White Wings Vol I. Fifty Years Of Sail In The New Zealand Trade, 1850 TO 1900
On her maiden voyage the Red Jacket sailed from New York for Liverpool on February 19, 1854, commanded by Captain Asa Eldridge, and made the passage in 13½ days from Sandy Hook to the Rock Light, Liverpool. During the entire run the wind was strong from the S.E. and W.S.W., with either rain or snow. The first seven days the Red Jacket averaged only 182 miles per 24 hours, but during the last six days she made 219, 413, 374, 343, 300 and 371 miles, a fraction over an average of 336 miles in 24 hours.
On her first appearance at Liverpool the Red Jacket attracted much attention as being an extremely handsome ship. One of the papers, reporting her arrival, stated: "She is one of the finest models that we have hitherto had the pleasure to behold." For a figurehead she carried a full length representation of the Indian chief after whom she was named. On this occasion she raced home with the celebrated Lightning, which sailed from Boston a day before the Red Jacket. Both ships arrived at their destination on the same day.