As this magnificent vessel was designed expressly for speed, she has more dead rise and sharper ends than many of the clippers which have been recently built. She will register about 1400 tons. Her length on deck, between perpendiculars, is 206 feet, extreme breadth of beam 38 feet 4 inches, and depth 23 feet. She has very little flare forward, but her sheer at both ends, rises with an easy spring, particularly at the bow, which imparts lightness to her general outline. Her bow is very sharp, but her lines are rounded, and for a head she has a full female figure, in vestments of white, fringed with gold. The stern is nearly oval, and is finely ornamented with an arch of gilded carved work. The run is long and clean, but is not cut hollow under the transom; on the contrary, it is boldly rounded as it rises. Either end or broadside on, she looks very beautiful and well finished. Her dead rise at half floor is 20 inches, swell of sides 6 inches, sheer 4½ feet, and she is yellow metalled up to 20 feet draught, and is painted black above that line.
The arrangements of her deck consist of a topgallant forecastle, a house abaft the foremast for the crew, &c., and aft a half poop deck, with a house built into it for her cabins. The after cabin is wainscotted with mahogany and other choice woods, and has two recesses, with sofas, one on each side, plate glass mirrors, and is elegantly furnished. The forward cabin is white, edged with gilded lines and flowers, and, like the after one, is splendidly furnished. Both cabins have beautiful state-rooms on each side, which are well lighted and ventilated, and furnished in superior style. The pantry and officers' rooms are in the fore part of the cabin, and are fitted in the same style as those of most other clippers. Over the cabins there are large skylights, and most of the windows are of stained glass. The forward cabin is entered from the quarter deck, and is connected with the after one which has a staircase, which leads to the poop, where the ship is steered.
She has low bulwarks, surmounted by a monkey rail, is painted buff color inside, relieved with white, and the gangway boards, which are of mahogany, are brass mounted. The stanchions of her monkey rail are also of polished mahogany.
The ship herself is of excellent materials. Her frame is of white oak, and her planking and ceiling of hard pine. Her keel is of rock maple in two depths, which combined, side 16 inches and mould 33. The floor timbers are 12 by 18, and over them are three tiers of midship keelsons, each 16 inches square, and 2 sister keelsons of the same size, the whole fastened with 1 3/8 inch copper and iron, in the best style. Her floor ceiling is 5 inches thick, the bilge keelsons, of which she has one on each side, are 16 inches square then follow 5 strakes of 12 by 16 and the rest of the ceiling above is 8 by 14 inches, the whole square fastened. The beams are 16 inches square under the lower deck, and have oak hanging and lodging knees; and those under the upper deck are 10 by 15, with hackmatack knees, and the hanging knees have 28 1 3/8 inch bolts in each. The between decks waterways are 16 inches square, with a strake of 10 by 14 inside, and another of 10 by 16 over them; and the ceiling above is 6 inches thick. Her upper deck waterways above are 14 inches square, the covering board and main rail each 6½ inches thick, and her hooks, pointers and stanchions are very stout, and all of oak.
The garboards are 8, the next strake 7, the third 6 inches thick, flushed to 5 inches, and her wales are 6 by 7 inches, carried up smooth to the planksheer; and the outside is square fastened with treenails and copper, and neatly finished.
Her frame is seasoned with salt, she has air ports in her ceiling, brass ventilators along the planksheer and in the bitts, and Emerson's corresponding ventilators, forward and aft.
Her fore and main masts and bowsprit, are built and hooped over with iron, and her topmasts and jibbooms are of hard pine. The standing rigging is of Russia hemp, the running rigging of Manila hemp, and her sails of cotton deck. Her lower masts are -- 80, 85, and 75 feet long, topmasts 46, 48, and 38 feet, topgallant masts 23½, 25½, and 20½, and the others in proportion. The lower yards are -- 74, 78, and 59 feet square, topsail yards, 59, 63, and 49 feet -- topgallant yards 46½, 48½, and 37½ feet. The bowsprit is 18 feet outboard, and the other spars in like proportions. Her masts have the usual clipper rake, and look bold and dashy, and her yards, though heavy, appear light and well proportioned. Her owners have spared no expense that was required to make her perfect in every detail. She has a patent windlass, 2 capstans, Crane's chain stoppers, a patent steering apparatus, plenty of good boats, copper pumps, a large iron water tank below, and every other improvement now in general use.
This noble ship is owned by Messrs. W. & F.H. Whittemore & Co., who deserve credit for the liberal style in which she has been fitted out, and she was built at East Boston, by Mr. Robert H. Jackson, the builder of the Winged Racer, Queen of Clipper, John Bertram, and other clippers. Capt. Samuel Hill commands her. She is now lying at Commercial wharf, and is loading in Winsor's line of California packets. A gentleman who has inspected all the clippers in port, informs us that the Challenger has the sharpest ends, and more rise of floor than any other vessel now up for San Francisco.
Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius.
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Copyright © 1999 Lars Bruzelius.