On November 1, 2008, the world’s last wooden whaleship, the Charles W. Morgan, was hauled from the water for the first time in eight years for an extensive three-year restoration. Some of the places which will be restored have not been seen or touched since her initial construction in 1841.
Whaling ships such as the Morgan were home for many sailors during long whale hunts. The Morgan’s longest voyage lasted four years 11 months. Her shortest voyage was ONLY eight and a half months. A crew of up to 35 would work the vessel. The Morgan hunted three varieties of whales – sperm, right and bowhead – all of which were considerably easier to catch compared to any other species, and yielded the oil and bone the industry was looking for. The Morgan could carry up to 90,000 gallons of whale oil.
Above and below are photographs taken after the Morgan’s initial lift. Notice her size and hull shape. The whaleship was an average size for her time period with a length of 105′ on deck and 133′ overall. The width of the boat (beam) is 27.7′. When sitting in the water, her draft (depth into the water) is 12.6′. However, fully loaded, she could draw as much as 17.6′(which is considered her registered depth. The vessel’s displacement is 313.75 tons which equals 627,500 pounds, or the equivalent of about 49 African elephants!
Stop by the Museum’s Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard on your next visit to Mystic Seaport and witness the Morgan’s restoration firsthand. It’s an event not to be missed!