MORGAN Reflections, Winter 2011
A newsletter and log of the restoration of the whaleship CHARLES W. MORGAN
MorganReflections Mystic Seaport , the Log of , � Jan / Feb 2011 Volume 2, Issue 1 From the President One of the exciting prospects of having the Charles W. Morgan under sail again is that we will finally know how she maneuvers out at sea. Due to the careful ongoing work at the shipyard, the restoration is moving ahead and on schedule. We are currently shaping and outfitting "knees," which is a remarkable task combining modern technique with traditional skill. The pieces of live oak are crucial to provide the structural integrity that will allow her to sail again in 2014. The Shin Cracker The 38th voyage of the Charles W. Morgan will give us an excellent opportunity to experience how she steers with the combination of shin-cracker helm, high aspect ratio rudder, bluff bow and bark rig. At first glance her traveling wheel on the tiller appears to be a simple, elegant and inexpensive solution to mechanical steering vs. a conventional straight tiller. Unsure whether it was used only on whaleships, or more generally, I asked Quentin Snediker, Mystic Seaport Museum Shipyard Director, about the shin-cracker. He replied that it was common on the thousands of coasting schooners that were the principal 19th century freight carriers between New England cities and villages and recommended John Leavitt's book, Wake of the Coasters. Steering a square-rigged whaleship like the Charles W. Morgan in heavy weather must have been strenuous and stressful. Losing control could damage the ship or cause it to capsize. Square-rigged vessels are designed to sail best mostly off the wind, i.e., with the wind behind them or on the quarter, and, therefore, with a following sea, running down a wave and rising to meet and cut through the next. The Charles W. Morgan, a typical whaleship, is a bluff-bowed vessel, rounded forward to provide interior volume, rather than having sharp (continued on back) Stephen C. White President RestoRation Update Fairing of the newly installed futtocks continues on both sides and the shipwrights are also making mortises in the futtocks for the salt shelves. Milling of lumber for the new ceiling is underway. A 17 foot forward section of the keelson has been replaced with a carefully shaped and fitted piece of live oak. The first section of the new yellow pine clamp has been installed and, in the shop, a new lower mizzen mast is almost completed.