The New Clipper "Lightning".

Reference may be had to page 188, for the draught, calculations, and a few remarks concerning this ship. We now give additional particulars, with her spar draft.

Her keel is of white oak, sided 15, moulded 30 inches. Its scarfs are 12 feet long, bolted with copper, and its parts were also bolted together before the frames were raised. The floor timbers are sided from 12 to 14 inches, and moulded 19; and the frames are chocked with oak above and below every joint, and bolted together fore and aft. She has three tiers of midship keelsons, each tier 15 inches square, and double sister keelsons of the same size on each side, one above the other. The whole of these keelsons are bolted through the timbers and keel with inch-and-a-quarter copper and iron, the bolts within a foot of one another. The sister keelsons are also bolted horizontally through the midship keelsons and each other. All the keelsons are scarphed and keyed, and fitted close together. Her frames, all the knees in the hold, and her hooks and pointers are of white oak, and her planking is of hard pine. The whole of her ceiling is of hard pine, and that on the floor is 5 inches thick. Over the first futtocks there are two bilge keelsons, each 15 inches square, placed alongside of each other, and these, like the other keelsons, are scarphed and keyed. They are square, fastened through the timbers, the bolts having been driven alternately from both sides and riveted, and they are also bolted together edgeways. The ceiling above the bilge keelsons up to the lower deck, is all 9 by 12 inches, all bolted together edgeways every three feet, and square fastened through the timbers. The lower deck beams are 14 by 16 inches midships, tapered an inch or two towards the ends, and the knees connected with them are of white oak. The hanging knees are sided from 10 to 12 inches, have 5½ feet bodies, 4 feet arms, are moulded about 22 inches in the angles, and have 20 bolts and 4 spikes in each. Their lower ends rest upon a lap-strake or stringer of 6 inches thick by 12 inches wide, which is bolted through the ceiling and the timbers. This strake forward and aft is beamed and kneed in the angles of the ends, and forms a strong horizontal hook. The lodging knees are sided 8 inches, are scarphed together in every berth, and closely bolted. The stanchions are very stout, are clasped with iron, and are kneed to the beams above, and to the keelsons below. There are 4 massive pointers of oak forward, ranging from 20 to 50 feet in length, and two of these are filled in the angles with hooks, and the others are fayed to the keelsons below and to the beams above. They are 12 inches square and are bolted from both sides, through the cants and timbers. Her ends are as strongly secured as those of a Davis Straits whaler. The run is secured in the same massive style as the bow.

Her between deck waterways are of hard pine 15 inches square, with a strake of 9 by 12 inches inside of them, jogged over the beams and bolted through them, and another strake of 12 by 14 inches over them. These extend her whole length, are bolted vertically through the beams, and horizontally through the timbers. The ceiling above is 5 inches thick, and the clamp under the upper deck beams is 9 by 14 inches, and, like the other ceiling, it is square fastened. The upper deck beams are 9 by 14 inches, and the knees connected with them are of hackmatack, about the same size as those below, and are fastened in the same style. The stanchions under them are of oak turned, and have bolts through their centres, which are keyed on the upper deck beams and set up with nuts and screws to the beams below, thus binding both decks together. The planking of the lower deck is of hard pine 3½ inches thick and the upper deck is white pine of the same substance. In every berth, between the hanging knees, she is diagonally cross-braced with hard pine of 9 by 7 inches over the ceiling, and these braces are bolted through the ceiling and the timbers. Her hooks forward and aft between decks are beamed and kneed in the same style as those below. She has 32 beams under the upper deck, and 30 under the lower deck, with a corresponding numbers of carlines. All the mast-partners and hatchways are strongly kneed in every angle.

The upper deck waterways are 12 by 14 inches, with a thick strake inside of them, chamfered off towards the deck; and her bulwarks, like those of a ship of war, are built solid inside and outside. The bulwarks are 5 feet high, surmounted by a monkey rail of 2 feet, which is panelled on the inside.

Her garboards are 8 by 12 inches, the second strake 7 by 12, and the third 6 by 12, chamfered off to 4½ inches thick, the substance of the planking on the bottom. The wales are 5½ by 8 inches, and she is planked flush to the planksheer moulding. Outside as well as inside she is square-fastened, and is butt and bilge bolted with copper.

The mouldings of the planksheer and rail are relieved with raised strakes above and below them, which are also moulded on the edges; and outside she is polished smooth as marble, and every line and moulding is graduated in exact proportions, fore and aft.

