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The Clipper Ships

Clippers reflected the excitement of their time as the world opened up and were first used as transportation to and from the gold rushes in California and Australia in the late 1840’s and early 1850’s.

Named for their speed (they could cross the Atlantic in less than two weeks) clippers could “clip” the time taken to bring highly prized cargoes to Britain--the first yearly shearings of wool from Australia and tea harvests from China. Incredibly, it took over 130 years for a modern yacht with the most sophisticated sail technology to better the record of 89 days from New York to California via Cape Horn set by the Flying Cloud clipper in 1854.

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