Photograph of Rodney at an unknown date/place.
United Kingdom
OwnerDevitt and Moore
BuilderWilliam Pile, London
FateSold in 1896 or 1897[a]
OwnerF Boissière
OperatorF Boissière, Nantes
Acquired1896 or 1897
FateWrecked in 1901 on the coast of Cornwall
NotesRe-rigged as a Barque

The Rodney was a full-rigged iron-hulled clipper built in 1874 by William Pile for Devitt and Moore of London. She was one of the last ships built for the Australian immigration trade before she was sold to a new owner in Nantes. Rodney set numerous records for speed, and had unusual luxuries for her day.


Rodney could accommodate sixty passengers in first class.[1] Rodney's registered measurements were: "length, 235 feet 6 inches; breadth, 38 feet 4 inches; depth, 22 feet 6 inches; tonnage @ 1,447 tons." Her cabins were unique as they had fitted lavatory basins, and chests that contained draws. She also had bathrooms that provided hot and cold water, all of these things were considered a luxury at the time.[1] As for speed, her owners boasted that she was the fastest in the fleet with records to confirm the opinion.[citation needed]


Like other ships of the era, Rodney was promoted regarding her speed. In 1880, she made her best trip to Adelaide arriving in 74 days. Under Captain A. Louttit in 1882, she made her best trip to Melbourne which took only 69 days from the English channel. Rodney bested this time five years later from The Lizard to Sydney under Captain Barrett, arriving in 67 days. This latter time tied a record that had been set by Patriarch in 1870.[1] Her best voyage home to the Lizard from Sydney took 77 days in the years 1889-90. On this particular voyage Rodney raced with the clipper ship Cutty Sark, the two shifted positions and passed each other numerous times. While the Cutty Shark won the race (73 days), the Rodney was one of the few ships to have been competitive.[1]

On 1 November 1895 Rodney lost her lion figurehead during a gale in the English Channel while en route from Gravesend, Kent to Sydney, Australia. The figurehead washed ashore at Whitsand Bay, Cornwall, six months later.[2] In 1896 or 1897, the ship was sold to F Boissière of Nantes, where she was re-rigged as a barque and given the new name Gypsy.[2] On 7 December 1901 the vessel was wrecked and became a total loss at Downderry, on the coast of Cornwall. She had been on voyage from Iquique, Chile to France with a cargo of nitrate.[2]


  1. ^ The sources available for Rodney give conflicting dates on when she was sold to the French.


  1. ^ a b c d "The Rodney". Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Lars Bruzelius. "Rodney". Retrieved 15 July 2019.