Stag Hound
Cutty Sark
Sea Witch
Red Jacket
Glory of the Seas
Great Republic
Flying Cloud
Ariel & Taeping

Shining Sea
Heavy weather
Sailing Card
End of an Era


TOP    Thermopylae     NEXT

Loading tea at Foochow
Departing Foochow for London
1868 - 1907

Designer: Bernard Waymouth of London
Builder: Walter Hood & Co. - Aberdeen, Scotland
Owner: White Star Line (George Thompson & Co.) - Aberdeen, Scotland
Notable Events: Sailed on her maiden voyage from Gravesend to Hobson's Bay, Melbourne, in 63 days. The fastest passage on record.
Final Disposition: Sunk by gunfire and torpedoes by units of the Portuguese Navy at sea off the Tagus.

TOP    Cutty Sark      NEXT

Racing Home
At anchor in Whampoa
1869 - Present

Designer:  Hercules Linton
Builder: Scott & Linton - Dumbarton, Scotland
Owner: "Old White Hat" Jock Willis - London
Notable Events: Sailed on the China Tea Trade for a couple of seasons without distinguishing herself. Was moved over to the Australian wool trade when the tea trade was taken over by the steam ships. Here she proved to be a regularly fast sailer.
- Purchased by Capt. Wilfred Dowman 1922 for £ 3750 and restored for use as a stationary training ship.
Final Disposition: Permanently drydocked as a museum ship since 1949.

Thermopylae vs Cutty Sark
In 1872, Thermopylae left Shanghai with a cargo of tea for London in company with the London clipper Cutty Sark. After racing each other for two weeks Cutty Sark lost her rudder after having passed the Sunda Straits. Thermopylae finally arrived in London only seven days ahead of her rival.

On display in permanent drydock at Greenwich, England
Cutty Sark's namesake, "Nannie"
Cutty Sark is a Scottish word and literally means ‘short shirt’. According to legend, the name comes from the Robert Burns poem ‘Tam O’Shanter’. In the poem, a farmer (Tam O’Shanter) was coming home late one night when he came upon a gathering of witches engaged in some black magic. One of the witches, Nannie, was dressed in a rather skimpy outfit (i.e. ‘short shirt’) and took offense upon discovering the presence of Tam. As the witches chased after Tam, Nannie managed to grab hold of his horse’s tail. The Cutty Sark’s figurehead bears a likeness of Nannie, arm outstretched with the horses tail in her grasp. Presumably, the analogy here is the Cutty Sark would be too fast for any other ship of her time to catch.

A very detailed model of the Cutty Sark

TOP    Glory of the Seas     NEXT
Glory of the Seas
1869 - 1923

Designer: Donald McKay - East Boston.
Builder: Donald McKay - East Boston.
Owner: Built on speculation.
Notable Events: Sailed from New York to San Francisco in 120 days, beating the extreme clipper Sea Serpent (1850) which sailed three days earlier by 15 days.
- October 13 - January 16, 1873. Sailed from New York to San Francisco in 96 days. Although not a record for the passage, no ship would sail it faster after this date.
- Sold to John Barneson of San Francisco, for $8550. He intended to use the ship as a barge.
- Repaired and put under sail again after the San Francisco earthquake (1906).
- This was the last clipper ship built by Donald McKay. The builder's halfmodel is preserved at The Mariners' Museum, Newport News, VA.
Final Disposition: Burned for her metal at Brace Point, West Seattle.

TOP    Challenge      NEXT
1851 - 1877

Designer: William H. Webb - New York
Builder: William H. Webb - New York
Owner: N.L. & G. Griswold - New York
Notable Events: Sailed from New York to San Francisco in 108 days, where Captain Waterman had to relinquish his command due to problems with the crew.
- Put into Fayal very leaky.
- Sailed from San Francisco to China in 49 days. Lost all three top-masts.
- Was completely dis-masted in a typhoon, but managed to get into Hong Kong where she was laid up.
- Arrived at Bombay from Calle leaking badly.
- Had the decks swept clean and lost seven men, including all officers except third mate, in the Indian Ocean on voyage from     South Shields to Anjer with a cargo of coal.
Final Disposition: Lost at Abervache off the French Coast on a voyage from South Shields to Genoa with 1590 tons of coal and a crew of 26 men.

