CARGO VESSEL COLLECTION
Written and Edited by F. Carrington Weems II
Models Owned by F. Carrington Weems II
Click on a photo for full enlargement
Clipper ships often suffered extensive damage in spars, rigging, sails, and topside fittings because of hard driving, which made maintenance costly. Most were strongly-built, however, and some record-holding clipper ships remained in service for several decades. One in particular lasted for 48 years.
The clipper ship Nightingale was built in 1851 in Boston, Massachusetts. It was designed for exhibition at the World’s Fair in London (although she did not actually exhibit there) unlike the yacht America. At the time of her construction, the Nightingale was the swiftest ship in the world. She would set the record sailing from New York to Melbourne, Australia with a passage of 76 days, 16 hours.
American Extreme Clipper Ship
Length: 178 feet
Beam: 36 feet
Draft: 19 feet
THE AMERICAN EXTERME CLIPPER SHIP
The “Comet” was built by William H. Webb at New York and was launched July 10, 1851. Her length of deck was 229 feet. Her overall dimensions were: length 241’, breadth 41’-4”, and draft of 22’-2”. Her registered tonnage was 1,836 by the old measurement. She was very strongly built, her frame being diagonally iron strapped. The poop deck extended forward to the mainmast and the passenger cabins were large and elegantly furnished. She had toilet, smoking and bath rooms as well as a fine library. She became known as one the fastest sailing ships. She also became know as one the most successful ships ever launched from any shipyard of her time. She was first commanded by Captain E. C. Gardner. The owners were Bucklin & Crane of New York.
The Comet made many voyages from New York to San Francisco. On March 14, 1854, she reached New York from San Francisco in 76 days and 7 hours, anchor to anchor, which was a record from San Francisco to any North Atlantic port to that day. This passage stands as a classic in the annals of commercial navigation. She later got into trading with Hong Kong. In 1862, she was 41 days from San Francisco to Hong Kong.
On March 30, 1863, she arrived at London, was sold through George Croshaw & Co. for £8,100 sterling, and was renamed “Fiery Star”. She was put on the run between England and Australia under Captain Yule with first and second class passengers and on her first voyage carried 500 immigrants. Her second outward run was to Brisbane. On her return run to London, she left MortonBay, April 1, 1865. Three weeks out she was discovered to be on fire. They could not put out this slow smoldering fire. All of the passengers and a part of the crew, 80 persons, including Captain Yule, took to the life boards, leaving Mr. Sargent and 17 crew members aboard – there being no more room in the boats. Captain Yule and the officers in each boat intended to lie along side, but the next morning they were gone and were never heard from again. The ship, about ready to sink, was fallen in with the bark, “Dauntless” from Kingston for Auckland and those aboard the old “Comet” were all rescued. I have Mr. Sargent Scrimshaw’s officer’s blouse button case.
The model is a 1/6 scale, plank on frame, scratch-built, beautifully accurate model made by a naval architect whose name is unknown.
THE AMERICAN EXTREME CLIPPER SHIP
“CHAMPION OF THE SEAS”
The “Champ” when she was built by Mr. Donald McKay in east Boston, May 20, 1854, was the largest sailing merchant ship in the world with registered tonnage of 2,447. She was built for Messrs. James Bain’s & Co.’s Liverpool and Australian line of clippers. The firm owned and operated 40 sailing ships including the celebrated clipper “Lightning”, which was also built by Donald McKay, the “Champion of the Seas” in beauty of model, strength, fittings, speed, etc. was a decided improvement upon the “Lightning.”
She was 238 feet on the keel and 259 feet on deck, between perpendiculars, which as the sternpost was upright gave her a fore rank of 14 feet. Her extreme breadth of beam was 45’ 6” and she had a draft of 29 feet broadside. She had all the imposing majesty of a warship, combined with the airy grace of a clipper. She was painted black outside, and white inside, relieved with blue waterways. She had a spacious top gallant forecastle for crew, a house 50’ by 18’ wide. With galleys, cabins for passengers and staterooms for forward officers, she had another house 16’ square agaft the mainmast containing the chief mates stateroom, staircases with a vestibule below for entry into the cabins. Her dining saloon was 40’ long, painted plain white, relieved with gilding. Her foremast was 40” in diameter, her mainmast was 42”, and her mizzenmast 36”. The bowsprit was 40” and 22’ outboard. She had 5,000 gallon water capacity. She had 12,500 yards of sail. Her rigging was of the best Russian hemp. This magnificent and noble ship, while designed for the most part by Donald McKay, her commander to be, Captain Alexander Newlands, supervised her construction and equipping every inch of the way, and aided in designing her interior, including the complicated and varied plan for light and ventilation. McKay and Newlands developed tremendous admiration for each other and became great friends, thus producing together one of the best ships ever built.
