Nonfiction Narrative of a true navigator-Eleanor Creesy was the first navigator to sail a new supply route around Cape Horn and set a speed record that none could beat/ Excerpt from Navigating Stormy Seas/ (Sing to the Wellerman’s Tune)
In 1851, the clipper ship Flying Cloud raced from New York to San Francisco in just 89 days, 21 hours. During the California Gold Rush, fortunes were made or lost in sleek clipper ships. The route often took more than a hundred days. But in 1851, the Flying Cloud carried $50,000 worth of cargo from New York to San Francisco around the tip of South America in record-breaking time under the command of Josiah Perkins Creesy Jr. and his wife and navigator Eleanor Creesy. Two years later, they broke their own record by 13 hours, a record that still stands.
The Daring Navigator of the Flying Cloud: The Eleanor Creesy Story by RL Brown The Flying Cloud’s a clipper ship, with billowing sails of canvas white, Filled to the brim, we catch the wind weather foul or fair- huh Heave ho and aweigh we go, bring the sugar and hopes of gold. Heave ho and away we go, We’re bound for Californ-i-O. Five hundred tons, she's weighted down, yet the race is on to blaze a trail The captain’s eye is bent t’ward speed We sail with’a sailor's prayer. Huh Heave ho and aweigh we go, bring the coffee and pans for gold. Heave ho and aweigh we go We’re bound for Californ-i-O. Two saboteurs tried to sink the ship By drilling holes in the beams below But the first mate heard a handy tip And took those villains down. Heave ho and aweigh we go, We fight against both wind and men. Heave ho and aweigh we go, we’re bound for Californ-i-O. The best navigator on the sea. plotting a course that none could beat. Eleanor Creesy set the pace, long, long ago- huh. Heave ho and aweigh we go, sugar, coffee, and tools for gold. Heave ho and aweigh we go, we’re bound for Californ-i-O.
The Clipper Ship Flying Cloud Josiah Perkins Creesy, Jr. commanded the ship, and, uncommon for the time, his wife Eleanor navigated. As a child in Massachusetts, she had learned navigation skills from her seafaring father. Credit: The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley