Nearly all the clipper ships which have been built recently, have had 40 inches dead rise at half floor, but the designer of the Shooting Star, desirous of having buoyancy, in order to obtain easy sailing lines, gave her only 24 inches. The propriety of this deviation suggested itself to his mind, when he saw several of the clippers load to 20 and 21 feet draught of water. This heavy draught, he perceived, rendered some of them almost as full upon their sailing lines, as freighting ships; hence, their being cut up below only answered the purpose of making them weatherly, without, as he supposed, materially increasing their speed. In this view he has been sustained by those who have recently laid down clippers. The Typhoon has only 30 inches dead rise, and the Flying Cloud, the largest clipper ship in the world, but 25 inches. This modification of dead rise not only gives increased buoyancy, but also capacity.
Like all the other clippers, the Shooting Star has very sharp ends, but rounded lines, and an easy and graceful sheer. She will register about 900 tons -- is 154 feet long on the keel, 164 on deck between perpendiculars, and 171 over all -- has 35 feet extreme breadth of beam, 18½ depth of hold, 2 feet dead rise at half floor, 1 foot swell on rounding sides, and 2 feet sheer. Her bow is long and sharp, and flares gracefully from the line of the planksheer to the rail; and the turn of the cutwater, as it curves and forms the head, is at once bold and beautiful. A full female figure ornaments the bow. She is represented in white vestments, spangled with gilded stars upon the waist; her hair is confined by a gilded zone, in front of which is printed "Liberty," and from under which the hair descends loosely over the shoulders -- her right foot is advanced, and rests upon a gilded globe, and her right arm is extended, with the hand pointing onward. She is placed to correspond with the rake of the stem, and her design and execution are excellent. As a work of art, independent if its ornamental effect upon the bow, it stands thus far, in our estimation, far ahead of any figure that we have seen upon a ship this season. The trail boards are ornamented with gilded carved work, interwoven with which are representations of the chase. The effect of these ornaments upon the appearance of the bow is all that could have been desired. Her name, in gilded letters, also ornaments the headboards. Although she has two feet more rise forward than aft, so truly graduated is her sheer, that, broadside on she appears almost straight. It is only on deck that her spring is apparent. Standing aft, an observer will at once see the beauty of her outline, in its termination, while outside, her model, in its swell and taper, "fills the eye" with admiration.
Her stern is light, and swells about 3 feet in the centre from a straight line, and is also rounded from the arch board to the rail. In its centre is a female figure, represented feeding an eagle, relieved with stars on each side, and other tasteful ornaments; and her name and port of hail are carved and painted white on the archboard. She is coppered up to 16 feet forward, and to 17 aft, and above that is painted black.
Her bulwarks are 3 feet 8 inches high, surmounted by a monkey rail of 15 inches; and between the stanchions, they are set off with longitudinal panels, and the inside of the monkey rail is also paneled.
She has a small topgallant forecastle, with a capstan on it, and in its after wings water closets for the use of her crew. Abaft the mainmast is a house 22 feet long by 10 wide and 6½ high, fitted into quarters for the crew, state-rooms for the boatswain and carpenter, and a spacious galley. Her pumps are abaft the mainmast, inside of the fife rail, which surrounds it.
Upon the quarter deck she has a beautiful capstan, made of mahogany and locust, inlaid with brass. Her cabin is under a half poop-deck, with a small square house in front. The cabin contains 8 staterooms, a bread locker, a pantry, and a water closet. Its interior is finished with highly polished mahogany, arranged in gothic panels, relieved with rosewood pilasters, edged with gilding, and having imitation marble pedestals, and curiously carved capitals. The cornices are rosed in papier maché, touched here and there with gilding, and the angles of the panels outside of the arches, are set off with the same material. As substitute for stern windows she has circular plate-glass air-ports, and in the deck two large skylights. Every stateroom has its deck and sidelight, and the spaces between the beams have perforated ventilators, made of ornamental carved work. The transom is fitted as a sofa covered with crimson damask, and near it is a circular divan, with a central pyramid, on the front of which is a circular mirror, set in a gilded frame. The divan, like the transom, is covered with crimson damask, and would charm the heart of an Oriental to look at it. A mahogany table, and seats occupy the centre of the cabin. The after part of the cabin, when required, can be converted into a separate apartment, by curtains, which traverse on a brass rod at the ceiling. The staterooms, as well as the cabin, are furnished in magnificent style, and reflect great credit upon the liberality of the owners, and the skill of those who made the furniture.
