Define Clipper

Discover the world of clippers – fast sailing ships that ruled the seas in the 19th century. Learn about their history, characteristics, and famous examples.

What is a Clipper?

A clipper is a small, fast sailing ship, used mostly during the mid-19th century for trade and transport. These ships were designed for speed, with a streamlined hull and a large amount of sail area to catch the wind effectively.

Types of Clippers

1. American Clipper: These were the fastest ships of their time, popular in the 1830s-1860s for trade routes between the US and Europe.

2. Tea Clippers: Specifically designed for the tea trade between China and England in the mid-19th century.

3. Extreme Clippers: Built for speed and cargo capacity, these ships were used for long trade routes and had a reputation for outrunning pirates.

Characteristics of Clippers

  • Sharp, streamlined hull
  • Larger sail area
  • Exceptional speed

Case Study: The Cutty Sark

The Cutty Sark is one of the most famous clippers, built in 1869 for the China tea trade. It had a sleek design and set multiple speed records, making it a legend in the world of clippers.

Statistics on Clippers

1. The Cutty Sark could reach speeds of up to 17.5 knots.

2. Clippers were known for their ability to outrun steamships in certain conditions.

3. The heyday of clippers was in the mid-19th century, during the height of the tea trade between China and England.


Clippers were a significant part of maritime history, known for their speed and sleek design. While they are no longer used for trade, their legacy lives on in the stories of their incredible voyages.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *