Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ships, Boats, Vessels, and other Water-Borne Craft


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Ask Seller a Question. Publisher: John Murray, London. Illustrator: Graham Blackburn. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine.

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List this Seller's Books. Payment Methods accepted by seller. Stock Image. Chapelle: Arctic Whaling and Sealing Vessels and sloops with square topsails and a large course. Brigs, ships, and barks were common among larger craft; the bark seems to have been the predominate rig, among whalers at least, after about With vessels fitted with square sails, it was usually possible to stop the ship when underway, or to back her under full control, by backing part or whole of the square sails.

The vessel fitted with square sails, even though sloop or schooner rigged, was also well suited for long ocean passages where she might run long distances with fair winds, without the need of tacking. The fierce gales met with in certain arctic waters made it necessary to design the rigs so that sail could be reduced quickly, and spars and rigging had to be very strong. It was general, therefore, to find the arctic vessel fitted with a rather small spread of sail in proportion to her size, and re— straint was exercised in the fitting of light sails.

Only in a few types, such as the New London sealing schooners, were large rigs employed; in these the hulls were made wide and very powerful so that the sails would not over— power them in strong winds. In most types the relatively snug rig led to sharp, narrow hulls that could be easily driven by their small sail areas. Such vessels usually were good sea boats, rolling deep but easily, and so were comfortable vessels for their crews. The good features of the narrow, snugly rigged vessels were finally brought to a high level in the steam power— ed auxiliaries built for whaling and sealing in the '70's.

With the introduction of steamers into the sealing fishery in the East, the European sealers built a distinctive class of ship — low-powered auxil— iary barks that were on the same model as contemporary steam whalers. Chapelle: Arctic Whaling and Sealing Vessels aft and their stacks were between main and mizzen masts, leaving a large cargo hold amidships required by their cargo.

The European sealers were about the same size as the American steam whalers, to feet long; most of the sealers were built in Scotland. The majority were wooden vessels but a few were built of wrought iron. The European sealer was employed for much arctic exploration work, in the '70's and '80's, and is represented by such craft as the Alert and the Bear , employed in American expeditions in the '70' and '80's, This class of ship may therefore be discussed in detail as exploration vessels.

The Greenland sealing employed not only these auxiliary barks, but also a number of smaller craft, many owned by Scandinavians, Dutch, and Germans. By , sealing vessels employed in East Greenland waters had developed into a recognizable type, much like the North Sea and Baltic steam trawlers in model, very strongly built. The ice conditions in this area were unusually severe; broken floe ice of great area often covered the sealing grounds and very severe storms were met along the coast.

As a result, the sealers made no attempt to produce a stram ice-breaker and instead developed an ice-work— ing ship capable of nosing her way through the leads in the floes. To do this the ships were built with deep, almost straight stems, heavily armored, which could be used to pry open a narrow lead through which the vessel could pass. Special consideration was given to fitting the stern so that the ship could back in the ice without damage to either rudder or propeller. Low-powered steam plants were commonly installed, giving rather low speed to the ship, but sails were used in making long passages, in addition to using power.

The boilers were designed to burn coal, or blubber when necessary. Chapelle: Arctic Whaling and Sealing Vessels ketch-rigged with small sail area. Under power few could make over 8 knots in smooth water. Men who have used these vessels consider them most suitable for East Greenland waters; they admit, however, that the ships cannot break even light fjord ice with their low power. The low power used in these craft permits low fuel consumption; a very important factor in small vessels work— ing in arctic waters far from a supply base.

Low-powered diesel engines came into use in these sealers about ; many sealers prefer steam since the latter permits greater flexibility in the fuel employed and also gives steam economic— ally for heating, working powerful windlasses and winches, and for de-icing the ship. In the small sealers wood construction is generally preferred to steel; the wooden hull is supposed to be less liable to damage in the ice; probably the relative low cost of the small wooden hull is the real factor.

Figure 2 shows the characteristics of the East Greenland sealers, though the vessel is somewhat larger than usual in this class. The design was in— tended for a combination sealer and supply ship, to work with two smaller vessels, and in model and arrangement incorporated the features considered both desirable and necessary in these sealers. The deep and angular forefoot, heavily sheathed, armored, and internally dtrengthened, was desired in lieu of an ice-breaking bow which would allow the ship to ride out onto the ice. The owners believed that the ice-breaker bow would be wholly undesirable be— cause the ship was relatively small and so had not enough weight to break the hard, thick floe ice, and such a bow would not serve to nose through floating ice with the low-power, low-fuel consumption objective.

An h. European reversing diesel was to be used. The vessel is suitable for a uniflo-type steam plant which would probably be more economical since it would reduce the number of heating and power units required in the ship.


