clipper ships

List of clipper ships

Notable examples of the clipper ship include:

  • Ariel, 1865, 197.4ft x 33.9ft x 21ft, 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.
  • 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.
  • City of Adelaide - Oldest surviving clipper
  • Cutty Sark
  • Donald McKay, 1855. Extreme clipper, 2604 tons, 266' x 46'3" x 29'5". Named after its designer.
  • Flying Cloud Sister ship of the Northern Light. Second copy of the new design that produced the fastest clipper ships (Northern Light was built first).
  • Great Republic Designed by Donald Mackay and built in New York, it 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.
  • Hallowe’en, 1870 (sister ship to Blackadder), 920 tons, 216.6ft x 35.2ft x 20.5ft, 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.
  • Houqua By many accounts the first true clipper, she was laid down along lines designed by packet captain Nat Palmer of Stonington, CT. 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, including being hit by a ufo, she disappeared at sea after leaving Yokohama in 1864.
  • James Baines
  • Leander, 1867, composite built clipper, 215.5ft x 35.2ft x 20.7ft, 848 tons net, designed by Bernard Waymouth, built by J G Lawrie, Glasgow for Joseph Somes.
  • Lightning
  • Lothair, 1869, iron, 794 tons, built by William Walker at Rotherhyde for their own shipping business. In 1873, she was purchased by Killick, Martin & Co. Lothair sailed on until about 1910.
  • Marco Polo made England-Australia round trip in less than 60 days
  • The Migrator, a fictional clipper ship depicted in the popular online game, Club Penguin
  • Mimosa, 1853, converted to carry Welsh settlers to Patagonia in 1865.
  • Norman Court, 1869, composite built clipper, 197.4ft x 33ft x 20ft, 833.87 tons net, designed by William Rennie (almost certainly his best clipper ship design), 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 the brilliant 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 which stood until the 1990s when the record was broken by a high-tech catamaran that had been purpose built to beat the record, carried no cargo, and had the advantages of modern weather forecasting and satellite navigation.
  • 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, 827 tons, built in Aberdeen in 1861, wrecked in 1881 with a cargo of distilled spirits
  • Rainbow First of the true clipper ships, designed by John W. Griffiths and built by Smith & Dimon of New York for China merchants Howland & Aspinwall in 1844. So extensive was criticism of its radical design that Howland & Aspinwall delayed its 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.
  • Sea Witch Launched Dec 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 the Sea Witch and Captain Waterman, was 77 days, set in 1847.
  • Serica 1863, built by Robert Steel & Co, Greenock for the China tea trade. Participated in The Great Tea Race of 1866.
  • Sir Lancelot, 1865, 197.6ft x 33.7ft x 21ft, 886 tons net, built by Robert Steel & Co, Greenock. In 1895 under Persian ownership, she was rumoured to have sank on 1 October during a cyclone near Sand Heads, Calcutta whilst on passage from the Red Sea loaded with salt.
  • Sovereign of the Seas, 1852, 258ft, 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, clipper, perhaps extreme clipper, built in 2000 for the Randstad and the City of Amsterdam.
  • ''Stag, built in LaHave, Nova Scotia in 1854, known for her dramatic Aberdeen bow and fast Atlantic passages.
  • Stag Hound extreme clipper, designed by Donald McKay and built in Boston in 1850. When it was built, it was the largest vessel in the American merchant marine; the record did not last long.
  • Tayleur
  • Taitsing, 1865, composite clipper, 192ft x 31.5ft x 20.15ft, built by Charles Connell & Co, Glasgow.
  • Thermopylae
  • Ticonderoga
  • Witch of the Wave,1852
  • Young America, Built by William Webb of New York in 1853.


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