Three ships - an American Three-Masted Steam Schooner, a British Sailing Royal Navy Frigate and a British Sidewheel Steam Naval Frigate - are all challenged by a tempestuous sea in this English Channel crossing scene. The British sailors work in unison to reef and employ sails on both frigates, running with the heavy, wind-driven sea towards Ramsgate, while the fore-and-aft rigged steam schooner burns her boilers while keeping her sails up to help stabilize the pitch and roll of the American ship, headed to continental Europe. Buttersworth has expertly detailed the actions of the men, their ships and the dramatic setting. Many other ships lay at anchorages off the Kent coast, showing from the Cliffs of Dover to the fortifications of Ramsgate.
This early visit by an American sail/steam vessel to England is remarkable. The first such transatlantic voyage happened in 1819, by the historic S.S. SAVANNAH, and it’d take almost 20 years to be repeated. Among the first names of American Steam Schooners to make British ports, ASP, HARRIET, and BRUTUS are among those recorded. MIDAS, a steam schooner owned by Robert Bennett Forbes, was the first American steamship to China, in 1844.
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