Help needed to identify wooden boat

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by phodgson, Dec 16, 2011.

  1. phodgson
    Joined: Dec 2011
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    phodgson New Member

    Hello All,

    Is anyone able to help me identify the design of this wooden sailing boat?

    It is actually a model 450mm long but I believe it's 1/12 scale so the original would have been about 18ft long or so. I want to restore the model with mast and rigging but would like to keep it authentic so would like to know what it is.

    I have done some research and think it may be a Yorkshire Cobel, a Mule or possibly a Whaler.

    The rudder is missing and it also looks as though it would of had a bowsprit.

    Does anyone have any idea?
     

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  2. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    If can find the book: "Working Boats of Britain, Their Shape and Purpose" it may have the information you need.
     
  3. phodgson
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    phodgson New Member

    Thank you Gonzo for your help. I have found on-line that our city library has a copy so I will take a look when I have some time.
     
  4. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

  5. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    It is definitely not a 'mule' or a 'coble'. Both have a hogged keel and a pronounced fore foot. The forefoot was so pronounced that the rudder had to be unshipped, when rowing, so the boat could be rowed backwards. A pretty good plan, if you have to beach in a breaking surf. The bow is always facing the waves. Not so good when you had to row at sea.

    This boat seems decked over at the stern and open at the bow. It also has a trough above the stem that looks like it is supposed guide line out.

    My guess is this is a whale boat.

    The missing foredeck is for the harpooner to get far enough forward to get good aim. He may have rested one knee on the forward thwart.

    The trough above the stem is to let the harpoon line pay out.

    Whale boats did carry sailing rigs, so that explains the mast hole in the second thwart back from the bow.
     
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  6. phodgson
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    phodgson New Member

    Thanks for all the replies. They've been a great help!

    Sharpii2,

    I agree that it is very whaler like but the thing that puzzles me if it is a whaler is why the keel is so deep and long? Whalers would have to change direction quickly whilst being rowed and this long keel wouldn't allow it. There are no signs of rowloacks either. Also there are two steel pins under the bow 'trough' to belay lines that makes me think the trough is for a bowsprit rather than harpoon.

    Doug Lord

    Thank you for recommending I contact Earl Boebert but I cannot see any contact information for him on the link you gave. Would you be able to point him to this thread for me?

    Thanks again.
     
  7. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    ======================
    You didn't see the "send e-mail" link? Earl will find this thread....
     
  8. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    According to Howard Chapelle, whale boats were often built for other purposes than whaling. The type was well known for its sea keeping ability at a time when there was not much diversity in boat types, at least in the USA. I read somewhere that the whaleboat may have been one of the first small boat types where mass production techniques were tried. Since the type could be useful for a wide variety purposes, many were built and altered to suit.

    This model could be of such a boat.

    Clearly it is intended to be a more or less pure sailboat, hence the extensive keel.
     
  9. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    The model shows some specific whaleboat characteristics, the most notable being batten-seam carvel planking in the bottom, rare in any other build. Also the stem seems to be formed for a strong, towing line chock with retaining pin (broken out in the model), again, not required and therefore unseen in anything but a whaleboat. The outboard profile, stem rakes, rig and deck however, are not standard WB. WBs have an unstayed rig, usually sprit, and no chainplates. Beetle built thousands of WBs and they got quite standard, were undecked, and pulled 5 oars, the harpooner boating his when approaching a whale. When I was a rigger at Mystic Seaport in the 70s we outfitted the WBs for the CHARLES W. MORGAN.
    Chapman shows a mid-18th century Greenland whaleboat that's about 24' long and with more rocker than was common later. Earlier boats were for rowing primarily, with a steering oar and only auxiliary sail. Later, the sailing aspect was developed further, and after 1870 the boats had rudders, centerboards and larger rigs.
    For in-depth whaleboat info, see "To Build a Whaleboat, Historical notes and a modelmaker's guide" by Erik A.R. Ronnberg, Jr. Model Shipways, New Jersey, 1985. Final development of New Bedford WB was 29' long, 6.5 feet beam, and planked batten seam in the bottom and lapstrake in the topsides.
    My opinion of the model is it is possibly a 'pleasure modified' whaleboat, with added keel for sailing.
    WBs had virtually no outside keel, to aid sudden maneuvers under oars, so were not like the model in question.
    The odd horned cleats on the thwart ends are strange and I've never seen anything quite like them.
     
  10. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    Interesting model. It's apparently of a very specific boat or type of boat, rather than just being something generic. And I agree that while it seems to have whaleboat influences, it most likely wasn't used for whaling.

    Do you know anything at all about its history?
     

  11. Earl Boebert
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    Earl Boebert Senior Member

    Since I was mentioned I guess I should chime in, with the caveat that racing yachts are my thing, not workboats. That being said, from going through Phillips-Burts "Fore and Aft Sailing Craft" there are some tantalizing hints in the Dutch boats. The shape is all wrong, but the treatment of the bow and stern seem similar to boats called Hoogaars. Could those brass fittings near amidships be for leeboards?

    This could all be a red (North Sea) herring of course, but it's all I could come up with :)

    Cheers,

    Earl
     
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