It’s a tricky question, because it depended so much on the type of ship, the time of year (and therefore the prevailing wind), which direction they were travelling (trips towards the west were slower than trips towards the east) and the weather encountered along the way.
But I’ve managed to come up with a table showing what I think are reasonable timings for a medium-sized sailing ship – a brigantine or a frigate – in the early 19th.
A fast ship given perfect conditions would do better, and bad conditions could mean the trip took a lot longer. And pirates could mean you didn’t finish it at all.
I’d be delighted if any of you naval buffs want to correct my figures. Just comment below.
|Embarkation port||Destination port||Nautical miles||Time spent on the voyage|
|Rome (Ostia)||Gibraltar||935||7-10 days|
|Rhodes||Marsala (in Sicily)||760||30-50 days|
Add 1374 miles from London to Gibraltar, and you begin to have a sense of the distances.