Sovereign of the Seas (clipper)

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For other ships of this name, see Sovereign of the Seas.
Sovereign of the Seas
Career (United States)
Builder: Donald McKay of East Boston, MA
Launched: 1852
Fate: Wrecked in the Strait of Malacca, on voyage from Hamburg to China, 1859.[1]
General characteristics
Class & type: Extreme clipper
Tons burthen: 2421 tons.
Length: 252 ft. (76.8m)
Beam: 45.6 ft. (13.9m)
Draft: 29.2 ft. (8.9m)
Notes: Has held the record for the fastest speed ever for a sailing ship, 22 knots (41 km/h, 25 mph), since 1854

The Sovereign of the Seas, a clipper ship built in 1852, was a sailing vessel notable for setting the 1854 world record for fastest sailing ship—22 knots.

Sovereign of the Seas has held this record for over 100 years.

Notable passages[edit]


Built by Donald McKay of East Boston, Massachusetts, Sovereign of the Seas was the first ship to travel more than 400 miles[clarification needed] in 24 hours. On the second leg of her maiden voyage, she made a record passage from Honolulu, Hawaii to New York[clarification needed] in 82 days. She then broke the record to Liverpool, England, making the passage in 13 days 13.5 hours. In 1853 she was chartered by James Baines & Co. of the Black Ball Line, Liverpool for the Australia trade.

Fastest speed ever recorded for a sailing ship[edit]

In 1854, Sovereign of the Seas recorded the fastest speed ever for a sailing ship, logging 22 knots (41 km/h, 25 mph).[2]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lars Bruzelius. "Sailing Ships: Sovereign of the Seas". Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  2. ^ Octavius T. Howe; Frederick G. Matthews (1986). American Clipper Ships 1833-1858 1. New York. ISBN 0-486-25115-2. 
  3. ^ Nathaniel Currier (1852). "Sailing Ships: Sovereign of the Seas, hand-colored lithograph". Springfield Museums Michele & Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 


  • Lyon, Jane D (1962). Clipper Ships and Captains. New York: American Heritage Publishing. 
  • Lars Bruzelius (February 15, 2000). "Sovereign of the Seas". Retrieved 2007-11-27.