The Doric Columns
Champion of the Seas
She was later abandoned at sea in 1877. [Passenger Liner] holds the speed record of 465 miles in 24 hours, set in 1854.
This splendid vessel registers 2447 tons, and is the largest sailing merchant ship in the world. She was built at East Boston by Mr. Donald McKay, and is intended for Messrs. James Baines & Co.'s Liverpool and Australian Line of clippers. This enterprising firm own 20 sail of first class ships, and have under charter as many more, all employed in the Australian trade. The superior equipment of their clipper, their unrivalled passages, and the absence of disasters, have given them a world-wide reputation, which they are determined to maintain. They have, therefore, selected the 1st of mechanics to build for their line a class of clippers, which for beauty, strength, speed, and completeness of accommodations, shall be peerless on the ocean. Mr. McKay has already built for them the celebrated clipper Lightning, which, on her first passage, ran 436 miles in 24 hours, though drawing 22 feet water.
The Champion of the Seas, in beauty of model, strength of construction and all the other elements of perfection, is a decided improvement upon the Lightning. Her ends are as long, though not so sharp or concave, and are even more beautiful in their form. She is 238 foot long on the keel, and 252 feet on deck, between perpendiculars, which, as the stempost is upright, gives her a fore rake of 14 feet; her extreme breadth of beam is 45½ feet, and depth 29 feet; dead rise at half-floor 18 inches, rounding or swell of sides, 10 inches, and sheer 4½. Her greatest breadth of beam is precisely at the centre of the load displacement line, and she is rather fuller aft on that line than she is forward. The concavity of her load-line forward is about 2½ inches, but above there the form of the bow is decidedly convex, and flares above the outline of the upper wale. A full figure of a sailor, with his hat in his right hand, and his left hand extended, ornaments in the bow. The ship has a waist of narrow strakes, defined between the mouldings of the upper wale and the plank-sheer, and this is continued round the stern, which is semi-elliptical in form, and is ornamented with the Australian Coat of Arms.
The run is long and clean, and blends in perfect harmony with the general outline of the model. Broadside on she has all the imposing majesty of a ship of war, combined with the airy grace of a Clipper. Outside she is painted black, and inside white, relieved with blue waterways. Her bulwarks are 4½ feet high, built solid, like those of a ship of war, and are surmounted by a monkey rail, which extends fore and aft. She has a spacious topgallant forecastle, fitted for the accommodation of the crew; and abaft the foremast, a house 50 feet long by 18 wide, and 6½ high, which contains the Galleys, a cabin for 2nd class passengers and Staterooms for the Forward Officers. Its forward part shelters a double staircase, which leads to the deck below. Abaft the mainmast is a house 16 feet square, the forward part of which contains the Chief |Mate's stateroom, and the rest of it shelters the staircase which leads to the vestibule below, from which the cabins are entered. There is another house aft, designed for a Smoking Room, and which also protects the Helmsman, and shelters a staircase which leads to the Captain's Cabin. As all her cabins are below, she has very spacious deck room. Abaft the mainmast, we never saw a ship so perfectly beautiful on deck.
She has Crane's self-acting chain stoppers, a powerful patent windlass under the topgallant forecastle, Allyn's patent capstan on it, and on the spar deck 2 capstans forward and 2 aft, 1 on each side, and a patent steering apparatus.
Her cabins are on the main deck, and extend between 70 and 80 feet from the stern. The aft one is 30 feet long, by 14 wide, and 7½ feet high; has 2 spacious recess sofas, and is beautifully wainscotted with mahogany, set off into gothic arched panels, relieved with gilded carvel-work, and is furnished in the highest style of art. Its tables, mirrors, carpets and curtains are of the most costly materials, and are arranged with consummate taste. Over the transom sofa are 3 panels, which contain daguerreotype pictures. The 1st is a representation of the ship Great Republic, under all sail by the wind, the 2nd is the outline of the Champion of the Seas, as she now lies broadside on, and other objects in the background, and between the ships is a portrait of Mr. Donald McKay, their builder. These pictures were taken by Messrs. Southworth & Hawes, and are about the best of the kind we have seen.
