The History of Individual Clipper Ships

The Courier, the First True Clipper Ship – Built in Newburyport in 1842, 380 Tons.

Built for the Coffee Trade, often nicknamed the “Rio Trader”; it was the first ship built by Donald McKay in 1842 for Messrs. Andrew Foster & Son, New York.    The Painting by Charles Robert Patterson, owned by Frederick de P. Foster, whose father and grandfather gave Donald McKay his first commission to construct a ship of his own design.    

Though small compared to later clippers, the speed and durability of this one ship gave great notoriety for the young shipbuilder and word spread fast that he had a new, ‘incredibly fast’ design and could produce a reliable product.

 

Shalimar

It arrived in the Mersey on 20th October, 1854.

Registered tonnage 1557 tons. Length over all 195.8 feet. Beam 35.2 feet. Depth of hold 23 feet.

http://www.titanic-whitestarships.com/Shalimar.JPG

 

Nova Scotian built. Possibly Wright, of New Brunswick.    She sailed for Hobson's Bay on 23rd November, 1854, was off Cape Northhumberland in 67 days, but owing to head winds took another 10 days to reach her port.
She came home in 75 days, her whole voyage, including 45 days in port, only occupying 6 months and 14 days.
The newspaper report of her passage out states that she ran 420 miles in the 24 hours on one occasion, though unfortunately it gives no particulars.

The wooden hulled clipper Shalimar was built in 1853 exclusively for the White Star Line by J. Nevins of St. John in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia. She was an Australian immigrant vessel and made frequent trips from Australia and New Zealand. She arrived in the Mersey on 20th October, 1854. Her registered tonnage was 1557 tons, length195.8 feet, and beam 35.2 feet. She sailed around the world 4 times in 2 years.

She had 5 different captains during her 14 year White Star Line tenure. In 1867, the year T.H. Ismay bought the White Star Line, the Shalimar was repossessed (along with 2 other WSL ships) by the Royal Bank for White Star's "failure of payment."

White Star

The White Star reached Liverpool on 1st December, 1854, 15 days out from St. John's in spite of strong head winds. She was timber laden and drawing 22 1/2 feet of water.  Registered tonnage 2339 tons. Length over all 288 feet. Length of keel 213.3 feet. Beam 44 feet. Depth of hold 28.1 feet.

copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu

 

 

 

The largest clipper ever built by Wright, of New Brunswick.     The White Star soon proved herself to be one of the fastest ships afloat. On her first voyage she did nothing out of the way, being 79 days out and 88 days home.   But in 1856 she went out in 75 days (67 days land to land), and came home in 76 days, beating the auxiliary Royal Charter by 10 days from port to port.
In 1858, she went out in 72 days, this being the best White Star passage of the year; whilst on 25th February, 1860, she left Melbourne and made her number off Cape Clear in 65 days.     In 1860 she went out in 69 days, running 3306 miles in 10 days between the Cape and Melbourne.

White Star was built as the Blue Jacket by William Wright & Sons in St. John's, Canada in 1854 for the White Star Line. She was a 2,339 ton clipper ship with a length of 235 feet and a beam of 41 feet. She had a wooden frame and was steel sheathed.

Blue Jacket sailed from Liverpool on her first Australian voyage to Melbourne 6 March 1855 under Capt. E. Underwood in 68 days. For the next 29 years she carried immigrants to Australia and New Zealand.

Renamed White Star, she was on voyage with jute from Calcutta to Liverpool, when on 24 December 1883, she struck rocks and sank in a storm, at Tuskar, off the coast of Ireland. The crew managed to reach Tuskar. The wreck was partly salvaged.

Blue Jacket

The Blue Jacket arrived in the Mersey on 20th October, 1854.  Length of keel 205 feet. Length between perpendiculars 220 feet. Length overall 235 feet. Beam 41.6 feet. Depth of hold 24 feet. Registered tonnage 1790 tons.     Her poop was 80 feet long and 7 feet high, and she had 8 feet of height between decks. She had the usual accomodation arrangements, two points only being perhaps worth noting; the first was a line of plate glass portholes running the length of her 'tween decks, and the second was an iron water tank to hold 7000 gallons.

Blue Jacket

The Blue Jacket came from the well-known yard of R.E. Jackson in East Boston. The Blue Jacket arrived in the Mersey on 20th October, 1854, having made the run from Boston, land to land, in 12 days, 10 hours.      The Blue Jacket on her arrival was bought by James John Frost, of London, and put on the berth for Melbourne as one of the Fox Line of packets, the other two being owned by the White Star Line.      The Blue Jacket was extremely like the McKay ships in appearance. She was designed to stow a large cargo, having a full mid-ship section, but her bow was long and sharp enough.
Blue Jacket sailed for Melbourne on 6th March, 1855, in charge of Captain Underwood, and made a magnificent run out of 69 days. She further distinguished herself at a later date by making the homeward run in 69 days.

Northern Light, The Second Coming

The Northern Light was launched in 1871 .   She was a three deck ship of 2000 tons, with a length of 233 feet, a breadth of 44 feet, and a depth of hold of 28 feet; her loaded draft was also 28 feet.

Northern Light

at the shipbuilding plant of George Thomas, Quincey Point, Massachusetts. She was built to the order of William Weld and Son of Boston, (Of current interest, 1996, as one William Weld is Massachusetts governor) who in 1880 sold the ship to messrs. Benner and Pinckney, Burling Slip, New York. She was named for an old clipper shipper ship, built in 1851 at South Boston, which had established several records for quick passages to the Pacific Coast.
The later-built Northern Light represented a type of medium clipper brought out to supersede the out -and-out clippers which could not carry half as much cargo. The older Northern Light carried only 2000 against 4000 tons on the later vessel, and with the same size crew.
No one of the present generation can form any sort of an idea of the majestic grandeur of a ship of the Northern Light class, not only as a picture, tearing along under a cloud of canvas, but even when lying quietly at anchor with the forest of yards correctly squared and harbor stows on the sails. It was a sight to compel a feeling of awe merely to look aloft to trace out the massive hempen shrouds and backstays, to say nothing of tracing out the leads of the running gear. To know that was in itself an education, and to be master of all was a big job. There were many such masters, and many such ships.
The Northern Light was the largest of twenty wooden ships from the same ways at Deacon Thomas' yard, near the present location of the Fore River Works. It is remarkable how a ship-building tradition sticks to one place. The exact spot where this ship was built was visited later by the Captain, just after he launched a much smaller ship, the little Spray. In her day the Northern Light was considered in New York, her hailing port, as the "finest American vessel afloat."

Great Republic

built in 1853 by Donald McKay. 

Oil painting by J.E. Buttersworth, ca. 1853. [From the Essex Peabody Museum, Salem, MA, USA]

Great Republic - Painting

Great Republic Picture

A four-masted medium clipper barque, East Boston, on speculation. Rigged with Forbes' double topsail yards. She is 325 feet long, has 53 feet extreme breadth of beam, and 39 depth of hold, including 4 complete decks. The height between her spar and upper decks is 7 feet, and between the others 8 feet; and all her accomodations are in the upper between decks. The crew's quarters are forward; and aft she has sail rooms, store rooms,accomodations for boys and petty officers, and abaft these, two
cabins and a vistibule. The after cabin is beautifully wainscotted with mahogany, has recess sofas on each side, ottomans, marble covered tables, mirrors and elliptical panels ornamented with pictures. She has also a fine library for the use of her crew, and spacious accomodations for passengers.
On the spar deck there are five houses for various purposes, but such is her vast size, that they appear to occupy but little space. She has an eagle's head forward for a head, and on the stern, which is
semi-elliptical in form, is a large eagle, with the American shield in his talons. She is yellow metalled up to 25 feet draught, and above is painted black. Instead of bulwarks, the outline of her spar deck is
protected by a rail on turned stanchions, which, with the houses, are painted white. Of her materials and fastenings we cannot speak too highly. She is built of oak, is diagonally cross-braced with iron,
double ceiled, has 4 depths of midship keelsons, each depth 15 inches square, three depths of sister keelsons, and 4 bilge keelsons, two of the riders, and all her frames are coaged, also the keelsons
and waterways, and she is square fastened throughout. She has three tiers of stanchions, which extend from the hold to the third deck, and are kneed in the most substantial style. She also has many long
pointers and 10 beamed hooks forward and aft. In a word, she is the strongest ship ever built.

