The Maritime Heritage Project

World Harbors from The Maritime Heritage Project in San Francisco.

Arrivals at the Port of San Francisco: 1800s

Clipper Ships at San Francisco

° Clippers ° Steamships ° Shipping Lines ° Ship Builders ° Vessels and Rigging ° Shipwrecks

Note: The following list is incomplete. Ships are added as we locate details.
Andrew Jackson
Ann McKim
Bald Eagle
Charles Mallory
David Crockett
Eliza F. Mason
Empress of the Seas
Flying Arrow
Flying Childers
Flying Cloud
Flying Dutchman
George Raynes
Glory of the Seas
Golden Gate
Golden State
Jacques Coeur (French)
John C. Legrand
John Gilpin
King of Clippers
King Phillip
Morning Light
Neptune's Car
Northern Light
Ocean Spray, McLellan
Ocean Telegraph
Queen of Clippers
Queen of the East
Queen of the Seas
Romance of the Sea
San Francisco
Seaman's Bride
Sea Nymph
Sea Serpent
Sea Witch
Snow Squall
Sovereign of the Seas
Stag Hound
Storm King
Sunny South
Thomas Watson
Three Brothers
Westward Ho
White Swallow
Wild Duck
Wild Pigeon
Winged Arrow
Wild Ranger
Winged Racer
Young America

West Coast Clippers (Built in San Francisco)

Annals of San Francisco 1852: Clipper ships

The Deep Sea Derby, 1852

The Fleet of 1857


Daily Alta California, December 4, 1857

The Clipper Ship Adelaide

In our late sketch of clipper ships in the port of San Francisco, want of space obliged us to omit the Adelaide, Capt. Edgar Wakeman, one of the pioneer shipmasters, whose connection with California dates back to 1850.

The ship is now at Clay street wharf, where we would recommend all nautical critics to visit her, previous to her departure for Elide Inland, on the coast of Lower California, for which place she clears today. The Adelaide is one of the best built ships that ever entered this port; measuring 1,800 tons, and costing $128,000. When it is considered that many eastern-built ships of equal tonnage are built at an expense of little over $75,000, the faithful style of her construction will be appreciated.

Clipper Ship Adelaide.
Clipper Ship 'Adelaide'
Nathaniel Currier

She is white oak built, and comes from the celebrated yard of Brown & Bell, of New York. She is 3,500 tons burden, and in this respect should be contrasted with many other clippers of a like measurement. For instance, the Flying Cloud, owned mainly by the same parties as the Adelaide, is also of 1,800 tons, and carries only that amount California measurement goods. Thus the Adelaide would earn in one voyage in freight an amount equal to that summed up by the Cloud in two. Great as are her carrying capacities, this ship has yet to encounter her superior (so her proud commander confidently affirms) on the great ocean routes. She has made the quickest passage between New York and Cape Horn on record— 42 days.

This is her third voyage to California. Her passages sum up as follows: First voyage, 110 days; second, 120 days; third, 124 days. Her best run is rather astonishing — 300 miles in 16 hours, or 18 3-4 miles as hour for that length of time! This rather excels the celebrated time of the Sovereign of the Seas between New York and Liverpool, which has been called the fastest sailing in the world. It was, if we remember right, 18 miles an hour for 24 hours. In the above instance, the Adelaide was suddenly becalmed in the seventeenth hour, or the would have made the best day’s run ever recorded. The above distance and time are folly warranted by an examination of her log. Her dimensions are 235 feet length overall; 46 feet breadth beam; 30 feet depth hold. The Adelaide sails on Saturday, and will proceed from her port of destination to New York.

Andrew Jackson

Daily Alta California, November 21, 1855: Shipping Intelligence.
Arrived: November 30, Clipper ship Andrew Jackson, Williams, 126 days from New York. Mdse to D. L. Ross & Co.

Imports per clipper Andrew Jackson, Daily Alta California, November 21, 1855.


Buy at
The Clipper Ship 'Anglesey' (Print)

Anglo American

McKay Clipper, Anglo American.
Mckay Clipper, Anglo-American
Roy Cross

Ann McKim

Ann McKim was built on the lines of a Baltimore clipper, and is considered the first "true clipper," an honor she shares with Rainbow and Scottish Maid. She was built in 1833 at the shipyard of Kennard & Williamson, Baltimore. Dimensions: 143'×27'6"×14' with a cargo carrying volume of 494 tons. She was launched in 1833 and delivered to Isaac McKim, Baltimore. The ship was named after the owner's wife. In 1837, she was sold to Howland & Aspinwall, New York, who sold her to Chile. She sailed between Valparaiso and San Francisco, in 1849 and 1850. Her first arrival in San Francisco was January 20, 1849.

