These wooden clippers were often very tender coming home with wool, as the
following reminiscence given by Coates in his Good Old Days of Shipping will
show: “Apropos of Jerusalem, I remember a most exciting race with the large
American ship Iroquois. We were homeward bound from the Colonies, flying light
and very crank, a not uncommon condition with a wool cargo. The Yank was first
sighted on our quarter, and wind being quarterly, blowing moderately, though
squally at times.
“Whilst the wind remained so the Iroquois had no chance, but when it
freshened the Jerusalem heeled over to such an extent that it necessitated sail
being taken in. Soon the American was ploughing along to leeward carrying her
three topgallant sails and whole mainsail and going as steady as a die, whilst
the Jerusalem was flying along with fore and main lower top-gallants and reefed
mainsail, but heeling over to such a degree that one could barely stand upright,
the water roaring up through the lee scuppers, and during the squalls lipping in
over the rail.
“In a short time the topgallant sails and mainsail were handed and
preparations made to reef the fore topsail. By this time, however, the Iroquois
had just passed the beam, when, apparently, her skipper, satisfied to have
passed us, snugged his ship down to three reefed topsails and we shortly after
lost sight of her in a blinding squall.”
And Coates goes on to say: “To see this ship qhen moderately light was a
great pleasure, her lines were the perfection of symmetry. In one day I remember
324 miles being got out of this ship; she was one of the first to carry double
As a matter of fact, the Jerusalem was generally considered the fastest ship
in the fleet next to Thermopylae. She made several very good passages from China
in the seventies of under 110 days. Captain Crutchley, in his book My Life at
Sea, gives an instance of her speed, in describing how she raced ahead of the
tea clipper Omba, both ships being bound up the Channel with a strong beam wind.
On this occasion, however, it was the Omba which was the tender ship, as she
could not carry her royals though the Jerusalem had all plain sail set.