|New Bedford Harbor, 1893|
For its first thirteen editions, the Moby-Dick Marathon began on January 3 in remembrance of Melville's sailing. It wasn't until 2010 (MDM14) that the event was moved to the first weekend after the New Year holiday, to make it more accessible for the conscientious laborers among us.
The ship Acushnet was named after the Acushnet River, which forms New Bedford Harbor where the river enters Buzzards Bay. According to Wikipedia:
The name "Acushnet" comes from the Wampanoag Algonquian word, "Cushnea", meaning "as far as the waters", a word that was used by the original owners of the land in describing the extent of the parcel they intended to sell to the English settlers from the nearby Plimouth colony.