Duncan McLean.
Another description of the Great Republic was published by Henry Hall in Report on the Ship-Building Industry of the United States.
1853 October 4
Launched at Donald McKay's Yard, East Boston.
1853 December 26-27
Caught fire while at New York loading for Liverpool. The remains of the
ship was surrendered to the underwriters for $ 235.000 from which she
was sold to Captain N.B. Palmer for Messrs. A.A. Low and Brothers.
She was subsequently rebuilt by Sneeden & Whitlock at Greenpoint,
Long Island, NY. The Forbes' double topsail rig was replaced with
Captain Howes' rig.
1855 February
Sailed from New York to Liverpool in 13 days.
1856 December 7 — March 9
Sailed from New York to San Francisco in 92 days under command of
Captain Joseph Limeburner.
c1860-1862
Re-rigged as three masted ship sometime during this period.
1869 January
Sold to the Merchants Trading Company of Liverpool and renamed
Denmark and put in the East India Trade.
1872
Sprang a leak in a hurricane off Bermuda en route from Rio de Janeiro to
St. John, NB, and was abandoned with 15 feet of water in the hold.

Champion Of The Seas

Extreme clipper built in 1854 by Donald McKay, East Boston, for the BlackBall Line of Liverpool. Dimensions: 252'x45'7"x29' and tonnage 2448 tons. Built with three decks. The figurehead was a sailor with a hat in the right hand and the left extended. The ship was painted black outside and white inside, with blue water-ways.

Champion of the Seas

1854 April 19
Launched at the shipyard of Donald McKay, East Boston, for the
Black Ball Line, Liverpool.
1854 June
854 June
Sailed from New York to Liverpool in 29 days under command of
Captain Alexander Newlands.
1854 October 11 - December 26
Her maiden voyage Liverpool - Melbourne took 75 days during which
a 24 hour run of 465 miles was recorded.
1855
Sailed Melbourne-Liverpool in 84 days.
1855
Sailed Liverpool-Melbourne in 83 days under command of Captain
John McKirby.
1855
Sailed from Melbourne to Liverpool where she arrived on January 25,
1856, in 90 days.
1856
Sailed Liverpool-Melbourne in 85 days.
1857 August 10
Sailed with troops for India from Portsmouth to the Bay of Bengal
together with James Baines. Arrived at Sandheads after 101 days.
1860 January 1 - March 26
Sailed Melbourne-Liverpool in 85 days.
1866
Sold to Thomas Harrison and Thomas Sully Stowe for £ 9750,
but chartered back to the Black Ball Line for three more voyages until
September 1868, after which she was put into general trading.
1874 February
After having found that she was badly affected by dry rot she was
subsequently sold to A. Cassels of Liverpool for £ 7500.
1875 July
Arrived in San Francisco from Hong Kong after 39 days under
command of Captain Wilson.
1855 October 5
Arrived at Callao after 45 days from San Francisco.
1877
January 3rd, abandoned off Cape Horn in leaking condition with a
cargo of guano. The crew was saved by the British barque Windsor.

Ann McKim

Clipper ship built in 1833 at the shipyard of Kennard & Williamson, Baltimore.
Dimensions: 143'x27'6"x14' and 494 tons.

Ann McKim

1833
Launched and delivered to Isaac McKim, Baltimore. The ship was named
after the owners wife.
1837
Sold to Howland & Aspinwall, New York, at the death of Isaac McKim.
1842
Sailed from New York to Anjer in 79 days.
1843
Sailed back to New York from Anjer in 96 days.
1847
Sold to Chile.
1849 January 20
Arrived to San Francisco from Valparaiso, via Guayaquil, after 51 days at
sea.
1850
Sailed from San Francisco to Valparaiso in 47 days.
1851 September
Left the United States under Captain Van Pelt for the last time.
1852
Broken up at Valparaiso.

Ann McKim, which was built on the enlarged lines of a Baltimore clipper, has
often been called the first "true clipper" an honor she shares with
Rainbow and Scottish Maid.

Ariel

An extreme composite clipper built in 1865 by Robert Steele & Co., Greenock, for Shaw, Lowther, Maxton & Co. Dimensions: 197'4×33'9"×21', tonnage 1058,73 tns, 853 NRT.
She had 100 tons of fixed iron ballast moulded into the limbers. An undated sail-plan in the Science Museum, London, shows her rigged with double top-sails and main skysail.
1865 June 29

Ariel

James Baines

Clipper Ship Ariel

Launched and put on the China tea trade.
1865 October 14 — January 6
Gravesend — Hong Kong, 79 days 21 hours, pilot to pilot or 83
days anchor to anchor, against the monsoon.
1866
In the Great Tea Race of 1866 Ariel docked at East India Docks 20
minutes before Taeping docked at the London Docks.
1867
Came second after Sir Lancelot beaten by ? hours after 99 days from
Foo-Chow in the Tea Race of 1867.
1868
Arrived as the first ship to London in the Tea Race of 1868, one hour
ahead of Taeping.
1872
Posted missing outward bound for China.

Bald Eagle

An extreme clipper built in 1852 by Donald McKay, East Boston, MA, for George B. Upton of Boston. Dimensions: 195'(k)x41'6x22'6, tonnage 1705, old measurements.

Bald Eagle

1852 November 25
Launched at Donald McKay's yard. Put on the California trade under
Captain Philip Dumaresq.
1858
Was put on the China trade.
1861
Disappeared en route to San Francisco under Captain Morris after
having left Hong Kong October 15.

Cleta

A royal-yard rigged clipper barque composite [teak, elm and fir on iron frames] built in 1866 by James Gardner, Sunderland, under special survey of Lloyds for John Hay, London. Copper or yellow metal fastened.
Dimensions: 46.09 x 8.92 x 5.26 m [153'3 x 29'5 x 17'2. Poopdeck 47'].
Tonnage: 520 NRT, 530 GRT, 473 under deck tonnage

 

1866 Launched at the shipyard of James Gardner, Sunderland, for John Hay,
London.
1867 October 31
Sails from Hong Kong to New York under command of Captain
Middleton where she arrives March 6, 1868, after 129 days at sea.
1869 January 9
Leaves Foochow for New York where she arrives on 23 April after 104
days at sea.
1870 November 18
Eases to anchor, this season in Canton but New York is still its destination. On December 10 the same year arrived at destination after 114 days on 12 March.
  1871 December 2.
  Shanghai - New York.
  1872
Leaving London on 19 May and arriving after a long journey to Yokohama
  November 19, or 183 days at sea.
  1873
  January 4 leaves Yokohama for New York where it arrived after
about 120 days on the 5th of May.
   This was the last time Cleta sailed in the
tea-trade.
1873
Owner: Balfour, Williamson & Co., Liverpool. Mainly in the Australian
trade.
1876
Half-time survey in Liverpool.
1882
Special survey in Liverpool.
1885
Owner: J.S. Davis, Liverpool. Laid up in Princes Dock, Liverpool, until
she was sold to Sweden.
1887
New owner was Elias Theodor Norrman, Malmö. Renamed the Nelly &
Mathilda. The master is the owner E. Th. Norman himself.
1891
New yellow metal sheathing. 
1893 
New commander was Niklas Andersson.
1894 April 8
In Collision With The barque Bravo of Höganäs off Smygehuk, Sweden.
1900
During approaches to Landskrona August 13, she collided with SS
Agne of Stockholm that got some plates pressed.
1901
New main owners: Edward Jansson Malmo.
1905
J.E. Johansson Lange relieves Nilkas Andersson as commander.
1906
Niklas Andersson will return as the commander for a season.
1907
Now J.E. Johansson Lange's turn to come back as captain.

