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.”


Metstrade Wraps

International Marine Networking’s Ben Taylor said a “solid international audience” was on hand at Amsterdam’s RAI Center for this year’s event.

Lyman-Morse to Build Hydrofoil-Equipped Electric Vessel

The Maine shipyard was tapped by Navier to build its 27-foot performance boat, slated to splash at next year’s FLIBS.

Aquila Names Approved Boats as U.K. Reps

The power cat manufacturer has appointed Approved Boats its representative in the United Kingdom.

Training with ABYC

After attendance of 400 professionals at last week’s ABYC-CG online risk-management event, ABYC invites early bird registrations for its scheduled in-person marine-law seminar on Jan.11, 2022.

VIDEO: Women in the Industry — Impact and Empowerment

Metstrade TV hosted three remarkable industry leaders for a panel discussion.

Mastervolt and Whale Join ASG EMEA

Brunswick’s ASG EMEA now has 13 marine brands operating as a single organization.

Best of the Best

Sea Tow International presented its annual awards for outstanding service, boating advocacy and community support.

No Silent Liars

Why giving employees a voice will elevate your business.