37 :: Britannia (1840)

This steam- and sail ship was built on the Clyde, in Scotland, in 1840. With Acadia, Caledonia and Columbia, she formed the first transatlantic fleet of the English corporation Cunard. Britannia, however, made the first crossing.


Sailing from Liverpool on July 4, 1840, she made Halifax, then Boston, in 14 days and 8 hours, for an average speed of 8.5 knots, barely higher than that of sailships of the day. She is recognized as the first to transport mail overseas.


The ship was 63 m long, 10.5 m wide, and 7.4 m deep. She had a tonnage of about 1156 tonnes. On her first voyage, she burned 38 tonnes of coal per day and her engines, of a type called side-lever actioning wooden paddles, developed 740 horsepower.