Sea Witch (clipper)
The "Sea Witch" was an American
clipper shipdesigned by naval architect John Griffiths for the Chinatrading firm of Howland & Aspinwall. She was launched in Manhattanon December 8, 1846 and grounded, a total loss, in Cuban waters near Havanain early 1856.
Her dimensions and history
The "Sea Witch" was 192 feet in length, had a 43-foot beam, and was of 908 tons burden. She was designed and built by the shipbuilding firm of Smith & Dimon in
New York Cityas a purpose-built vessel for the speedy movement of high-value freight, such as porcelainand tea, from China to the United States East Coast. To this end, she was very heavily sparred and built with especially tall masts for a vessel of her size. Her 140-foot mainmast carried five tiers of sails, as did the shorter foremast and mizzenmast. She was briefly the tallest ship afloat, and is credited with being one of the first American "clipper ships." "History of the 'Sea Witch'", accessed November 28, 2007. [http://www.pielcraftsmen.com/ships/seawitch.html] ]
Howland & Aspinwall gave the command of the "Sea Witch" to Captain Robert Waterman, known in the trade as "Bully Bob" Waterman. In 1847, under Waterman, she made a record-setting run from Hong Kong to New York in 77 days. She lowered this record to 74 days under the same captain in 1849. This March 1849 mark is one of the oldest human speed records remaining
as of 2007, having not yet been bettered by any sailing vessel. "Sea Witch", accessed November 28, 2007. [http://www.eraoftheclipperships.com/seawitchcopyweb.html] ]
goldwas discovered in California, the "Sea Witch's" Howland & Aspinwall owners transferred her from the China trade to the new Cape Horn run from the East Coast to San Francisco. In early 1850 the "Sea Witch" completed this passage in 97 days, the first vessel ever to do so in less than 100 days.
Later in the 1850s the "Sea Witch" physically deteriorated and her place in the fast-freight trade was taken over by newer vessels. The aging clipper ship was reassigned to serve as a
steeragevessel carrying immigrants to the Western Hemisphere. In 1856, with approximately 500 immigrants from China on board, she ran aground 12 miles (19 km) west of Havana. "Wreck of the 'Sea Witch'", accessed November 28, 2007. [http://www.eraoftheclipperships.com/page63.html] ]
name = Clipper ships
title = Clipper ships, designers & builders
group1 = British-built clippers
list1 ="Ariel· Blackadder· Challenger· City of Adelaide·
Cutty Sark· Hallowe'en· Lammermuir "(1856)"· Lammermuir "(1864)"· Leander· Lothair· Norman Court· Sir Lancelot· Taeping· Tayleur· Thermopylae· Taitsing"
group4 = British designers and builders
Hercules Linton· William Lithgow· John Scott Russell· Scott & Linton
group5 = American designers and builders
Donald McKay· Nathaniel Palmer· William Henry Webb
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