Cunard Line’s Persia (1856) began her maiden voyage on 26 January 1856. It was an eventful journey for the plucky paddlewheeler, given the fact that she struck an iceberg en route. Persia was spared from serious damage by hitting the iceberg head on, spearing the frosty obstacle with her pointy clipper bow.
A Graceful Beauty
Built by Robert Napier & Sons in Glasgow, Persia was a handsome vessel with lines of grace and beauty from figurehead to taffrail. The world’s largest ship at the time of her first voyage (although soon eclipsed by Brunel’s Great Eastern), the iron-built Persia was 360-feet long with a 45-foot beam. The 3,414 ton vessel featured two funnels, two masts and an iron paddlewheel. Her service speed was approximately 12 knots.
In June 1856 Persia captured the Blue Ribbon for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic up to that time, lowering the Queenstown to New York record to nine days, one hour and forty-five minutes.
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