List of clipper ships

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Dreadnought, a Fast Clipper Ship, circa 1860, print by Currier and Ives

At the 'crest of the clipper wave' year of 1852, there were 200 clippers rounding Cape Horn.

Notable examples of the clipper ship include:

  • Andrew Jackson, 1855, one of only two clipper ships to complete the U.S. East Coast-San Francisco Cape Horn run in 89 days.
  • Archibald Russell, 1905, a steel-hulled 4-masted barque, 291.3 ft. x 43 ft. x 24 ft., built by Scott Shipbuilding and Engineering Co of Greenock. In 1923 she was sold to Gustaf Erikson, Mariehamn, Åland Islands, Finland and put on the Australian wheat trade. She was scrapped in 1949.
  • Ariel, 1865, 197.4 ft. x 33.9 ft. x 21 ft., designed by William Rennie, built by Robert Steele & Co, Greenock for Shaw, Lowther & Maxton of London. In late 1872 she left London bound for Sydney and was not heard of again.
  • Baba Yaga, 1866. A wooden 160 ft. 3-masted clipper displacing 1,067 tons and built by Robert Steele & Co. Greenock for Matthew Algie of Glasgow. Built as a merchant vessel primarily serving the coffee trade between the horn of Africa and London ports. Lost at sea between London and Johannesburg in October, 1871. Named for Baba Yaga. a character from Eastern European folklore.
  • The Belle of the West, launched in 1853 from Shiverick Shipyards in East Dennis, MA. An extreme clipper with “a slight flare to her bow with a saucy and coquettish look.” Captained by William F. Howes.[1]
  • Blackadder, 1870, (sister ship to Hallowe'en), built by Maudsley, Sons & Field at Greenwich for John Willis. On 5 November 1905 she was wrecked whilst on passage from Barry to Bahia loaded with coal.
  • Challenge, 1851, extreme clipper built by William H. Webb in NYC for the San Francisco run. 230' mainmast, 224' length, 2000 tons, 12,780 yards of sail. Captain Robert Waterman expected to beat Flying Cloud. Brutal treatment of inexperienced crew by Waterman and first mate James Douglass caused riots when San Franciscans heard of the first passage. Wrecked off Ushant, 1876
  • Champion of the Seas designed by Donald McKay, holds the speed record of 465 miles in 24 hours, set in 1854.[2]
  • City of Adelaide, 1864. Oldest surviving hull of a clipper; threatened with demolition in 2010, transported from Scotland to Port Adelaide for preservation in 2014.
  • Cornwallis, 1862. Ship of the Black Ball Line, depicted in The Illustrated London News. Wrecked off the Pitcairn Islands and commemorated on a 1994 set of the Islands' stamps, Pitcairn 403-406, MNH. Michel 432-435
  • Cutty Sark, 1869. Built as a merchant vessel, and then as a training ship until being put on public display in 1954.
  • Donald McKay, 1855, 2604 tons, 266' x 46'3" x 29'5". Named after her designer.[3]
  • Dreadnought, three-masted medium clipper ship built in 1853 by Currier & Townsend, Newburyport, MA. Dimensions: 212'×41'6"×26'6" and tonnage 1414 tons OM and 2337 tons NM. The deadweight of this cargo was 1559,65 tons including 60 tons of ballast. "She possessed the merit of being able to bear driving as long as her sails and spars would stand." [Captain Samuel Samuels] Launched October 6, 1853 at the shipyard of Currier & Townsend, Newburyport, for David Ogden, E.D. Morgan, F.B. Cutting et al., New York. Sailed for the Red Cross Line of New York and Liverpool packets. Was originally intended for the "Racehorse Line" of California clippers. Maiden Voyage: 1853 December 6 Sailed from New York for Liverpool under command of Captain Samuel Samuels.[4] Dreadnought was considered to be possibly the fastest clipper ship. In 1860 she set a new record for New York to Liverpool of only 9 days, 17 hours.[5] That record has never been surpassed by a sailing ship.
  • Eastern State, 1851. Built by George Dunham, Frankfort, ME. 813 tons. 159'x29'x21.6'. Captain Paron C. Kilburn. Departs New York Feb 13, 1852; arrives San Francisco July 12, 1852. Later China. In Callao, Peru July, 1854. In Hampton Roads, VA October 1854. In New York October 18, 1854. 1866 sold to British.
  • Fiery Cross, 1860. Richard 'Dickie' Robinson of Workington was appointed captain of the Fiery Cross in 1861, and under his command she won the tea race three times in the six years. Fiery Cross finished fourth in the famous The Great Tea Race of 1866, won in 99 days.[6](pp152–157, 235) Captain Robinson won the race a further two times when he was in command of Sir Lancelot. On his final passage in 1869, he came home in 89 days, a record that still stands to this day.