TOP    Dreadnought     NEXT
Dreadnought Approaching New York
1853 -1869

Designer: Unknown
Builder: Currier & Townsend - Newburyport, MA.
Owner: E.D. Morgan & F.B. Cutting - New York.
Notable Events: Collided with and sank the ship John Evans two days out from New York on voyage for Liverpool.
- Sailed from Liverpool for New York. Five days out she encountered a severe gale and lost her rudder. Captain Samuels broke a leg and was almost washed overboard. Having failed to rig a jury-rudder, the ship was sailed backwards under Captain Samuels' directions towards Fayal. Continued to New York after 52 days of repairs.
- Put into Fayal on voyage from Liverpool to New York after having been partly dismasted and the rudder torn away.
 Captain Lytle received injuries from which he subsequently died.
Final Disposition: Drifted ashore and was wrecked on Cape Penas, off Tierra del Fuego. The crew reached Cape San Diego at the Straits of Le Marie after a 17 days long journey in two of the ship's boats.

TOP    Sea Witch      NEXT
Sea Witch coming to anchor at Whampoa
1846 -1856

Designer: John W. Griffiths - New York
Builder: Smith & Dimon - New York
Owner: Howland & Aspinwall - New York.
Notable Events: Left Whampoa for New York where she arrived after 77 days, which was the fastest passage on record.
- Left New York for Hong Kong, but put into Rio de Janeiro with the dead body of Captain Fraser who had been murdered by the first mate. Captain Lang was put in command.
Final Disposition: Wrecked on a reef 12 miles off Havana.

TOP    Great Republic     NEXT
Great Republic
1853 -1872

Designer: Donald McKay - East Boston.
Builder: Donald McKay - East Boston.
Owner: Built on speculation.
Notable Events: Caught fire while at New York loading for Liverpool. The remains of the ship was surrendered to the underwriters for $235,000 from which she was sold to Captain N.B. Palmer for Messrs. A.A. Low and Brothers. She was subsequently rebuilt by Sneeden & Whitlock - Long Island, NY.
- Sailed from New York to London in 17 days.
Final Disposition: Sprang a leak in a hurricane off Bermuda en route from Rio de Janeiro to St. John, NB, and was abandoned with 15 feet of water in the hold.

TOP    Flying Cloud     NEXT
Flying Cloud
1851 -1875

Designer: Donald McKay - East Boston.
Builder: Donald McKay - East Boston.
Owner: Enoch Train - Boston.
Notable Events:- Sailed from New York to San Francisco in 89 days 21 hours under command of Captain Josiah Perkins Cressey. On July 31 she made 374 miles in 24 hours.
- Sailed from New York to San Francisco in 105 days. Passed the Equator on May 15 in the record time of 17 days from Sandy Hook.
- Sailed from New York to San Francisco in 89 days 8 hours. This is the record for the passage.
- Sailed from New York to San Francisco in 185 days under command of Captain Reynard. She is reputed to have sailed 402 miles in 24 hours during that trip.
- Partially dismasted en route San Francisco and put into Rio de Janeiro for repairs where her spars were cut down before she proceeded.
Final Disposition: Went ashore on the Beacon Island bar, St Johns and was condemned and sold. She was subsequently burned for her copper and metal fastenings.

All sails set ... and then some !!

TOP    Stag Hound      NEXT
Stag Hound
1850 -1861

Designer: Donald McKay - East Boston
Builder: Donald McKay - East Boston
Owner: George B. Upton and Sampson & Tappan - Boston
Notable Events: Sailed with a cargo of tea from Whampoa to New York in 94 days. The total profit for the round-trip exceeded $80.000.
- Put into Valparaiso 66 days out of New York. This was the second fastest passage on record.
Final Disposition: A cargo of coal caught fire when approx. 45 miles south of Pernambuco and the ship had to be abandoned.

