Derek G M Gardner, RSMA
Sir Lancelot Tea Clipper Passing the Eddystone
Oil on canvas
24 x 36 inches
The celebrated tea clipper Sir Lancelot was built in 1865 by Robert Steele of Greenock for James MacCunn who owned Guinevere and King Arthur. Like all ships that came from Steele’s yard she was perfectly built and was constructed on the composite principle with teak planking over an iron framework.
MacCunn was fortunate to obtain a splendid racing captain in Dick Robinson. She was late in getting away from Woosung in 1867 but on a run home she overtook no less than 18 clippers which had sailed before her and only the Taeping got in ahead of her. Her passage of 100 days was the best that year and Robinson’s achievement made her name.
In 1869 she left Foochow on 17th July and although she was not the first clipper home that year she reached London in 89 days which was the quickest passage ever made by a clipper between China and London.
She loaded her last tea cargo in 1879 and was sold to Bombay owners in 1886. Nine years later she disappeared at sea and was presumed to have foundered in a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal.