This magnificent ship has been the wonder of all who have seen her. Not only is she the largest of her class afloat, but her model may be said to be the original of a new idea in naval architecture. She is longer and sharper than any other vessel of the merchant service in the world, while her breadth of beam and depth of hold are designed with special reference to stability. Every element in her has been made subservient to speed; she is therefore her builder's beau ideal of swiftness; for in designing her, he was not interfered with by her owners. He alone, therefore, is responsible for her sailing qualities.
She is 207 feet long on the keel, 215 between perpendiculars on deck, and 226 feet from the knightheads to the taffrail. The whole rake of her stem on deck is 6 feet, and of her sternpost 2 feet. She has 40 feet extreme breadth of beam, 21 feet depth of hold, and will register 1600 tons. Her depth of keel is 46 inches, dead rise at half floor 40 inches, rounding of sides 4 inches, and sheer 2 feet 6 inches. She is uncommonly sharp forward, yet her no bears no resemblance to that of a steamer; it seems to have grown naturally from the fullness of her model to a point, but so beautifully proportioned that the eye lingers on it with delight. It is exceedingly plain, divested of flare or flourish, and is carried up from its leanest to its fullest lines on the rail, without variation in its outline. That is, its angular form is preserved up to the knightheads; consequently, it has neither humps nor corners to mark its bluff. An idea of its sharpness may be formed from the fact that, at the load displacement line (as the cutwater is tapered to an angle), a flat surface applied to the bow from its extreme, would show no angle at the hood ends. Her bow commences at the cutwater, and swells from that point in unbroken curvature. Sharp as she is, her lines are all rounded, and so skillfully, too, that they almost seem parallel to one another.
A carved and gilded stag hound, represented panting in the chase, and carved work around the hawse-holes and on the ends of her cat-heads, comprise her ornamental work about the bow. She has neither head boards or trail boards; and may be said to be naked forward, yet this very nakedness, like that of a sculptured Venus, true to nature, constitutes the crowning element of her symmetry forward. As she is five feet higher forward than aft, she sits upon the water as if ready for a spring ahead. Broadside on, her great length, the smoothness of her outline, and the buoyancy of her sheer, combined with the regularity of her planking, and the neatness of her mouldings, impress upon the eye a form as perfect as if it had been cast in a mould. She is planked flush to the planksheer, and its moulding is carried from the extreme of the head round her stern. Her stern is elliptical, finely formed, and very light. The eye directed along her rail from the quarter to the bow, would perceive that her outline at the extreme is as perfect as the spring of a steel bow. The planking along the upper part of the run is carried up to the line of the plank-sheer and there terminates, and this is done too without any irregularity in the width. Below, the planking from the opposite sides meets, and the butts form a series of plain angles down to the sternpost. Her run is rounded, not concave like that of most ships, and at the load displacement line, is apparently the counterpart of the bow, for her greatest breadth of beam is about amidships. An idea of the smallness of her stern may be formed from the fact, that at eight feet from the midships of the taffrail, over all, she is only 24½ feet wide. The stern projects about seven feet beyond the sternpost. A stag, her name and other devices, neatly executed, ornament her stern. Mr. Gleason, a young artist of much promise, made her carved work. Her keel is of rock maple and oak, in two depths, which, combined with the shoe moulds 46 inches, and sides 16. The scarphs of the keel are from 8 to 10 feet in length, and are bolted with copper, and the parts of the keel are also bolted together with the same kind of metal. Her top-timbers are of hackmatack, but the rest of her frame and bulwark stanchions are of white oak. The floor timbers on the keel are sided from 10 to 12 inches, and are moulded from 14 to 16, and are alternately bolted with inch and a quarter copper through the keel, and through the lower keelson and the keel. She has three depths of midships keelsons, which combined, mould 42 and side 15 inches. The second keelson is bolted with iron through the navel, every navel timber blunt into the keel, and the upper one is secured in the same style. She has sister keelsons 14 inches square, bolted diagonally through the navel timbers into the keel, and horizontally through the lower midship keelson, and each other. Her hold stanchions are 10 inches square, and are kneed to the beams above and to the keelson below, so that their lower arms form almost a rider along the top of the keelson. Including their depth and the moulding of the floor timbers, she is nine feet through "the back bone".
The ceiling on her floor is 4½ inches thick, square bolted, not tacked on with spikes, and all the ceiling from the bilge to the deck in the hold is seven inches thick, scarphed and square fastened. She has also a stringer of 12 by 15 inches, upon which the ends of the hanging knees rest, and are fayed. The knees connected with the beams of both decks, are of hackmatack. The hanging knees in the hold are sided from 10 to 11 inches, are moulded from 2 feet to 26 inches in the throats, and have 16 bolts and four spikes in each. In the between decks the knees have 18 bolts and 4 spikes in them, are sided about 10 inches, and moulded in the angles from 20 to 22 inches. The hold beams average about 16 by 17 inches, and those in the between decks 10 by 16, and are of hard pine. She has a pair of pointers 30 feet long in each end, three breast-hooks and three after-hooks, all of oak and closely bolted. Her hold is caulked and payed from the limber boards to the deck.
