She was built at Glasgow in 1869, for Bhaw * Maxton, for their China Tea Clipper Line, and, together with the Ariel and Titania, two sister vessels, was designed expressly for speed. While in the China trade they were assisted in calm weather by steam, having an auxiliary screw.
Basil Lubbock in his book "The Chine Clippers" writes: Before turning to the tea race of 1870,I must say words about “Oberon”,the ship which Captain Keay left “Ariel” to take command of. ”Oberon”was experiment of Maxton’s,one of those failures as auxiliary steamers which, when their screws were remowed,proved very fine sailing vessels.It is curious that this was by no means uncommon with early full-rigged steamers.The mention of the following names,the “Tweed”,”Oberon”,Daeling Downs”,”Lady Jocelyn”,and “Lancing” will show how successful the steamship design has been under sail. But her best speed under steam,at a coal concumption of 7 tons a day,was only 7 knots an hour,and she proved to be quite unable to stem a strong head wind and sea. She cost 35000 to build,and thus was a very constly experiment.Her black squad consisted of two engineers and three firemen.These poor wretches had a very bad time in the tropics,as in those days the ventilation of engine room and stokehole was most primitive.Capitain Keay,after a very worrying voyage, managed to get her home from Hankow via the Cape in 115days.He then left her for another troublesome steam kettle. Oberon's second voyage, with a less experienced captain, was an even greater disappointment than her first. She started well by making Port Said under sail alone in 18 days from Plymouth. The sails were then put in the gaskets and steam raised for the passage of the Canal and Red Sea. All went well until she was nearing the southern end of the Red Sea, when a strong southerly wind absolutely stopped her headway. Hoping that this would soon take off, the captain anchored off Mocha. But eight days passed and still the southerly wind blew as strong as ever, so Oberon was at last compelled to beat through Laage Strait under both steam and canvas. This soon consumed her limited supply of coal, and she was obliged to put into Aden to refill her bunkers. Coaling was again a necessity at Labuan. Her next trouble was going up the Yangtze to Hankow. With great difficulty she managed to stem the 7 -knot current as far as the Orphan Rock, but here the current became so fierce that her headway was completely stopped. Thereupon her engineer did what many another engineer was compelled to do in those early days of the steam engine, he jammed down the safety valve and raised the working pressure from 30 to 45 lbs. This desperate expedient just got her past the Orphan Rock in safety. On the homeward run she took 134 days from Hankow via the Cape. Two such voyages were enough. Her machinery was removed, and hence- forth she depended on sail alone with infinitely better results. The Obеron is a composite ship, and a glance at the vessel below shows that for strength nothing can surpass her. Her planking, of teak-wood, is as smooth as glass, and, with her beautiful entrance and fine ran, there Is nothing to prevent her from sailing. ”Oberon” was heavily rigged with three skysail yards,and when under sail alone proved a very fast,handy vessel and splendid sea boat.Her great length (241 feet, with a beam of but 36 feеt.) gives her good sailing power, and that she possesses this power In a remarkable degree has been fairly proved by various performances, which we give as follows : She made a voyage from Melbourne to London in 74 days and from Sydney to Melbourne in 8O days ; was 76 days from London to New Zealand ; made a voyage from this port lo Liverpool in 91 days, and came from Hongkong to this port In 37 days. One of her most remarkable performances was her last round voyage from London to New Zealand, and thence to this port in 121 sailing days, considerable less than the average of passages from New York or England direct to this port. The design of the Malawi stamp is made after painting of Montague Dawson.
Source:books.google.nl/books?id=iD60BgAAQBAJ&pg=PA302&dq=Oberon+clipper+ship. https://archive.org/stream/cu3192402415 ... 7_djvu.txt. http://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d= ... 2.19&srpos.
The full index of our ship stamp archive
1 post • Page 1 of 1