Sold to Chile.

Daily Alta California, January 30, 1850

Vessels Advertised

FOR SALE: The fine, clipper-built Chilean vessel called the Ann McKim, measuring 500 tons, favorably known in this port, newly coppered, and her hull copper fastened to the gunwale, the frame of live oak and locust, and everything in good condition, with inventory complete. The vessel performed the passage from Valparaiso in 43 days. For particularls see the consignees.

Daily Alta California, February 5, 1850
Wholesale Prices Current
Notice is hereby given to the consignees of cargo on the Chilean ship Ann McKim, Captain James Van Pelt, that the vessel is ready to discharge her cargo, and that her lay days expire on the 6th February. Goods on board for Messrs Salas, Bascunan, Fehrman & Co., Sanchez Brothers, Tagerschmidt, Julien & Co., Scott & co., Mr. M. Valdes, D. J. Argues, M. G. Gonnzales, N. Charpin, J. D. Goni. Apply to the consignees.

Daily Alta California, June 25, 1850
PORT OF VALPARAISO. Arrived, April 16, Chil ship Ann McKim, Pelt, 47 days from San Francisco.

Daily Alta California, August 23, 1851

By Gower & Poulterer
Auction and Commission Merchants
Ship Ann McKim

On Tuesday, August 27, at 10 o'clock at sales rooms - The fast-sailing Baltimore shipo Ann McKim, coippered and heavily copper-fastened, originally built and most admirably adapted for the China trade. For inventory and further particulars apply at our store.

She was broken up at Valparaiso.


Boston Daily Atlas, November 29, 1851.

The New Ship Antelope, of Boston.

This is a fine vessel, of about 500 tons cargo carrying volume, admirably adapted to any trade suitable for her size: She is of large capacity, compared with her register, but is at the same time of an excellent model for sailing. Her ends are clipperly in their form, and her water-lines slightly concave; and, although she has only 8 inches dead rise at half floor, yet, as her stem is almost upright, her floor long, and her keel deep, she is expected to hold as good a wind as most of the sharp-bottomed clippers of the same register. The design of her model was to combine large stowage capacity with good sailing qualities. She is 125 feet long on the keel, 131 on deck, between perpendiculars, and 140 over all. Her extreme breadth of beam is 29 feet, depth 19 feet, including 7 feet height of between decks, sheer two feet, and swell or rounding of sides 6 inches. She has a narrow waist, defined between the moldings of the upper wale and the planksheer, and the latter is carried out to the extreme, and forms the lower outline of the headboards. The molding of the upper wale blends with the navelhoods, and is continued along the trail boards, to the extremes.

Her head is a carved and gilded billet, which grows out of the ornamental work upon the trail boards. The stern is light and graceful, and the run clean and easy. Instead of stern windows she has four circular plate glass air ports, and over these an arch of carved work, in the apex of which is the bust of an antelope. Her name and port of hail are carved into the arch board and painted white. She is painted black outside, from the water to the rail, and dark buff color, with blue waterways, inside. She has a small topgallant forecastle. and abaft the foremast a house 30 feet long, 12 wide and 6½ high, which contains the galley, quarters for the crew and other useful apartments. Her cabin is under a half poop deck, with a house in front, which contains two state-rooms and the pantry. The cabin contains four staterooms, a water closet and a bread locker, and is most beautifully paneled with satin and zebra woods, set off with rose wood pilasters. There are deck and side lights in the staterooms, and over the cabin a large oblong square skylight. In light, ventilation, and furniture, the cabin is a neat and perfect as the space would admit.

Her frame is of white oak, most of her planking and ceiling of yellow pine, and she is square fastened throughout. The keel is of rock maple, sided 13 and moulded about 17 inches; the floor timbers are 11 by 14, and she has two depths of keelsons, each 15 inches square. The floor timbers are bolted through the keel with 1½ inch copper, and the navel timbers through the upper keelson, down blunt into the keel with iron of the same size. The ceiling on the floor is 3½: inches thick, and over the floor heads there are two strakes of 7 inches thickness, above these two of 6, and the rest of the ceiling is of 5 inches. The between decks waterways are 14 inches square, and over them are two strakes, each of 8 by 12 inches, and inside of them, let into the beams, a strake of the same substance. This thick work is bolted vertically and horizontally in the most substantial style. The ceiling above the thick work is 5 inches thick. The upper deck waterways are 12 by 8 inches, with a thick strake inside of them, let into the beams and cross-bolted. Her lower deck beams are 13 by 14 inches, and those under the upper deck 8 by 14. The hanging and lodging knees in the hold are of oak, and those in the between-decks of hackmatack, and all are well fitted and securely bolted. Her cutwater, stem, apron, and dead-wood -- also her sternpost and falsepost, are all of superior white oak, bolted with copper up to the load displacement line, and above there with iron. The main transom is 14 by 16 inches, and the others in proportion; and her wing transoms extend well along the sides, and are closely bolted. She has 6 hooks forward and 5 aft, which span the angles of her ends completely. Her hold stanchions are of oak, kneed in the wake of the hatchways, and elsewhere strapped with iron and bolted above and below. The stanchions is the between decks are also of oak turned, secured with rods through their centres in the unusual style. The planking of the between decks is of hard pine 3 inches thick, and that of the upper deck clear white pine, of the same substance.