The mates have a spacious stateroom in the house in front of the cabin, which overlooks the deck, and the captain's staterooms is below, on the starboard side, and overlooks that side of the deck.
Her half poop-deck is the height of the main rail, and is protected with brass railings along the sides and across the stern. She has a patent steering apparatus, which works on the poop.
The windlass is of a new and improved patent, strongly secured, and of great power. In boats, ground tackle, and other furniture, she is amply found.
As the above will convey some idea of the ship in her outline and accommodations, we will now give the leading details of her construction. Her keel is of rock maple, in two depths, bolted together with copper, and her floor timbers are moulded 15½ and sided from 10 to 12 inches. The keel is moulded 34 inches and sided 15, and she has two depths of keelsons -- the first 16 inches square, and the second 15. Every floor timber is bolted through the first keelson and the keel with inch-and-a-quarter copper, driven through and rivetted, and the navel timbers are bolted through the second keelson, with refined iron, of the same size as the copper, driven down into the keel, within two inches of its base. Her stem, apron, sternpost, false post, and stern knee, are all bolted with 1¼ inch copper, and so are her transoms up to the load-displacement line; above these they are bolted with iron in the usual style. Her main transom is 18 inches square amidships, and 25 feet long.
The ceiling on her floor is of hard pine 4 inches thick, and on the bilge she has two strakes of 10 inches thickness, then three of 8, then three of 7, and all the other ceiling, up to the deck, is 6 inches thick, all scarphed and square fastened. Her hanging and lodging knees, and hold stanchions, are all of white oak, and the latter, in the wake of the hatchways, are kneed to the beams above, and to the keelson below. Her hanging knees are sided from 10 to 12 inches, and moulded from 20 to 22 inches in the throats, and have from 14 to 16 bolts, and 4 spikes, in each. The lodging knees meet and scarph in every berth, and are closely bolted. She has seven hooks forward and five aft, including deck-hooks, and in each end, two of the hooks cross the cants diagonally, and connect with the knees under the beams. The hooks in the between decks has 67 bolts and 4 spikes in it.
Her hold beams are 16 inches square amidships, and those under the upper deck are 15½ by 8½, all of hard pine. The between decks are 7 feet high; and their waterways are 15 inches square, the strake inside of them 9 inches thick, and that over them 8½. all closely cross-bolted. The ceiling above is 5 inches thick, square fastened; and the planking of both decks is 3½ inches thick; the lower deck of hard pine, and the upper deck of white pine. The hanging and lodging knees in the between decks, are of hacmatack, varying but little in size or fastening from those below, and the stanchions are of oak, turned, and are secured in the usual style. The upper deck waterways are 12 inches square, with thick strakes inside of them let into the beams below and cross bolted.
Her garboards are 6 inches thick, and the next strake 5, graduated to 4, the substance of the planking on the bottom. He wales are 5 by 7 inches, and are carried up the same substance to the covering board. Many of her treenails are of locust, driven through and wedged in both ends, and more than usual care has been bestowed upon driving her butt and bilge bolts.
Her covering board or planksheer is 6 by 14 inches; the bulwark stanchions 12 by 8, and the main rail 6 by 17½ inches. Her frame throughout, is of seasoned white oak, and most of her ceiling, planking, keelsons, &c., are of Southern pine; she is coppered and copper fastened, seasoned with salt, ventilated in the bitts and along the line of the planksheer, and abaft the mainmast, she has an iron tank, her whole depth which holds 1640 gallons of water. In materials, fastening, seasoning and ventilation, she is as perfect as any ship need be.