Commodore Perry

Extreme clipper ship built in 1854 by Donald McKay, East Boston, for James Baines, Liverpool, for his Black Ball line of Australia clippers. Her dimensions were 202'x42'1"x28"5" and tonnage 1964 tons.

 

1854
Launched at the shipyard of Donald McKay, East Boston, MA, USA. 1855 January 12
Made her first Australian voyage.
1856 February
Left for the second Australian voyage which was completed in 72½ days.
1866 December
Sold to Thompson & Harper, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, by Barned's Bank after the failure of Baines & Co. in April 1866.
1869 August 27
Caught fire with a cargo of coal from Newcastle-upon-Tyne and was beached the next day near Bombay and burned to the water's edge.
Select Bibliography:
Richard McKay: Some Famous Sailing Ships and Their Builder
Donald McKay. 1928. pp 292-295.
Donald McLean: The New Packet Ship Commodore Perry Boston Daily Atlas, 1854. September 30.
Stammers: The Black Ball Line pp 338-341.
The New Packet Ship
"Commodore Perry"
This is the pioneer of McKay's line of European Packets; and a magnificent ship she is, both in model and workmanship. She will register between 2300 and 2400 tons, has three decks, a full topgallant forecastle, which extends to the foremast, a large house before the main hatchway, and a full poop deck, 55 feet long.
We have not been able to procure her exact dimensions, but by pacing her deck and guessing, we give her length on deck as 212 feet, extreme breadth of beam 47 1/2 feet, and depth 29 feet. She has very little dead rise, but great width of floor. Opposite the main hatchway, across the floor, between the curves of her bilge, she is 36 feet wide; and although she has all her spars aloft, and her boats stowed on the top of the house, and on gallows frame. she only draws 10 1/2 feet water, on an even keel, and has not an ounce of ballast in her hold.
Here then, are two rare elements combined, buoyancy and stability. We have little hesitation in ascerting that there is not another ship of her capacity, which will stand up like her, under the same circumstances.
She has fair ends for sailing, with slightly concave lines below, but almost semi-circular above; and her bow is ornamented with a bust of her namesake, in naval uniform. Her stern is rounded, and is ornamented with a large gilded eagle, and her name in gilded letters is over it, also her name is on each quarter, and on the curves of the bow. Her bottom is painted green, and the rest of her hull black; inside she is buff-color.
Notwithstanding the space occupied by the topgallant forecastle, the house and poop, she has very spacious deck room for working ship, and grand accommodations below for second class and steerage passengers.
Her main deck has three cargo ports on each side, square air ports for state-rooms, and large ventilators amidships, and along the sides of the house. The deck below has also three cargo ports on each side; and the height of her decks is between 7 and 8 feet.
She has two fine cabins; the after one finished in beautiful style, with fancy woods, gilding and flowerwork, and the forward one, a dining saloon, though white, is richly ornamented with gilding, and both are handsomely furnished. her accommodations throughout are upon nearly the same scale as the Australian clippers, recently built by Mr. McKay.
The ship herself is a wonder of strength. her frame, nearly all her knees, all her hooks and pointers, are of white oak, and she is diagonally crossbraced with iron, and all her ceiling, from the bilge to the covering-board, is scarphed, square fastened, keyed, and bolted edgeways.
She has two depths of keel, each 16 inches square, four depths of keelsons, two depths of sister keelsons, and double bilge keelsons on each side, and the rest of her ceiling in the hold varies from 12 to 10 inches in thickness, and above, from 8 to 6, with thick work over and inside of her waterways, and her outside planking varies from 8 to 5 inches in thickness.
She has also eight wing-stanchions on each side, which clasp the beams of two decks, and are kneed below, and the midship stanchions also extend double under the beams of two decks. Without going into further particulars, we may safely sum up, by stating that she is, in every particular, a well-built ship.
She has built lower masts; hard pine topmasts and jibbooms, double topsail yards, (the lower ones standing,) and is rigged upon Capt. Howe's principle. She has sliding-gunter royalmasts, so that in bad weather these can be sent down, and thereby ease her aloft, without interfering with the yards on the masts below.
She is well found - has eight capstans, a large windlass, Crane's chain stoppers, six boats, and a patent steering apparatus and a wheel-house. We advise those who wish to see an original design for a packet ship, to call and inspect her.
She is commanded by Capt. Beauchamp, one of the most experienced and successful sailors belonging to Boston, and is owned by her talented builder, Mr. Donald M'Kay.
Her sister ship, the Japan, will be launched in a few days, and when she is completed, we shall endeavor to obtain the full particulars of her construction and equipment. The Com. Perry is now lying at the Junction Railroad wharf, East Boston. Call and see her.

Cutty Sark

 

Cutty Sark TodayCutty Sark Today in LondonCutty Sark IIPride of Baltimore IICutty Sark


Designed by Hercules Linton and built by Scott & Linton at Dumbarton in 1869 as a composite built extreme clipper ship for "Old White Hat" Jock Willis of London. Sailed on the China Tea Trade for a couple of seasons without distinguishing herself. Lost her rudder in 1872 off Cape of Good Hope when racing Thermophylae for London with the first tea.
Was moved over to the Australian wool trade when the tea trade was taken over by the steam ships. Here she proved to be a regularly fast sailer.
Was sold to the Portuguese in 1895 and served for many year's as the training ship Fereirra. Rerigged as a barquentine after having been dismasted in a gale off the Cape of Good Hope in May 1916 and renamed Mario do Ambaro.
Purchased by Capt. Dowman 1922 and restored for use as a stationary training ship, first at Falmouth later in 1938 moved to The Thames where she remained until 1949 when she was permantly dry-docked at Greenwich as a museum ship.

Donald McKay

An extreme clipper launched in 1855, at the shipyard of Donald McKay, East Boston, for the Black Ball Line of Liverpool.
Dimensions: 266'x46'3"x29'5"
Tonnage: 2604 RT
She was equipped with Howes patent double topsails.

 

1855 - During the trans-atlantic passage a 421 miles 24-hour run was
recorded and Cape Clear off the south coast of Ireland was sighted
after 12 days.
1866 - Was sold to Thomas Harrison, Liverpool, and chartered back
to the Black Ball Line until 1868 after which time she was employed in
general trading.
1874 - Sold J.S. de Wolf, Liverpool, for £ 8750 but was
almost immediately resold to captain William Williams of London.
1879 - Was sold to the sailmaking firm of Bertus Bartling & Co,
Bremerhaven, who kept her on the Bremen - New York run.
1886 - Her last owner came to be Carl Brewer, Bremerhaven, and she
was used as a coal hulk in Madeira.
The figurehead of the Donald McKay, which pictures a Highlander in the McKay tartan, is preserved at the Mystic Seaport Museum.

Flying Cloud

An extreme clipper launched in 1851.    Her length on
the keel is 208 feet, on deck 225, and over all, from the knight
heads to the taffrail, 235 — extreme breadth of beam 41
feet, depth of hold 21½, including 7 feet 8 inches height of
between-decks, dead-rise at half floor 20 inches, rounding of
sides 6 inches, and sheer about 3 feet.

