American Tea Clipper "Sea Witch" 1846

In December 1846, the famous "Sea Witch" of 890 tons was launched from Smith & Dimon's yard at the foot of Fourth Street, New York. Her length was 179 feet, breadth was 34 feet, and depth was 19 feet.

When loaded the Sea Witch lay low on the water; her hull was painted black and her masts had a considerable rake; her figurehead was an aggressive looking dragon, beautifully carved and gilded. She had the reputation at that time of being the handsomest ship sailing out of New York, and her officers and crew were hand-picked men, several of whom had sailed with Captain Waterman on his voyages in the Natchez.

The Sea Witch sailed on her first voyage, bound for China, December 23, 1846, went to sea in a strong northwest gale, and made a remarkably fine run southward, arriving off the harbour of Rio Janerio in twenty-five days, where she exchanged signals with the shore and sent letters and New York newspapers by a vessel inward bound. She made the passage from New York to Hong Kong in 104 days, and arrived at New York from Canton on July 25, 1847 in 81 days, making the run from Anjer Point to Sandy Hook in 62 days.

The Sea Witch's career was less than ten years, by all odds a most remarkable period in the history of sail. Before her brief life ended, she had established the majority of sailing records that still survive. She was the first vessel to go around the Horn to California in less than one hundred days. Twice she broke the record from Canton to the United States.

In 1856 on her homeward voyage from Amoy to Havana whilst transporting Chinese, the Sea Witch was wrecked on the eastern coast of Cuba, and became a total loss.

Richard Linton's painting of the Sea Witch depicts her on her maiden voyage in the China Sea. The dolphins are heralding the excitement of this new clipper as she plows through the China Sea on her way to Canton for the new season's tea. a new rival for the famous Tea Clippers of her day.

This lithograph is available and is printed on heavy weight quality Archival paper using colour fast inks. These lithographs are strictly limited to 1,500 copies worldwide and upon their printing all production plates were destroyed.

Image size 96 cm x 56 cm.

-End-

 

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