The planking at her bottom is 3½ inches thick, her wales 5 by 7 inches, and the waist 3½ inches thick. Outside she is square fastened with treenails; and her bilge and butt bolts been driven with the greatest care. Her sides are smooth and beautifully finished. Her planksheer and main rail are each 5 inches thick; her bulwark stanchions are 8 by 6 inches, and her bulwarks are of 2 inches, tastefully tongued, grooved and molded. The bulwarks are 3 feet 10 inches high, surmounted by a monkey rail of 12 inches, which extends the whole length of the vessel. Her frame is seasoned with salt; she has air ports below, brass ventilators along the line of her planksheer and in her bitts, and Emerson's patent ventilators forward and aft.

She has a good patent windlass, a beautiful mahogany capstan, brass mounted, two pumps, a patent steering apparatus, and three substantial boats, two of which stow on a gallows frame over the quarter deck. In ground tackle and every other detail of ship's furniture, she is most liberally found.

She is a full rigged ship, has a noble set of spars, well proportioned and handsomely finished. Messrs. Blanchard & Caldwell made her spars, and she was rigged by Messrs. Carnes & Chessman. Her ornamental work, which is infinitely superior to most of the stuff now in vogue, was executed by Messrs. Gleason & Sons.

She was built at Medford by Mr. J.O. Curtis, and is owned by Wm. Lincoln, Esq., and Capt. Tully Crosby, who commands her, and under whose superintendence she was built and equipped. Capt. Crosby is well known as one of our most experienced and successful shipmasters. He has now a good beautiful ship, and one that must daily fast and work like a pilot boat. Good luck to him and her. She is now loading for New Orleans, at Constitution wharf, and after performing a coasting voyage, will be put in the Cuba trade, for which she was originally designed.

Daily Alta California, May 22, 1853
The beautiful clipper Antelope, which unfortunately went ashore on Romer Shoal in entering New York harbor, while in charge of a pilot, on her return from her first voyage to China, has been taken on the Sectional Dock and thoroughly repaired. Her superior strength saved her from the smallest strain, and she is now as good as new. She would commence loading on the 21st April for San Francisco in Mr. John Ogden’s Pioneer Line.

Ariel and Taeping

The clipper Ariel with the Taeping and the Serica sailed an unofficial race in the China tea trade from China to London in 1866. Fierce competition existed year round to be the vessel first back to London with the new shipment of tea; extra incentives were added in 1866, when heavy bets were made in England on the winner.

Tea clipper races had become a tradition in the tea trade between Britain and China. The winning vessel was awarded an extra pound sterling for every ton of freight delivered, and the captain of the winning tea clipper was given a percentage of the ship's earnings.

London Daily Telegraph, September 12, 1866

Leaving China at the same time, the Fiery Cross, the Ariel, the Taeping and the Serica sailed almost neck-and-neck the whole way, and finally arrived in the London docks within two minutes of each other. A struggle more closely contested or more marvellous in some of its aspects has probably never before been witnessed. The Taeping, which won, arrived on the Lizard at literally the same hour as the Ariel, her nearest rival, and then dashed up the Channel, the two ships abreast of each other. During the entire day they gallantly ran side by side, carried on by a strong westerly wind, every stitch of canvas set, and the sea sweeping their decks as they careered before the gale.

Ariel and Tapeing reprints available by clicking on images.Ships, Shipping, Migration, World Seaports.

Montague Dawson, the painter of Ariel and Taeping (above), was the son of a keen yachtsman and the grandson of the marine painter Henry Dawson (1811–1878). Dawson was born in Chiswick, London in 1895. Much of his childhood was spent on Southampton Water where he was able to indulge his interest in the study of ships. For a brief period around 1910 Dawson worked for a commercial art studio in Bedford Row, London, but with the outbreak of the First World War he joined the Royal Navy. While serving with the Navy in Falmouth he met Charles Napier Hemy (1841–1917), who considerably influenced his work. In 1924 Dawson was the official artist for an Expedition to the South Seas by the steam yacht St. George. During the expedition he provided illustrated reports to the Graphic magazine.