  • Flying Cloud, 1851. Holds New York to San Francisco record 89 days 8 hours in 1854, sister ship of the Northern Light. Second copy of the new design that produced the fastest clipper ships (Northern Light was built first).
  • Glory of the Seas
  • Golden Spur built by Peter Ogier of Guernsey for G. F. Carington & Co. Launched October 15, 1864 at St Sampsons, Guernsey by Miss Ellen Rougier. Lost March 1879 run aground on Haiphong bar, Hong Kong. Holds the record for passage from Cardiff to Hong Kong in 90 days (1872).
  • "Great Australia" built for Messrs Baines & Co, Liverpool launched Dec. 1860
  • Great Republic, 1853. Designed by Donald MacKay and built in New York, she was at 335 feet the largest wooden merchant sailing ship ever built, a record that still stands. Before she made her maiden voyage, however, a fire on shore spread to her dock, and she burned to the waterline. She was rebuilt and relaunched.
  • Hallowe’en, 1870 (sister ship to Blackadder), 920 tons, 216.6 ft. x 35.2 ft. x 20.5 ft., built by Maudsley, Sons & Field at Greenwich for John Willis. Due to faults in her sister ship Blackadder, which caused dismasting on her maiden voyage, Hallowe'en was not handed over to Willis for nearly 18 months after her launch due to protracted legal action. Hallowe'en was fast in light airs and recorded many fast passages from China. In 1887 she was on passage from Foochow loaded with tea and was wrecked off Salcombe, South Devon, Britain
  • Hippogriffe, was launched in 1852 from Shiverick Shipyards in East Dennis, MA. It sailed 1,800 miles with a hunk of coral 18 inches in diameter in its hull. [7]
  • Hornet, 1851. Built by Westervelt and Mackay in New York. She burned at sea in 1866. Her crew took to three lifeboats, only one of which eventually reached Hawaii after a voyage of 4300 miles.
  • Houqua, 1844. Laid down along lines designed by packet captain Nat Palmer of Stonington, Connecticut. Built by Brown & Bell of New York for the China merchants A.A. Low & Bro, she was launched in 1844, named after a Chinese merchant who had died the previous year. Dogged by ill luck during her career, she disappeared at sea after leaving Yokohama in 1864.
  • James Baines, 1854. Launched on 25 July from the East Boston shipyard of the famous ship builder Donald McKay in the USA for the Black Ball Line of James Baines & Co., Liverpool. achieved 21 knots speed in 1856
  • John R. Worcester, 1865, composite built clipper, built by Marine Investment Co. Ltd (Glasgow) for John R. Worcester, London. 191'5" x 32'4" x 19'9", 844 tons net.
  • King Philip, 1856, Alna, Maine; wrecked at San Francisco, 1878.
  • Lahloo,1867. Robert Steele & Co., Greenock, for Alexander Rodger, Glasgow, owner james Findlay. Won the 1870 tea race. Wrecked on Sandalwood Island, Sunda Islands, on July 31, 1872. 191' x 32' x 20', 799 tons.
  • Lammermuir, 1856. Built by William Pile of Sunderland for John "Jock" "White Hat" Willis & Son. Wrecked on the Amherst Reef in the Macclesfield Channel, Gaspar Strait on 31 December 1863. 178' x 34' x 22', 953 NRT.
  • Lammermuir,1864. Extreme iron clipper ship built by W. Pile & Co of West Hartlepool for John "Jock" "White Hat" Willis & Son, London. Lost at sea between Adelaide and London 1876. 200' x35' x 21, 1054 NRT.[8]
  • Leander, 1867, composite clipper, 215.5 ft. x 35.2 ft. x 20.7 ft., 848 tons net, designed by Bernard Waymouth (1824–1890), built by J.G. Lawrie, Glasgow for Joseph Somes.
  • Light Brigade, see Ocean Telegraph.
  • Lightning, 1854. Built by Donald McKay for James Baines of the Black Ball Line, Liverpool, for the Australia trade. Second fastest speed record 436 miles in 24 hours on maiden voyage Boston - Liverpool, and third fastest record of 430 miles in 24 hrs going to Australia.
  • Lothair, 1869, iron, 794 tons, built by William Walker at Rotherhithe for their own shipping business. In 1873, she was purchased by Killick, Martin & Co. Lothair sailed on until about 1910.
  • Loch Ard, 1873. Built for the Loch Line. Ran aground on a reef 1 June 1878. 253', 1693 tons.
  • Lookout, 1853. Built by Chase and Davis for E. Buckley and sons. Wrecked in the Japan Sea after being dismasted in a typhoon, 1878. 198' x38' x 22' 1291 tons.
