Sovereign of the Seas (clipper)

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Sovereign of the Seas
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 and 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

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 nautical miles in 24 hours.[2] On the second leg of her maiden voyage, she made a record passage from Honolulu, Hawaii to New York City 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 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).[3]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lars Bruzelius. "Sailing Ships: Sovereign of the Seas". Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  2. ^ "San Francisco Commerce, Past, Present and Future". Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine. April 1888. p. 370. Retrieved 23 December 2016. 
  3. ^ Octavius T. Howe; Frederick G. Matthews (1986). American Clipper Ships 1833-1858. 1. New York. ISBN 0-486-25115-2. 
  4. ^ 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 (15 February 2000). "Sovereign of the Seas". Retrieved 2007-11-27.