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This item qualifies for FREE delivery. Extra length above this level was tax-free and became a feature of clippers.

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Scottish Maid proved swift and reliable and the design was widely copied. Then followed the vast clipper trade of tea, opium, spices and other goods from the Far East to Europe, and the ships became known as "tea clippers". From , larger American clipper ships started to be built beginning with Akbar , tons OM, in , and including the built Houqua , tons OM.

These larger vessels were built predominantly for use in the China tea trade and known as "tea clippers". Smaller clipper vessels also continued to be built predominantly for the China opium trade and known as "opium clippers" such as the built Ariel , tons OM.

These American clippers were larger vessels designed to sacrifice cargo capacity for speed. They had a bow lengthened above the water, a drawing out and sharpening of the forward body, and the greatest breadth further aft. Extreme clippers were built in the period to In , shipbuilders in Medford, Massachusetts built the Antelope.

Often called the Antelope of Boston to distinguish it from other ships of the same name, this vessel is sometimes called one of the first medium clipper ships. A ship-design journalist noted that "the design of her model was to combine large stowage capacity with good sailing qualities. The medium clipper, though still very fast, had comparatively more allowance for cargo. After extreme clippers were replaced in American shipbuilding yards by medium clippers. The 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.

She held this record for over years, from to She was known for her extremely close race with the Hornet in ; for having a woman navigator, Eleanor Creesy , wife of Josiah Perkins Creesy, who skippered the Flying Cloud on two record-setting voyages from New York to San Francisco; and for sailing in the Australia and timber trades. Clipper ships largely ceased being built in American shipyards in when, unlike the earlier boom years, only 4 clipper ships were built. That is except for a small number built in the s. The last American clipper ship was "the Pilgrim " launched in from the shipyards of Medford, Massachusetts, built by Joshua T.

During the time from British clipper ships continued to be built. Earlier British clipper ships had become known as extreme clippers, and were considered to be "as sharp as the American" [12] built ships. From a new design was developed for British clipper ships that was nothing like the American clippers. These ships built from continued to be called extreme clippers. The new design had a sleek graceful appearance, less sheer, less freeboard, lower bulwarks, and smaller breadth. They were built for the China tea trade and began with Falcon in , and finished with the last ships built in It is estimated that 25 to 30 of these ships were built, and no more than 4—5 per year.

The earlier ships were made from wood, though some were made from iron, just as some British clippers had been made from iron prior to In the first tea clippers of composite construction were brought out, combining the best of both worlds. Composite clippers had the strength of iron spars with wooden hulls, and copper sheathing could be added to prevent the fouling that occurred on iron hulls.

After with the opening of the Suez Canal that greatly advantaged steam vessels see below, "Decline" , the tea trade then collapsed for clippers. From the late s-early s the clipper trade increasingly focused on trade and the carrying of immigrants between England and Australia and New Zealand, a trade that had begun earlier with the Australian Gold Rush in the s. British-built clipper ships were used for this trade, as were many American-built ships which were sold to British owners. Even in the s, sailing ships were still the main carriers of cargoes to and from Australia and New Zealand.

This trade eventually became unprofitable, and the aging clipper fleet became unseaworthy. Among the most notable clippers were the China clippers, also called tea clippers or opium clippers , designed to ply the trade routes between Europe and the East Indies. Damaged by fire on 21 May while undergoing conservation, the ship was permanently elevated three metres above the dry dock floor in as part of a plan for long-term preservation.

Before the early 18th century, the East India Company paid for its tea mainly in silver. When the Chinese Emperor chose to embargo European manufactured commodities and demand payment for all Chinese goods in silver, the price rose, restricting trade. The East India Company began to manufacture a product that was desired by the Chinese as much as tea was by the British: opium. This had a significant influence on both India and China. Opium was also imported into Britain and was not prohibited because it was thought to be medically beneficial.

Laudanum , which was made from opium was also used as a pain killer, to induce sleep and to suppress anxiety.

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The Limehouse area in London was notorious for its opium dens, many of which catered for Chinese sailors as well as English addicts. Clippers were built for seasonal trades such as tea, where an early cargo was more valuable, or for passenger routes. The fast ships were ideally suited to low-volume, high-profit goods, such as tea, opium , spices, people, and mail. The return could be spectacular.

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The Challenger returned from Shanghai with "the most valuable cargo of tea and silk ever to be laden in one bottom". The ships had short expected lifetimes and rarely outlasted two decades of use before they were broken up for salvage. The last China clippers were acknowledged as the fastest sail vessels. The Great Tea Race of showcased their speed. China clippers are also the fastest commercial sailing vessels ever made. Their speeds have been exceeded many times by modern yachts , but never by a commercial sail vessel.

Only the fastest windjammers could attain similar speeds. There are many ways of judging the speed of a ship: by knots, by day's runs, by port-to-port records. Judged by any test, the American clippers were supreme. John Griffiths' first clipper, the Rainbow , had a top speed of 14 knots Ten of these were recorded by American clippers The 24h record of the Champion of the Seas wasn't broken until by a multihull , or by another monohull.