The Whaleboat

2 reviews

Sale price$24.95


Subtitled A Study of Design, Construction and Use From 1850 to 2014

Updated by the author Willits Ansel, and his son, Walt who teaches at our School, and Walt's daughter Evelyn, who is a frequent contributor to WoodenBoat.

You'll find much more info and photos on whaleboats thanks to a fleet built to go on the re-launched CHARLES W. MORGAN's 38th voyage, in 2014.

From the foreword, by Maynard Bray:

"Like a modern jetliner, the wooden whaleboat is marvelous blend of form and function. She's just as long as the mother ship could accommodate when three of them were hoisted one behind the other. Length is a distinct advantage, since the longer the boat, the faster its speed under oars. Being narrow at the waterline makes for a fast boat as well, and this feature--together with generous beam at the rails to accommodate the longest possible oars--makes a whaleboat unusually swift."

"Besides having a perfect form, whaleboats had to be light enough to hoist on davits, yet strong enough to occasionally fetch uo against the whaler's hull in a heavy sea without damage. They were specially planked so as not to dry out while hoisted otherwise, they'd leak in use. The combination of seam battens and plank laps achieved this, and resulted in boats that were smooth-skinned at the water plane for silent running--vital when within a whale's earshot."


The book is still a treasure trove of quality drawings and detailed information on the subject of whaleboats.


  • The Development of the Whaleboat to 1870
  • Performance and Use
  • Lines of the Whaleboat
  • Hull Structure
  • Fittings & Equipment
  • Sailing Rigs
  • Whaleboat Production
  • Building Methods
  • Painting, Repairs, and Maintenance of Whaleboats
  • The Whaleboat and Related Types
  • Building A Beetle Cat Whaleboat Replica at Mystic Seaport with Willits Ansel in 2002
  • Appendix A: Sailing plans & Rigs
  • Appendix B: Notes, lines, and construction drawings of whaleboats, includes fold-out drawings, and some offsets


  • by Willits D. Ansel, with Walter Ansel and Evelyn Ansel.

     178 pp. softcover, 8"x 9" landscape format


    Customer Reviews

    Based on 2 reviews
    Gary Millhollen

    The Whaleboat

    Thomas Schmitt
    Great service!

    The sign of a great service experience is not always when things go according to plan. It can happen when they don’t. My shipment arrived right on schedule; but the package contained the wrong item.

    An email to WB resulted in both prompt fulfillment of the original order and a prepaid mailer to return the item shipped by mistake. No questions asked; just great service. I’ll be back.

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