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The Lagoda is a half-scale model of the whaling ship of the same name, located at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

The Lagoda in the Bourne Building of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Original ship

The original Lagoda was a merchant ship built in 1826. Originally intended to be named "Ladoga" after Lake Ladoga in Russia, the letters "d" and "g" were accidentally swapped and, due to superstition that correcting the name would bring bad luck, it remained as the "Lagoda".[1] The ship itself was constructed of live oak, and had three masts.[1]

In 1841, it was purchased by Johnathan Bourne of New Bedford, who converted it into a whaling vessel by adding a trywork - an onboard hearth to convert blubber into whale oil.[1][2]

In 1860, the ship was converted to a barque - both to reduce the crew needed, and as it allowed the ship to sail closer to the wind.[1][2]

In 1871, the Lagoda was amongst 40 ships whaling in the Arctic. Toward the end of the season, the ice began to surround the ships, and crushed 33 of them. The Lagoda narrowly escaped and, with the remaining ships, picked up some of the 1200 survivors.[1][2]

In total, the ship made almost $652,000 of profit for Bourne until he sold the ship in 1886. It sailed from the United States in 1889 and worked as a coal hulk, being used to fuel steamboats in Yokohama, Japan until it was sold again and eventually broken up in 1899.[1][2]


In 1915, Jonathan's daughter Emily donated the Bourne Building to the New Bedford Whaling Museum in memory of her father, and the Museum commissioned shipwrights to build the half-size model of the Lagoda in 1916. [3] with funds also provided by Emily. At 89 feet in length, it remains the largest whaling ship model in existence.[1][4]


External links