The Mystic Whaler provides Tall Ship Adventures to the public from the same historic waterfront in New London that once was the 19th century home of our country’s second largest whaling fleet.
The whalers are long gone, of course, and the port of New London is used by more modern means of waterborne conveyance, but the Mystic Whaler keeps alive the memory of that earlier era and offers the public a chance to experience the exhilaration of moving through the water under sail.
The Mystic Whaler launched its maritime career in 1967 as a reproduction of a late 19th century coastal cargo schooner, the workhorse of a class of vessels that helped fuel our nation’s economy in the days before railroads and superhighways. They were extensively used in New England, the Chesapeake and Great Lakes regions.
The meaning of the word “schooner” could stem from the Dutch, or an interpretation of scoon, a Scots word that roughly translates to “skipping along the water”. It may, or may not, have been shouted out by someone at a 1700’s launching in Gloucester, Mass. As the story goes, the word was uttered in amazement within earshot of the shipyard owner who promptly dubbed the new class of vessels schooners. True? Who knows, but it makes for good topic to debate over a pint of Grog after the last sail has been furled.
Whatever, the origins of the name, the craft that became known as schooners quickly came to serve a number of purposes, fishing, cargo-hauling and privateering and blockade running during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
Today, like the Mystic Whaler, they are mostly used, to carry passengers on leisure cruises, and by groups dedicated to protecting our marine environment and as educational platforms, teaching young people about our state and nation’s proud maritime traditions.
35 Water St, New London, CT 06320