Whale boats (as used in the whaling industry) were significant in local exploration. The design was more seaworthy and lighter and could be beached/launched more easily by their crew.
This was a vital reason why Captain James Kelly selected the Elizabeth as his vessel for the circumnavigation of Van Diemens Land.
Kelly borrowed the Elizabeth (named after the wife of magistrate Major James Gorden) and set off with a number of convicts from Hobart Town in 1815.
Whale boats were used the world over as a fast and seaworth vessel. See this one in the Bass and Flinders Maritime Museum.
Absolutely interesting place, I recommend the center