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Hi all, in researching my current build I am finding that different writers are using different names for the types of boats in the ship's logs, official correspondence and even the builder's correspondence).

 

By the Specification, HMCSS Victoria was outfitted with 2 x Lifeboats, 1 x Gig, 1 x Whaler and one Dinghy.  Except for the dinghy and gig, the other terms/names used are:  Cutter, Cutter-Life Boat, Barge, Pinnace and even one instance of Launch.  I have discounted the latter as it was a newspaper article and more than likely prone to misuse of terminology.

 

I have been able to determine that the Cutter reference is to the Lifeboats as this was directly attributed by the designer (Oliver Lang) in one of his letters and Life Boat-Cutters  were in common use in 1855 (I have found plans under that terminology in the NMM Collection).

 

However, I am seeking confirmation that the terms Whaler, Barge and Pinnace all refer to the same boat (the whaler).  A barge was usually used to convey the Commanding Officer and Dignitaries and the correspondence from the build supervisor advises that both the gig and whaler were outfitted more elegantly than the other boats (polished wood rather than painted inside).  As these two boats were hung on the quarters where the 'Captain's' boats were usually stowed, it made some sense that the terms aligned (even if a tenuous link).  I also noted while searching in the NMM Collections that the terms Barge and Pinnace were used together on the same plan in two instances so I have assumed these terms can be used alternatively also?

 

Could someone please confirm or enlighten me as to whether I am on the right 'course' or not please?

 

cheers

 

Pat

 

Edited by BANYAN
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This is a confusing subject.  My research indicates that in the US Navy boats were designated by both type and service.  For example, the “lifeboat” was a boat suspended from davits that be quickly launched to rescue a man overboard.  The boat needed to be a good seaboat; often a whaleboat (a Navy design, not a true whaleboat).

 

The only authorative text about Royal Navy Practice  that I know of is CDR May’s Warship’s Boats book.  I don’t have access to my copy at the moment but if my memory is correct the RN did utilize a specially designed lifeboat.

 

Again, American Practice,  the gig is the Captain’s boat and the barge is the boat used when a flag Officer is embarked.  So, yes it would be quite possible for a ship to carry specially finished whalers designated as gig and barge to be used by the captain and flag officer (if embarked).

 

Most warships of any size did carry a launch to do the heavy lifting; hauling ordnance, setting out anchors, and watering.

 

Period photos document the proliferation of boats, especially during peacetime as boats were handy tools to help the ship to get its job done.

 

Roger

Edited by Roger Pellett
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Thanks Roger, until I came across this I too had the same interpretation re boats, especially the sea boat, from my service days alsdo.  

 

WRT Whaleboat / Barge, the confusing part here is that from all the correspondence she had polished timber interiors (a la Dignitary or other senior officer's boat),  but there are so many other mentions of it being used for survey and other work.  I do agree however, it was probably the designated 'Barge' as well as it being a workboat - boat's party will have been kept busy with the maintenance :)  Now to establish the link with the Pinnace.

 

I am lucky enough to have correspondence from the ship's (and boat) designer and the build superintendent where the designer specifically refers to it as the "Life Boat - Cutter" so I am happy with that terminology for the two lifeboats.  The 1851 Steam Navigation Act was also very specific in stating that a steam ship of 'Victoria's' size, she had to carry two of them and they had to be 'buoyant.  The NMM Collections have several contemporary plans for such a 'Life Boat - Cutter', and as the plans for the boats have not survived I have used one as a 'representative' version for use with the model.

 

The dinghy  was straight forward - so as mentioned above just the matter of verifying the relationship between Barge and Pinnace.  I'll have to have a look in May's book also, never know what that may offer (should have thought on that book myself) .

 

cheers

 

Pat

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A 'whaler' or 'whale-boat' in my understanding was a double-ended boat, as opposed to the other boats, that usually had a square stern. Whale-boats where particularly used to land on a shore through surf, where a following wave might lift up the stern and throw the boat head over heel, if the stern had too much buoyancy (something that experienced myself once with a motorised dinghy).

 

I think by the middle of the 19th century the terms have been settled quite well in the navies. I didn't check, but May's book 'The Boats of Men-of-War' may have some information on the RN. My own sources begin only in 1872 with the first German textbook on (naval) boats and boatbuilding.

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Hi Roger and Eberhard,

 

I have taken a look in May (where I should have looked first - duh!)  which largely resolved my issues based on his explanations.  It is not so much the type of the boat (construction/form), but  often the name was applied for the purposes it was used/issued (establishment).  initially, most boats were introduced and built to a 'type' but later convention was that the naming evolved when certain boats were used for specific purposes apparently.

 

The whaler was double ended, but as it was also 'used' as a barge hence it is called by various names, with the gig also called the Pinnace when used for the Captain's use.  Similarly, a galley could be the cutter/lifeboat.

 

cheers, appreciate the feedback.

 

Pat

Edited by BANYAN
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