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Flying Cloud

David W. Shaw

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Description

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 world.

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.

Publishers Weekly Review

Jul 03, 2000 – On her maiden voyage in 1851, the clipper ship Flying Cloud, carrying valuable cargo and 11 passengers, sailed from New York to San Francisco by the only route possible before the construction of the Panama Canal, around the tip of South America. The ship made the 16,000-mile trip in 89 days, 21 hours--a record time. As astonishing as the speed, however, was the fact that the ship's navigator was the captain's wife, Eleanor Creesy, an experienced pilot who charted the course using the revolutionary new theories about wind directions and ocean currents propounded by Matthew Maury, superintendent of the navy's National Observatory. The subtitle of the book is misleading, however. This is really the story of the collaboration between an extraordinary woman and her husband, Captain Josiah Perkins Creesy. While the captain sailed the ship and dealt with emergencies--such as broken masts, storms and disgruntled sailors--his wife calmly plotted the course, managed day-to-day life on board and coped with the sometimes rash decisions made by her husband, for whom the safety of his crew and passengers was less important than his desire to set a record and claim the financial reward the ship's owners would pay for speedy delivery of the cargo. Because the author doesn't embellish his sources--the ship's log, letters, a passenger's diary and archival documents, none of which include much personal detail--the characters of Eleanor and her husband remain shadowy. Still, Shaw (Daring the Sea) presents a vivid picture of life on the high seas with enough drama to interest even those who know nothing about sailing. A glossary of nautical terms helps with the technical details. Photos not seen by PW.
Flying Cloud
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  • $5.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: History
  • Published: Oct 13, 2009
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books
  • Seller: HarperCollins
  • Print Length: 336 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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