The legendary Red Jacket was designed by Samuel Pook and built in George Thomas's yard at Rockland, Maine, in 1853 for the Boston firm of Seacomb & Taylor. Registered at 2,305 tons and measuring 251 feet in length with a 44 foot beam, she sported the figurehead of an Indian warrior having been named after the noted Seneca chief Sagoyewatha famed for the red jacket which he always wore and which had been given to him by a British officer during the American War of Independence.
Leaving New York on her maiden voyage on 11th January 1854, she reached Liverpool after an astonishing run of only 13 days, 1 hour and 25 minutes, dock to dock. This set a record which still stands for the fastest eastbound Atlantic crossing by a fully-rigged sailing ship, an achievement made all the more remarkable given the severe winter weather she encountered. Her reputation thus made, she was immediately chartered by the British-owned White Star Line for a round trip to Australia. The first half of the voyage was slow thanks to light winds and poor trades but her time of 19 days from the Cape of Good Hope to Melbourne has never been bettered or even equalled. Sailing from Melbourne on 3rd August 1854, she returned home - via Cape Horn - in an exceptional 73 days and only narrowly missed another record run for her passengers. On arrival at Liverpool, she was bought by Pilkington & Wilson, the owners of the White Star fleet for £30,000, and thereafter continued voyaging to Australia and later Calcutta until 1868. From then until about 1882, she worked the timber trade between Quebec and London, and eventually ended her days as a coal hulk in the Cape Verde Islands.