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My new pipe series, the "Old Sea Dog", is a result of my fascination with all sailing boats and the great sailing clippers of yesteryear in particular. I still remember reading the stories of fast sailing ships racing with tea from India or exotic spices from China, the captains hell bent on reaching home ports first and collecting fat bonus payments only to be spent on booze and tobacco... As I can relate to tobacco myself, I thought it would be a great idea to try and carve some pipes the old captains would have smoked and enjoyed as a company on their lonesome voyages around the globe. Around the famous capes of Horn and Good Hope, in storms and sunshine. I hope you will enjoy smoking them as they did, and I did carving them.

The "Cutty Sark"

"Cutty Sark" was launched on 22 November 1869 at the cost of 16,150 pounds and build by William Denny & Brothers, in Dumbarton, England. "Cutty Sark" was designed with one sole purpose in mind and that was to be the fastest sailing ship at that time, to carry tea  to England, and first of all to take part and win the annual race home with a load of Chinese tea.

In 1872 she had her chance to prove herself in a race with the clipper Thermopylae . Both vessels loaded their tea in Shanghai and departed port on 18th of June. They sighted each other off the Hong Kong coast and lost contact again until the 25th of July. On the 11th of August the "Cutty Sark" was struck by large wave in a fearsome storm and lost her rudder. She put in to Cape Town for repairs and made fast passage from Cape of Good Hope to England in 54 days, cutting one week from the time of clipper Thermopyale , therefore winning the race. "Cutty Sark" remained in the tea trade until 1877.

The "Mary Celeste"

Mary Celeste was launched in Nova Scotia in 1860. Her original name was "Amazon". She was 103 feet overall and displaced 280 tons and was listed in the registry as a half-brig. Over the next 10 years she was involved in several accidents at sea and passed through a number of owners. Eventually she turned up at a New York salvage auction where she was purchased for total sum of $3000. After extensive repairs she was put under American registry and renamed "Mary Celeste". The new captain of "Mary Celeste" was Benjamin Briggs, 37 years of age, a master with previous commands.

On November 7, 1872 the ship departed New York with captain Briggs wife, young daughter and a crew of eight. The ship was loaded with 1700 barrels of raw American alcohol bound for Genoa, Italy. The captain, his family and crew were never seen again.

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