  • Lord of the Isles, 1853. Iron hulled clipper built by Robert Scott & Co., Greenock. Won the tea race 1856. 24 July 1852 caught fire and was abandoned at sea. 185 x 28 x 18, 770 tons OM, 691 tons NM.
  • Marco Polo, 1851. In 1852 she made England-Australia round trip in less than 6 months.
  • Mimosa, 1853, converted to carry Welsh settlers to Patagonia in 1865.
  • National Eagle – 1852 ~ 1884 – Medium clipper built by Joshua T. Foster at Medford, Mass. for Fisher & Co. of Boston – 179’ x 36’ x 24’
  • Neptune's Car — This extreme clipper ship was built in 1853 by Page & Allen, Portsmouth, Virginia. Dimensions 216'×40'×23'6" and tonnage 1,616 (of cargo carrying volume—old measurement). Launched April 16, 1853 for Foster & Nickerson, New York.
  • Newcastle launched in 1857, 1275 tons, was built by W. Pile junior at Sunderland for Richard Green's London to India service.
  • Norman Court, 1869, composite built clipper, 197.4 ft. x 33 ft. x 20 ft., 833.87 tons net, designed by William Rennie, built by A & J Inglis, Glasgow. On the night of 29 March 1883 in a strong gale she was driven ashore and wrecked in Cymmeran Bay.
  • Northern Light, 1851, built in Boston and designed by naval architect Samuel Hartt Pook. His design for the new Northern Light was radically innovative, being raked very sharply below the waterline and with full and powerful lines topside. Arguably, the Northern Light was the fastest of all the clipper ships. In 1853, Northern Light set the record from San Francisco around Cape Horn to an east coast port (Boston) of 76 days 5 hours.
  • Ocean Telegraph, 1854. Renamed Light Brigade 1863. A clipper ship built for Reed, Wade & Co., Boston for the New York to San Francisco run. Built by James O. Curtis, Medford, Massachusetts, to the design of Boston-based naval architect Samuel Hartt Pook. Launched 29 March 1854. Dimensions 227' × 40' × 23' and tonnage 1495 tons Old Measurement. A very sharp clipper said to be one of the most perfect ships ever built as no expense was spared to make her so.
  • Phoenician, 478 tons, White Star line, first clipper ship to go to Australia, arrived Port Jackson July 21, 1849, a trip of 91 days.
  • Queen Of Nations, 1861, 827 tons, built in Aberdeen, wrecked in 1881 with a cargo of distilled spirits
  • Rainbow, 1844. Sometimes called the first of the true clipper ships, designed by John W. Griffiths and built by Smith & Dimon of New York for China merchants Howland & Aspinwall. So extensive was criticism of her radical design that Howland & Aspinwall delayed her construction, weighing a redesign, while rivals Brown & Bell, also of New York, completed and launched the clipper Houqua for China merchants A.A. Low & Bro. Rainbow was not launched until Feb 1845, 9 months after Houqua.
  • Red Jacket, 1853, 260 ft. x 44 ft., 4,000 tons net. Designed by Samuel Hartt Pook, built by the George Taylor yards, Rockland. Her maiden voyage, from New York to Liverpool set an unbroken dock to dock speed record of 13 days, one hour and 25 minutes. She originally sailed the Liverpool to Melbourne run. In 1854 she set another record from Liverpool to Melbourne of 67 days, 13 hours. In 1870 she was sold into the Canadian timber trade, and in 1882 was sent to the Cape Verde Islands, where she expired as a coal hulk.[9]
  • Scawfell, 1858, built of wood, strengthened by iron braces, by Charles Lamport of Workington, Cumberland. In 1861 she made the record voyage under Captain Robert Thomson of 88 days from Whampoa to Liverpool (85 days pilot to pilot).
  • Sea Nymph, 1852. She was built in Fairhaven, Mass and was one of the largest ships of her time at 1253 tons She was employed in the New York to San Francisco trade and carried freight as well as passengers. She was lost in the storm on Point Reyes, California in May, 1861.
  • Sea Witch, 1846. 170 ft, 3 in. Her 140 ft mainmast carried 5 tiers of sails, as did the shorter fore and mizzen masts. In 1849 she made a record-setting run from Hong Kong to New York in 74 days under Captain Robert "Bully Bob" Waterman. The previous record, also held by Sea Witch and Captain Waterman, was 77 days, set in 1847.
  • Serica 1863, built by Robert Steele & Co, Greenock for the China tea trade. Participated in The Great Tea Race of 1866.
  • Sir Lancelot, 1865, 197.6 ft. x 33.7 ft. x 21 ft., 886 tons net, built by Robert Steele & Co, Greenock. Richard 'Dickie' Robinson of Workington was appointed captain. Robinson had already won three tea races as the commander of Fiery Cross, before placing a disappointing fourth in The Great Tea Race of 1866 which was won in 99 days.[6] Captain Roinson won the race a further two times with Sir Lancelot. On his final passage in 1869, he came home in 89 days, a record that still stands to this day. In 1895 under Persian ownership, she was rumoured to have sunk on 1 October during a cyclone near Sand Heads, Calcutta whilst on passage from the Red Sea loaded with salt.