The Dining Saloon is 40 feet long, is plain white, relieved with gilding, and is finished and furnished with the same taste as the cabin abaft it. These cabins have oblong square skylights over them nearly their whole length, and the frames of these lights are all of polished mahogany, protected with brass. All the state-rooms have square side-lights or ports, which can be opened in fine weather, and deck-lights beside, and perforated ventilators between the beams.
The vestibule contains the Pantry and a Mess Room on the Port side, and a Bathroom and other apartments opposite, and before these there are several store-rooms. The deck before the cabins is also designed for accommodation of passengers, has square ports along its sides, and will be fitted with Staterooms. She will also carry passengers on her lower deck, which, like that above it, is 7½ feet high. Every means of light and ventilation, consistent with the safety of the ship, has been applied to it. Along the sides of the houses, between the stanchions, around the water-tanks through the dining-saloon and cabins, and many other places, are ventilators and sky-lights; and beside these, she has Emerson's corresponding ventilators, forward and aft. She has in all 210 square feet of light and ventilation. Nothing that ingenuity could devise has been omitted, to render her accommodations the most perfect in every particular.
A few of the leading details of her materials and construction will show that she is a good and well built as she is unquestionable beautiful. Her entire frame is of seasoned white oak, and all her hooks, pointers and knees are of the same wood, her planking and ceiling of hard pine, and she is square fastened throughout, and butt and bilge bolted with copper. The keel is of rock maple, in 2 depths, each 16 inches square, with 12 feet keyed scarphs, which are bolted with copper, and the parts of the keel, before the frames were raised, were also copper bolted. The floor timbers are moulded 21 inches on the keel, and sided from 12 to 13 inches, and over them are 4 tiers of midship keelsons, each 16 inches square, and on each side of these are 2 depths of sister-keelsons, of the same size, the whole scarphed and keyed, and fastened with 1¾ inch bolting, the bolts not more than 8 inches apart. The whole frame, fore and aft, is diagonally cross-braced with iron, 5 inches wide, 7/8ths of an inch thick, and 38 feet long. These braces are bolted through every frame, and through every inter-section; are let into the timbers and ceiling, and extend from the 1st futtocks to the top-timbers. The ceiling on the floor is 5 inches thick, and over the 1st futtocks there are 2 bilge keelsons, each 15 inches square, scarphed, keyed, square fastened and bolted edgeways. The rest of the ceiling in the hold, varies from 12 to 10 inches in thickness, and is also scarphed, keyed, and fastened in the same style as the keelbilge keelsons, each 15 inches square, scarphed, keyed, square fastened and bolted edgeways. The rest of the ceiling in the hold, varies from 12 to 10 inches in thickness, and is also scarphed, keyed, and fastened in the same style as the keelsons, the bolting only diminished one-eigth of an inch. There are 32 beams under the lower deck, 34 under the main deck, and 35 under the upper deck, and their dimensions are as follows, commencing below: 15 by 16, 12 by 15, and 8 by 15 inches square, with oak lodging and hanging knees to those below, and hacmatack to the others. The lower and main deck waterways are 15 inches square, with thick work of ten by twelve inside and over them, and ceiling varing from sven to five inches in thickness, exclusive of a heavy clamp under the upper deck beams, and a lap strake under the lower deck knees. The upper deck water-ways are 14 by 15 inches, with a thick strake inside of them, rounded off towards the deck. All the waterways, as well as the keelsons and ceiling, are scarphed and bolted in the most substantial style. The upper deck is of white pine, 3½ inches thick, and the others of hard pine of the same substance. The stanchions in the hold are 10 by 22 inches, clasp the beams and extend to the deck beams above. Beside the midship stanchions, she has 12 wing stanchions fitted in the same style, and all of them are strongly kneed and bolted. Under the upper deck there is a tier of turned stanchions on each side, with iron rods through their centres, which set up with nuts and screws. Her ends are almost filled with massive hooks and pointers, which cross all the cants diagonally and fay to the beams. The hooks in the between decks are beamed and kneed and fastened though all.
