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to it and they made a signal of distress. "hands across the sea" theme and proved ship captain beats the fleet round the Took them on board. They were the to foretell the future of the ship. She was Hom to California and spends what time Captain and crew of Russian brig said to be very commodious and fast he can spare from the ship's business in Sylphide, loaded at Rio with coffee, although Richardson did not consider port, to bringthe Word of God to Sunday School children. What, one wonders, has bound for Helsingfors. Was upset in a her quite so fast as Stag Hound. Mr. Train was a good and competi- become of the mythical swashbuck ler of squall four days previous: One man , carpenter, drowned." 5 He subsequently tive business man . A ship of this consid- the quarter-deck, whose word was an received a personal letter of thanks from erable size with a very large hold, was oath, and whose pastime was caving in the Russian Ambassador to the United designed to be very profitable in the skulls of sailors with iron belaying pins?" 10 The remainder of this voyage was States through the then-Secretary of round-the-world trade as well as the luState, Daniel Webster. In spite of the crative California freight run. Train re- notable in that he took Staffordshire from delays, Stag Hound reached Valparaiso, cruited the famed Captain Richardson to San Francisco to Singapore, then on to Chile, under a jury-rig in sixty-six days, this challenge. The Captain accepted and Calcutta and finally back to Boston where missing the existing speed record by sailed from Boston bound for San Fran- he completed the final leg in a mere 83 only one day. This feat was credited to cisco on 3 May 1852. He had 120 pas- days. This latter record has only been exceeded four times. More rethe new design and, in no small markable is a newspaper account measure, to the seamanship of of the voyage. It shows Captain her master. She went on to comIn an almost story-bookfashion Richardson as a skillful , caring, plete the passage to San Francisco Capt. Richardson used his but cautious shipmaster who did in a record 107 days at sea. Richnot sail with his eye on the all ardson wrote to the owners: "The newly acquired prominence by important record book. It says that ship is yet to be built to beat the during the last few days of this run Stag Hound . ... I am in love with electing to address a children's the weather (cloud cover and fog) the ship."6 Yet he commanded was too thick to make an observaher for just one voyage. Sunday School meeting. tion. Although his estimation of After receiving great acclaim in California, Stag Hound sai led his position by dead reckoning for China to take on a load of tea. proved to be correct, he elected to She returned to New York in ninety-four sengers on board and a freight list that stand off shore an extra day rather than days, a fast passage in the stormy winter measured thirteen feet in length. The risk hi s vessel on the shoals near Boston season. While on this voyage he wrote passengers found him so ingratiating harbor. his wife from Whampoa: "My cares are and accommodating, they presented him The Gold Rush of 1849 had subsided full as much as when in a small ship, but with a silver pitcher "as a slight token of by 1853. Train asked Richardson to use hope to get through with them all and respect for the many kind attentions re- Staffordshire as a packet and return to deliver up my commission honorably to ceived at your hands and the high con- the Liverpool run with the objective of myself and satisfactory to my owners." sideration we entertain for the able man- selling her if he could get a good price. Ten months and 23 days after sailing ner in which you conducted us through a She set sail for Liverpool, but a suitable from New York, Stag Hound completed long and perilous voyage. " 8 This was buyer could not be found. Thus the ship her maiden voyage. She had paid for her one of many tokens of appreciation given left Liverpool's River Mersey on 9 Debuilding costs and earned the sizable to the master by passengers and admir- cember 1853 to return to Boston with profit of $80,000. 7 ers. The voyage was completed in 102 214 passengers and crew and freight for With this success, Captain Richardson days, four days ahead of a fellow Cape an early winter trip. The letters that Capresigned his command of Stag Hound to Codder, Captain Judah P. Baker, com- tain Richardson penned to his beloved be with his family. This respite would manding the Medford-built clipper wife in November and early December only last three months. A man with his Shooting Star. Clippers, particularly of that year seemed to be a premonition skill and reputation cou ld not be allowed those from the same port, frequently of impending disaster. He wrote: "I shall to rest ashore for long. Donald McKay engaged in long distance races for the do all I can to sell her. . . . Your husband was completing the building of the huge glory of becoming "the fastest ship on 1817-ton, 240-foot packet ship Stafford- the seas."9 This particular competition 5 Kittredge, 109. shire. She was launched in East Boston received a great deal of press coverage at 6 Helen and Jacques LaGrange, Clipper Ships on 17 June 1851, two months after the the time. of America and Great Britain, 1833-1869 (G. famous McKay clipper Flying Cloud, The record passage in such an impos- P. Putnam's Sons, New York NY, 1936), 82. 7 which sai led under the command of the ing vessel made Captain Richardson the ln February 1858, the Stag Hound comcompetitive Josiah P. Cressy. Both were center of attention on the San Francisco pleted the passage from Boston Light to the built for the same very successful own- waterfront, a position that would have equator in thirteen days while under the comers, Enoch Train and Company of Bos- tested most masters. In an almost story- mand of a subsequent skipper. No other clipton. The Staffordshire had a scene of book fashion he used his newly acquired per came within three days of this record. She English Staffordshire pottery manufac- prominence by electing to address a also holds the second best time of eight days, twenty hours from San Francisco to Honoturing on one side of her stem and a children's Sunday School meeting. The lulu. similar scene of the Enoch Train busi- following commentary about this epi8 Kittredge, 112-113. ness offices on Lewis Street in Boston sode appears in a sketch about the cap9!bid., 111. on the other. This was to represent a tain: "Here is an anomaly ... . A clipper- 10/bid. , 114. 10

SEA HISTORY 75, AUTUMN 1995

Sea History 075 - Autumn 1995  

6 World War II Is Over-What Did Victory Mean? by Peter Stanford • 8 A Captain from Cape Cod by Louis A. Norton • 12 The Cape Horn Road, Part...

Sea History 075 - Autumn 1995  

6 World War II Is Over-What Did Victory Mean? by Peter Stanford • 8 A Captain from Cape Cod by Louis A. Norton • 12 The Cape Horn Road, Part...

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