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Whaleboats for the Charles W. Morgan

November 4, 2011


The restoration of the whaleship Charles W. Morgan at Mystic Seaport  is one of the most significant projects of its kind. The 170 year-old ship, which completed 37 voyages in a career beginning in 1841 and ending in 1921, is the last surviving wooden whaleship. But alongside the restoration, which is expected to be completed with the ship’s relaunch in 2013, the museum is also building two wooden whaleboats from scratch. These were the small rowing boats sent out after the whale in the final stages of the chase. Whaleships such as the C.W. Morgan carried four or five boats; Scoresby’s Arctic whaler, the Baffin, usually carried six, and in the early nineteenth century, these were the narrow, pitching platform from which harpooners hurled their weapons.

There is a blog about the whaleboat project complete with images, such as the one above, and video of the work. The Whaleboat 101 post tells us this:

Long and lean, fast and graceful, the brutality of the whaleboat as an eloquently evolved weapon is belied by the elegance of their lines. Light, efficient and lethal. These are the boats that were employed by whaling ships to close the end game. They are an example of the evolution of form in service to function that has resulted in sheer artistry born of utility.

More at Whaleboats for the C.W. Morgan.

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