Whitehall rowing boat image courtesy of Whitehall Rowing and Sail
Every Harbour’s Work Boat
In the age of sail breakwaters were rare sailing/rowboats were the workboats of the world’s harbour’s. They were required to handle heavy loads rapidly and manage open water crossings to service ocean going sailing ships anchored offshore.
The Whitehall design was a greatly favoured hull design. Their narrow beam made them fast while their distinctive “wine glass” stern and full tracking keels made them extremely stable in both wind and wave. They were the choice of nearly everyone who required fast, reliable harbour transportation – pilots, crews, brokers, chandlers, reporters, agents, and doctors among them.
The ill-fated San Pedro on Brotchie Ledge
For six years, beginning in 1891, a Victoria employee rowed out every evening to hang a warning lantern from canted mast of the San Pedro, wrecked on just off the harbour’s mouth on Brotchie Ledge.
Death and Rebirth
With the arrival of mechanical motive power rowing fell out of favour and rowing boats of all kinds were beached or burned. Then, decades later in the 1970’s the few beautiful Whitehalls that survived inspired the renaissance among wooden boat builders in the United States and England.
Whitehall Rowing and Sail
In 1987 Victoria’s Whitehall Rowing and Sail began to manufacture a number of versions of the Whitehall in fiberglass. Their design and reputation for quality in materials and construction led to worldwide demand for their vessels. With new Whitehalls coming off the ways Victoria, once a major shipbuilding centre, has had a great tradition reawakened. Learn more about Whitehall Rowing and Sailing.