds were transferred to Marine Concepts, builders of the Sea Pearl 21 and Sea Pearl Trimeran, and at this writing no announcement has been made as to when, if ever, the Peep or the other Hen boats will go back into production.