Bald Eagle

Boston Atlas


On the keel Bald Eagle is 195 feet long, between perpendiculars on deck 215, and overall 225; her extreme breadth of beam is 41 1/2 feet, and depth 22 1/2, including 8 feet height of between decks. In model she differs widely from any clipper which we have inspected. The rise and from of her floor are designed to obtain the greatest possible buoyancy consistent with stability and weatherly qualities. Her lines, too, have been formed upon the principle that when sailing by the wind, the pressure aloft will incline her, and to overcome the consequent angular resistance, is one of the elements of her model. But whether sailing, inclined to the plane of the horizon, or at right angles to it, her lines have been calculated for both, so that she is expected to float more buoyantly and pass more easily through the water than any other clipper that has yet to be built. At the load displacement line, she is sharper than any other clipper, and her lines, for twenty feet from the cutwater, are almost straight, but aft they swell into the convex, and blend beautifully with her fullness amidships. Her greatest breadth of beam is at the centre of her loadline, and her lines aft are decidedly convex. She is fuller aft than forward, upon the principle that, when passing rapidly through the water, as it closes aft, will actually force her ahead, and leave her without a ripple. Her model above is also designed with special reference to overcoming atmospheric pressure; hence she has little if any flare to the bow (which is angular in its outline to the rail), low bulwarks, and a flush deck. Her bow is long, very sharp, and rises grandly in its sheer; and the cutwater is just inclined enough to make her a perfect picture forward. She has a large gilded eagle on the wing, for a head, and it forms the best and most beautiful head that we have yet seen upon any clipper. The ends of her catheads are ornamented with gilded carved work; otherwise she is smack-smooth forward. She has about three feet sheer, and sufficient swell or rounding of sides, to preserve the harmony of her lines, and she rises forward and aft with such easy grace, that even on the line of the planksheer, the eye cannot detect any wavering in its sweep. Her stern is slightly elliptical, inclined aft, and is formed from the line of the planksheer, the moulding of which and the strake below, form its base. It is very light, beautiful in outline and tastefully ornamented.

Daily Alta California, February 24, 1855

Shipping Intelligence: Port San Francisco, February 24, 1855

Arrived: Feb. 23 Clipper ship Bald Eagle, Caldwell, 115 days from New York. Mdse to Geo. Upton & co.

Memoranda: Per Bald Eagle: Was 57 days to Cape Horn; was off the Cape 11 days in fine weather; crossed the Equator Jan 23d, long 110 03; since then has had no trade winds; had nothing but light winds and calms up to the 19th inst; experienced a heavy gale from NW; have been off teh port for the last 3 days. Dec 24th, lat 54 33, long 65 12 W, spoke ship Cumberland of Portland, destination unknown. Same time spoke Susan Fitzgerald, from Baltimore, for Valparaiso. Dec 25th, lat 55 S, long 65 15 W., spoke ship Alfred, of Liverpool, for Callao. 18th Feb. lat 34 22 N. Long 131 08 W., spoke shipo Hussar, from New York, for San Francisco. Same day saw a ship supposed to be the Phantom. Capt Treadwell has seen during the passage 42 sail of vessels, something very unusual in a clipper ship sailing for this port.


Daily Alta California, December 12, 1849

Blossom Rock.--The large clipper-built ship Boston, from New York, arrived in the harbor Wednesday afternoon, but in consequence of the dense fog came to anchor near Washerwoman's Bay, and was detained thirty-eight hours. The Harbor Master, Capt. King, visited her yesterday morning, but as the thick weather continued, could obtain no bearings by which to effect her removal from this dangerous vicinity.

Blossom Rock is the only truly serious obstacle to the navigator in this harbor, and as measures were some time since adopted by our authorities or its buoying, we can only account for its present existence as a terror to the shipmaster, in the failure of those with whom the matter rests to carry into execution these measures. It should be done at once, and effectually done, for already we have had marine disasters, occurring either through fear or ignorance of this rock, sufficient to injure the reputation of much better harbors than the excellent harbor of San Francisco.

An organized Board of Pilots would materially relieve the difficulty and danger to which inexperienced shipmasters are frequently subjected in entering this harbor during the rainy season.


Daily Alta California, June 24, 1852

Editor's Note: Although the Brutus is referred to as a clipper ship in the following ad, I have not found any other information about her builder or her fate. She does not appear in the lists of noted clipperships.

Ad for the Clipper Ship Brutus, 1852.


