LAUNCH OF THE " R. H. RAE "
On Monday last, Messrs. Donaldson and Andrews launched one of the most beautiful , and, as nautical men assure us, most sea-worthy Barques ever set afloat from the St. Catharines Ship-yard. As a piece of naval archicetcure she is pronounced second to none on the Lakes, either for beauty, durability or speed, and we have been informed she will pass A No .I, with a Star, the last a distinction much coveted, but seldom realized. The R. H. RAE, was buiLt for Rae Brothers & Co. of Hamilton, in honor of one of the members of which firm she was christened.
Her tonnage is 42,121 90-5ths; Length of Keel, 155 feet; Breadth of Beam, 26 feet; Depth of Hold, 11½ feet. All the more recent and valuable improvements in shipbuilding have been adopted by Messers D. & A., and the R. H. RAE has received the benefits of their enterprize. She is the first Canadian vessel that has had "Cunningham's Patent Self-Reefing Top-sail applied, and considering the vast saving of life, money and time this will effect.
We hope to see the example followed by other ship-builders throughout the Country. One of the Top-sails of the 'Rae' was, on Monday, reefed and unreefed in the short space of three minutes, without a single man going aloft, and herein consists its superiority over the old plan. Lives were frequently lost by the men being precipitated from the yards into the water by the lurch of the vessel, and drowned; and it was sometimes found impossible in very heavy and severe storms, to reef the top-sails at all, therby subjecting the vessel to all the dangers incident to carrying too much sail above. Captain Warner of Boston was the first to introduce this improvement into America, and as agent of Patentee, was here on Monday last, and expressed himself highly pleased with the enterprize of Messrs. Donaldson & Andrews, and the workinglike manner in which the vessels are turned out.
There are other improvements upon the 'Rae' which Messrs D. & A. claim as their own, and which they assert, with great reason, will add much to the strength of their vessels. Instead of, as formerly, finishing the "Ceiling" at or below the Arch, they continued up to the deck, against the "Ribs", then the Arch is put on, and over that the "Clamp". Although this process consumes a few feet more of wood, it is contended that the additional strength and consequent security obtained, more than counterbalances the expenditure.
Another improvement is placing two strong iron bars behind each mast, down through the keelson, instead of alongside the center-board box, according to the usual plan. Around the center-board is generally the strongest portion of a vessel, and if leaks do occurr in the box, they are always caused by the action of the masts, but the principle adopted by the builders of the 'Rae' will obviate all such inconveniences in the future, and keep that part as watertight as any other portion of the craft.
The RAE has also a double "Bulkhead", a precaution against accident that will be easily appreciated and comprehended by those not at all acquainted with sea-faring life.
The launch itself was performed in magnificient style, Miss Andrews, eldest daughter of one of the firm, performed the aggreeable task of giving the Barque her name, the R. H. RAE sliding off the "weighs" into her destined element in a smooth and easy manner and the wish was expressed by many present that the GREAT EASTERN had met with like success, as she was to have been launched only a few hours previous to the noble Barque.
Afloat the R. H. RAE is a 'perfect picture', and we hope she may long navigate the lakes, an honor to the enterprize of her builders and owners.
Captain Bowman, who is well known on these waters, will command her, and after making one trip to Chicago and back this fall, he will return to winter here, when the R. H. RAE will be loaded next spring with a cargo for the "Old Country". The parties therefore concerned in the RAE will deserve some of the credit due to the pioneers of the through trade as she will be the fourth vessel within five years to attempt the same voyage. This trade will yet engage hundreds of vessels, and must ultimately assume a magnitude which we of the present day cannot comprehend. After the launch had been satifactorily completed, a few friends retired into the office of Messrs Donaldson and Andrews where a number of appropriate and well deserved toasts were proposed and responded too.
The employees also enjoyed themselves in fine style on the premises and liberality of their employers having furnished them with the necessary articles to make themselves happy and jovial over so auspicious an event as the launching of the first vessel,an event which usually attracts more attention than the birth of a son and heir, and is of infinitely greater anxiety and concern to the interested individual.
St. Catharines Journal
October 8th. 1857
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LAUNCH of " R. H. RAE " of Hamilton, 400 tons, three masts, from the shipyard of Donaldson & Andrews, St. Catharines, on October 7th. 1857
October 8, 1857