Skip to main content

VIDEO: Charles W. Morgan makes its last stop

 The last remaining wooden whaleship in the United States, the Charles W. Morgan, was docked this weekend in Buzzards Bay, Mass.

The last remaining wooden whaleship in the United States, the Charles W. Morgan, was docked this weekend in Buzzards Bay, Mass.

BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. — It took a team of 16 men seven months to build in 1841 – and that was including a month of strike for shorter hours — but five years and $7 million to restore so it could sail 173 years after its initial launch.

The Charles W. Morgan, the last remaining wooden whaleship in the United States, was made seaworthy again after an intensive restoration by the Mystic Seaport.

The vessel made the last of eight stops last weekend in Buzzards Bay, Mass., at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. The journey was her first trip since 1921, when she stopped sailing and whaling.

“We knew we had to do significant work from the waterline down,” where much of the construction dated back to her original construction, Sarah Spencer, a duty officer who sailed as a deck hand during one of the legs of the journey, told Trade Only Today.

“We keep our ships in pretty good shape, she was fine for floating at the pier,” Spencer said of the 113-foot ship. “It was a matter of, if we’re going to spend the money, why not spend a little bit more and make her seaworthy again?”

The restoration philosophy was to replace as little as possible.

The wood used on the Morgan was primarily live oak, white oak, longleaf pine, and black locust for fastening pegs (trunnels).

Built in New Bedford, Mass., the Charles Morgan was taken to Mystic, Conn., in 1941, where she has been ever since.

“This experience has changed our interpretation of her completely,” Spencer said. “If you look at her, she looks like a bathtub. We thought she’d roll and be sluggish. We did 8 knots into New Bedford and we didn’t even have all the sails set. She handles beautifully. The welcome in New Bedford was —it raised the hair on your arms.”

The vessel will head back to Mystic on Tuesday, where she will be open for tours and demonstrations.

“It’s really great to feel her move,” Mystic Seaport volunteer David Engelman said. “She’s alive now.”

Related

MARINE-CONCEPTS

Marine Concepts Names Chief Executive

Industry veteran Terry McNew had a long tenure at MasterCraft, where he led the company through its initial public offering.

CED-MARINE

CED Marine Adds Sales Manager

Mark Sullivan previously spent more than 15 years at Navico and will cover the Southeast.

BWI-CONTEST

Writing Contest Open for Entries

Boating Writers International’s annual competition recognizes achievements in marine journalism, photography and videography.

DEALER-WEEK

MRAA’s Dealer Week Opens Tomorrow

The annual conference includes more than 20 educational sessions to help dealers adapt to the changing marketplace.

CRUISERS

Industry Mourns Cruisers Yachts Owner

K.C. Stock, who was 84, was known for his “commitment to the employees at Cruisers Yachts.”

GRANDBANKS

Grand Banks Purchases Florida Property

The parcel, which is opposite the company’s Stuart yard, has berths for up to nine boats and will increase service capabilities.

LIMESTONE-Q3

Limestone Boat Co. Posts Q3 Results

Unit production was down compared with the second quarter, and revenues decreased 33%.

SIREN-YAMAHA

Yamaha Dealers Now Carry Siren Systems

Siren Marine’s “Connected Boat” technology can be purchased and installed at more than 2,100 Yamaha outboard dealers.

Northpoint

Northpoint Expands Marine Presence

Northpoint Commercial Finance has partnered with Elite Recreational Finance to offer retail financing.