The whole height of her bulwarks is 7 feet, and she has a full topgallant forecastle, which extends to the fore-rigging; and its deck is connected with the top of a house, which is continued aft, and is 48 feet long, and 19 feet wide at the after-end. The top of this house is connected with the poop by two gangways, so that the men can pass forward and aft without descending into the waist. She has a full poop-deck 90 feet long, the outline of which is protected by a mahogany rail, on turned stanchions of the same wood.

There is a spacious house over the wheel, designed, in part, for a smoking-room; and it also protects a staircase on the starboard side, which leads to the captain's state-room and the after-cabin.

The after-cabin is 34 feet long, 12 wide, and 7 high, and is wainscoted with mahogany, enamel, polished ash, and other fancy woods, relieved with rosewood pillars, paper-maché cornices, and flowered gilding. It has 4 state-rooms, 2 sofa-recesses and other apartments, a spendid sofa aft, rich carpeting, a circular marble table in each recess, and a mahogany extension table amidships. All the state-rooms are furnished differently, for the sake of variety, we suppose, and their furniture is of the choicest kind, arranged with consummate skill. Every state-room has a square window in the side, and a perforated ventilator between the beams; so that, for light and air, all has been done that could be desired. There are 4 stern windows, and a large, oblong-square skylight in the after-cabin, and similar skylights over the dining-saloon, which is connected with the after-cabin. The skylights are set on mahogany frames, and nearly all the windows are of stained glass. In the recesses and partition of the after-cabin are plate-glass mirrors, which give reflected views of every part of the cabin. A more beautiful cabin, or one more richly furnished, is seldom seen.

The dining-saloon, which leads from the cabin, is also wainscoted — is painted pure white, like enamel, and is tastefully relieved with gilded mouldings and flower-work. It is 48 feet long, 13 feet wide aft, 14 forward, and has a large mahogany table its whole length, with settees along its sides. It has spacious state-rooms and other apartments on each side its whole length, and these rooms are admirably designed for the accommodation of families. In richness of furniture, light, and ventilation, they are equaly to those of the after-cabin. At the forward partition, there is a costly side-board of marble, and rising from it is a large mirror. Another mirror and sofa ornament the after part, so that the saloon is reflected from both ends.

The chief-officer's state-room is on the starboard side forward, and the pantry opposite; and between them are two doors, which lead to the quarter-deck. The front of the poop-deck projects about five feet, and shelters the entrances to the saloon.

The accommodations for her second-cabin passengers are in the house before the main hatchway, which has an entrance amidships, aft. It is 36 ft. long, and has a passage amidships 5 feet wide, which leads to six state-rooms on each side; and these rooms are well lighted and ventilated, and tastefully furnished. The forward part of this house contains the galley, and before it, on each side, are staircases which lead to the between-decks. Her crew's accommodations are under the topgallant forecastle, and neatly fitted up.

The between-decks are designed for the accommodation of passengers, and have 10 plate-glass air-ports on each side, skylights and ventilators along the sides of the house above; so that they are well supplied with light and ventilation, and will be fitted up in superior style when the ship arrives in Liverpool.

As the top of the house projects three feet on each side, a waterproof awning will be spread from it to the rails, so as to shelter the waist, that the passengers may always have an opportunity of coming on deck without exposure to wet weather.

Her accommodations forward and aft are upon a liberal scale, and are admirably designed for health, comfort, and safety.

The ship herself is amply found in the best of ground tackle, has a good, substantial windlass, three capstans, a patent steering apparatus, and copper-chambered pumps; and below she has an iron water-tank of 5,000 gallons capacity.

This magnificant ship is owned by Messrs. James Baines & Co., of Liverpool, designed for their line of Liverpool and Australian packets, and is commanded by Captain James N. Forbes, who superintended her outfits. Captain Forbes is well known as the former commander of the famous ship Marco Polo, built in St. John's, New Brunswick, in which he made two successive voyages from Liverpool to Australia, in less than twelve months, including detention in port. Her builder, Donald McKay, has a world-wide reputation. His ships, for beauty, strength and speed, have no superiors on this side of the Atlantic; and as the Lightning is the first ship ever built in the United States, for an English house, he has done his best to make her perfect in every detail.

She is the largest ship belonging to Liverpool, and has proved herself one of the fleetest sailers ever built on either side of the Atlantic.

The U.S. Nautical Magazine and Naval Journal Vol. III (1854), pp 289-291.

Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius

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Copyright © 1996 Lars Bruzelius.