Nantucket Whaleboat (small)
New Bedford whaleboat design of 1860s.
The term “whaleboat” properly describes boats used for hunting whales, although it has also been applied to other boats having some similar features, generally sharp ends. Whaleboats were used by the thousands aboard American whaleships in the middle of the nineteenth century and, in lesser numbers, aboard the vessels of other nations and at shore stations around the world. The whaleboat was a double-ended, light, open boat with a length at that time between 27’ and 31’, and a beam of slightly more than 1/5 the length. It was pulled by oars and sailed. It was a fine sea boat, not only well adapted to its function but also handsome. Though there were variations in size, lines, and construction, the general characteristics were well defined.