Whaleboats for the Charles W. Morgan
It is an exciting time in the national boat building community—the last surviving whaleship and oldest commercial vessel in America is being restored by Mystic Seaport. Built in 1841 in New Bedford, MA at the yard of Jethro and Zachariah Hillman, Charles W. Morgan had a successful 80-year career and made 37 voyages before her last sail in 1921. The Morgan retired at Colonel Edward H.R. Green’s estate at Round Hill in South Dartmouth, MA and then moved to Mystic, CT in 1941. On November 1, 2008, she was hauled for restoration and relaunched in 2013.
The Morgan's overall length is 113 feet, with a 27-foot 6-inch beam and depth of 17 feet 6 inches. Her main truck is 110 feet above the deck; fully-rigged, and she is capable of carrying approximately 13,000 square feet of sail. The huge try-pots used for converting blubber into whale oil are forward; below are the cramped quarters in which her officers and crew lived for years at a time.
The Charles W. Morgan has a new life ahead of her, but her future depends on continual preservation. A major program of restoration and preservation began in 1968 to repair her structurally, and during the course of this work, it was decided to restore her to the rig of a double-topsail bark, which she carried from the early 1880s through the end of her whaling career. She appears as she was during most of her active career.
Mystic Seaport Museum posts up-to-date information on the restoration of Charles W. Morgan.
Read Tom Armstrong's Whaleboats for the CW Morgan blog for up-to-date information of participating boat shops and foundations.
National Whaleboat Project
To complete the ship’s outfit, the Morgan needs whaleboats to sling from her davits to embark upon her 38th voyage to several ports in New England in 2014. This project involves 10 whaleboats being built by nine organizations in seven states.
The nine organizations include:
Visit these websites for more information about individual whaleboat projects and updates.
Photographs from the 38th Voyage
Photos courtesy of Mystic Seaport