Coiling Whaleline

Catalog No.:  2000.101.2.14

Artist/Maker:  Tripp, William H.

Date Made:    1925

Object Name: Coiling Whaleline

Description:    Tripp wrote: “Boat-steerer coiling the line in the small tub. The Manta carried two tubs of line in each boat, one with 100 fathoms and the other with 50 fathoms. The line was carried aloft and then rove downwards through a block towards the tub. The kinks were removed by several left hand coilings. The line was then laid in the tub in Flemish coils, or densely bedded layers, leaving a hollow centre, the line was carefully coiled from the bottom up until it was level full. Both ends of the line were left exposed, the lower end having an eye splice coming up from the bottom against the side of the tub, and hanging over the edge. This end could be made fast quickly to the line in the other tub if necessary. Any slight tangle or knot in a whale line might cost the lives of the whole boat’s crew, so great care was taken to make each layer perfectly smooth so that it would run out free. Boatsteerer Ben Cleveland, son of Captain Benjamin Cleveland of the Sea Elephant [and] Hunter.”

Melville Virtual Exhibition Gallery