Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

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1. Atlantis, 1931-1964
Atlantis was the first Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution research vessel and the first ship built specifically for interdisciplinary research in marine biology, marine geology and physical oceanography. Columbus Iselin, her first master and a major influence in her design, felt that speed was not essential; steadiness, silence and cruising range were of primary importance.Once built WHOI searched for an appropriate name for the research vessel. A trustee of the Institution, Alexander Forbes, had recently bought a schooner named Atlantis from Iselin. Mr. Forbes rechristened his schooner so the new research vessel could be named Atlantis.The “A- boat” made 299 cruises and covered 700,000 miles, doing all types of ocean science. In 1966, Atlantis was sold to Argentina, refurbished, and renamed El Austral. It is used as a research vessel and is crewed by Argentine naval personnel.Specifications
Built: 1931 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Designed by Owen and Minot specifically for WHOI
Length: 143′ 6″
Rig: Marconi Ketch
Sail Area: 7,200 sq. ft.
Beam: 29′
Main: 144′ from water line
Draft: 18′
Mizzen: 100′ from water line
Capacity: crew- 19, science- 9

(Photo courtesy of WHOI Archives)

2. Asterias, 1931-1980
Named for the local starfish, Asterias was built of white and southern hard pine and was similar in design to commercial fishing boats of the era. The Asterias and the Atlantis were built as the Institution’s first vessels.The first Asterias made at least 10,000 short trips, from Maine to New York, primarily for the testing of scientific gear. Nearly every member of the scientific and technical staff had a need for Asterias at some time. Her excellent design and construction made her a natural seaboat.Asterias was sold to Ocean Research Engineering in 1980. In 1985 Edwin Athearn, her former captain saved her from destruction and together with Dave Lewis restored the ship’s name and condition.Specifications
Built: 1931 by the Casey Boat Building Co., Fairhaven, MA, for WHOI
Length: 40.5′
Beam: 13.6′
Draft: 5’3″

(Photo courtesty of WHOI Archives)

