An engraving of the "Cachalot" a New Bedford whaler
made famous by F.T. Bullen in his 1901 publication
"The cruise of the Cachalot". Cachalot was the whalers name for
the sperm whale - when you caught one, you'd caught-a-lot and the ship
was named for this.
Whaling as a job in such ships attracted more than
it's fair share of rogues and n'er-do-wells amongst the other more professional
and "career sailors" as we'd probably call them today.
Whaling ships were often looked down upon by the crews
of other ships, they were sometimes described as being "built by the
mile" a reference to the fact that they were wide and bulbous with little
attention to streamlining and none to elegance, looking effectively
"cut off" from a continuous production line of ship building and simply
finished with bow and stern.
This design was actually well thought out as a whaling
ship would be at sea for years and needed as large a cargo capacity
as possible. Speed was irrelevant as the whales were caught from smaller
boats with the whaler itself serving as a base, storage and processor
for the job of whaling.