Clipper Ship ArielArielJames BainesFlying Cloud

An extreme clipper launched in 1851, at the shipyard of Donald McKay, East Boston, for Enoch Train, Boston.
If great length, sharpness of ends, with proportionate breadth
and depth, conduce to speed, the Flying Cloud must be
uncommonly swift, for in all these she is great. Her length on
the keel is 208 feet, on deck 225, and over all, from the knight
heads to the taffrail, 235 — extreme breadth of beam 41
feet, depth of hold 21½, including 7 feet 8 inches height of
between-decks, dead-rise at half floor 20 inches, rounding of
sides 6 inches, and sheer about 3 feet.
Duncan McLean in The Boston Daily Atlas, April 25, 1851.
1851 April
Purchased by Grinell, Minturn & Co, New York, for $ 90.000.
1851 April 15
Launched at East Boston.
1851 June 2 — August 31
Sailed from New York to San Francisco in 89 days 21 hours under
command of Captain Josiah Perkins Cressey. On July 31 she made 374
miles.
1852 January 6 — April 9
Sailed from Whampoa to New York in 94 days.
1852 December 1 — March 8
Sailed from Whampoa to New York in 96 days.
1853 April 28 — August 12
Sailed from New York to San Francisco in 105 days.
1854 January 21 — April 20
Sailed from New York to San Francisco in 89 days 8 hours.
1854 July 20 — November 24
Sailed from Whampoa to New York in 115 days.
1855 September 5 — December 14
Sailed from Whampoa to New York in 99 days.
1856 March 13 — September 14
Sailed from New York to San Francisco in 185 days under command
of Captain Reynard. She is reputed to have sailed 402 miles in 24
hours during that trip.
1856 May 10 — June 23
Partially dismasted en route San Francisco and put into Rio de Janeiro
for repairs where her spars were cut down before she proceeded.
1856 September 14 — 1857 January 4
Laid up in San Francisco.
1857 April - 1859 December 8
Laid up in New York. The spars were cut down once more in 1858.
1861 February 28 — May 24
Sailed from London (Deal) to Melbourne in 85 days.
1862
Bought by Mackay & Co, Liverpool, for their Queensland service, but
instead mortaged to the Forwood family, Liverpool. Sailed for James
Baines' "Black Ball Line".
1870 June 4 — August 30
Sailed from London to Hervey's Bay in 87 days under command of
Captain Owen.
1871 April 19
After James Baines & Co. had suspended payment, Arthur Forwood
took possession of the ship and sold her to Harry Smith Edwards of
South Shields.
1874 June 19
Went ashore on the Beacon Island bar, St Johns and was condemned
and sold.
1875 June
Was burned for her copper and metal fastenings.

Great Republic

A four-masted medium clipper barque built in 1853 by Donald McKay, East Boston, on speculation. Rigged with Forbes' double topsail yards.
She is 325 feet long, has 53 feet extreme breadth of beam, and 39
depth of hold, including 4 complete decks. The height between her
spar and upper decks is 7 feet, and between the others 8 feet; and all
her accomodations are in the upper between decks.

Great Republic - PaintingGreat Republic PictureOil painting by J.E. Buttersworth, ca. 1853. [From the Essex Peabody Museum, Salem, MA, USA]

A four-masted medium clipper barque built in 1853 by Donald McKay, East Boston, on speculation. Rigged with Forbes' double topsail yards.
She is 325 feet long, has 53 feet extreme breadth of beam, and 39
depth of hold, including 4 complete decks. The height between her
spar and upper decks is 7 feet, and between the others 8 feet; and all
her accomodations are in the upper between decks. The crew's
quarters are forward; and aft she has sail rooms, store rooms,
accomodations for boys and petty officers, and abaft these, two
cabins and a vistibule. The after cabin is beautifully wainscotted with
mahogany, has recess sofas on each side, ottomans, marble
covered tables, mirrors and elliptical panels ornamented with
pictures. She has also a fine library for the use of her crew, and
spacious accomodations for passengers.

On the spar deck there are five houses for various purposes, but
such is her vast size, that they appear to occupy but little space. She
has an eagle's head forward for a head, and on the stern, which is
semi-elliptical in form, is a large eagle, with the American shield in his
talons. She is yellow metalled up to 25 feet draught, and above is
painted black. Instead of bulwarks, the outline of her spar deck is
protected by a rail on turned stanchions, which, with the houses, are
painted white. Of her materials and fastenings we cannot speak too
highly. She is built of oak, is diagonally cross-braced with iron,
double ceiled, has 4 depths of midship keelsons, each depth 15
inches square, three depths of sister keelsons, and 4 bilge keelsons,
two of the riders, and all her frames are coaged, also the keelsons
and waterways, and she is square fastened throughout. She has three
tiers of stanchions, which extend from the hold to the third deck,
and are kneed in the most substantial style. She also has many long
pointers and 10 beamed hooks forward and aft. In a word, she is the
strongest ship ever built.

Another description of the Great Republic was published by Henry Hall in Report on the Ship-Building Industry of the United States.

She was subsequently rebuilt by Sneeden & Whitlock at Greenpoint,
Long Island, NY. The Forbes' double topsail rig was replaced with
Captain Howes' rig.
1855 February
Sailed from New York to Liverpool in 13 days.
1856 December 7 — March 9
Sailed from New York to San Francisco in 92 days under command of
Captain Joseph Limeburner.
c1860-1862
Re-rigged as three masted ship sometime during this period.
1869 January
Sold to the Merchants Trading Company of Liverpool and renamed
Denmark and put in the East India Trade.
1872
Sprang a leak in a hurricane off Bermuda en route from Rio de Janeiro to
St. John, NB, and was abandoned with 15 feet of water in the hold.

James Baines

Extreme clipper launched on July 25th, 1854, at the shipyard of Donald McKay, East Boston, for the Black Ball Line of Liverpool.
Dimensions: 226'x44'9"x29
Tonnage: 2275 RT

James Baines

1854 - The passage from the Boston Light to the Rock Light off Liverpool
which took 12 days, 6 hours, is still the sailing ship record.
1854 - The premier sailing from Liverpool to Melbourne took 65 days. A
420 miles day's run was achieved during the return passage which in total
took 69 1/2 days.
1857 - Made her last Australia passage after which she was chartered by the
British Government for carring troops to India.
1857 - April 21st, caught fire during discharging a cargo consisting of jute,
linseed and cowhides in the Huskinsson Dock, Liverpool. The remains
were abandoned as a total loss and was sold to Mr Robert Pace, Liverpool,
a shipowner who rebuilt the damaged hull into a coal barge.
1863 - still mentioned in the Liverpool Register. Her final fate is unknown.

Lightning

Extreme clipper ship built in 1854 by Donald McKay, East Boston, for the Black Ball Line (James Baines & Co.), Liverpool. Her dimensions were: 226'× 44'× 26' [loa 243'] and tonnage: 2084 tons.

Lightning

1854 January 3
Launched at the shipyard of Donald McKay, East Boston, MA, USA, for the Black Ball Line (James Baines & Co.), Liverpool. Duncan McLean gave a detailed description of the ship in The Boston Daily Atlas Tuesday, January 31, 1854.
A very similar description was printed John W. Griffth's U.S. Nautical Magazine and Naval Journal, Vol. III (1854).
No timid hand or hesitating brain gave form and dimensions
to the Lightning. Very great stability; acute extremities; full,
short midship body; comparativily small deadrise, and the
longest end forward, are points in the excellence of this
ship.
John Willis Griffiths: Monthly Nautical Magazine, Vol. IV (1855), August.
1854 February 18 - March 3
Sailed Boston - Liverpool in 13 days, 20 hours under command of
Captain James Nicol Forbes who had left the Marco Polo to take
command of Donald McKay's new clipper.

In a Letter to the Editor of the Nothern Daily Times dated, March 8th,
1854, Captain Forbes disputes a calim from Captain Eldridge of Red
Jacket of having done the fastest Atlantic crossing.

Not a ripple curled before her cutwater, nor did the water
break at a single place along her sides. She left a wake
straight as an arrow, and this was the only mark of her
progress. There was a slight swell, and as she rose, one
could see the arc of her forefoot rise gently over the sea as
she increased her speed.
Duncan McLean: Boston Daily Atlas, 1854.
1854 March 1
On the this day the Lightning sailed 436 miles, which is the longest
day's run recorded by a sailing ship.

