Preview: Workboat Beginnings, Part 3 – Whitehall Boats

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Whitehall boats evolved along lower Manhattan’s rough-and-tumble waterfront in the 19th Century.  When a ship made port, Whitehalls capable of ferrying a half dozen or more seaman hungry for the fleshpots of the city, rushed forth to earn business.  From these pragmatic beginnings a speedy, seaworthy, and beautiful style of rowing boat was born.

Whatehall boats are excellent for landing ashore.

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16 Responses So Far to “Workboat Beginnings, Part 3 – Whitehall Boats

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    Gilberto Frola says:

    A very nice video Guys ,
    and a very nice boats

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    Randal Griepp says:

    Interesting fact: Cornelius Vanderbilt, the self made shipping and railroad tycoon, and possibly the richest man in 19th century America began his commercial career rowing a Whitehall in New York Harbor.

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    martin schulman says:

    What a wonderful video. Some years ago I took a lofting course at the WBS with Greg Rossel. The plan we used was for a Whitehall. In addition to the lofting everyone build a half model off the plan. It was wonderful to see a full Whitehall with lots of lovely detail. The short video shows many construction details that would enhance any boat they were used on. Thanks again.

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    victor contento says:

    Wow, what a perfect synthesis of purpose, function and engineering is shown here!
    I have been designing and building White hulls for a while now and still learned quite a few things from this video.
    Many times in boat design it seems that the art of creation could be reduced to dig back in time for a forgotten idea.

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    edward demarco says:

    I am from we have a design that is very similar to the whitehall called fregatina ..very popular with inland fishing

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      Steve Stone says:

      Hi Edward. If you have a good photo of one, please send it along to us at support at offcenterharbor dot com.

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    Chris Cournoyer says:

    Thank you for preserving a beautiful form of history so concisely and with such captivating detail. I am glad to know there are still those that really know these things and most grateful for your admirable efforts in preserving the knowledge by your videography. It is a privilege to be a lifetime member, I anxiously anticipate and await each new video presentation. See you in Port Townsend, WA next week.

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    Andy Reeve says:

    Can anyone tell me what the boat is just forward of the Captain Hook in the video. She is a lapstrake outboard boat, looks like the name on the transom is Gideon Mancus but I cant make it out. Would love to get the plans to build this small outboard powered boat.

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    Andrew Alexander says:

    great briefing on the Whitehall!

    Would love to find a shirt like Ben Fuller is wearing – looks very comfortable in the mist

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    David Jeffery says:

    Were the smaller recreational Whitehalls straight-line rowers? Were those commonly built to rig as sailboats?

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    elliott marks says:

    Very enjoyable clip.

    What is the interior finish of the first whitehall featured?

    I think that besides being ‘nice’ the bead at the lower edge of the inside upper plank was to add a shadow line and create the illusion of an inner gunwale?

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    Frank Coletta says:

    I really like the videos on the different types of boats. I learn a lot from them.

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    Steve S - RestHarrow Boatworks says:

    Nicely done. Thanks for the great video!


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