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Thermopylae


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A famous British tea clipper built in 1868 by Hood of Aberdeen. Ship rigged, she had a gross tonnage of 991 tons and was a long-time rival of the Cutty Sark. On her maiden voyage she created the first of several records, when she took just 60 days from Gravesend to Melbourne, a time that has never been beaten by a sailing ship. Though the Cutty Sark was the only ship seriously to contest the Thermopylae's claim to be the fastest sailing clipper in the world, they only raced home in company once, and on that occasion the Cutty Sark lost her rudder when in the lead. After the loss of the tea trade to steam propulsion soon after the opening of the Suez Canal, the Thermopylae continued in the Australian wool trade. After working in the North Pacific in the 1890s, where she was reputed to have kept pace with the ocean liner Empress of India for several days, she was sold to the Portuguese Navy who renamed her Pedro Nunes and used her for sail training. She ended her days as a coal hulk and was scuttled in 1907.

Subjects: Maritime History.


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