3. Anton Dohrn, 1940-1947
Anton Dohrn was given to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in June 1940 for local-area scientific work. The vessel made at least 40 cruises from the Gulf of Maine to the coast of New Jersey, testing bathythermographs, underwater cameras, and other newly designed instruments, and conducting underwater sound transmission experiments and harbor studies. According to Dick Edwards, WHOI Marine Superintendent for many years, it took eight bilge pumps to keep Anton Dohrn afloat.The vessel was sold in April 1947 and was to be used as a mail boat between New Bedford and Cuttyhunk Island.Specifications
Built: 1911 in Miami, Florida, for the Carnegie Institution
Length: 70′
Beam: 16’9″
Draft: 6′
Capacity: crew- 29, science – 17(Photo courtesty of WHOI Archives)
4. Balanus, 1946-1950
Balanus was used during the war years as a harbor transport. WHOI purchased the vessel in 1946 from Vita Lo Piccola of Boston for use primarily in coastal waters. Balanus made 26 cruises. Her work was mainly for physical oceanography, but also included plankton tows, camera work, instrumentation tests and current measurements. Balanus was sold in 1950 to D.L. Edgerton, a MD fisherman.Specifications
Built: 1940-41 by Reid, Winthrop, MA.
Designed: Eldredge-McGinnis Co., Boston, MA, as a dragger
Length: 75′
Beam: 18′
Draft: 8′
Capacity: crew – 8, science – 5
Names: Little Sam (Q-68) 1941-1946(Photo courtesty of WHOI Archives)
5. Caryn, 1948-1958
Rumor has it that Caryn was originally built specifically for smuggling. When the vessel was first launched, she carried 4,000 square feet of canvas. WHOI purchased Caryn in 1947 from her third owner, C.R. Hotchkiss of New York.At WHOI, Caryn made 110 cruises, mostly along the East Coast through the Caribbean and around Bermuda. All types of oceanography were undertaken. The vessel was sold in 1958 to S.H. Swift, was renamed Black Swan, and engaged in charter trade. On New Year’s Eve, 1974, at St. Maarten’s Island, West Indies, the vessel burned.Specifications
Built: 1927 in Singapore by C.E. Nicholson
Length: 97.9′
Beam: 21′”
Draft: 11’3″
Names: Black Swan 1927-1930,
Santa 1930-1935,
Marie 1947-1948,
Caryn 1948-1958(Photo courtesty of WHOI Archives)
6. Albatross III, 1948-1958
The vessel first sailed under the name Harvard for the North Atlantic Fishery Investigations. In 1941 she was rebuilt, renamed Bellefonte and used by the US Navy for war patrol. Upon her return to Woods Hole in 1944, under the name Albatross III, the vessel was used intermittently until 1955, when funding became available. Albatross III was under full operation until 1959, when decommissioned and sold to a Hyannis, MA, fisherman.Albatross III was loaned to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution from 1951-1952, and was also used jointly on other cruises from 1948-1959. Albatross III made a total of 128 cruises, all in the North Atlantic. Most of these were part of fisheries investigations, but many cruises included hydro stations, bottom photographs, drift bottle exercises, and current measurements.Specifications
Built: 1926 as a steam trawler
Length: 179′
Beam: 24′
Draft: 12′
Capacity: crew – 21, science – 6
Names: 1926 as a steam trawler Harvard 1926-1941, Bellefonte, 1941-1948, Albatross III 1948-1959(Photo courtesty of WHOI Archives)
7. Bear, 1951-1963
Built during WWII as a troop carrier in the South Pacific, Bear was chartered by WHOI in 1951 and purchased in 1952. The vessel made 192 cruises in the western North Atlantic, venturing as far east as Bermuda. Bear made acoustic, bathymetric and seismic measurements, and participated in fish observations.The vessel was sold in 1963 to a New Bedford fisherman and refitted as a scalloper.Specifications
Built: 1941-1942 by Herreshoff, Bristol, RI, as a coastal transport
Length: 103′
Beam: 21′
Draft: 10′
Capacity: crew-23, science-36(Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
8. Crawford, 1956-1969
Crawford, a former US Coast Guard cutter, was transferred to WHOI in 1956. The ship underwent considerable renovation at Munro Shipyard in Boston, including an increase in her fuel capacity giving her a range of 30 days and 6,000 miles. She worked in the North and South Atlantic, including the Caribbean Sea amd carried specialized gear for studying hurricanes. The vessel was mainly used for working on hydrographic stations, in long line fishing studies, and in surveying for Texas Towers.In a novel attempt to increase working space on the vessel, an aircraft wing was attached to her port side in 1980, though it was later dismantled and the experiment was never repeated.Crawford made 175 cruises for WHOI until 1968. In 1970 the vessel was sold to the University of Puerto Rico.Specifications
Built: 1927, Great Lakes
Length: 125′
Beam: 23′
Draft: 12’3″
Capacity: crew-17, science-9

(Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

9. Aries, 1959-1960
The Aries, a 93 foot ketch, arrived in Woods Hole in March 1959 as a gift from R.J. Reynolds. She was refitted as a research vessel by June 1959 and was then used continuously on current measuring cruises off Bermuda as part of a joint project shared by WHOI and the British National Institute of Oceanography until August 1960. Her longest stay ashore was from December 14th, 1959, until February 2nd, 1960, when her engine was replaced by the a spare reconditioned and brought from England. Bermuda proved to be a particularly good base for the Aries since her fresh water storage limited her time at sea to about two weeks. Aries spent a total of 206 days at sea, 186 days of which were on cruises to deep-water, and of this deep-water time 129 days were spent in the selected working area. Captain J. W. Gates was in charge until after the refit when Captain H. H. Seibert took over until the end of the project. Mr. C. L. McCann was mate for the entire period.Specifications
Built: 1953
Length: 93′
Beam: 19’6″(Photo courtesty of WHOI Archives)
10. Chain, 1958-1979
In 1958, the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS), took over the operation of Chain, a Navy salvage vessel, and under an agreement with the Navy, the ship came to Woods Hole. Chain‘s first nine cruises at WHOI were made with an MSTS crew. In 1959, WHOI assumed operation of the vessel.Chain made a total of 129 scientific cruises, including a cruise that took her around the world in 1970-1971. She traveled some 600,000 miles and was used in every type of ocean science. Long a favorite for her seaworthiness, Chain‘s last cruise ended in December 1975. In June 1979 the vessel was towed away for scrap.I SERVED ON THE CHAIN FOR 5YRS, AS A SEAMANWOODS HOLE SCIENTIST ARE THE GROUP THAT FOUND THE “TITANIC”

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