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Martha's Vineyard Museum

A smaller boat that hung from davits on the side of a whaleship, which was lowered to chase whales. The weight of the whaleboat, when fastened to a fleeing whale by a harpoon attached to a line, created drag, tiring the whale out and slowing it down. Whaleboats were relatively light, highly maneuverable and perfectly adapted to their task. They were made of wood, and were sometimes "stove" or smashed by an angry whale's tail, or crushed by its jaw. Whaleships always carried spare whaleboats and a ship's carpenter for this reason.

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