  • Snow Squall, 1851. Small clipper, 800 tons, built for the China trade. Largest surviving piece of an American extreme clipper, was used as a dock in Port Stanley Falkland Islands. 19 feet of her bow is now in S Portland, Maine in a purpose-built museum.
  • Sovereign of the Seas, 1852, 258 ft, the fastest and longest ship yet built when she was launched in New York, designed and built by Donald Mackay, America's foremost clipper designer. On her maiden voyage, she sailed New York to San Francisco in 103 days. This ship achieved the fastest ever recorded speed of a sailing vessel (22 knots).
  • Stad Amsterdam, 2000, clipper, built for the Randstad and the City of Amsterdam.
  • Stag, 1854, built in LaHave, Nova Scotia, known for her dramatic Aberdeen bow and fast Atlantic passages.
  • Stag Hound, 1850, extreme clipper, designed by Donald McKay and built in Boston. When built, she was the largest vessel in the American merchant marine; the record did not last long.
  • Sweepstakes, 1853, clipper built by Westervelt & McKay, held the record for the New York-Bombay run.
  • Syren, 1851, extreme clipper, the longest lived of all the clipper ships, at 68 years 7 months. Syren sailed in the San Francisco trade, in the Far East, and transported whaling products from Hawaii and the Arctic to New Bedford.
  • Tayleur, 1854. Designed by William Rennie of Liverpool and built for owners Charles Moore & Company.
  • Taeping, 1863. Winner of The Great Tea Race of 1866, docking just twenty minutes ahead of Ariel after racing more than 14,000 miles in 99 days.
  • Taitsing, 1865, composite clipper, 192 ft. x 31.5 ft. x 20.15 ft., built by Charles Connell & Co, Glasgow.
  • Thermopylae, 1868. A composite clipper ship built by Walter Hood & Co of Aberdeen to the design of Bernard Waymouth of London for the White Star Line of Aberdeen.
  • Ticonderoga, 1849. A 169 ft. 4-masted clipper displacing 1,089 tons, launched at Williamsburg, New York. The Ticonderoga was infamous for her "fever ship" voyage in 1852 from Liverpool to Port Phillip carrying 795 passengers. 100 passengers died during the voyage of what was later determined to have been typhus.
  • Torrens, 1875. Built in Sunderland and designed to carry passengers and cargo between London and Port Adelaide, South Australia. She was the fastest ship to sail on that route, and the last sailing ship on which Joseph Conrad would serve before embarking on his writing career.
  • The Wild Hunter, launched in 1855 from Shiverick Shipyards, East Dennis, MA. [10]
  • Windhover (clipper 1868) Constructed by Charles Connell & Company of Scotstoon on river Clyde near Glasgow Scotland. Owner: Findlay & Co; A Tea Clipper 847 tons of composite structure; Placed second with a passage of 100 days from Foochow China to London UK 1870. Lost after striking a reef at Bramble Cay, Queensland Australia August 20, 1889.
  • Witchcraft, 1850. A clipper ship built by Paul Curtis and Mr. Taylor, and designed by Samuel Hartt Pook.
  • Witch of the Wave, 1851, extreme clipper, built by George Raynes, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She held the record passage from Calcutta to Boston, and sailed for over 30 years.
  • Young America, 1853. Built by William Webb of New York.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Lyon, Jane D (1962), Clipper Ships and Captains, New York: American Heritage Publishing, p. 138, Besides the breath-taking 465-nautical-mile (861 km) day's run of the Champion of the Seas, there are thirteen other cases of a ship's sailing over 400 nautical miles (740 km) in 24 hours... And with few exceptions all the port-to-port sailing records are held by the American clippers. 
  3. ^ Lars Bruzelius (January 5, 2001). "Donald McKay". Retrieved 2007-11-29. 
  4. ^ "ShipWiki, Dreadnought". Retrieved 2012-03-22. 
  5. ^ "New York Times: May 19, 1908". Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  6. ^ a b MacGregor, David R. (1983). The Tea Clippers, Their History and Development 1833-1875. Conway Maritime Press Limited. ISBN 0 85177 256 0. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Lloyd's Register of Shipping. Lloyd's Register. 1871. Retrieved 21 December 2014. 
  9. ^ Doris A. Isaacson, ed. (1970). Maine: A Guide "Down East" (second ed.). Rockland, Maine: Courier-Gazette, Inc. Maine League of Historical Societies and Museums. pp. 261–262.  (First edition).
  10. ^