Charles W. Morgan Whaleship Brings History to Life

Nearly 173 years after she first set sail, the Charles W. Morgan has survived to earn a new distinction. She is the last surviving whaling ship and this spring she sets sail once again.

A Sea of Good Will Helps Harpoon History

Last weekend the Charles W. Morgan was relaunched on her 172nd birthday after a major rebuild; much of her remains original including the keelson. The live oak in her massive double sawn frames was salvaged after a southern U.S. hurricane, and she has been rebuilt absolutely true to her original design and methods of construction. She was originally launched from the Hillman Shipyard in New Bedford (the Hillman family came from Chilmark) on July 21, 1841, and sailed on 37 voyages with the last voyage in 1921.

Last of the Wooden Whaleships Returns

The Charles W. Morgan, the last of the wooden whaleships, will be refloated Sunday, July 21, at Mystic Seaport after an extensive and expensive restoration. A large crowd is expected at the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard, which is on the grounds of the Mystic Seaport.

Sharpen the Harpoon, Whaleboat Replica Is Launched

On Saturday afternoon a crowd gathered at the Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway. They had come to witness the launching of a 28-foot replica whaleboat which had been built at the shipyard as part of the restoration of the Charles W. Morgan, the only remaining wooden whaling ship in the U.S. The crowd was not filled with mere bystanders, though. Muscle was needed.

“It takes a village to put one of these together,” said Nat Benjamin, one of the shipyard’s founders. “It looks like it’s going to take a whole city to launch it.”

Last Whale Ship Gets a New Look

At the Gannon and Benjamin Marine Railway in Vineyard Haven, shipwrights have stepped back in regional maritime history. They are building a new 28-foot 19th-century whaleboat. The boat is one of nine being built across the country for the last remaining whale ship, the Charles W. Morgan, now undergoing restoration at Mystic Seaport. The work began a month ago. Nat Benjamin, the owner of Gannon and Benjamin boatyard, calls it a great honor to be a participant. The Charles W.

Saving the Last Wooden Whale Ship

She is the only one left.

The Charles W. Morgan is the last surviving wooden whale ship, and while she has rested at a shipyard in Mystic, Conn. since 1941, her Vineyard ties are long and as intricate as a clove hitch knot.

Built at a New Bedford shipyard that was owned by a Chilmark family, her first captain and many of the crew were from the Vineyard.

And now a Vineyarder is leading the fund-raising effort to restore the Charles W. Morgan.

A Piece of Vineyard History, Whaleship Is Set to Sail Again

The last remaining New England whale ship with Vineyard connections — the Charles W. Morgan ­­— may sail again. The president of Mystic Seaport spoke at a private fund-raising function recently in Edgartown, at the home of S. Bailey Norton, to report on the Morgan, now undergoing a $6 million restoration effort. It may take another $2 million to do the necessary work to get her to sail.

Wooden Whaleship Restored

Wooden Whaleship Restored

Shipwrights have installed the last plank in the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaleship of the 19th century housed in Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. The wooden ship that began its 80-year career hunting whales with an Edgartown whaling captain, Thomas A. Norton, and many Vineyard crewmembers, is undergoing a $5 million restoration.

Last Friday afternoon shipwrights installed the shutter plank on the 106-foot vessel, which is expected to sail again in 2014.