Monday, November 24, 2014

She is Now a Crack Clipper -- November 24, 2014

The drawing is from the 01-November-1896 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. Click on the image for a larger view.

The Lancing Was Formerly a Smart Ocean Steamer.
Two Years Ago She Was Sold and Transformed Into a Sailing Ship.
Narrow Escape Daring a Brush With the Progreso Off the Golden Gate.

The British ship Lancing now discharging at Green-street wharf is one of the handsomest vessels in port. She was originally a steamer and was built for the French Transatlantic Company a quarter of a century ago. At that time the vessel was known as the Periere, having been named after the millionaire president of the company. She cost nearly a million dollars to build and at that time was the fastest vessel on the run between Europe and New York. Her best average was sixteen knots an hour, but during the last run from Swansea to this port under sail the vessel made as good as 18 knots
on many occasions.

After posing as a record-breaker for five years the Periere was ousted from her proud position by some of the new transatlantic liners and later she was sold to a syndicate. Captain Hatfield, her commander, took charge of the vessel and changed her into the present magnificent specimen of marine architecture. She is fitted with water ballast which can be loaded or unloaded at the rate of 100 tons an hour. The cabin accommodations are of the best and all in all the Lancing is one of the finest and most commodious vessels that come to San Francisco.

Captain Hatfield is well known here, and a more genial or better-liked master does not come to this port. On this occasion he is accompanied by his wife and daughter.

The erstwhile steamer, and now smartest sailing vessel afloat, nearly met her fate on the 21st inst. She was almost in collision with the steamer Progreso, and both vessels carry marks of the encounter.

Talking about the matter yesterday Captain Hatfield said:

"It was just after midnight, and a high wind was blowing. We were feeling our way toward the Golden Gate when all of a sudden there was a cry of  'Light on the starboard bow!' Before the echoes had ceased an immense steamer came rushing out of the gloom and a disastrous collision seemed inevitable. The Lancing's helm was put hard over, and it seemed an eternity before the ship fell off.

"We just cleared the steamer's bowsprit and cathead while our forebrace fouled his bridge.

"I could almost have jumped aboard as she passed our stern and rushed out of sight into the fog. The whole affair only took up a minute of time and nothing could have saved either vessel if they had come together."

Captain "Alec" Swanson brought the Lancing into port. She came in under sail and at the time, the bar was breaking.

"I never handled a finer vessel in my life, and she is the 'dryest' ship I ever set foot on," was the pilot's comment.  Captain Hatfield was lost in thought for a moment and then he said: "Captain Swanson, the ship can take care of herself for a few moments: let's go and splice the mainbrace."

"No, sir," was the answer. "When I meet you ashore we'll have a drink together, but not at sea. What I meant by a dry ship is that, in spite of her beam, I have never crossed the bar when it was breaking in a vessel that takes as little water aboard as this one."

The accompanying sketch is drawn from a picture furnished Mr. Coulter by Captain Hatfield.

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