whaleboat

[hweyl-boht, weyl-]
noun
a long, narrow boat designed for quick turning and use in rough seas: formerly used in whaling, now mainly for sea rescue.

Origin:
1665–75; whale1 + boat

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World English Dictionary
whaleboat (ˈweɪlˌbəʊt)
 
n
Also called: whaler a narrow boat from 20 to 30 feet long having a sharp prow and stern, formerly used in whaling

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
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whaleboat

light, swift, rowing and sailing boat fitted with a centreboard (retractable keel), initially developed for use by whaling crews and now used more generally. Its double-ended, broad-beamed design is reminiscent of the old Viking boats; in time carvel-constructed whaleboats superseded clinker-built (lapstrake) vessels. The whaleboat's superior handling characteristics soon made it a popular general-purpose ship's boat, and it now often serves as a cutter or gig.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
He soon realized that it was a whaleboat, but a whaleboat unlike any he had ever seen.
Crews had planned a routine test of the whaleboat's engine.
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