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   Back to London declines as a whaling port

A model of a six-oared whaleboat.

A model of a six-oared whaleboat.
Model of a six-oared whaleboat.
© National Maritime Museum, London
Repro ID: H5556
Description: A model of a six-oared whaleboat with its equipment. British whaleboats originally had square sterns but the later ones were double-ended to allow them to be backed quickly after harpooning to avoid damage from the whale’s tail. There were usually a crew of six under the command of the helmsman, the harpooner also rowed and after harpooning the whale he changed places with the steersman. The harpoon secured the whale to the boat by a quarter of a mile of manila line kept in two tubs and secured to a bollard in the bows. After harpooning the whale usually sounded or dived. If it went down too far, the boat’s crew had to attach another line, cut the whale loose or be dragged under. After sounding the whale came up for air and attempted to swim away until it became exhausted from dragging the boat and was killed by thrusts to the vital organs from the lance.
Creator: Unknown
Date: c. 1830
Credit line: National Maritime Museum
National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory GreenwichNew Opportunities Fund 
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