History of the Whitehall

Whitehall Specs

Length 16’2″
Max Outside Beam 52″
Depth Midship 19″
Weight 180LBS
Seats 4-5
Capacity 575LBS,
600LBS passengers,
Rowing Stations – two stations

The Whitehall was developed over many years by expert builders on the eastern seaboard from the mid to late 1800’s, most notably New York and Boston. Our design came from a Boston boat in the year 1876. The lines were recorded by Albert Green, a navy yard draftsman. We know this was a Ship Chandler’s boat. By this time Whitehalls were used widely for all types of waterfront business among other things. They were used by merchants, ships agents, boarding houses, chandlers, runners, smugglers, bandits, and law enforcement to name a few. The boats were used for their speed and capacity. They were absolutely necessary for business, legal or illegal. These requirements called for a swift, special craft that was manageable in foul weather, chop, and open water. The Whitehall was a vehicle of harbor and coastal transportation, primarily a rowing boat, but capable of a good showing under sail. It was fast, seaworthy, and trim.

Naturally they were raced and stirred up great competition between Boston and New York, with large sums of money awarded to the winners. It is also thought that the Whitehall influenced much of the rowing competition on the east coast and made it the primary American competitive sport in that region in the mid 1800’s. By the latter part of the 1800’s they were in widespread use in the U.S. and had made their way to the west coast and were used in waterfront cities like Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. These boats were brought to perfection 125 to 150 years ago, so much that even computer technology can’t improve upon the better models. This is why they were a necessary rowing boat for business and the preferred boat for pleasure.