Thermopylae (clipper)

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For other uses, see Thermopylae (disambiguation).
M. Reilly.Clipper ship Thermopylae.JPG
Thermopylae - chromolithograph by M. Reilly
Career (United Kingdom)
Name: Thermopylae
Builder: Walter Hood & Co, Aberdeen
Launched: 1868
Notes: Design of Bernard Weymouth, London
Career (Kingdom of Portugal)
Name: Pedro Nunes or Pedro Nunez
Fate: Torpedoed at sea, Oct. 13, 1907, off Cascais
General characteristics
Class & type: Composite extreme clipper; naval training ship
Tons burthen: 991 GRT, 948 NRT
Length: 212 ft (64.6 m)
Beam: 36 ft (11.0 m)
Draught: 20 ft 9 in (6.3 m)

Thermopylae was an extreme composite clipper ship built in 1868 by Walter Hood & Co of Aberdeen, to the design of Bernard Weymouth of London.

Construction[edit]

Lines of Thermopylae

Thermopylae was built for the Aberdeen Line, which was founded in 1825 by George Thompson. She measured 212'0" × 36'0" × 20'9", with tonnage 991 GRT, 948 NRT and 927 tons under deck. The under deck coefficient was 0,58. Rigged with royal sails, single topgallant and split top-sails.

Records set in tea trade[edit]

Thermopylae was designed for the China tea trade, and set speed records on her maiden voyage to Melbourne—63 days, still the fastest trip under sail.

Race with Cutty Sark[edit]

Thermopylae

In 1872, Thermopylae raced the clipper Cutty Sark from Shanghai back to London. Thermopylae won by seven days after Cutty Sark lost her rudder. From 1882 onward, Thermopylae took part in the Australian wool trade; however, on this route the Cutty Sark proved faster.

Naval training ship[edit]

Thermopylae at sea wall, San Francisco, California, 1880

In 1897 she was sold to Portugal for use as a naval training ship and renamed the Pedro Nunes. On 13 October 1907, the Portuguese Navy towed her down the Tagus river using two warships, and before Amelia de Orleans, Queen of Portugal, she was torpedoed with full naval honours off Cascais.

Further reading[edit]

  • Day, Thomas Fleming (1919). "Designs, Clipper Ship Thermopylae". Rudder 35 (December) (New York: The Rudder Publishing Co). pp. 583–585. OCLC 1764636. 
  • Hume, Cyril L.; Armstrong, Malcolm C. The Cutty Sark and Thermopylae Era of Sail. Glasgow: Brown, Son & Ferguson, 1987 (hardcover, ISBN 0-85174-500-8).
  • Matheson, Marny. Clippers for the record: The story of ship Thermopylae, S.S. Aberdeen, and Captain Charles Matheson. Melbourne: Spectrum, 1984 (ISBN 0-86786-051-0).
  • Crosse, John; Thermopylae and the Age of Clippers. Historian Publishers, Vancouver.

External links[edit]