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Sea Witch Clipper Ship
Great model of a clipper ship you'll
love building it.
SS112 ----Our Price----$90.00
The days of the celebrated clipper ships, China tea races, and the great California Gold Rush, represent the most exciting period in the 500-year history of sail. During this era, young America was without equal on the high seas. For a brief period beginning in 1846, America led the world in sailing ship design and seamanship. The first ships of this distinctly American refinement appeared in the shipyards on the East River of New York and quickly became known for their swiftness and beauty. Immediately they began breaking every existing sailing record. This was a truly significant time in America's maritime history.
The clipper ship Sea Witch was launched from lower Manhattan in 1846, destined to amaze the world with her accomplishments. On her first voyage to China in 1847, she sailed home laden with tea and arrived in New York harbor after only 77 days at sea. Two years later she covered the same course in under 75 days! Both passages set records that have never been equaled by any other sailing vessel even to this day.
Click here to see Track of the Tea Clippers.
Sea Witch was one of the very first of nearly 500 vessels built to the ingenious American design. While no two were ever alike, their graceful lines and fleetness have never been matched. When gold was discovered in California in 1848, it was the clippers that raced the miners and their supplies to the West Coast. "The number of vessels entering the harbor is really a matter of wonder." wrote the Pacific Daily News. "Within forty-eight hours . . . nearly sixty sail ships entered the Golden Gate. The history of the world presents no comparison." At that time, America's maritime commerce was unsurpassed.
1850 saw California become the 31st state. That same year, Sea Witch, carrying supplies from New York, rounded Cape Horn to arrive in San Francisco, the first to do so in under 100 days. In establishing this new record, she completed the passage in half the average time then taken to sail from the Fast Coast to California in conventional vessels.
Samuel Eliot Morison wrote, "Never in these United States has the brain of man conceived, or the hand of man fashioned, so perfect a thing as the clipper ship. In her, the long-suppressed artistic impulse of a practical, hard-working race burst into flower." Not one of these remarkable sailing vessels has survived or for that matter even been looked upon by anyone living today. Project Sea Witch will bring back to life that great maritime heritage that until now has been confined to the printed page and the painted canvas.
1996 marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of this glorious age of ingenuity and craftsmanship. This time in American history stands as a reminder of our rich maritime past. It is appropriate that the sesquicentennial of this series of extraordinary events be recognized and celebrated in a way that will live for generations to come.