She has never been beaten on a voyage by any vessel sailing about the same time; on the contrary, in 1852, she beat the British clipper ship Challenge, from Shanghae to Deal, three days, having sailed but a few days after her English rival.
May 19, 1854, the Nightingale sailed from New-York for Melbourne, and accomplished the shortest passage between these two ports ever yet made, viz: in 76 days and 16 hours, notwithstanding she had light, baffling winds on the first part of the voyage, and consequently was 30½ days to the Equator. But from the Equator to Hobson's Bay, the remaining portion of the voyage, the run was made in the unprecedented short space of 45 days; her speed during this run frequently reached 14 and 16 knots. We shall give the abstract of her Log on this voyage, as returned to Lieutenant Maury, at Washington. It will be found one of the finest examples of modern sailing anywhere extant; and we take pleasure in introducing her commander, Captain Mather, to our readers, not only in the capacity of an excellent navigator, but as a most able and accomplished shipmaster -- the man for the ship.
The dimensions of the Nightingale are as follows: -- Length on deck, 178 feet; breadth of beam, 36 feet; tonnage, 1,066 tons; depth of hold, 20 feet.
Her deadrise is very great, and she has an outstanding keel if 2½ feet. When in sailing trim, it will be seen she has a very large amount of lateral resistance. Her aft end is very handsomely shaped, while we consider the bow, below light water draught, capable of improvement; it is a little too full near the stem, consequently upon an insufficient of hollow, so called, in the water lines. The resistance on this vessel is greater at this point than at any other of equal area on the whole bottom. The Nightingale will require to be trimmed by the stern, to adjust her displacement, for the best sailing condition.
She carries about 1,000 tons of measurement goods, and is celebrated for her fine passages. See page 372, vol. 1, Nautical Magazine, for a lithograph print, showing her spars, as she appeared off the Battery, in New-York harbor. She is tauntly sparred, with much rake to the masts, and has a very large proportion of sail for a vessel of her displacement.
It will not be out of place to remark, that she is regarded by her friends as the fastest and finest ship throughout the fleets of the world. Let it not be thought, however, that her great amount of deadrise has necessarily secured her a claim to superiority as a sailer, although it may be true that many of the finest performances on the ocean have been constructed upon this idea. It is equally true, that flat-bottomed ships, having fuller ends, and designed with a view to profit as well as speed, very often approximate the best work of the sharp-bottomed clipper. It is quite true, if too great a depth of hold, and draught of water be chosen, a sharper model may be obtained by giving larger deadrise than by giving very little; but here its advantage ends, being nothing more than a compensation in shape, at expense of cargo, for ill-chosen dimensions. These remarks are general, and not made because we have been accustomed to modelling flat vessels, for we have now to acknowledge constructing several with too much deadrise, though not exceeding 15 degrees from a horizontal line.
The Nightingale's log will be found in the Nautical Department.
Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius
Sjöhistoriska Samfundet | The Maritime History Virtual Archives top-page.
Copyright © 1996 Lars Bruzelius.