March 1. — Wind S., strong gales; bore away for the
North Channel, carried away the foretopsail and lost jib;
hove the log several times, and found the ship going through
the water at the rate of 18 to 18½ knots per hour; lee rail
under water, and the rigging slack; saw the Irish land at 9:30
p.m. Distance run in the twenty-four hours, 436 miles.
From the Abstract log.
1854 May 14 - July 31
Sailed Liverpool - Melbourne in 77 days. The round trip from England
to Australia and Back has been discussed by John Willis Griffiths in
the U.S. Nautical Magazine and Naval Journal, Vol. III (1954).
Excerpts from a passenger diary from this passage have also been
reprinted in the Dog Watch No. 18 (1968) & 19 (1969).
1854 August 20 - October 23
Sailed Melbourne - Liverpool in 64 days 3 hours.
1855
Sailed from Liverpool to Melbourne in 73 days [78 days according to
Stammers]. Captain Anthony Enright succeeded Captain Forbes as
master who was to assume of command of a new ship, the unlucky
Schomberg.
1855 April 11 - June 29
Sailed from Melbourne to Liverpool in 79 days. Eleven issues of The
Lightning Gazette printed onboard during the passage have been
reprinted in Sea Breezes Vol. 18-19 (1954-1955).
1855
Sailed from Liverpool to Melbourne in 81 days.
1855 December 28
Sailed from Melbourne to Liverpool.
1856 May 6
Sailed from Liverpool to Melbourne in 68 days 10 hours.
1856 August 28
Sailed from Melbourne to Liverpool in 84 days.
1857 February 5
Sailed from Liverpool to Melbourne in 69 days 6 hours.
1857 March 19
Sailed 430 miles in 24 hours while bound for Australia. This is the
second longest day's run recorded by a sailing ship.
1857 May 11
Sailed from Melbourne to Liverpool in 82 days.
Sailed from Melbourne to Liverpool in 82 days.
1857 August 25
Sailed from Portsmouth to India in 87 days with 650 men and officers
of the 7th Hussar regiment.
1859
Sailed from Melbourne to Liverpool where she arrived on May 11 after
80 days.
1867
Sold to Thomas Harrison, Liverpool, but continued to sail for the
Black Ball Line.
1869 October 31
Burned while loading wool at Geelong. The disaster was described in
the Geelong Advertiser, November 1, 1869.
In a Letter to the Editor of the Scientific American published November 26, 1859, Donald McKay writes:
Although I designed and built the Clipper Ship Lightning and
therefore ought to be the last to praise her, yet such has been her
performance since Englishmen learned to sail her that I must
confess I feel proud of her. You are aware that she was so sharp
and concave forward that one of her stupid captains who did not
comprehend the principle upon which she was built, persuaded
the owners to fill in the hollows of her bows. They did so, and
according to their British bluff notions, she was not only better
for the addition, but would sail faster, and wrote me to the effect.
Well, the next passage to Melbourne, Australia, she washed the
encumbrance away on one side, and when she returned to
Liverpool, the other side was also cleared away. Since then she
has been running as I modelled her. As a specimen of her speed,
I may say that I saw recorded in her log (of 24 hours) 436
nautical miles, a trifle over 18 knots an hour.



Marco Polo

A three-masted medium clipper ship built of wood by James Smith at Saint John, News Brunswick, 1851, for his own use. Her registered dimensions were: 184'1"×36'3"×29'4" and a tonnage of 1625 RT.

Marco Polo

Her half-model is preserved in the collections of the Mariners' Museum, Newport News, VA. Stammers also reproduces what appears to be a set of blueprint lines of the ship without giving a source for these.
A description of the ship appeared in The Illustrated London News, June 1852.
1851 April
Launched at Marsh Creek near St John, New Brusnwick. Due to her size
she grounded at the opposite shore of the creek where she remained for
two weeks.
1852 June
Bought by James Baines, Liverpool, for the Black Ball Line of Australia
Packets. Rebuilt to be used in the passenger trade. Rebolted with yellow
metal bolts and coppered.
1852
Under the command of Captain James Nicol Forbes she made the voyage
from Liverpool to Port Phillips Heads in 76 days. After three weeks she
returned to London in another 76 days. This was the first recorded round
trip in less than six months, or to be exact 5 months 21 days.
1853 March 13
Left Liverpool for Melbourne where she arrived after 75 days at sea.
1854 [?]
Under the command of Captain Charles McDonald she made her third
roundtrip in 72 days out to Australia and 78 days back to England.
1861
Collided with an iceberg South of Cape Horn and arrived in Valparaiso
leaking badly. After repairs she continuted to Liverpool where she arrived
183 days out from Melbourne.
1867
After having completed the journey Melbourne to Liverpool in 76 days
she failed to pass the passenger survey and was put on the general cargo
trade.
1871
Sold to Wilson & Blain, South Shields, and put in the coal and timber
trade.
1874
Reduced to barque rig.
1881
Sold to Bell & Lawes, South Shields.
1882
Sold to Capt. Bull, Christiania.
1883 July 22
Sprang a leak and was beached near Cavendish, Prince Edwards Island.
A subsequent gale broke up the ship.

Mastiff

A medium clipper built in 1856 by Donald McKay, East Boston, MA, for George B. Upton, Boston, for the California and China trade. Dimensions 168'8"x36'5"x22'5", and tonnage 1034 tons.

 

1856 February
Launched at Donald McKay's Yard at East Boston.
1856 March 7
Left Boston for San Francisco under command of Captain William O.
Johnson.
1859 September 15
Caught fire en route for the Sandwich Islands and was lost. The entire
crew and passengers were all saved by the British ship Achilles and were
brought to Honolulu.

The disaster was described in the diary of Richard Henry Dana who was
one of the passengers aboard.

Phoenician

Her dimensions were:
Length of cut keel 122 feet. Rake of stem 25 feet. Rake of sternpost 7 feet. Extreme breadth 27 feet 5 inches. Depth of hold 19 feet 1 inch. Registered tonnage (old) 526 tons. Registered tonnage (new) 478 tons. Deadweight capacity 780 tons.

The first of the Aberdeen White Star fleet to make a reputation for speed was the celebrated Phoenician, under the command of one of the best known passage makers of the day, Captain Sproat.
Her first three voyages were considered extraordinarily good for those days.
1849-1850 London to Sydney 90 days Sydney to London - 88 days. 1850-1851 London to Sydney 96 days Sydney to London - 103 days. 1851-1852 London to Sydney 90 days Sydney to London - 83 days.

Rainbow

Clipper ship built of wood in 1845 at the shipyard of Smith & Dimon, New York, for Howland & Aspinwall, New York. Dimensions: 159'x31'10"x18'4" and 757 tons old measurement.

Rainbow

She was built to a new model at the initiative of the American naval architect J.W. Griffits who is said to have based his design on the owner's previous ship the Ann McKim.
1845 January 22
Launched at the shipyard of Smith & Dimon, New York.
1845 February 1 -- May 14
Sailed from New York to Hong Kong in 102 days under Captain John
Land.
1845 June 1 -- September 17
Sailed Whampoa -- New York in 108 days.
1845 October 1 -- January 8
Sailed from New York to Hong Kong in 89 days.
1846 January 24 -- April 18
Sailed Whampoa -- New York in 84 days.
1846 December -- March
Sailed Whampoa -- New York.
1847 February
Arrived in New York from Whampoa after 88 days.
1847
Captain Land was succeded by Captain Hayes.
1848 March 17
Sailed from New York bound for Valparaiso and China but was never
heard of again.

Scottish Maid

built in 1839 at the shipyard of Alexander Hall & Co., Aberdeen. Dimensions: 92'4"x19'4"x11'7" and 142 tons.
1839 July 15

 

Two-masted top-sail clipper schooner Launched for a part ownership headed by Messrs Alexander Nicol an
George Munro, Aberdeen. She was intended for the Aberdeen-London run
where she was very successful together with two other schooners. The
building cost was £1700.
There is a photograph of her from the 1850s showing her with a butter-head rig.
Scottish Maid, which was built with the Aberdeen bow to cheat the British tonnage laws, has often been called the first "true clipper" an honor she shares with Rainbow and Ann McKim.

