Bradbury, Arthur Royce; ‘Ariel’ and ‘Taiping’ in the Great Tea Race, 1886; Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum

We’re going back into the archives to revisit this classic post by James Norwood Pratt. This post contains the four-part sequence “The Great Tea Race”. We have added a link to the end of each one to take you to the next if you would like to read them as a sequence, or you can choose which you want to peruse below. Enjoy!

The Great Tea Race

Oh Susanna, darling take your ease, For we have beat the clipper fleet, The Sovereign of the Seas.

Victory song of the crew of the Sovereign of the Seas when she won the New York to San Francisco race around the Horn, 1852

Part One

The great tea clipper races were the natural consequence of the meeting between clipper ships and free competition, and the most famous of them all was the race of 1866. John Company had been required by law to…(Read more)

Part Two

Finally the news would arrive by semaphore that one or three or four clippers were beating up the English Channel. Then, as W.H. Ukers described it…(Read more)

Part Three

The story of the race itself is a digression of perhaps minor historical value, I admit, but I’d have to be cold as a Boston romance to consider omitting the classic account in Mr. Basil Lubbock’s 1914 book, The China Clippers. “The struggle,” he writes…(Read more)

Part Four

On 17 August, Fiery Cross saw Taeping pick up the breeze and run out of sight ahead in a few hours. Nonetheless, the first four ships passed Flores in the Azores on the same day, 29 August, while by brilliant sailing…(Read more)

Photo “’Ariel’ and ‘Taiping’ in the Great Tea Race, 1886” is copyright under Public Domain Mark 1.0 License and is being posted unaltered (source)