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Illustrated London News, March 22, 1862.
This vessel, the second largest mercantile steamer in the world, was built by Messrs. Napier and Sons, of Glasgow (under the orders of Messrs. Burns, of that city), for the Cunard or British and North American Royal Mail Steam-packet Company. She was launched in June last; and on the 5th inst. She made her trial-trip on the Clyde-a highly satisfactory one, notwithstanding the unpropitious state of the weather. The distances were performed under the following conditions:-Against a strong flood tide, and also against a double-reefed topsail breeze of wind, from the Cloch to Cumbrae Light in 59 minutes; after passing the Little Cumbrae, the Scotia was brought round with great ease, and performed the upward run between the Cumbrae and Cloch Lights, but on this occasion with wind and tide in her favour, in 49 minutes-mean time, 54 minutes. The rates of speed will be understood by the following:--
It is anticipated that under ordinary circumstances the maximum speed of the Scotia will be about nineteen miles an hour. The trial referred to was made to test the efficiency and speed of the vessel for the mail service, which was done under the superintendence of Mr. John Dinnen, inspector of machinery, and Mr. James Luke, master shipwright of the Admiralty, Whitehall; the Board of Trade being locally represented by Mr. George Barber, shipwright surveyor, and mr. H.R. Robson, inspector of machinery for the Clyde.
On the following day the Scotia started for Liverpool, making the run from the Cloch Lighthouse on the Clyde to the Bell Buoy at the mouth of the Mersey in 12 hours 4 minutes. The machinery worked admirably, and, in proof that the vessel is perfectly manageable, she was easily moved round in the Mersey within her own length. A person who was on board during the trip to Liverpool states that she is "as stiff as a church."
The Scotia is to be under the command of Captain Judkins, the commodore of the Cunard fleet, who has moved his flag from the Persia, in which he has so long, and so ably distinguished himself. Captain Judkins has received his commission as Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserve. The appointment was made in the most complimentary manner in which the Board of Admiralty, in conjunction with the Board of Trade, could make it; the date of Captain Judkins's services being fixed by them as commencing in November, 1846, so that he will have a long priority as to service consideration.
Messrs. Robert Napier and Sons, of Glasgow, to whose eminence as marine architects and engineers it is quite unnecessary to advert, are, as before stated, the builders of the Scotia's hull and engines. The dimensions are:-Keel and fore-rake, 867 ft.; beam, moulded, 47 ft. 6 in.; depth for tonnage, 31 ft.; gross tonnage, 3871 tons; allowance for propelling power, 1509 tons; registered tonnage, 2362 tons. The Scotia is propelled by two side lever engines of the nominal power of 1000 horses, with 100-inch cylinders, and a twelve-feet stroke of piston. She has accommodation for 573 first-class passengers, and can be altered or fitted up at a day's notice to accommodate with ease 1500 troops.
A few particulars relating to the construction of the Scotia, from the Glasgow Daily Herald, will be read with interest:--
"Stupendous as the Scotia is, the lines of beauty have been so well worked out in the preparation of her model that her appearance is singularly graceful. This mighty fabric, so beautiful as a whole, is made up of innumerable pieces of ponderous metal, welded, jointed, and riveted[sic] into each other with exceeding deftness. The keel consists of several bars of iron, about 35ft. in length each, joined together by long scarfs, and is, as a whole, 14in. deep by 4in. thick. The framing is constructed in a manner at once peculiar and securing the greatest possible amount of strength. Amidships the framing is of places, 4-angle iron running up to the gunwale; and towards the stem and stern there are angle-irons in the usual way. The framing of the ship is very heavy. The space between each frame is 21in., and the powerful frames or ribs themselves vary from 10in. to 7in. in depth, with double angle-irons at outer or inner edges. The bow is also constructed in a peculiar manner, affording the greatest possible strength to this important part of the ship. The framing of the bow is placed diagonally, the effect of which is that, in the case of collision with other ships, or with rocks or icebergs, the strain would fall upon the very strongest material withing the structure, and the Scotia would have a good chance of safety and successful resistance, while ordinary vessels would indeed be in great peril. In addition to the kelsons and girders of the usual form, give the ship prodigious strength. The ship, under any circumstances, must be of tremendous strength to pass the Government surveyors; but the builders have gone further than even this, and have put back-bones and ribs into the vessel to give her extra strength. It is true that the Cunard liners during their long career have been almost exempt from maritime disaster; still it is not the less pleasing and praiseworthy that the British and North American Steam-ship Company readily seize all the appliances of science and art, and think rather of what may happen than of what has not happened. The other ships built hitherto in connection with this line have been all fine vessels, but as time rolls on experience increases; and in the present case the result of an experience gathered amid the tremendous gales of the Atlantic have been embodied in this fine specimen of naval architecture. The vessel is not clinker-built, as some vessels are now, the plates of the ship being laid alternately, so that one adds strength to the other, and they form a whole of wonderful compactness and solidity. The keel-plates are 1 1-16th of an inch in thickness; at the bottom of the ship the plates are 15-16ths of an inch in thickness; from this section to the loadwater they are 7-8ths of an inch, and above this they are an inch in thickness.
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