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The Clipper Schooner

The Baltimore Clipper (sharp-lined hull) class of ships are rated the most beautiful sailing vessels ever built. Their beauty is a source of inspiration, with the ability of stirring lifelong dreams into action.

The word "clipper" seems to have been derived from an old slang phrase meaning to move fast; "to clip along" or "to move at a fast clip." The schooner's rapid development started about 1746. By 1790 the schooner was the national rig of both the United States and Canada.

Baltimore Clippers are modified Chesapeake Bay coastal trading schooners. Their efficiency became famous during the war of 1812 when the State Governments authorized, with letters of manqué, private ship owners to capture British ships for profit. Thus the term, privateers. In addition to a private navy, the state of South Carolina, the Continental Congress commissioned several privateers that used Charleston as a base of operations. In August of 1776, the first vessel officially commissioned was the sloop Swift.

Private and highly individualistic cruises rarely found their way into official records. What records were kept, few survived. Some facts are obvious; these men combined patriotism with profits. British vessels were blockading the U.S. east coast and the government did not have resources for an efficient navy to protect shipping lanes. Privet merchants filled the gap.

Privateers were not pirates. A pirates only motive was to plunderer for greed from vessels of any flag.

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