Speed under Sail

By James S Learmont, published August 1957


An experienced shipmaster in the days of sail, the author challenges the claims of 24-hour sailing runs of over 400 miles made of British-owned American-built clippers in the 1850s. Such claims, published in Lloyd’s Calendar, dubiously acquired the value of history. Yet in each case total passage time was only average; hand-logging practices were inaccurate; and the continued strain would have been too great for ship and crew. Even with the most extravagant claim, a week of daily positions and distances travelled – when plotted – make no sense. These were all false claims made in the context of the highly competitive Australian passenger trade at the time.

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Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship

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