21 Reading 35-1 Clippers charged £5–6 per ton for tea, China-London, double the slow-ship rate, and with a big bonus if they got there f rst. Snobs would make a point of saying that the tea came from the clipper Ariel , or Era , or Cutty Sark . This was a marketing ploy comparable to that used to sell Beaujolais Nouveau . The clipper races were supported by atavistic, deep-seated nonsense, and they were f nally killed by steam. Early, inef f cient steamships with low-pressure boilers had to carry so much coal, even if helped along by sails, that they could barely cross the 3000 miles of the North Atlantic without refueling. To reach China round the Cape of Good Hope they had to refuel at least once in the Atlantic, once at Cape Town, at least once in the Indian Ocean, and again in Singapore, and there is little evidence that any steamship line made much pro f t before the Suez Canal was opened. After 1869 steamships could beat sailing vessels, which still had to go round the Cape rather than through the Canal since the winds in the Red Sea were too unreliable. For bulk cargoes, where time was of no importance, the Cape continued to be used until the 1880s, when the more ef f cient triple-expansion steam engines had been developed and
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