TOP        Red Jacket        NEXT

Red Jacket
Red Jacket in icefield off Cape Horn
1853 - ?

Designer: Samuel H. Pook.
Builder: George Thomas - Rockland, ME.
Owner: Seacomb & Taylor - Boston.
Notable Events: Sailed from New York to Liverpool in 13 days, 1 hour and 25 minutes, a record which stands to this day. The best day's distance was 413 miles and the poorest 106 miles.
Final Disposition: In the 1880's, she was reduced to a coalbarge at the Cape Verde Islands.

TOP    Lightning      NEXT
1854 -1869

Designer: Donald McKay - East Boston.
Builder: Donald McKay - East Boston.
Owner: Black Ball Line (James Baines & Co.) - Liverpool.
Notable Events: Sailed Boston - Liverpool in 13 days, 20 hours under command of Captain James Nicol Forbes who had left the Marco Polo to take command of Donald McKay's new clipper.
- On March 1, 1854, the Lightning sailed 436 miles, which is the longest day's run recorded by a sailing ship.
- Sailed 430 miles in 24 hours while bound for Australia. This is the second longest day's run recorded by a sailing ship.
Final Disposition: Burned while loading wool at Geelong.

Lightning, James Baines and Red Jacket in Hobson's Bay

TOP    Ariel & Taeping    NEXT
Ariel And Taeping

Ariel: 1865 - 1872
Designer: Unknown
Builder: Robert Steele & Co. - Greenock, Scotland
Owner: Shaw, Lowther, Maxton & Co.
Notable Events: Left Foochow with a cargo of 1.230.900 pounds of tea for London. In the Great Tea Race of 1866, the Ariel docked at East India Docks 20 minutes before the Taeping docked at the London Docks.
- Came second after Sir Lancelot beaten by ? hours after 99 days from Foochow in the Tea Race of 1867.
- Arrived as the first ship to London in the Tea Race of 1868, one hour ahead of Taeping.
Final Disposition: Posted missing outward bound for China.

Taeping: 1863 - 1871
Designer: Unknown
Builder: Robert Steele & Co. - Greenock, Scotland
Owner: Alexander Rodger - Glasgow, Scotland
Notable Events: Sailed from Foochow to London in 99 days with a cargo of 1.108.700 lbs of tea. Finished second in the Great Tea Race of 1866 and docket at the London Docks 20 minutes after the Ariel docked at the East India Docks.
- Sailed from Foochow to London in 102 days arriving as the first ship with 1.099.900 pounds of tea.
Final Disposition: Wrecked on Ladd's Reef in the China Sea under command of Captain Gissing on voyage from Amoy to New York.

TOP    Shining Sea     NEXT
Shining Sea - Artist's rendition
The Shining Sea is a concept clipper. A group of enterprising individuals have come together in Boston to raise money to build a sailing ship modeled on  the design of the original clippers.
From their web page:
"To complete the hull design of Shining Sea , Foundation Trustee and America's Cup consultant, Dr. John Letcher, Jr. developed a computer program which blends the designs of four famous clippers, Sea Witch by John Griffiths, Sovereign of the Seas by Donald McKay, Red Jacket by Samuel Pook and Young America by William Webb".

"Shining Sea's figurehead will portray Mary Ann Patten of East Boston, heroine captain of the clipper Neptune's Car. At 19, she became the first woman to take full command a merchant sailing ship. Her husband Joshua Patten, the ship's captain, standing his own and a villainous mate's watch, collapsed in a coma as the Neptune's Car neared Cape Horn. Mary Ann, six months pregnant, fought battering winter gales for 50 days to round the Horn and complete the passage to San Francisco. Her story of indomitable courage was soon known in every seaport of the world."

TOP        Heavy Weather        NEXT

Seas aboard!
'Greybeards' in the Roarin' 40's

TOP     Handbill      NEXT

TOP     Sailing Card     NEXT
Sailing Card

TOP     End of an Era
End of an Era


Dan Basham UMBC Homepage