Sierra Nevada

launched on May 25, 1854, at Toby & Littlefield, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Dimensions: 222'2" x 44'4" x 19'4"
Tonnage: 1942 ton (old measure), 1616 ton (British), 1061 under deck tonnage

Sierra Nevada

A royal-yard rigged wooden clipper 1854
Delivered to Glidden & Williams, Boston. The commander on the first
voyage, which was Boston - Callao in 97 days, was captain Penhallow.
1855
Run foul of Jane Leach and lost her figurehead.
1855
Stuck on the dock sill at Wellington Dock, Liverpool, which broke her
back. Sold for $ 9000:-
1856
New York - San Francisco, 128 days. After that San Francisco - Callao på
53 days and then Callao - Hampton Roads in 69 days. The last voyage for
the year was Boston - San Francisco, 140 days.
1858
Captain Blaney, New York - Melbourne på 105 days.
Melbourne - Hong Kong, 53 days.
Anjer - New York, 79 days.
Captain James G. Foster, Boston - San Francisco, 97 days.
San Francisco - New York, 98 days.
1861
New York - San Francisco, 114 days.
San Francisco - New York, 101 days.
Captain Horton, New York - San Francisco, 105 days.
San Francisco - Callao, 52 days.
Callao - London, 80 days.

Sobraon

Registered tonnage 2131 tons. Burthen 3500 tons. Length over all 317 feet. Length between perpendiculars 272 feet. Beam 40 feet. Depth of hold 27 feet.

Sobraon

The Sobraon was built by Messrs. Hall, of Aberdeen, to the order of Lowther, Maxton & Co., the tea clipper owners, and launched in November, 1866. She was the largest composite ship ever built, being constructed of solid teak with iron beams and frames; she was copper fastened and classed 16 years A1.
Her lower masts were of wrought iron, and her topmasts and lower yards on each mast of steel. On her first two voyages she carried topsails, but these were found to make her rather crank and so were done away with. In the eighties she followed the fashion and was fitted with double topgallant yards on her fore and main masts. With all sail set, she had a spread of just 2 acres of canvas.
Mr. A.G. Elmslie, who serrved in her for 11 years under his father, from apprentice to chief officer, gave me the following account of her sailing qualities:
A glance at the perfect lines of the ship in dry dock would be quite sufficient to show there was nothing to stop her going through the water, and I can honestly say that during my 11 years I never saw any other sailing ship pass her in a breeze either on a wind or before it.
The fact of the Sabraon being first intended for an auxiliary steamer and having the two stern posts, the space between which was filled up with solid timber, gave her a perfect run, and her bows were as fine as any yacht's. Runs of over 300 knots were covered in three days and over 2000 in a week. 340 knots in the 24 hours was the best run made. I have seen over 16 knots reeled off by the log. This was with the wind some 2 or 3 points on the quarter, which was her best sailing point. On a wind and sailing within 5 1/2 points, she could do her 7 or 8 knots good.
There may be more, I will return to The Colonial Clippers soon.

Taeping

Built 1863

Taeping

One of the most sucessful British tea clippers, was built in 1863 by Robert Steele of Greenock alongside the equally famous Serica, each of about 770 tons gross. These two ships, with the Ariel, Fiery Cross, and Taitsin, raced home to London in 1866 with the first three, The Taeping, Serica, and Ariel, arriving on the same tide in the Thames after a voyage of 16,000 miles which they accomplished in ninety-nine days.

Thermopylae

Built 1868

measured 212.0 ft x 36.0 ft x 20.9 ft and 948 tons net

Thermopylae

Build at the shipyard of Walter Hood & Co., Aberdeen, in 1868 for George Thompson's "White Star Line". Designed as an extreme clipper for the China tea trade and rigged as a three-masted ship.
On her maiden voyage Thermopylae made a record crossing from Gravesend to Melbourne in 63 days, on her continued voyage to Shanghai she set another record between those two ports.
In 1872 Thermopylae left Shanghai with a cargo of tea for London in company with the London clipper Cutty Sark. After racing each other for two weeks Cutty Sark lost her rudder after having passed the Sunda Straits. Thermopylae finally arrived in London only seven days ahead of her rival.
Sold to Canadian owners in 1890 who cut her down her rig to that of a barque.
In 1895 Thermopylae was sold to the Portuguese Government who converted her to a training ship and renamed her Pedro Nunes.
Her end came in 1906 when she was torpedoed at sea by units of the Portuguese Navy.


The Sea Witch

 

Sea Witch

From the signal tower high atop the Navesink Highlands, that stood 250 feet over the treacherous entrance to New York Harbor at Sandy Hook, the watcher from the semaphore station stared out from his panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean in disbelief. On the far horizon to the southeast he spotted what could only be a heavily sparred ship. It was a clear Sunday afternoon, a day when one could see 40 miles out to sea. The anxious watcher focused in his telescope at the rapidly approaching tea clipper flying clouds of canvas that could only be the Sea Witch, ring tails and studding sails set, scudding up the New Jersey coast as she caught the winds from the south-southeast. Her sleek, black hull slicing through the choppy swells, with the crew at last taking in her studding sails one after the other and running up her private signal. It was March 25, 1849, and there were no tea clippers due for another two weeks, but there was no denying that there was the Sea Witch, flaunting her coiled dragon figurehead with the pointed tail, back from her third voyage around the world. Robert Waterman had come romping back from China to New York in 74 days, 14 hours, and beaten the tea fleet home.
The watcher lost little time in jotting down a message on his pad and handed it to the semaphore operator, and soon the message was sent by the long signal arms that would be seen across the bay at the Coney Island semaphore station. The message was immediately sent by telegraph to the Howland & Aspinwall shipping office at 55 South Street. Soon, the waterfront was buzzing with the news. Within hours, a pilot had come aboard the Sea Witch and guided the sleek black tea clipper to her moorings at the South Street wharf. The firm of Howland and Aspinwall would make a fortune at the tea auction and bask in the glory of a new record for the China to New York run. Again, William Aspinwall's hunches and daring had paid off in a big way. With profits more then enough to pay for the building of another clipper.
Upwards of 50 tea-laden ships would follow in the coming weeks. Two of the fleet, the Onieda and the Carrington, both fast ships, had left Macao sailing in company on January 5, 1849. Neither Captain Creesy of the Oneida, or Captain Abbott of the Carrington logged anything about sighting the Sea Witch that day. That was because Waterman had sailed from Whompoa to Hong Kong on January 4th, and sailed from there in the evening hours of January 9th. The Sea Witch shaved over 1,000 miles off the regular route of the Northeast monsoon season for a voyage of 14,255 miles with brief stops at Anjier and St. Helena. Waterman had shaved another three days off his existing record of the China run of 77 days in the Sea Witch on his last voyage, which had shaved a day off his first run back from China in 78 days. He had brought the Sea Witch home on this last scamper which he concluded would never be surpassed, at least by him and the Sea Witch, and was now content to pass on command to his hard driving first mate, George Fraser, and retire. Waterman was forty-three years old and over the course of his three record-breaking China runs had earned a large sum of money. He had promised Cordelia before departing on the third voyage that this would be the last.
New York City went wild with the news of this latest record-breaking run. The Commercial Advertiser wrote:
The splendid ship Sea Witch, Capt. Waterman, arrived here on Sunday in seventy-five days from China, having performed a voyage around the world in 194 sailing days.
During the voyage she has made the shortest direct passages on record, viz.: 69 days from New York to Valparaiso; 50 days from Callao to China; 75 days from China to New York. Distance run by observation from New York to Valparaiso, 10,568 miles; average 6 2/5 miles per hour. Distance from Callao to China, 10,417 miles; average, 8 5/8 knots per hour. Distance from China to New York, 14,225 miles; average, 7 7/8 knots per hour. Best ten (consecutive) days' run, 2,634 miles; 11 1/10 knots per hour.
Waterman basked in his latest limelight at the Astor Bar and soon left for Connecticut to reunite with his wife. Griffiths basked in the limelight as well and was never at a loss for words when praising the ship that was his masterpiece. He wrote:
The model of the Sea Witch had more influence upon the subsequent configuration of fast vessels than any other ship ever built in the United States.