Daily Alta California, Thursday Morning, July 3, 1851

A magnificent clipper ship called the Challenge was launched in New York on the 24th of May. She is built by Mr. Webb for Messrs. Griswold, and is intended for the California and China trade. She is said to be the largest and sharpest merchant vessel ever built.

Boston Daily Atlas, June 15, 1851

. . . The Challenge, therefore, is the embodiment of her builder's idea of the perfect in naval architecture, and his reputation is thus practically pledged for her success. That nothing might be wanting on the part of the owners, they obtained the services of the first of sailors to command her.

Captain Robt. H. Waterman, whose name is associated with the shortest passages on record from China, superintended her construction and equipment, and to his skill as a sailor, without trenching upon the province of the builder, may be attributed her completeness aloft.

With a commander of such undoubted skill and daring, all that the Challenge can do she will be made to do. She is 224 feet long on the keel, 240 feet 6 inches on deck, between perpendiculars, and 252 feet 6 inches from the chock over the bowsprit to the taffrail, and is the longest sailing ship in the world. She is 27 feet 7 inches longer between perpendiculars than the Pennsylvania line-of-battle-ship. The Challenge's extreme breadth of beam, which is forward of the centre, is 43 feet, breadth at the gunwales 41 feet; depth 25½ feet, including 7 feet 8 inches between each of her decks -- for she has three decks -- and she will register about two thousand tons. The angle of her bow, at the load displacement line, is 15, and of her stern 17 degrees. Her estimated load line is at 20 feet draught; and her lines are concave forward and aft. A chord of 40 feet, drawn from the stem to the turn of the bow, shows the greatest concavity or hollow of the bow, at the load line, to be 6 inches, and her run, from a chord of 20 feet in length, to be 7 inches. Below, of course, the lines are more concave, but along her sides they are boldly convex.

The Challenge Clipper Ship from New York.
The American Clipper Ship "Challenge," New York

There is not, strictly speaking, a straight line in her model. She has 42 inches dead rise at half-floor, 12 inches rounding of sides, and 3 feet sheer. Her sternpost is upright, and the whole inclination or rake of her stem on deck, is about 12 feet. The angles of her ends, and the rise of her floor show that she is the sharpest, as well as the longest sailing vessel in the world. Her sheer is not sudden or marked by any peculiarity, but is truly graduated along her whole length, presenting an outline of perfect beauty.

Her bow rises nobly, and although its lines are concave below, yet as they ascend they become gently modified, still preserving their angular form; and, on the rail, blend in perfect harmony with her general outline. A gilded eagle, represented on the wing, and an eye on each cat-head, are her only ornaments forward. The bow is plain to nudity, compared with other ships, but beautiful beyond the power of words to describe. It has neither head nor trail-boards, nor even chocks around the hawseholes, nor is it lumbered with rigging. The head stays lead through the bows, and set up inboard; the bowsprit shrouds and bobstay, are therefore the only standing rigging secured to the bow, and these all set up to the bowsprit.

She has a narrow waist, defined between the mouldings of the upper wale and the planksheer. The moulding along the wale is gilded and extends from the talons of the eagle round the stern. Her stern is elliptical, and slightly inclined aft, but is formed close to the rudder-case. Its outline at the moulding of the wale is apparently semi-circular, but as it rises it becomes clearly elliptical, to correspond with her outline on the rail. Above the line of the planksheer it is ornamented with gilded branches, conspicuous among which are the arms of the United States, in bas-relief. Her name and port of hail -- Challenge, New York -- in gilded letters, are below. The upper wale is continued round the stern, and the planking of the run s carried up to it. She is sheathed with yellow metal up to 20 feet forward and to 21 feet aft, and except the ornamental work, she is painted black up to the rail. Her sides are smooth as cabinet work and every line and moulding is graduated to correspond with her sheer. End or broadside on, her appearance is truly beautiful; if cast in a mould she could not have been more perfect to the eye.

Her deck room is spacious and admirably arranged for working ship. The whole height of her bulwarks, including the monkey rail, is only 4½ feet, and inside they are paneled and painted white, and the waterways green. Their stanchions are of locust, bright on the outer square, and the rack rail, which is of oak, is also bright, and extends from the topgallant forecastle to the poop. Her topgallant forecastle is the height of the main rail -- has a capstan on it, and extends aft to the windlass. From the windlass to the poop her deck amidships may be briefly described as follows:

. . . Her half poop is only 20 feet long, and has a skylight on it, amidships. Except the spanker sheets, vangs and signal halliards, all her running rigging leads on the same deck, so that, in working ship, there will be no running up or down stairs. All the hatchways, except the main, have raised covers, with glass in the sides, which renders the deck below light, and if open, airy.