Donald McKay was a skilled genius and was undoubtedly the best and most famous clipper builder in the world, designing and building more than 72 ships in his career. Among the more famous of his ships were: “Champion of the Seas”, “Sovereign of the Seas”, “Lightning”, “Flying Fish”, “Flying Cloud”, “Westward Ho”, “Stag Hound”, “Staffordshire”, “North America”, “Bald Eagle”, “Empress of the Seas”, and “Star of the Empire”, all extreme clippers.
The “Champion of the Seas” had a long and productive history as a successful clipper and perhaps best known for having set a remarkable record. She traveled in a gale around Cape Horn, with all the sails she could carry, a distance of 480 nautical miles in 24 hours, or an average of 20 knots or about 22 miles per hour. That was circa 1860. That was a record then and remains a record for a sailing ship of this size still.
The model is a sailor’s model, built by a sailor who was actually a seafarer aboard this ship, probably around the year 1871, thus putting an approximate time when the model was built, probably in the eighties, over 100 years ago. She is plank on frame, 1/8” = 1’ scale, has good detail, is copper sheathed, and is very accurately rigged. The sailor’s name is unknown.
Duffryn Manor is a splendid example of a “builder’s model,” a precise, scale rendition of a vessel that has been proposed for construction or actually built. Such models served in the offices of shipping companies, demonstrating the nature and appearance of the firm’s vessels. Notice the attention to detail evident in this model, as well as the attractive brass fittings.
Built in 1906 by William Doxford & Sons, Ltd. in Sunderland, England, Duffryn Manor was a “turret ship,” a merchant vessel with a main deck that was considerably narrower than the maximum breadth of the hull. This design was intended to circumvent the system of tonnage measurement used in the Suez Canal, and thereby lessen toll costs. Ships built in this manner were said to be economical and to combine strength with lightness. Between 1894 and 1911, a total of 177 turret ships were launched, nearly all of them by William Doxford & Sons. Changes in the system by which tolls were charged in the Suez Canal ended the building of these ships after 1911.
Turret Deck Steamer
Length: 367 feet
Beam: 48 feet
Draft: 22 feet 7½ inches
A bulk carrier designed to carry large amounts of dry cargo in seven separate holds, Santa Alicia began her career as a grain vessel, but was subsequently shifted to the task of carrying cement. The cement must be loaded and unloaded in a specific sequence to maintain the ship’s stability. Vessels like the Santa Alicia require expert handling, especially in rough weather, because the loose cement is print to shifting, which can threaten the safety of the ship.
Ton for ton, bulk carriers like Santa Alicia are the most efficient movers of goods in the world, and are the workhorses of today’s maritime industry. Bulk carriers range in size from 500 to 230,000 tons, and carry everything from cement, to grain, to fertilizer, to iron ore.
Greek Cement Carrier
Length: 744 feet
Beam: 72 feet
A tanker is a ship designed to carry liquid cargo in bulk. Its cargo is usually a petroleum product, either crude oil being carried from fields to refineries, or gasoline being carried from refineries to distribution centers. Tankers differ from general-cargo ships in that they normally carry a full load in one direction and return empty. Also, unlike most sea-going vessels, they do not have a double bottom in the cargo spaces.
Tankers vary in size from small coastal vessels about 200 feet long up to huge vessels approaching 1,000 feet in length. Cargo space is about 60% the length of the ship.
Supertankers (capable of carrying over 100,000 tons dead weight) allow the direct cost of transporting oil to go down as the size of the tanker increases. Larger tankers require special docking facilities, which has limited the number in production.
Length: 410 feet
Beam: 72 feet
“RYE HARBOR KETCH”
Turn of the Century Ship
Won First Prize of National Maritime Museum, Grenwich, England
Plank on Frame, Scratch Built
Shelter Deck Steamer
Dockyard or Builder’s Model
Built by William Doxford & Sons
65” Long-All Hardware
Gold Plated over Brass
Period Case – Excellent Condition
“Cutty Sark” as she stands in dry dock today in Grenwich, England with people walking around (a teacher with her class).
Scratch built cased miniature
A miniature model of the famous British Extreme Tea Clipper
ANTIQUE SHIP IN A BOTTLE
Square rigged, four masted clipper ship with all sails and rigging.
TRAMP STEAMER “LORNA”
Length: 435 feet
Draft: 34 feet
Beam: 50 feet 6 inches
Speed: 14 knots
Weight: 9,500 tons
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