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Chapelle: Arctic Whaling and Sealing Vessels given to the stern in this ship, a profile being adopted that would give the best backing effect in the ice without damage to the rudder, wheel, or stern structure. This was accomplished by constructing the sharp stern very strong— ly and armoring in the same manner as the bow, building the rudder extremely strong, and setting both rudder and propeller well under the hull. The head of the rudder was recessed into the stern deadwood, when the rudder was center— ed, as a further precaution in the protection of this member.

Propeller was made of cast nickel steel and the tail shaft was high tensile cold-rolled steel. The shafting was supported at each end of the propeller aperture by heavy bearings. The construction is indicated in a section in the figure, which shows the very heavy framing and planking. At all bulkheads cross-brac— ing was employed to support the bilges and sides, in addition to heavy hanging and lodging knees.

The frames were closely spaced and the spaces between them, in the bottom, was chocked solid and caulked to give a solid timber bottom out to the turn of the bilges. Forward deckhouse had steel sides; an "ice bridge" was placed on its roof for conning the ship in the ice.

All winches and wind— lasses were enclosed in either deck houses or trunks, with steam lines to pre— vent freezing. Water tanks were fitted with steam coils for the same purpose.

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An attempt was made to form the ship so that she could "squeeze out" when caught in a pressure area in the ice. Whether or not this design has suffic— ient flare to the topside to permit this cannot be determined, the amount of flare being limited by the need of having a seaworthy ship in open water.

By employing a slack bilge the owners hoped that the easy heeling of the ship would add to the effectiveness of the flaring topsides in a "squeeze. Chapelle: Arctic Whaling and Sealing Vessels area to permit sailing in strong winds, at least. There was no requirement for shallow draft and, with the sharp model, the hull had to be deep to obtain the required capacity.

The construction of this vessel was extremely heavy; frames and plank were of oak and sheathing, outer keel, rudder blade, outer stem and post, and shoe were of greenheart. The interior longitudinals were pine. All bulkheads were double-diagonal planked with convas between the skins. Steel diagonal strapping was used on the outside of the frames, 5 to Steel border-angles were fitted to secure the bulkheads to the ceiling tightly.

Four bulkheads were employed. The engines and tanks were hea ily shored to prevent movement when the vessel hit ice. In general, the ship was very plainly fitted, but all quarters and working spaces were well insulated. Cargo winches were of ten tons capacity.

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Much attention was given to pumping systems; in addition to the usual hand pumps placed inside the deckhouse over the engine room, two independently driven power pumps were required, as well as one driven by the main engine. The power pumps could also be used as fire pumps. The use of the diesel necessitated installation of a cooling system that would permit accurate temperature control. A small water condenser was also required. On the whole, the design seems to represent a more complete vessel than was usual in these sealers; however, the ship was supposed, to incorporate the elements of design, fitting, and construction that experience had shown to be most de— sirable in the work, with due regard to cost.

A vessel of similar model could be built of steel, with some modification, at less cost today but, in spite of this, the sealers appear to prefer wooden hulls. The first sailing whalers designed for arctic work were characterized by strength, retaining seaworthiness and reasonable sailing qualities. Chapelle: Arctic Whaling and Sealing Vessels eastern whaling grounds the area had been known long enough to be reasonably well charted by the time shipbuilding records permit examination of the de— sign of such craft. Hence, perhaps, the vessels built for the eastern arctic whaling were little different in model from the whalers used on the open sea.

But, with the opening of the Bering Strait whaling grounds, uncharted waters became a consideration and so a modified model of whaleship came into existence. Figure 3 is the lines of two whaling barks built in the United States in — 58 for the new fishery. One of the vessels built from this model was the Gay Head , a successful arctic whaler that was lost in the great arctic disaster off Point Belcher, Alaska, in , when 31 other vessels were crushed.

The model differs from the older whaling ships in being relatively wider and shallower. The reduction in draft gave greater margin of safety in the unknown Arctic Sea, of course. Otherwise the design showed no important changes in hull-form. The very raking bow may have given some slight ice-breaking power; however, this appears to have been accidental rather than intentional in the design. Obviously, sail gave insufficient power to allow ice-breaking in any but thin ice; for this the rather upright stem, well armored, served well enough.

The plan will serve to indicate the general design of many arctic whalers, however; the sailing vessels were commonly between and feet in length, usually bark rigged, and built with a good deal of consideration to handiness and sailing qualities. Though heavily constructed, they depended upon ice sheathing to a great extent for protection, and so their safety was more a matter of management than of structure and model when on the arctic whal— ing grounds. The sailing vessel was found to be seriously handicapped in arctic work, as her movement, and therefore her safety, depended upon favorable winds.