The frames of the hatchways, the mastpartners on deck and the fife rails around the masts, are all of East India teak, and the combings of the hatchways, and gangway boards are of mahogany. The corners of the bitts are inlaid with brass, and her captains have brass heads and composition pauls. Her windlass is strongly secured, and is of the latest patent, having ends which can be ungeared from the body.

Before the foremast is a double lever winch, for hauling the chain cable up, or for any other heavy work. Her chain lockers are abaft the foremast, on the lower deck, and the pipes through which the chains pass are covered by the fore part of the galley. She has three anchors, the total weight of which is 13,378 lbs., besides a stream anchor and chain. Her cables are each 120 fathoms in length, one of inch and seven-eighths, and the other of two inches, and in each bow she has two hawse holes. Her ground tackle and the details connected therewith, have been made to surpass the strictest requirements of Lloyd's.

She has five boats . . . all built of white oak and cedar; are copper fastened, have brass rowlocks, and are furnished with sails, awnings, water breakers, &c. Her pumps are of copper, have 8 inch chambers, and work with engine breaks, and throw their water on the upper deck . . . Opposite the fore and main rigging on each side, she has powerful lever winches, secured to massive bitts, which extend through the deck below, and are secured there. These are well clear of the sides, leaving ample space for the men to work around them. The decks are of white pine, the planking uniform in width, and clear of knots or flaws.

Of all the vessels which we have seen, not even excepting ships of war, we do not recollect one whose deck room for working ship is so spacious and well arranged as that of the Challenge. Her appearance on deck, as well as outside, is not surpassed in beauty by any vessel afloat. The accommodations for her crew are forward on the main deck, and are fitted with berths for fifty men. The forecastle has four plate glass air ports, and is otherwise well lighted and ventilated.

She has two cabins, the first under the poop, with two doors in front, one on each side of the wheel. It is fitted for the accommodation of her officers, and forms an ante-room to the great cabin below. In the upper cabin her tiller traverses close to the beams, and her steering apparatus consists of a gun tackle purchase, on each side, brought to a roller on the end of the shaft which passes through the heart of the wheel outside. The great cabin contains six staterooms, &c., and is wainscotted with oak and rosewood, set off with elliptically arched panels, relieved with oak pillared pilasters, and enamelled cornices, ornamented with exquisite carving. The corners of the beams are also fringed with beautiful carving, and edged with gold. The transom forms a semi-circular sofa, and forward there is another sofa, both covered with rich green and gold brocatel. In the forward partition is a splendid mirror, which gives a reflected view of the cabin abaft it.

In every stateroom there is a deck and side light, and the cabin furniture throughout is in perfect keeping with her other appointments. The pantry is before the cabin, and alongside of it is a door which leads into the main deck. She has two iron tanks, one the whole depth of the vessel, and capable of containing 6000 gallons of water, and the other 2000. The main deck has three large cargo ports in each side, which will greatly facilitate she shipment and discharge of cargo. These have iron gratings inside, and regular ports outside, like a ship of war. This deck has also plate glass air ports, and all the other means of light and ventilation now in use on board of passenger ships. The paint-work of this deck in white, and the waterways blue; and the hanging knees, stanchions, the lower squares of the beams, carlines and ledges, are bright and varnished.

The waterways of the lower deck are painted lead color, and in the other details it is nearly the same as the main deck, excepting, of course, the side-lights, &c. Although designed for the California and China trade, yet the arrangements of her decks are as admirably designed for the accommodating of passengers, as those of a fine class European packet. These details will give some idea of the ship's outline, her accommodations, &c. We will now endeavour to give the leading particulars of her construction.

Her keel is of white oak, in two depths, bolted together with copper, and sided 16 and moulded 38 inches. The floor timbers are sided from 12 to 14 inches, and moulded 17½, and every one is bolted through the keel with 1 7/8 inch copper. Her first keelson is bolted with iron through the timbers, down into the first depth of the keel, and the second keelson in equally well secured. Fifty feet of her keelsons forward, and sixty feet aft, are of live oak; the other parts are of hard pine. From the top of the keelson to the base of the keel is 8½ feet; The stem is of white oak, all in one piece, sided 16 inches at the heel, and 18 at the head, and moulded from 3½ to 2½. The apron is sided 34 inches, and moulded to correspond with the form of the bow. Both stem and apron are closely bolted with copper up to 24 feet, and above there with iron.

