Flying Cloud and the New York to San Francisco record
On 31 August 1851, 89 days, 21 hours after weighing anchor in New York Harbor, Flying Cloud‘s anchor splashed into San Francisco Bay off North Beach.
This was nine days after a certain schooner from the New York Yacht Club, named America won a silver ewer racing around the Isle of Wight. Flying Cloud held the record for the New York to San Francisco passage until 1989 – 138 years – six years longer than the NYYC held America’s Cup.
Eleanor Creesy, the navigator (!), used the latest scientific data from Matthew Fontaine Maury’s “Wind and Current Chart of the North Atlantic” to help her husband Josiah Perkins Creesy drive Flying Cloud (and 11 passengers) to a stunning record. The Creesys shaved 13 hours off their record four years later. Not until 1989 would Thursday’s Child break Flying Cloud’s record. 138 years. A long time to hold a record.
Incredibly, that first record was set in spite of…
- No sea trials. This was Flying Cloud‘s maiden voyage.
- Two dismastings, repaired underway.
- Sabotage by two mutinous sailors who drilled holes in the hull, trying to ruin the cargo
(not everyone likes to drive a sailing ship hard when the wind is howling).