1850's Boat Races Were Big Money Betting Games
Big money and big boats staged one big race back in 1850 - around the Horn of South America.
Seven ships set sail for fortune, fighting to reach their destinations in record-breaking time.
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The relatively new clipper ships of the period were the pride and joy of their captains, charging off at nautical speeds hitherto unseen in other vessels.
It was only a matter of time before sea-faring rivalry would come into play, spurring sailors into a frenzied dash to determine the fastest floater in the world.
"The keen rivalry between clippers led to races over thousands of miles of seas; and upon the result thousands of dollars were often wagered."
A boat dubbed Sea Witch ultimately stole the show in the end, completing its journey from port to port in only 97 days despite it being Antarctic midwinter at the time.
Considering average voyages of the same distance were usually finished in 159 days, that was quite a feat. The prize money must have been some consolation for the crew. Who doesn't love a good wager?
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