The stern-post is sided the same as the stern, and moulded in like proportion; and the false post, sternknees, &c., are bolted in the most substantial style. All the frames forward of the foremast, all abaft the mizzenmast, all the top-timbers, and all the fourth futtocks amidships, and the dead-wood forward and aft, are of live oak. The frames are bolted together with 1 inch iron, and are made of uniform substance, dressed fair and smooth on all sides, and are braced diagonally with iron 4 inches wide, and ¾ of an inch thick. These braces are 4 feet apart, and extend from the floor-heads to the gunwales, are riveted together at every intersection, bolted through every timber, and form a complete network of iron, which binds the frame beyond the power of working.

She is the first sailing vessel ever built in this country which has been braced with iron. The ceiling on the floor is 4 inches thick, and on the bilge commencing with 8 inches, which is graduated to 7 inches. Her lower deck clamps are also 8 inches thick, and all her thick work extends forward and aft, and is square bolted. Her beams are of hard pine, those under the lower deck sided from 15 to 17 inches, and moulded 14; the main deck beams are nearly the same, and the upper deck beams 2 inches smaller.

The hold stanchions are kneed to the beams above and to the keelson below. She has three breast-hooks, of white oak, in the hold, but all her deck hooks are of live oak. The hanging knees under the beams of all decks are of white oak, sided in the body of the vessel from 10 to 12 inches, and moulded from 22 to 28 inches in the throats. Of course, towards the ends, the knees are diminished in size, for in every detail it has been the object of the builder to make the parts in correct proportions. A beam 15 feet long does not require as stout a knee to brace it to the side, as one double the length. The knees have from 16 to 18 bolts, driven from the outside and clinched on the inside. The waterways of the lower and main decks are 15 inches square, the strake inside of them 8 inches thick, and that over them 10 by 12 inches, all closely cross bolted. The clamps under the main deck are 7 inches thick, the ceiling below 6 inches, and the clamps and ceiling under the upper deck one inch less, but all square fastened. The stanchions in both decks are of locust turned, and are secured with iron rods through their centres, which bind all the decks together.

There are twenty-eight beams under the main deck, and a corresponding number in proportion to her length, under the other decks, and these have all hanging and lodging knees of white oak, well finished and strongly fastened. The upper deck waterways are 11 by 12 inches, cross bolted, and all her decks are of clear white pine, 3½ inches thick. Her garboards are 8 inches thick, bolted with copper both through the timbers and the keel, and the strake outside of them is 6 inches, also copper bolted. The planking outside of these is 4 inches, and on the bilge 4½, which increases to 5, the substance of the wales. Her waist is of 4 inches; the planksheer or covering board 5 inches, and the main rail 6 inches, which is strengthened by an oak rack rail, already noticed; and her bulwark boarding is neatly tongued and grooved, and finished in the first style of workmanship. All the outside above the garboards, which are bolted, is square fastened with copper spikes; and is also copper butt and bilge bolted, up to 24 feet draught.

Her treenails are of choice locust, driven through and wedged in both ends. her planking, ceiling and deck frames are all of selected hard pine. The details of her fastening and construction show her to be of excellent materials, well built, and neatly finished. In ventilation, she has all the improvements of the day. Five of Emerson's patent ventilators are ranged along her decks, and communicate with the hold, and every deck below. In addition to these she has air ports in her ceiling, and brass ventilators along her planksheer, and in the ceiling of her bow, under the topgallant forecastle.

Her bowsprit is 30 inches in diameter and 30 feet outboard; jib boom 17 inches in diameter, and is divided at 20 feet for the standing-jib, and 15 for the flying jib, with 5 feet end; jib-a-jib boom 13 feet with 3 feet end; spanker-boom 13 inches in diameter, 60 feet long, including 3 feet 2 inches end; spanker-gaff 9 inches in diameter, and 40 feet long, including 6½ feet end; ringtail boom 30 feet long, or 20 feet outboard; swinging booms 12 inches in diameter, and 60 feet long, and the other spars in proportion. Her lower masts are made, fished on every square and filled in under the hoops, and her tops, like those of a ship of war, are solid, and fit close to the eyes of the lower rigging. The fore-top, in the wake of the after shrouds of the topmast rigging, is 16½ wide, the main 17, and the mizzen 13½. Her lower masts are painted black, her tops are bright, and also all above the doublings of the lower masts.

The extremes of her mast-heads are ornamented with gilded balls; and all her yards are black. The standing rigging is of Russia hemp, four stranded patent rope, without a heart, equal in size to that of a first class frigate, -- and is wormed and served over the ends and eyes with marling. The lower rigging sets up through lignum vitæ dead eyes, with lanyards which are also wormed, and the topmast rigging and stays on their ends. Her fore stays set up to the knight heads, entirely clear of the bowsprit, so that if the latter should be carried away, the foremast would not be affected by the loss.

