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Teviotdale in the Southern Ocean

The Southern Ocean was a often a perilous place to be at sea and many ships were overwhelmed by the high seas, being shipwrecked with all hands lost.

The Southern Ocean and Roaring Forties

The Clipper-Ship Route was a traditional route used by saling ships on their way from Europe to the Far East, Australia and New Zealand. The route went west to east, down through the North Atlantic and South Atlantic Ocean, south of Africa, through the Soutern Ocean and on to the Far East, Australia and New Zealand. The Clipper-Ship Route made use of the strong westerly winds of the Roaring Forties. Many ships and sailors were lost in the heavy conditions along the way, particularly at the Cape of Good Hope on the outward journey and Cape Horn, which the clipper-ships had to round on their return to Europe.

The Outbound Route

For a complete journey, the outbound route for the clipper ships would have taken them from the UK, down the Atlantic Ocean to the equator, crossing 'the line' near Saint Peter and Paul Rocks (about 20deg west). This section was about 3,300 miles and would have taken 20-25 days, however, an additional two to three weeks could be lost 'in the doldrums'. The route then took the sailors west through the South Atlantic following the natural ocean currents and wind patterns, passing by Trindade (670 miles east of Brazil, South America) and Tristan da Cunha (1,750 miles west of Cape Town, South Africa). This section of route was about 6,500 miles and on a good run would be 40-50 days.

Tristan da Cunha

Once into the Forties, ship could encounter icebergs, master would sail along the 40 degrees south line where possible, keeping north to avoid too much ice. From the Southern Ocean ships would either go north-east to India or stay due east for Australia and New Zealand. 100 days to cover the 13,750 miles from the UK to Australia was considered a fast time.

The Return Journey

The return passage entailed continuing eastwards to New Zealand, passing the the south end of the islands. Once again, ships would be running in the ice zone again (the roaring forties), staying south for the shortest route, but with a careful watch for icebergs being kept at all times. However, to 'Round the Horn', ships had to pass through the narrow strait of the Drake Passage and battle the perpetual storn force winds and dangerous currents which prevail this region. Violent cyclones come off the Andes and combined with the relatively shallow waters around Cape Horn make this hazardous conditions for ships. The area still has an infamous reputation among sailors. Having made safe passage round the horn, shipping followed the natural winds up the eastern South Atlantic, crossing into the more westerly winds of the North Atlantic taking them north-east on their homeward journey between South America and Africa and back to Europe.

Image of the island of Tristan da Cunha by Brian Gratwicke. https://www.flickr.com/ photos/briangratwicke/7089090515/


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This page was last updated 1st May 2020.

Teviotdale artworks depicting scenes from the book of the last voyage.

Image of Teviotdale

Click on an image to select your favorite scenario from the story. Select from: Scudding Along, In the Doldrums, Running Easting Down and Teviotdale on Fire!

Also: Book now available!

We are pleased to announce the publication of the story of the Teviotdale.  Here you will find a fascinating book giving a true account of a frightening shipwreck and an incredible human survival story from able-seaman George Jenkins.  George was just 20 years old when ha was shipwrecked in the Indian Ocean along with 26 of his shipmates.  Read about the real adventures of sailors aboard ship on the high seas in the 1870's.

The book The Final Voyage is available on-line from Amazon Books Amazon.co.uk and other good bookshops such as: BookDepository, Blackwells, Waterstones and WHSmith.  The book is available in three forms: Paperback, hardback and as an e-book.

New book release ISBN's:
Paperback: 978-1-9160602-0-3 ssp £10.00
Hardback: 978-1-9160602-1-0 ssp £12.99
Kindle e-bk: 978-1-9160602-2-7 ssp £3.99

Currently we are supporting:

Epilepsy Society

Shipwrecked Mariners' Society

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

Muscular Dystrophy UK

Other Charities

We may also support other charities and worthy causes and organizations from time-to-time. For more information on the full list of our currently supported charities, please visit our Charity Fundraising page.

We aim to donate a percentage of the profits raised from the sale of Teviotdale products to our supported charities.

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