THE CLIPPER SHIP STAG HOUND, OF BOSTON. -- As this vessel was the longest and sharpest clipper ship ever built in New England, much anxiety was felt for the success. So different from all that we had been accustomed to see, in this vicinity, she was generally regarded as an expensive experiment. Having examined her carefully, when in the course of construction, we had no hesitation in expressing the opinion that the ship had yet to be built that would pass her. Although an accident has turned her aside from her course and will lengthen her passage to San Francisco, yet she has thus far performed well, as will be seen by the following extract of a letter from her captain to her owners:
VALPARAISO, April 8th, 1851.
GENTLEMEN:-- Your ship Stag Hound is at anchor in this port after a passage of 66 days, which, I believe, is the shortest but one ever made; and had it not been for the accident of losing some of our spars, I do not doubt that it would have been the shortest.
When 6 days out, on Feb. 6th, during a heavy gale from Southwest with rain and a rough sea, and while running under double-reefed topsails, the main topmast broke, taking with it all three topgallantmasts; the gale increasing with a high sea, it took us seven days before we were again able to get a maintopsail upon her. We saved all the sails, yards and rigging, only cutting a few running ropes. The accident was owing to the rigging stretching and settling down around the masthead, caused by the warm rain, and perhaps, as the ship worked so remarkably well, that we carried on her a little harder than we ought, before the rigging has settled to its place. We lost by this accident 800 miles at least.
The ship has yet to be built that will beat the Staghound; nothing that we have fallen in with could hold her play at all. I am perfectly in love with her; a better sea boat, or better working, or dryer ship, I never sailed in. You have reason to be proud of her, as she is about faultless.
In 21 days from New York we were across the Equator; in 29 days we passed Rio Janeiro; in 49 days we were off Cape Horn; and in 66 days to this port; and, under every situation, the ship performed her part well, and has proven to my satisfaction that she has no defect as a clipper; in fact, I should not know where to change her hull, to make an improvement.
I shall get a main-topmast, take in my water, and leave here on the 12th, for San Francisco."
In addition to the above, we learn, from a letter of one of the crew to his friends here, that she was detained, taking off the crew of a Russian vessel, which had become unseaworthy, and that to land them was the principal cause of her putting into Valparaiso. The letter says that, with a whole sail breeze, she will ball off 16 knots, and that 15 knots is a common entry in her log.
Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius.
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Copyright © 1997 Lars Bruzelius.