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What was the purpose of clipper ships?

3 min read

Asked by: Stacy Anderson

They were built to carry high-value freight, like tea from China or, during the Gold Rush, dry goods and provisions to California that would fetch very high prices. These ships were also much more loftily rigged than typical merchant ships.

Who did the clipper ship help?

Clippers sailed all over the world, primarily on the trade routes between the United Kingdom and China, in transatlantic trade, and on the New York-to-San Francisco route around Cape Horn during the California Gold Rush. Dutch clippers were built beginning in the 1850s for the tea trade and passenger service to Java.

Were clipper ships used in war?

They were used in naval service, illegal trading, and for carrying light cargoes. But the Baltimore Clippers received their true recognition for their role in the War of 1812. The Clippers were used to prey on English merchant ships and run blockades.

What was the clipper ship in the 1800s?

A clipper was a very fast sailing ship of the early to mid-1800s. According to a comprehensive book published in 1911, The Clipper Ship Era by Arthur H. Clark, the term clipper was originally derived from slang in the early 19th century. To “clip it” or to go “at a fast clip” meant to travel fast.

Why is it called a clipper ship?

Clipper ships were so named because they were fast sailors, a term derived from to “clip”, that is getting as much propulsion as possible from the available wind. They represented the utmost evolution and refinement in the design of sail ships. The name was adopted to mean fast ship by the 1830s.

Where was the clipper ship used?

Clipper ships carried goods and people from as far away as China and Australia, and were used by slave traders to outrun British ships that were on patrol for them in the Atlantic. The construction of canals around the globe shortened most sea trade routes and virtually eliminated the need for the swift clippers.

Why were clipper ships so fast?

Clippers were the fastest sailing ships of the 19th century. Their narrow hulls slipped through the water easily. They carried a large sail area to catch as much wind as possible. The fastest clippers, such as the Cutty Sark, carried almost 3,000 square metres of sail and could reach a speed of just over 31 kph.

How fast could a clipper ship cross the Atlantic?

Travel times between the US and China, or between Australia and Europe, are now comparable to those of the great age of sail in the 19th century. American clippers reached 14 to 17 knots in the 1850s, with the fastest recording speeds of 22 knots or more.

What is the most famous clipper ship?

The flying cloud is without any doubt the most famous of all clipper ships. Donald McKay built her in 1851. She proved herself to be one of the fastest ships afloat. She was owned by Grinnell Minturn & Company.

How much did a clipper ship cost?

Flying Cloud was a clipper ship that set the world’s sailing record for the fastest passage between New York and San Francisco, 89 days 8 hours.
Flying Cloud (clipper)

United States
Owner Grinnell, Minturn & Co, New York
Builder Donald McKay of East Boston, Massachusetts
Cost $90,000

Why did clipper ships end?

The emergence of steamships and the economic downturn that followed the Panic of 1857 brought about the end of clipper ships.