Thermopylae v. Cutty Sark: the 1872 Official Logs

By John Crosse, published February 1974

Abstract

The article reproduces and analyses the Official Logs of the voyages of the two clippers engaged in the famous tea race back from China. These appear not to have been consulted by Basil Lubbock who wrote the classic account. Cutty Sark’s log records that the first mate was seen as careless and was openly not trusted by her master George Moodie. The log of the Thermopylae shows that she won the race despite having to recruit most of her foremast crew in Shanghai following large scale desertion. Her officers were with one exception the team that had sailed with her master Robert Kemball on previous Australia runs. The conclusion is that Kemball was a better seaman and leader than Moodie who has been overrated.

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Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

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