The captain's gig
is a boat
used on naval ships as the captain's private taxi. It is a catchall phrase for this type of craft and over the years it has gradually increased in size, changed with the advent of new technologies for locomotion, and been crafted from increasingly more durable materials.
Wooden captain gigs
In general, during the era of wooden ships, it was smaller and lighter than the longboat
or the barge
or the pinnace
. It was usually crewed by 4 select oarsmen, and a coxswain
. Generally the oarsmen sat one to a seat, but each only rowed a single oar
on alternating sides. The gig was not as sea kindly as the longboat, but was used mostly in harbors.
The gigs generally had a high wineglass transom (image), full skeg, full keel, straight stem and somewhat rounded sides. There was in general very little rocker in the keel. The gunwales on many were nearly straight from bow to stern. It appears to be the precursor to the Whitehall Rowboat.
Some wooden captain's gigs were quite large and were powered by sail, such as the French Captain's Sailing Gig @1918, Brest France
Modern captain gigs
With the coming of metal ships and combustion engines
the size of the captain's gig increased and the boats could transport more sailors swiftly. Two examples are the Captain's Gig, USS Wisconsin 1950's
and the 1942 USN Jack Ballard pictured to the right.
Some modern built craft with sails have been named captain's gig as well. Modern Fiberglass Captain's Gig
Futuristic captain gigs
In science fiction
, the term is often used to refer to a small auxiliary spacecraft. In Star Trek
, the craft are referred to as a "Captain's Yacht" Sci-fi Captain's Gig, USS Enterprise
- Cornish pilot gig, a larger boat (crewed by 6 plus a cox) which used to be used to transport pilots out to ships.''