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Thermopylae (clipper)

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Title: Thermopylae (clipper)  
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Language: English
Subject: Cutty Sark, Battle of Thermopylae in popular culture, Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, Maritime incidents in 1907, Maritime history of Scotland
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Thermopylae (clipper)

Thermopylae - chromolithograph by M. Reilly
United Kingdom
Name: Thermopylae
Builder: Walter Hood & Co, Aberdeen
Launched: 1868
Notes: Design of Bernard Waymouth, London
Kingdom of Portugal
Name: Pedro Nunes or Pedro Nunez
Fate: Torpedoed at sea, Oct. 13, 1907, off Cascais
General characteristics
Class & type: Composite extreme clipper; naval training ship
Length: 212 ft (64.6 m)[1]
Beam: 36 ft (11.0 m)[1]
Depth: 20.9 ft (6.4 m)[1]
Sail plan: fully rigged ship[1]

Thermopylae was an extreme composite clipper ship built in 1868 by Walter Hood & Co of Aberdeen, to the design of Bernard Waymouth of London.[1]


  • Construction 1
  • Records set in tea trade 2
  • Race with Cutty Sark 3
  • Naval training ship 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7


Lines of Thermopylae

Thermopylae was built for the royal sails, single topgallant and split top-sails.

Records set in tea trade

Thermopylae was designed for the China tea trade, and set speed records on her maiden voyage to Melbourne—63 days, still the fastest trip under sail.

Race with Cutty Sark


In 1872, Thermopylae raced the clipper Cutty Sark from Shanghai back to London. Thermopylae won by seven days after Cutty Sark lost her rudder. From 1882 onward, Thermopylae took part in the Australian wool trade; however, on this route the Cutty Sark proved faster.

Naval training ship

Thermopylae at sea wall, San Francisco, California, 1880

In 1897 she was sold to Portugal for use as a naval training ship and renamed the Pedro Nunes. On 13 October 1907, the Portuguese Navy towed her down the Tagus river using two warships, and before Amelia de Orleans, Queen of Portugal, she was torpedoed with full naval honours off Cascais.


  1. ^ a b c d e f MacGregor, David R. (1983). The Tea Clippers, Their History and Development 1833-1875. Conway Maritime Press Limited. pp. 189–192.  

Further reading

  • Hume, Cyril L.; Armstrong, Malcolm C. The Cutty Sark and Thermopylae Era of Sail. Glasgow: Brown, Son & Ferguson, 1987 (hardcover, ISBN 0-85174-500-8).
  • Matheson, Marny. Clippers for the record: The story of ship Thermopylae, S.S. Aberdeen, and Captain Charles Matheson. Melbourne: Spectrum, 1984 (ISBN 0-86786-051-0).
  • Crosse, John; Thermopylae and the Age of Clippers. Historian Publishers, Vancouver.

External links

  • Thermopylae at Aberdeen Built Ships.
  • Thermopylae at The Maritime History Virtual Archives.
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