CLIPPER SHIP THERMOPYLAE
Built in Scotland in 1868 Thermopylae was the ultimate in fast commercial sailing ships. She had a large crew to enable her to carry as much sail as possible and to reduce sail quickly when it was absolutely necessary to do so. Speed was of prime importance to bring the new season’s tea from China to London. Ironically, the Suez Canal opened the year after Thermopylae was launched and this enabled steamers to take a much shorter route to the Orient and the days of fast tea clippers were numbered. Thermopylae sailed for many more years into the 20th century but she was not long in the trade for which she had been designed.
Thermopylae is depicted here at her beautiful best with a strong favourable wind and all sail set including studding sails. Sailing ships are my favourite subjects and Thermopylae is one of my favourite sailing ships.