James Baines

The James Baines was a passenger clipper ship completely constructed of timber in the 1850s and launched on 25 July 1854 from the East Boston shipyard of the famous ship builder Donald McKay in the USA for the Black Ball Line of James Baines & Co., Liverpool. The clipper was one of the few known larger sailing ships rigged with a moonsail.

James Baines

James_Baines II

Jamesbainesclipper.jpg

Ship builder Donald McKay laid all his skills and professional experience in the construction of this passenger carrying clipper ship, small faults that had been detected by him before in the sister ships were fixed during the building of the James Baines. Regarding her lines, stem, and bow, she was not as sharp and hollow-lined as her sister ship Lightning or as "full" as her other sister ship Champion of the Seas. The ship's main frame was of white oak, the ceiling, planking, deck-frames and keelsons, of hard pine. The ship's hull was diagonally braced with iron, and square-fastened, and all the keelsons and waterways are scarphed and keyed. It was said in her time the style in which the James Baines's hull was designed and built, both inside and outside, has not been surpassed or equalled, by any other ship Donald McKay has ever constructed. The stern and the bow including the cutwater were beautifully adorned with gilded carvings, the ship's hull was painted black with blue waterways and a blue underwater ship. Her mast-heads and yards were black and equipped with iron caps, the hoops on her masts were held in white as well as the deck houses and rails. On Mr James Baines order the ship was equipped and fitted with the best and most modern ship improvements (pumps, windlasses & winches, Crane's self-acting chain-stoppers (invented in 1852)).

As she was built for a passenger shipping line she provided luxury (1st class) accommodations equipped with the finest furniture available and mahogany panelling (wainscots), furthermore with standard rooms for the transportation of 700 passengers. The ship had also state-rooms and dining-rooms of the finest design. Three decks, a poop deck, two deck houses and a topgallant forecastle provided the accommodations for three classes of passengers and the 100 men crew whose bunks were built in the forecastle and in a deck house abaft the foremast. The ladies' cabin was in the stern section (aft) as well as the captain's rooms, the gentlemen's rooms were amidships to the ships's sides. All passenger and crew rooms were well ventilated and provided with sufficient light. The James Baines was not only a beautiful but also a very fast ship holding still sailing ship records as that of her first voyage from Boston to Liverpool.

James Baines

Namesake of the James Baines was her owner James Baines of James Baines & Co. of Liverpool and Australian packets and was once described as "the most perfect ship afloat." Upon her first arrival in Liverpool a well-known Liverpool ship owner wrote to a Boston newspaper: “You want to know what professional men say about the ship James Baines? Her unrivalled passage, of course, brought her prominently before the public and she has already been visited by many of the most eminent mechanics of the country. She is so strongly built, so finely finished and is so beautiful a model that even envy cannot prompt a fault against her. On all hands she has been praised as the most perfect sailing ship that ever entered the river Mersey.” (Cited from[1]) - Her figurehead was, of course, a perfect likeness of James Baines, owner of the famous Black Ball Line of Liverpool in tailcoat and top hat, carved by Liverpoolian ship carver William Dodd of the Allan and Clotworthy's yard. Mr James Baines shipped the figurehead to the McKay shipyard, securely packed in a sturdy case

James Baines and Lightning

Capt. Charles McDonnell, late master of the Marco Polo, took command of the ship. Her maiden voyage in 12 days and six hours from 12–24 September 1854 is still today an unbroken sailing ship record measured from East Boston (Boston Light) to Liverpool (Rock Light) - her homeport. During her short career her first voyage to Australia took her 65 days from Liverpool to Melbourne (her 'second' maiden voyage from her homeport) in 1854 and 69½ days for the return passage including the famous 420 nautical miles (780 km) day's run. She made four 'round' voyages to Melbourne and back to Liverpool via the Indian Ocean. In July 1857, James Baines (together with Champion of the Seas) was reviewed by Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort Albert while lying in Portsmouth. According to Lubbock, the Queen made remarks to the effect that "she did not know she possessed such a splendid ship in her Mercantile Marine."[2] The clipper was in Portsmouth to load troops bound for India, having been chartered by the British Government to transport 1,000 men of the 97th Regiment. She returned to England with a cargo of jute, linseed, raw cowhides and rice.

[edit] Fire and loss of the ship

The James Baines caught fire on Thursday morning, April 22, 1858 while discharging her cargo in the Huskisson Dock at Liverpool following her only voyage from India. The ship burned down to the waterline. Her remains, including the most of the undischarged cargo, were abandoned as a total loss amounting to £ 170,000 to her owner James Baines because the ship's insurance policy had expired three days before. The damaged hull was sold to the Liverpudlian shipowner Robert Pace for £ 1,080, who converted it into a coal barge which is said to have collided with another barge in 1860 at Galway harbour, Ireland. Still mentioned in the Liverpool Ship's Register of 1863 her final fate is unknown. Another reference has it that the ship became a landing stage in Liverpool harbour for the debarking steamer passengers. Capt. Chas. McDonnell, the first and last master of James Baines was broken-hearted following the disastrous end of his fine ship. He retired from naval service and died of pneumonia a few months later in his mother's cottage at Glenariff, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

[edit] Rigging

 

The James Baines was a very heavily sparred ship being 2,275 GRT wide, carrying 1,400 tons of cargo in her holds, and accommodating 800 passengers and crew in her 5 decks (3 continuous decks, forecastle and poop decks). Her masts called fore, main, and mizzen masts carried all in all a maximum of 43 sails as a full rigged ship with studding sails. In detail:

All three masts (with lower, top, and topgallant masts including royal and skysail masts) had a course sail, a topsail, a topgallant sail, a royal sail, and a skysail. The main-skysail mast has been lengthened and fitted with a moonsail later on. Her sail suit was made by Messrs. Porter, Mayhew & Co., Boston. Older pictures show the ship with only four square sails on the fore and mizzen masts, and five on the main mast.

 




