The history of the whalebacks, on the five Great Lakes and on the seven seas, is long and colorful, Many thrilling adventures, many mishaps, several mysteries and numerous heroic rescues all played a part in the whaleback story. Several of the whalebacks sailed for close to three quarters of a century before being dismantled as scrap. Sadly, many other whalebacks sailed for far less time and met a far more unfortunate fate. Of the forty-four whalebacks built, a total of twenty-six barges (a bit more than 60 percent) ended their days, for a wide variety of reasons, at the bottom of one body of water or another. Whalebacks lie under the waves of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico and four of the five Great Lakes. Even more unfortunate is the fact that more than a hundred sailors lost their lives over the years due to the accidents suffered by McDougall's unusual vessels.
So what happened to the whalebacks? Where did they go? When and why did they pass into history and where are they now? This book answers those questions and more.