The between decks are seven feet high; their waterways are 15 inches square, the strake inside of them nine by 12 inches, and the two over them combined 10 by 18. These are all cross bolted in the usual style. The ceiling above is five inches thick, square bolted; and all the thick work is carried fore and aft round the stern. Her between deck stanchions are of oak turned, secured with iron rods through their centres which set up below. The breast hooks in this deck extends well aft, and is closely bolted. Her deck hooks, and the hooks above and below the bowsprit, are very stout, and well secured.
The upper deck waterways are 12 inches square, and the two strakes inside of them each 4½ by six inches let over the beams below, and cross bolted. The planking of both decks is 3½ inches thick, of white pine.
Her garboards are seven inches thick, bolted through each other and the keel, and upwards through the timbers and the floor and riveted. The strakes outside of them are graduated to 4½ inches, the substance of the planking on the bottom, and she has 16 wales, each 5½ by six inches. As before stated, she is planked up flush to the covering board. Her bulwark stanchions are eight by 10 inches, and the planksheer and main rail are six by 16 inches. Her bulwarks, including the monkey rail, are 6½ feet high; and between the main and rack rails she has a stout clamp, bolted through the stanchions, and vertically, through both rails. The boarding of her bulwarks is very narrow, and is neatly tongued and grooved, and fastened with composition. More than usual care has been bestowed in driving her bilge and butt bolts, and the treenails, in order to obtain the nicest possible state of finish outside, combined with strength through all.
She is seasoned with salt, and has ventilators in her decks and along the line of planksheer, fore and aft, and also in the bitts, also the foretopsail sheet bitts, are all of choice white oak, and are strongly kneed above and below. Her maintopmast stays lead on deck, and set up to the bitts before the foremast.
She has a topgallant forecastle, the height of the main rail, in the after winds of which she has water closets, for the of the crew.
Abaft the foremast she has a house 42 feet long by 24 wide, and six high, which contains spacious accommodations for the crew, and other apartments for a galley, store rooms, etc., the upper part of the house is ornamented with panels, which look neatly.
Her cabins are under a half poop deck, the height of the main rail, and have a descent of three feet below the main deck. Along the sides, and round the stern, the poop is protected by an open rail, supported on turned stanchions. On this deck she is steered, and she has a patent steering apparatus, embracing the latest improvements. The deck itself is 44 feet long, and in its front, amidships, is a small square house, or portico, to the entrance of the cabins.
The after cabin is 32 feet long by 13 wide, and six feet eight inches high. Its after division is fitted into a spacious state-room with two berths, and is admirably adapted for the accommodation of a family. Before this there is a water closet on each side, then a state-room; before that a recess of eight feet on each side, and then two state-rooms. The sides of the cabins are splendidly finished with mahogany Gothic panels, enamelled pilasters and cornices, and gilded mouldings. It has a large sky light amidships; and every state-room has its deck and side light also. In furniture and other details it will be as neat as that of a first class packet.
The forward cabin contains the captain's state-room, which overlooks the main deck, on the starboard side; it also contains the pantry, and state-rooms for three mates and the steward. It is 12 by 18 feet, and is neatly painted and grained; and lighted the same as that abaft. Her cabins were designed and finished by Mr. Thos. Manson, whose work on board the ship Daniel Webster and other packet ships, has been highly commended.
Inside the ship is painted pearl color, relieved with white, and outside black, from the water's edge to the rail.
She has patent copper pumps, which work with fly wheel and winches, -- a patent windlass, with ends which ungear, and two beautiful capstans, made of mahogany and locust, inlaid with brass. She has a cylindrical iron water tank of 4500 gallons capacity, the depth of the ship, secured below the upper deck, abaft the mainmast, and resting upon a massive bed constructed over and alongside of the keelson. The groundtackle, boats, and other furniture are of the first quality, and every way worthy of the ship.
Aloft, she looms like a ship of war. Her masts rake alike, viz., 1½ inch in the foot. The distance from the stem to the centre of the foremast is 50 feet; thence to the main 67; thence to the mizzen 56; and thence to the sternpost 42 feet. The following are the dimensions of her masts and yards:--
|Skysail||8||13||pole .. 7|
|Skysail||10||15||pole .. 9|
|Skysail||7||11||pole .. 6|
|Fore||20||72||yard-arms .. 4½|
The bowsprit is 28½ inches in diameter, 24 feet long, and has 4½ inches steve to the foot; the jibboom is 16½ inches in diameter, and is 38 feet outside of the cap, divided at 18 and 15 feet for the inner and outer jobs, with five feet end; flying jibboom 18 feet outside of the wythe, with four feet end; spanker boom 13 inches in diameter, and 60 feet long, with 2½ feet end; gaff 44 feet, including five feet end; fore and main spencer gaffs each 25 feet long, with two feet ends.
