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Image of Flying Cloud

H. E. Boucher Mfg. Company

Flying Cloud

44 in. x 72 in. (111.76 cm x 182.88 cm)

Medium and Support: ship model
Credit Line: gift of George Jordan
Accession Number: 1931.S7
Current Location: On view : Library


Flying Cloud
Extreme American Clipper Ship

Built at East Boston in 1851
Length 229 ft.; Beam 40 ft.; Depth 21 ft. 6 in.; Draft 18 ft.; Tonnage 1782 tons

The Flying Cloud, one of the fastest sailing ships ever known, represents the highest development of the sailing vessel when the competition of steamers was beginning. She was designed and built by Donald McKay, the famous builder of clipper ships, for the fast freight service from New York around Cape Horn to San Francisco at the time of the California Gold Rush. Under the command of Captain Joseph P. Cressy of Marblehead, she twice made this voyage in eighty-nine days and eight hours, a record which has never been broken. The fine lines of her hull and her enormous spread of sail are typical of the extreme clipper ships, in contrast to merchant vessels like the Lottie Warren, designed not for speed but to carry large cargoes. In 1874, she went ashore on Beacon Island Bar and after being condemned, was burned for her copper and metal work.

Robert E. Peabody, "Flying Cloud" catalogue entry in ed. John Ratté, Models of American Sailing Ships, rev. ed. (Andover, MA: Addison Gallery of American Art, 1994), 76

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