Sovereign of the Seas (clipper)

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Builder: Donald McKay of East Boston, MA
Launched: 1852
Fate: Wrecked in the Straits of Malacca, on voyage from Hamburg to China.[1]
General characteristics
Class and type: Extreme clipper
Tons burthen: 2421 tons.
Length: 252 ft. (76.8m)
Beam: 45.6 ft. (13.9m)
Draft: 29.2 ft. (8.9m)
Notes: Has held the record for the fastest speed ever for a sailing ship, 22 knots (41 km/h, 25 mph), since 1854

The Sovereign of the Seas built in 1852 lived up to her name. She was the clipper ship that set the 1854 world record for fastest sailing ship-- 22 knots.

Sovereign of the Seas has held this record for over 100 years.

Notable passages

Built by Donald McKay of East Boston, Massachusetts, Sovereign of the Seas was the first ship to travel more than 400 miles in 24 hours. On the second leg of her maiden voyage, she made a record passage from Honolulu, Hawaii to New York, arriving in 82 days. She then broke the record to Liverpool, England, making the passage in 13 days, 13.5 hours. In 1853 she was chartered by James Baines & Co. of the Black Ball Line, Liverpool for the Australia trade.

Fastest speed ever recorded for a sailing ship

In 1854, Sovereign of the Seas recorded the fastest speed ever for a sailing ship, logging 22 knots (41 km/h, 25 mph).[2]


See also


  1. Lars Bruzelius. "Sailing Ships: Sovereign of the Seas". Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  2. Octavius T. Howe; Frederick G. Matthews (1986). American Clipper Ships 1833-1858. 1. New York. ISBN 0-486-25115-2. 
  3. Nathaniel Currier (1852). "Sailing Ships: Sovereign of the Seas, hand-colored lithograph". Springfield Museums Michele & Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts. Retrieved 2010-02-19.