Chapelle: Arctic Whaling and Sealing Vessels more experience was gained in the western Arctic, the advantages of steam whalers became apparent. Some of the European steam whalers and sealers employed in the eastern Arctic were purchased by American owners for the western arctic fishery, but legal and economic factors made this unsatisfac— tory. Beginning in the 's, American steam whalers were built both in Maine and California for the Bering Sea and arctic fisheries.


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  • These were wooden vessels, to feet long, with small steam power and full sail rig. The vessels were on a rather standardized model, sharp-ended and with much rise to the bottom, raking flaring bows, and light round sten; a good example is shown in Figure 4. This was a design prepared at Bath, Maine, in , supposedly for the ship Belvidere built that year, the Mary and Helen launched in , and the Navarch built in , but the customhouse records show these vessels differed in dimensions from those of the plan.

    It is pos— sible that the ships were lengthened in building; the other dimensions given by the customhouse are insufficiently reliable to be of much value as a guide in checking the identification. The sharp, deep model of these whaling steam— ers is well shown in the plan; they were designed to sail fast and steam well with small power. It was learned by the time these vessels were built that a sharp-lined hull could steam in heavy weather with relatively small engine power; here again fuel consumption governed the amount of power placed in these ships. The whaling steamer Orca , built at Sen Francisco in , on a model very much like that shown in Figure 4, had a nominal horsepower of , though she measured feet in length, 32 feet 6 inches beam outside of sheathing, 18 feet inches depth in hold, and Chapelle: Arctic Whaling and Sealing Vessels up into a well in the stern for sailing.

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    Many of the ships had telescoping smokestacks as well, that could be lowered out of the way of sails and rigging. The arctic steam whalers usually carried from five to seven whaleboats, each 28 feet long. The use of iron knees, diagonal iron strapping in the sides, and extensive armoring of stem, sides along the waterline, and around the stern made these vessels very strong and well protected from the ice, though their form made them vulnerable to great ice pressure.

    Some of the vessels had pilothouses, others did not. The crews were usually housed in deckhouses, as in most arctic ships. The construction is shown in a typical cross-section in the drawing and requires no explanation. By the time these whaling steamers were being built experience with both commercial and exploration vessels in the Arctic had taught good methods of structural design for ice-working ships built of wood. The use of iron knees in place of the earlier wooden members had given more cargo space but had created a new problem; the iron knees were affected by frost.

    This was solved by sheathing the iron knees with an insulation of tarred felt and wood sheathing.


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    • The type of vessel shown in Figure 4 not only represented the final de— velopment of the arctic steam whaling ship but also fairly represents the model used in the large eastern sealing steamers of the same period. The variations in hull-form in these ships were minor; most did not have the hollow garboards at the keel, shown in Figure 4, which was a source of weakness in grounding or working in heavy floating ice; instead they had a rather flat bottom. There were some differences in rake of bows, profile, and form of sterns and degree of fullness in the entrance and run, as might be expected among ships built by different builders.

      Chapelle: Arctic Whaling and Sealing Vessels ships, so that they might be cheap and efficient; some had feathering pro— pellers apparently intended in the design shown in Figure 4 and many arrange— ments were made to allow easy removal and replacement of the rudder. Cargo was made as compact as was possible, many ships having a steam "digester" to dry out oil, and bailers for packaging whalebone.

      Stoves and other heating systems received much attention; some of the whalers were better fitted out than contemporary government-fitted exploration vessels. In considering the designs used in these commercial vessels built for arctic use, the fundamental limitations placed on their design should not be overlooked. The first of these was the need of the ships being self-contained for long periods of time; hence the small power given their engines so that the relatively small quantity of fuel they could carry would suffice.

      Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ships, Boats, Vessels, and other Water-Borne Craft Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ships, Boats, Vessels, and other Water-Borne Craft
      Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ships, Boats, Vessels, and other Water-Borne Craft Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ships, Boats, Vessels, and other Water-Borne Craft
      Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ships, Boats, Vessels, and other Water-Borne Craft Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ships, Boats, Vessels, and other Water-Borne Craft
      Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ships, Boats, Vessels, and other Water-Borne Craft Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ships, Boats, Vessels, and other Water-Borne Craft
      Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ships, Boats, Vessels, and other Water-Borne Craft Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ships, Boats, Vessels, and other Water-Borne Craft
      Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ships, Boats, Vessels, and other Water-Borne Craft Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ships, Boats, Vessels, and other Water-Borne Craft
      Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ships, Boats, Vessels, and other Water-Borne Craft Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ships, Boats, Vessels, and other Water-Borne Craft

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