Her fore and mainmasts are fished on each side, in other words, are made masts, and the former is 29½ inches in diameter at the truss-band, and the latter 30. She has pole topgallant, royal and skysail masts, and her topmasts and standing jibboom are of hard pine. The fore and main rigging is 10 inch, four-stranded, patent rope, wormed, and served over the ends up to the leading trucks; the mizzen rigging is eight inch, the fore and main stays 9¾ inch, the topmast rigging 5¼ inch, set up on the ends; the mizzentopmast rigging 4¾ inch, mizzentopmast backstays 7¾ inch, fore and mizzen topgallant backstays and jibboom guys 6½ inch, and the other standing rigging in like proportions. She has chain bobstays, and bowsprit shrouds, martingale stays and guys, and topsail sheets and ties; patent trusses, and other iron work in general use. Her fore and main chainplates are 1 7/8 inch, and all the other iron work connected with her rigging is of the most substantial kind, and remarkably well finished. She has boarded tops, like those of a ship of war, and her caps and cross trees are both neat and strong.
Her spars look majestically. Her taunt masts are square yards, so truly proportioned, "fill the eye" with admiration. A first class frigate, the most sightly ship of war that floats, is not more imposingly beautiful aloft than the Stag Hound; and it is due to Captain Brewster, who rigged her, to say, that he has performed his part of her equipment most faithfully. Her blocks were made by Mr. Thomas J. Shelton, who is well known as one of the best mechanics in New England. Her sails are of cotton duck, 22 inches wide in the cloths, and including the studdingsails and staysails, contain 9500 yards. With a jib-topsail, water-sails, middle royal, and mizzentopmast staysails, gafftopsail and moon sails, not one of which she has, she might spread nearly 11,000 yards. Of course every sailor knows that all these sails can never draw together, still the surface of canvas seems immense, when we call to mind that all these, and even more sails, might be set at the same time upon a ship of 1600 tons. In the light winds of the Tropics and Pacific, such a vast surface of canvas will send her along at the rate of seven or eight knots, when a common freighting ship would have little more than steerage way. The substance of her masts and yards, show that she is sparred for stormy weather as well as light breezes. Her spars were made by Mr. Young, and her ails by Mr. Porter, of East Boston. We have examined several of her heavy sails in the loft, and can say that they are well made.
In taking a parting survey of the Stag Hound, we cannot speak too highly of her builder, and all who have participated in her construction and equipment.
Although she is sharp beyond all comparison with other ships, still her floor is carried forward and aft almost to the ends, and presents as true a surface to the water, as ever graced the bottom of any vessel of equal length. That she has a long and buoyant floor is evident from the launch displacement. When launched, she drew 10½ feet forward, and 11 feet 6 inches aft, and this, too, including 39 inches depth of keel and shoe, clear of the garboards. Those who have not seen her on the stocks imagine, from her sharp appearance on the water, that she must bury in heavy weather; but this impression is erroneous, for she is, in fact, very buoyant for her tonnage; and what is more, we believe that she will be a remarkably dry vessel on deck in the worst of weather.
She is, as we have already stated, an original, and to our eye, is perfect in her proportions. Her model must be criticised as an original production, and not as a copy from any class of ships or steamers. We have examined her carefully, both on the stocks and afloat, and are free to confess that there is not a single detail in her hull that we would wish to alter. We think, however, that she is rather too heavily sparred; but many New York captains, who have much experience in the China trade, say that she is just right aloft.
Mr. D. McKay, of Boston, designed, modelled, draughted and built her; he also draughted her spars, and every other scientific detail about her. She is, therefore, his own production -- as much so as any ship can be the production of any single mind -- and upon him alone, as before remarked, rests the responsibility of her success -- always assuming that she will be properly managed at sea. She was designed for speed, and it is the opinion of competent judges, that the vessel has yet to be built that will pass her.
However much Mr. McKay and the workmen employed upon her, are entitled to praise, the owners, after all, have to foot the bills. To their taste for adopting the model, the builder is indebted for this opportunity of showing his skill. Nothing more clearly indicates the taste of a mercantile community than its ships. A merchant selects a model and forms a contract to have it built after, and if the contract is fulfilled, here the builder's responsibility ends. The success or failure of a ship, under circumstances, ought to be attributed to the merchant alone. This system of building is common in all large seaports, so that a builder rarely has an opportunity to show his skill as a designer. As a general rule, therefore, the merchants, not the mechanics, ought to be responsible for the qualities of their ships. Yet in almost every instance where our mechanics have had an opportunity of displaying their skill, the result, as in the case of the Stag Hound, has been most satisfactory.
She is owned by Messrs. George B. Upton and Sampson & Tappan, of this city, and is commanded by Captain Richardson, a gentleman of sterling worth as a man, and a sailor of long-tried experience. In a day or two she will proceed to New York, there to finish loading for San Francisco, and thence will sail for China. We invite the New York mechanics to examine her, for we feel confident that she will bear inspection as well as any vessel that ever graced their waters.
Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius.
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Copyright © 1999 Lars Bruzelius.