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Packet Vs. Clipper

May 2024
1min read

Mr. Uhl replies: Mr. Holly, obviously knowledgeable, believes I undervalued the packet, exaggerated the clipper, minimized coastal trade. But my primary focus was on the education of the deep-water master mariner, and the evolution of ships was included only as it affected that training. The sailingpacket-ship era extended decades beyond his 1840 date; my comments on crews are correct for most of that period. A law limiting noncitizen crews was passed in 1817, a year before the first packet. Clippers did make fantastic profits at first. Uneconomic when speed became less important than capacity, their heydey lasted ten years, not five. As for coastal traffic, while vital to our economy, it was mostly in smaller vessels. I sailed myself as a cadet on the Clyde-Mallory and Grace lines.

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