The Morgan's Whaleboat Takes Shape

Author: Virginia C. Jones [The Martha's Vineyard Times]

This winter, Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway on Vineyard Haven Harbor is at work recreating a small piece of the nation’s maritime history. The Island boatbuilders are building one of the whaleboats that will be carried by the Charles W. Morgan, the last remaining wooden whaleship and the oldest American commercial vessel still in existence.

The Morgan is now undergoing a multi-million dollar restoration at the Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Connecticut. Built in 1841 in New Bedford, she made 37 voyages under sail around the globe during an 80-year whaling career. Many of those voyages included Vineyard crew and captains.

The following update comes from Virginia C. Jones, Gannon and Benjamin office manager.

On Monday, February 11, we turned our whaleboat over; she is now sitting blocked up, braced, and with the bow headed toward Vineyard Haven Harbor. The crew has been milling white oak for additional frames and for the inwales. G&B has borrowed a forming/bending jig from Mystic Seaport to make the frames for our whaleboat.

A visitor recently asked Nat Benjamin about how a whaleboat compared to a lifeboat (also double-ended) and Nat said the former is less beamy. Now that the whaleboat is upright, the differences in shape are much more apparent.

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