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I recently received Renegade Runner (6268), and I noticed that it has a somewhat awkward hole in the bow:

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The main bow piece has a hole for some reason, but I'm not sure what it is for. Here's the part:

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As far as I could tell, this is a list of all sets which use this part:

In each of these sets, the hole in the front is simply left open. Is there some reason for this?

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I would have thought it was simply supposed to mimic the anchor hole, but since 6280 has an anchor and it's not even attached through there, it's not a really good explanation –  Joubarc Jun 20 '13 at 4:06
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Looks like an anchor hole to me too. Now I really want a copy of 6493. –  gev Jun 20 '13 at 6:20
    
Well, it looks too small for canon. Perhaps the piece designer intended it as an anchor hole, but the set designers didn't use it that way? Perhaps it was modelled on a real ship's bow? –  Kramii Jun 20 '13 at 9:11
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up vote 7 down vote accepted

I didn't intend to answer my own question, but after reading through the comments and doing some more digging, I think it is clear that this was intended to be a hawsehole (hole that the anchor rope passes through).

The 12 x 12 boat bow in question is a chronological descendant of the 16 x 12 boat bow:

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That larger part was created with the launch of the Pirates theme in 1989 and was used in the two flagships of that time: Caribbean Clipper (6274) and Black Seas Barracuda (6285). Carribean Clipper clearly uses that hole for the anchor rope:

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The 12 x 12 bow didn't appear in a set until 1992, so my best guess is that this hole was included to match the earlier part, but set designers ended up not actually using it for that purpose.

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