The Clipper Ship Nightingale, of Boston.

The clipper-ship Nightingale was built in 1851, by Samuel Hanscom, at Portsmouth, for Capt. Miller and other, and designed for exhibition at the World's Fair at London. When she appeared in Boston harbor, however, her symmetrical proportions and outlines attracted the attention of Messrs. Sampson & Tappan, enterprising merchants of that city, and they purchased her for the sum of $----. She did not go to the Great Exhibition, as did the Yacht America, but sailed on a voyage to Sydney, N.S. Wales, when she proved one of the fastest sailers that ever plowed salt water. We have no doubt, that at the date of her construction, the Nightingale was the swiftest ship in the world; and even at this date, after so many larger clipper-ships have been built, her performances have seldom or never been excelled. In 1852, on her passage from Shanghae to London, she ran 336 nautical miles in the twenty-four hours; and the distance, 13,726 nautical miles, from Batavia Roads to London, she accomplished in 70 days, being an average speed of 197 nautical miles per day, or 8.17 knots per hour, during a long voyage. In October, 1851, she sailed from Boston for Sydney, and arrived out in 92 days -- the shortest passage made at that date. February, 1853, she sailed from Portsmouth, England, to Shanghae, and made the passage in 106 days. On a return voyage from Shanghae to London, February 16, 1855, the Nightingale passed Anjier in 17 days, and arrived at London in 91 days, 16 hours.

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.

The U.S. Nautical Magazine, Vol. III (1855-56), pp 9-10.

Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius

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