Miscellaneous

Ships built by John McKay

1842 Courier, trading ship, 380 tons.
1843 St. George, packet ship, 845 tons.
1844 John R. Skiddy, packet ship, 930 tons.
1844 Joshua Bates, packet ship, 620 tons.
1845 September 15 Washington Irving, packet ship, 751 tons.
1846 September 5 Anglo Saxon, packet ship, 894 tons.
1846 September 9 New World, packet ship, 1404 tons.
1847 July Ocean Monarch, packet ship, 1301 tons.
1847 October A.Z., packet ship, 700 tons.
1848 Februari Anglo American, packet ship, 704 tons.
1848 May Jenny Lind, packet ship, 533 tons.
1848 December L.Z., packet ship, 897 tons.
1849 February 13 Plymouth Rock, packet ship, 960 tons.
1849 May Helicon, barque, 400 tons.
1849 June Reindeer, ship, 800 tons.
1849 December Parliament, packet ship, 998 tons.
1850 March Moses Wheeler, trading ship, 900 tons.
1850 June Sultana, barque, 400 tons.
1850 June Cornelius Grinell, packet ship, 1118 tons.
1850 September Antarctic, packet ship, 1116 tons.
1850 October Daniel Webster, packet ship, 1187 tons.
1850 December 7 Stag Hound, extreme clipper, 1534 tons.
1851 April 15 Flying Cloud, extreme clipper, 1782 tons.
1851 June 17 Staffordshire, extreme clipper, 1817 tons.
1851 September North America, extreme clipper, 1464 tons.
1851 September Flying Fish, extreme clipper, 1505 tons.
1852 July Sovereign of the Seas, extreme clipper, 2421 tons.
1852 September 14 Westward Ho!, extreme clipper, 1650 tons.
1852 November 25 Bald Eagle, extreme clipper, 1704 tons.
1853 January 14 Empress of the Seas, extreme clipper, 2200 tons.
1853 April Star of Empire, extreme clipper, 2050 tons.
1853 May Chariot of Fame, extreme clipper, 2050 tons.
1853 September 4 Great Republic, four-masted clipper barque,
4555/3357 tons.
1853 November 15 Romance of the Sea, extreme clipper, 1782 tons.
1854 January 3 Lightning, clipper, 2083 tons.
1854 April 18 Champion of the Seas, clipper, 2447 tons.
1854 July 25 James Baines, clipper, 2525 tons.
1854 Blanche Moore, extreme clipper, 1787 tons.
1854 September 5 Santa Claus, medium clipper, 1256 tons.
1854 Benin, schooner, 692 tons.
1854 Commodore Perry, medium clipper, 1964 tons.
1854 Japan, medium clipper, 1964 tons.
1855 January Donald McKay, clipper, 2594 tons.
1855 Zephyr, medium clipper, 1184 tons.
1855 July 28 Defender, medium clipper, 1413 tons.
1856 Henry Hill, clipper barque, 568 tons.
1856 February Mastiff, medium clipper, 1030 tons.
1856 March 22 Minnehaha, medium clipper, 1695 tons.
1856 Amos Lawrence, medium clipper, 1396 tons.
1856 Abbott Lawrence, medium clipper, 1497 tons.
1856 October Baltic, medium clipper, 1372 tons.
1856 October Adriatic, medium clipper, 1327 tons.
1858-1859 Alhambra, medium clipper, 1097 tons.
1858 R.R. Higgins, schooner.
1859 Benj. S. Wright, 107 tons.
1860 Mary B. Dyer, schooner.
1860 H. & R. Atwood, schooner.
1861-1862 General Putnam, ship.
1864-1865 Trefoil, wooden screw propeller ship, 370 tons.
1864-1865 Yucca, wooden screw propeller ship, 373 tons.
1864-1865 Nausett, Iron clad monitor.
1864-1865 Ashuelot, iron side-wheel double ended ship, 1030 tons.
1866 June 25 Geo. B. Upton, wooden screw propeller ship, 604 tons.
1866 July 4 Theodore D. Wagner, wooden screw propeller ship, 607
tons.
1867 North Star, brig, 410 tons.
1867 North Star, brig, 410 tons.
1867-1868 Helen Morris, medium clipper, 1285 tons.
1868 Sovereign of the Seas, full modelled ship, 1502 tons.
1869 November Glory of the Seas, medium clipper, 2102 tons.
1869 Frank Atwood, schooner, 107 tons.
1874-1875 Adams, sloop of war, 615 tons.
1874-1875 Essex, sloop of war.
1875 America, schooner yacht.

References:

Richard McKay: Some Famous Sailing Ships and Their Builder Donald
McKay. 1928. pp 312-316.
Donald McLean: The New Clipper ship, Mastiff, of New York
Boston Daily Atlas, 1856. February 6.

Anderson, R.C.: Hollow Bows and "First Clippers".

The Colonial Clippers,

American Clipper Ships 1833-1858, Octavius T. Howe & Frederick C. Matthews:. 1926. pp 33-35.

"The Editor": Was she Really the Champion of the Seas.
Sea Breezes Vol. 64 (1990), pp 453-456, ill.
McLean, Duncan: The New Clipper Champion of the Seas. The
Boston Daily Atlas, Vol. XXII, No. 274, Saturday, May 20, 1854.
Reprinted in NRJ Vol. 25 (1979), pp 33-35.
Stammers, Michael K.: The Passage Makers. Teredo Books, Brighton,
1978.

Lubbock, Basil: The China Clippers.
J. Brown & Son, Glasgow, 1914. 8vo, xvi, 387, xxxviii pp, plates.
McGregor, David H.: British and American Clippers. A Comparision of
their Design, Construction and Performance in the 1850s.
Conway Maritime Press, London, 1993. 4to, 192 pp, ill.
MacGregor, David: Fast Sailing Ships 1775-1875.
Nautical, Lymington, 1973. 4to.
MacGregor, David R.: Fast Sailing Ships. Their Design and
Construction, 1775-1875.
Conway Maritime Press, London, 1988. 4to, 319 pp, ill.
MacGregor, David R.: The Tea Clippers. An Account of the China Tea
Trade and of some of the British Sailing Ships engaged in it from 1849
to 1869.
Conway Maritime Press, Greenwich, 1972 (ou 1952). 8vo, xii, 272 pp, 7
plates.
MacGregor, David R.: The Tea Clippers. Their History and
Development 1833-1875.
Conway Maritime Press, London, 1983 (2nd ed.). 4to, 256 pp, ill.
Donald McLean: The New Clipper Ship Bald Eagle of Boston.
Boston Daily Atlas, 1852.

Eriksson, Anders: Svenska barkskepp och fullriggare under ca 100 år.
Grönstrand, Lars: Åländska skeppsporträtt i ord och bild. Mariehamn,
1978. pp 87-96.
Hurst, A.A.: The Frideborg. Model Shipwright Vol. 2, 19??, pp 386-387.
Johannesson, Torsten: Ola Olsson, Åhus. Båtologen årg. 18, 1980. pp
236-242.
Johannesson, Torsten: Några anteckningar om Kristianstad och Åhus
handelsflottor åren 1850-1975. Kring Helge Å 1975, 1976. pp 82-120.
Riley, Stephen: Two Models in the Making: The Frideborg at
Greenwich. Ålands Sjöfart 1984, No 5, pp 272-275.
MacGregor, D.R.: The Tea Clippers. London, 1952/1972/1983. pp
169-170.
Bureau Veritas 1908-1909.
Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping 1870.
Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping 1872.
Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping 1879.
Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping 1889.
McLean, Duncan: The New Clipper Donald McKay. The Boston Daily Atlas, Vol. XXIV, No. ??, ?, February 6, 1855.
Reprinted in Nautical Research Journal Vol. 26 [1980], pp 94-96. Stammers, Michael K.: The Passage Makers. Teredo Books, Brighton, 1978.

McLean, Duncan: The New Clipper James Baines. The Boston Daily
Atlas, Vol. XXIII, No. 53, Friday, September 1, 1854.
Reprinted in NRJ Vol. 25, pp 33-35.
Stammers, Michael K.: The Passage Makers. Teredo Books, Brighton,
1978.

The Lightning Gazette, Nos. 13-23.
Sea Breezes Vol. 18 (July - December) & Vol. 19 (January - June),
Liverpool, 1954-1955.
The Lightning Passage.
The Dogwatch, No. 25 and No. 26, Melbourne, 1968-1969.
Chapelle, Howard I.: The Search for Speed Under Sail 1700-1855.
Bonanza Books, New York, 1967. +8vo, xiv, 451 pp, ill, 16 pl.
Argosy Antiquarian, New York, 1967 (facs av ou 1926). 2 vols.
McLean, Duncan: The New Clipper Lightning, of Liverpool.
The Boston Daily Atlas, Vol. XXII, No. 181, Tuesday, January 31,
1854.
Reprinted in Howes & Matthews: American Clipper Ships
1833-1858, 1926. pp 356-365, and in Nautical Research Journal Vol.
25 (1979), pp 65-68.
Loney, Jack: The Clipper Lightning in Geelong 1862-1869.
Portarlington, Victoria, 1988. A4, 24 pp, ill.
McKay, Richard: Some Famous Sailing Ships and Their Builder
Donald McKay.
G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1928. 8vo, xxvii, 395 pp, 62 pl.
Stammers, Michael K.: The Passage Makers.
Teredo Books, Brighton, 1978. +8vo, xxii, 508 pp, ill.
Greenhill, Basil: Salvage from the Wreck of the Marco Polo. The
Mariner's Mirror Vol. 49, London, 1963. p 145.
MacGregor, D.R.: Fast Sailing Ships, Nautical Publishing, 1973.
Wallace, Frederick William: Wooden Ships and Iron Men, London, 1924.

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