This beautiful clipper is of precisely the same model, excepting the form of her bow in the wake of the upper works, as the famous Northern Light, whose last run from San Francisco was and still is the shortest on record. The Bonita is 167½ feet long on the keel, 183 feet between perpendiculars on deck, and 193 feet over all; her extreme breadth of beam is 36 feet, depth of hold 22½, including 7½ feet height between decks, and she registers 1150 tons. She has convex lines; her dead rise at half floor is 27 inches, rounding of sides 6 inches, and sheer 3½ feet. Her bow is sharp, and springs outward in a bold and beautiful curve as it rises. It has neither head nor trail boards, but terminates in a neatly carved and gilded billet, formed of the cutwater itself, which is also flowered with carved gilt work on both sides. It is the neatest, and in our opinion, the best designed head we have yet seen to a clipper. How beautiful the dashing clipper Westward Ho would have looked, end on, with such a head, instead of the poor Indian, slung by his middle, which now mars her bow. We hope, for the honor of Boston, that Neptune will appropriate the said Indian to himself, before the ship returns to the United States. But to return to the Bonita: beautiful in outline as in name, and as good as she is beautiful; we admire her, end on, for her snugness. She has a narrow waist, of three strakes, defined between mouldings, and her stern is oval in outline, finely ornamented with gilded carved work, consisting of horn of plenty, Spanish grape vines, the rose, thistle and shamrock, and a variety of other devices, below which are her name and port of entry, in raised gilt letters. Her run is long and clean, but has good bearings as it rises, to prevent her settling aft when she is going at her greatest speed. She is sheathed with yellow metal, is painted black above the sheathing, is finished smooth as glass, and looks the clipper to a charm.
All her accommodations are on the upper deck, and like most of the clippers, consist of a house amidships for the crew, galley, &c., and another house aft, built into the front of a half poop deck. In the after house she has a beautiful cabin, elaborately finished in mahogany, rose and satin wood, relieved with papier maché corniches, gilded flowers, &c. It contains eight state-rooms and the pantry; two of the state-rooms and the latter embraced in the ante-room. It has two doors forward and one aft, and also a door which leads below to the between decks. The space under the poop is admirably designed for a storeroom, and might, if occasion required, be converted into a magnificent cabin. Her cabin furniture is rich and beautiful, and is also well adapted for comfort.
The ship has spacious deck room, and appears well on deck. The combings of her after hatchway, the stanchions of the monkey rails and gangway boards are of mahogany, and the bulwarks inside are panelled and painted buff color, and the waterways are blue.
She has Emerson's patent ventilators, Crane's self-acting chain stoppers, a patent windlass, two patent capstans, a powerful force pump, plenty of good boats, and all the other details of a first class clipper. She has also a patent steering apparatus, but we have recently heard clipper captains speak rather unfavorably of most the inventions now in use, and say that they far prefer, the old fashioned steering gear. The clipper ship Challenge, of New York, the most magnificent and costly clipper ship built at that port, and fitted out under the superintendence of Capt. Robt. Waterman, has the old fashioned gun tackle purchase, and thus far it has answered better than the best of the recent inventions. Never having sailed in ships with patent steering apparatuses, we cannot speak of them from personal experience, but we have heard much said against them lately by clipper captains.
The Bonita has an iron water-tank below, good, substantial pumps, and the well of the latter, the maintopsail sheet-bitts and the tank, are so arranged in the betweendecks as to avoid broken stowage.
The ship is built of oak and copper fastened, is thoroughly salted and ventilated, and finished in the best style of workmanship. The details of her fastening and construction are nearly the same as those of the ill-fated, but beautiful clipper ship Golden Light, a full description of which was published in the Atlas of January 20. She is also sparred in the same style, except having a little more spread to her yards. Everything aloft as well as below is not only substantial but beautiful.
She was designed by her owner, Capt. James Huckins, and was built at South Boston by Messrs. E. & H.O. Briggs, the builders of the Northern Light, Meteor, Winged Arrow, Southern Cross, John Land, and many other famous clippers. The Messrs. Briggs are now prominently before the nautical world as clipper builders, and we hope to see them turn out many fine vessels, at the best prices. Capt. Charles F. Winsor, commands the Bonita. He is a whole-souled sailor, and is highly esteemed by all who know him. With such a commander, we expect the Bonita to eclipse even the Northern Light. The Bonita is now lying at the end of Commercial wharf, and is loading with dispatch in Winsor's line of San Francisco clippers. We advise our readers to call and see her.
Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius.
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