Her garboards are 9 by 15 inches, the next strake 8 by 14, the third 7 by 14, the bottom planking 5 inches thick, the wales 6 by 7, and the waist 4½ inches thick; the whole finished smooth as joiner work, and strongly fastened. Every line and moulding is truly graduated her whole length, and presents a most beautiful combination of perfect workmanship. Her planksheer and main rail are each 7 inches thick, and, as remarked, her bulwarks are built solid, like those of a ship of war.
Her ground tackle, boats, &., are of the best quality. She has below a water tank of 5000 gallons capacity, and upon her arrival in England will have other water tanks fitted alongside of the keelsons, and extending to the bilge.
She is a full rigged ship and has a noble set of spars. Her lower masts and bowsprit are built of hard pine, dowelled together, bolted and hooped over all with iron; and the topmasts and jib-booms are also of hard pine. The masts, commencing with the fore, rake ½, 5/8, and 1 inch to the foot, and are 74 and 63 feet apart. The bowsprit is 40 inches in diameter, and 22 feet outboard; jib-boom 21 inches in diameter in the cap, and is divided at 16 and 15 feet for the two jibs, with 6 foot end; spanker boom 58 feet 2 inches long, and gaff 42 feet, main spencer gaff 22 feet long, and the other spars in proportion. Like a ship of war, royals are her highest sails forward and aft, consequently the harmony of her masts and yards is complete, making her a perfect picture to the eye. The caps are of wrought iron, and the doublings of the masts are nearly wood-and-wood, or close together. Her rigging is of the best Russia hemp, very stout, and neatly fitted. She has all the chain and iron-work aloft, and about the bowsprit, now in general use, such as bobstays, bowsprit shrouds, martin-gale stays and guys, topsail sheets and ties, patent trusses, iron futtock rigging, etc. The fore stays set up to the knight-heads, and all the other head stays lead through the bows, and set up inboard.
She has 3 backstays on each side to the fore and main topmasts, double topgallant backstays, with outriggers in the crosstrees -- double main topmast stays, which set up in the fore top, and a spring stay. which leads on deck. The mast-heads and yards are black, the lower masts white, and the studdingsail booms bright, with black ends. There are about 12,500 yards of canvas in a single suit of her sails. Aloft as well as below, there is the same harmony of outline, and the same completeness of details, which make her not only the most beautiful but the most perfect ship her talented builder ever produced. But while we award Mr. McKay the highest praise for his genius and skill in the production of this noble ship, we must not forget her commander, Capt. Alexander Newlands, under whose superintendence she was built and equipped.
Mr. McKay, with an openness worthy of his great reputation, nobly appreciates his merits. he says: At an early period of our intercourse I saw that Captain Newlands understood his business, and that he was worthy of my entire confidence, consequently he has been of the greatest service to me. Agreeably to his designs, the whole interior arrangements of the ship have been made, including the complicated and varied plans for light and ventilation. He designed the cabins and their details - had every thing to do with the masting and rigging of the ship, in a word, has been always on hand, and has given me the most unqualified satisfaction. It is not saying too much to affirm that, of all the shipmasters who have from time to time been placed to superintend the outfits of my vessels, I do not know one who combines so many valuable qualities, and who, at the same time, makes less pretensions. He is calm but quick, reflective but earnest, and always displays that firm self-reliance, peculiar to a through bred sailor, in every ting of consequence he undertakes. well educated, a perfect gentleman, and a sailor of the highest professional attainments, he is well worthy of commanding the finest merchant ship in the world. Personally, we have sometimes enjoyed the pleasure of Capt. Newland's society, during the past 3 months, and we know that when he leaves here, we shall feel his absence as the loss of a friend.
The Champion of the Seas is now lying at the Grand Junction Wharf, East Boston, and in a few days will be towed to New York, and there load for Liverpool. Mr. McKay has now on the stocks a beautiful clipper of nearly 4000 tons named the James Baines, and when she is launched will build another of the same size for the same line.
We advise every one who wishes to see the most beautiful ship ever built by Mr. McKay, to call and inspect the Champion of the Seas before she sails. Her gentlemanly commander will take pleasure in showing her to all who may honour him with their company.
The Boston Daily Atlas, Vol. XXII, No. 274, Saturday, May 20, 1854
with questions or comments about the design
of this web site.