Seascout-Net Mail Archive for October of 1998: Historic sailing whaleboat CORSAIR to be rebuilt
Historic sailing whaleboat CORSAIR to be rebuilt
Christopher K. Sokolov
Sat Oct 24 17:05:28 1998
HISTORIC SAILING WHALEBOAT CORSAIR TO BE REBUILT
10/20/98 SAN FRANCISCO - Sea Scout sailing vessel CORSAIR represents a type
of sailboat now largely vanished. It is a sailing whaleboat -- an open
boat designed to be launched from a larger ship while at sea. Corsair was
never used in whaling but is designed after a long tradition of seaworthy
boats launched from whaling ships in open ocean in centuries gone by.
Corsair was built by the U.S. Navy and launched at Puget Sound Naval
Shipyard in 1939. The Navy used sailing whaleboats for its fleet sailing
program prior to World War II. As the United States prepared for war, the
Navy stripped its ships of extra gear, and Corsair, with many other
whaleboats, was sent ashore for the duration. After the war, the fleet
sailing program was not reinstated and the whaleboats were sold as surplus.
Many ended up in the hands of Sea Scout units around the country, offering
thousands of youth the opportunity to learn sailing, seamanship and
teamwork on the water. Of those only a handful remain.
Over the years, the Sea Scouts have done substantial work on Corsair, which
is thirty feet long and ketch-rigged. It now has a fixed fin keel instead
of a moveable centerboard. The configuration of rails and decks has been
significantly altered on the whaleboat.
Periodically, all boats require major work -- wooden boats more so than
others. While Corsair has been on the dock to replace the occasional frame
or plank, her last major haulout was thirty years ago. It is necessary to
replace the frames, rails, many of her ribs, and all her decking, and to
reef and caulk the entire boat, redesign the keel, and finally apply
several coats of paint to every single surface aboard.
For almost two years, the crew and officers of Sea Scout Ships Corsair (22)
and Viking (100) have been busy working on the venerable whaleboat. This
project has stretched our personnel fairly thin. Recently, it has been
decided to have Corsair professionally rebuilt to ensure that the boat will
be available for the youth of generations to come. Sea Scout Ship Corsair
has been serving the youth of the San Francisco Bay Area for over sixty
years, and the sailing whaleboat Corsair has been an important part of the
Ship's success. We hope to re-launch Corsair by the beginning of the new
This project is estimated to cost approximately $15,000. Donations of
time, funds, boats, or materials are gratefully accepted.
San Francisco Sailing Whaleboat Association
Mr. Nick G. Tarlson
22 Battery Street, Suite 1100
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 956-5700 x140
(by D. Fischer and C. Sokolov)