"Flying Cloud" is the riveting and thoroughly researched tale of
a truly unforgettable sea voyage during the days of the California
gold rush. In 1851, navigator Eleanor Creesy set sail on the maiden
voyage of the clipper ship "Flying Cloud," traveling from New York
to San Francisco in only 89 days. This swift passage set a world
record that went unbroken for more than a century. Upon arrival in
San Francisco, "Flying Cloud" became an enduring symbol of a young
nation's daring frontier spirit. Illustrated with original maps and
charts as well as historical photographs, Shaw's compelling
narrative captures the drama of this thrilling adventure.
In a position almost unheard of for a woman in the mid-19th
century, Eleanor Creesy served as the ship's navigator. With only
the sun, planets, and stars to guide her, she brought "Flying
Cloud" safely around Cape Horn at the height of a winter blizzard,
faced storms, dodged shoals, and found her way through calms to
make the swift passage possible. Along with her husband, Josiah,
the ship's captain, she sailed the mighty 3-masted clipper through
16,000 miles of the fiercest, most unpredictable oceans in the
Shaw vividly recreates 19th-century seafaring conditions and
customs, for both the crew and the passengers who entrusted their
fate to an untested ship. Including excerpts from letters and
diaries of passengers, Shaw recounts "Flying Cloud"'s victory in
the face of adversity--including sabotage, insubordination, and
severe damage to the clipper's mainmast that might have sunk her
with all hands lost. But the ship triumphed and would ultimately
sail the world. "Flying Cloud" brings to life, for the first time,
the glory of one of America's most important seafaring tales and
one woman's incredible achievements.
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