Her decks are spacious; and the bulwarks, &c., are painted buff color, and the waterways, blue.
She is a full-rigged ship. The distance from the stem to the centre of the foremast is 32½ feet, thence to the centre of the main 56½, thence to the centre of mizen 44, and thence to the sternpost 31 feet. The masts rake, commencing with the fore, 1 3-16th, 1 3/8, and 1¾ of an inch to the foot. The following are the dimensions of her masts and yards:
|Dimensions, Inches.||Length, Feet.||Mast-heads, Feet.|
The bowsprit is 26 feet outboard, 27 inches in diameter, and has 4 inches steve to the foot; jibboom 33 feet, divided at 18 and 15 feet, for the inner and outer jibs, with 2½ feet neck; flying jibboom 14 feet outside of the wythe, with 4½ feet end; spanker boom 42½ feet long, with 4 feet end, gaff 35, with 6 feet end, and main spencer gaff 24 feet, with 3 feet end.
Her lower masts are of single spars; and her topmasts and standing jib boom of Southern pine, and her lower yards are also of single spars of Norway pine. The standing rigging is of patent, four stranded rope, made by Mr. Robbins, at Plymouth, of the best of Russian hemp. The lower rigging sets up with lanyards through dead eyes, is served over the ends up to the leading trucks, and is neatly wormed; and the topmast rigging is set up on the ends. She has boarded tops, neat, iron-bound caps, and outriggers in the crosstrees for the topgallant backstays. Her topsail sheets, ties and runners are of chain, and she has patent trusses, iron futtock rigging, and the usual chain and iron work about the bowsprit and jib boom. Her running rigging is of Manila hemp; and, in a word, she is as complete aloft, as she is substantial and beautiful below.
She was designed, modelled and draughted by Capt. John Wade, who is not only an excellent naval architect, but a sailor of long tried experience. He also superintended her construction and equipment; and to his skill and experience may be attributed her completeness in every detail. In carrying out the designs of Capt. Wade, her builder, Mr. James O. Curtis, has shown himself to be a faithful and experienced mechanic. Indeed, Mr. Curtis has long been favorably known as one of the best ship-builders in Medford, and his construction of the Shooting Star is only another illustration of his skill.
Her spars were made by Messrs. Blanchard & Caldwell, who sparred the fine clipper Witchcraft, and they have done their work well. Mr. McClennen, a regular knight of the marlingspike, rigged her, and it is but doing him justice, to state that his work will bear comparison with that of any other rigger in Boston. Messrs. Thompson & Hough furnished her pumps and blocks; Mr. Leeman was her blacksmith, Mr. Francis Lander did her outboard joiner-work; Messrs. Geo. and Henry Gardner finished her cabins, and Messrs. Doc, Hazelton & Co. furnished them.
Her ornamental work was executed by Messrs. S.W. Gleason & Sons; but to Mr. W.B. Gleason belongs the sole credit of having made her figure head. He is a young artist devotedly attached to his profession, and exhibits a more refined taste in the execution of his work than is common to carvers. Many fine ships have been disfigured forward, by clumsy heads; but this cannot be said of the Shooting Star; her head and all her other ornamental work are in perfect keeping with the outline of her model.
In every point of view, competent judges consider the Shooting Star an excellent ship -- one that will wear well and sail fast. Her commander, Capt. Judah Baker, is an experienced sailor; he has worked his way from the hawse holes to the quarter deck, through all the stages of profession, and having learned to obey, knows well how to command. Success attend him and his beautiful clipper.
She is owned by Messrs. Reed, Wade & Co., W. & F.H. Whittemore & Co., and her commander Capt. Baker, and is intended for the California and China trade. She is now nearly laden, and will sail for San Francisco in a few days. In the meantime, we would advise those who have not seen her to take a walk to the end of Commercial Wharf, and give their eyes a feast. Her owner's private signal is a white flag with a blue star in the centre, displayed at the main; and she now wears it like a sea queen, ready to contend for empire on the deep.
Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius.
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Copyright © 1997 Lars Bruzelius.