In 2012, The Apprenticeshop was invited to participate in the restoration of the Charles W. Morgan, the world’s only existing wooden whaleship which resides at Mystic Seaport, the renowned maritime museum in Connecticut. We were asked to build a whaleboat, one of the seven 30-foot boats that accompanied a whaleship on her years-long hunting expedition.
Whaleboats were stored onboard until a whale was sighted. They were then lowered into the sea and sent in pursuit of the whale. Each boat was operated by one of the ship’s officers and five oarsmen. Traditional whaleboats were beautiful craft adapted for a brutal purpose. Light and strong, these double-ended boats were packed with whale hunting gear. The Morgan carried five whaleboats hanging in davits, with two more in reserve on deck. About 1,200 feet of whale line were coiled in two tubs, then run around a loggerhead at the stern and forward over the oars to connect to the harpoons at the bow. Over her 80 year career, the Morgan carried whaleboats from yards around the world. The Apprenticeshop will replicate the Leonard Boatshop’s design, probably the most obscure of the Morgan’s hunting fleet.
The very last of the wooden whaleships in existence of some 2,700 that were built between 1700-1900, the Morgan is undergoing a massive restoration that began in 2008. The 106-foot bark will re-launch in July of 2013. Mystic’s ambitious project then sets the Morgan on her “38th Voyage,” sailing from her homeport up the coast to Stellwagan Bank off Cape Cod. With an Apprenticeshop-built boat on her deck, the voyage will culminate a national preservation effort and place the Morgan in the forefront of maritime education.
Photo: John Snyder, Marine Media
Apprentices Daniel Kreisher, Kirk Folk, Simon Jack, Tim Jacobus and Chris Konecky completed the lofting phase of the whaleboat with help from the plans on loan from MIT’s Hart Nautical Collection. Tim Jacobus, Kirk Folk and Chris Konecky, apprentices who are currently working on the whaleboat, will see the project through to it’s completion with an anticipated local launch in Rockland on June 14, 2013. The whaleboat’s second launch, aboard the Morgan, is scheduled for July, 2013 and will likely claim national attention.
To follow the progress on the Whaleboat project, visit:
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