Today’s cargo ships traversing the world’s oceans with their turbine engines do so at am impressive rate of knots, but in the mid to late 19th century clipper ships were capable of a very impressive turn of speed. What was the fastest recorded top speed of a sailing ship?

Answer: The highest recorded speed every achieved by a large sailing ship full with cargo was 22 knots, or 41 kilometres an hour, on a voyage from the United States to Australia in 1854. There were more than a dozen instances of such sailing ships travelling over 400 nautical miles in 24 hours.

Source: Clipper Ships and Captains by J D Lyon

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