Her topmast stays, fore topgallant and jib stays pass through the bows and set up in-board, which leaves her bow outside uncommonly clear, and if possible adds to its beauty, besides possessing the great advantage of being set up in any weather, without exposure to the men. As the bowsprit is very short, and strongly secured between the knight-heads, it is not lumbered with rigging. It has only one bobstay and a single pair of shrouds, which are enough, considering that the foremast is not dependent upon it, and that her jib-boom is also very short.

The bowsprit shrouds and bobstay, also the martingale guys and stays, are all of chain. Her main stays set up to a massive pair of bitts before the foremast, and not to the windlass paul-bitt. This arrangement, aside from the manifest advantages in point of strength and snugness, leaves a clear forecastle for handling studdingsails, or performing and other work which may require the full scope of the deck. Her maintopmast and top-gallant stays lead into the fore-top, man-of-war style; and the mizzentopmast and top-gallant stays into the main top. When carrying a press of sail by the wind, she will have topmast and topgallant breast-backstays. These however, will be shifting, not stationary like those in ships of war. Her fore and main yards are scarphed in the bunts, as single spars of sufficient length and strength could not be procured.

The slings of her lower yards are secured abaft the heels of the topmasts, to the lower mast-heads, and the yards have iron trusses of the most approved patent. She has chain topsail sheets, and double chain ties, with gins on the yards, and halliards on both sides. The other details of her rigging correspond in strength and neatness with those already enumerated. A glance at the dimensions of her spars will show that she spreads a vast surface of canvas. With lower studdingsails set on both sides, the distance across from the outer leach of one studdingsail to that of the other will be over 160 feet.

A single suit of her sails contains 12,780 yards of canvass -- of course this includes studdingsails, &c. The material of her sails is Colt's cotton duck, made to order, 16 inches wide. The drop of her mainsail in the bunt is 47 feet 3 inches, and on the leach 49 feet 6 inches; its length on the foot is 100 feet, and it is made of 1273 yards of canvass. Her sails are so cut that their leaches form a continuous line from the head earings of the skysails to the clews of the courses.

Her running rigging is of selected Manila hemp, hand spun, and her blocks and every other detail are designed for strength and hard service, but are at the same time neatly finished. Her appearance aloft is truly grand. Notwithstanding the vast length of her masts and yards, they are so substantial, and correctly proportioned, and the rigging which supports them, so neat and snug, that the eye wanders in vain above her rail, to detect an unseamanlike detail.

Art prints are available by clicking on the image.
Challenge, Leaving New York
Quality art prints by Roy Cross are available by clicking on the image.

Daily Alta California, May 1, 1852

The Great Passage of the Clipper Ship Challenge

This magnificent ship, commanded by Capt. John Land, arrived in our harbor from China early yesterday morning, after the extraordinarily short passage of thirty-three days. She sailed from Hongkong on the 19th of March, and left the coast of Japan on the 5th of April, having thus made the run from the latter country in seventeen days. The greatest distance ran by log in twenty-four hours was 360 knots; and the greatest progress made in a direct line, 335 knots. The highest speed attained was 16 knots per hour. The average log of the whole passage was 10 knots; and the average on a straight line, 9 knots per hoar. Whilst in the China Sea she made the distance between two islands, which were forty-two miles apart, in two hours and a quarter. She is in ballast, and brings 553 Chinese emigrants, all in good health, not a death having occurred on the passage. In every point of view this is one of the most wonderful and successful passages on record, and we congratulate Captain Land upon the additional fame' which his seamanship will confer upon the American commercial marine.


Daily Alta California, April 13, 1855

Clipper ship Channing, Johnson, 138 days from New York. Mdse to Harmony & Co.

Charles Mallory

The Charles Mallory was a medium clipper ship built in 1851 by Charles Mallory at Mystic, Connecticut, and owned by the builders. 155 x 33 x 18 feet; 698 tons register; dead weight capacity, 1000 tons. Had good lines and during her short existence showed up as a fast sailer. Under Capt. Charles Hull she left New York on her first voyage on September 15, 1852 and arrived at San Francisco January 8, 1853, a passage of 115 days. She had poor luck in the North Atlantic being 33 days from Sandy Hook to the line. Sailing from San Francisco January 27, 1853, she went to Honolulu in ballast, then sailed to New London, Connecticut. When 65 days out, she ran ashore on Cape St. Augustine, Brazil. At the end of July 1853, she was reported as lying in a bad position and probably would soon break up. Captain Hull was then reported as being very sick.

Daily Alta California, January 23, 1853


Smith et al., vs. ship Charles Mallory - Argued and submitted.

Daily Alta California, March 16, 1853

One Week Later from Sandwich Islands

The ships Charles Mallory, R. B. Forbes, Syren, Eliza Warwick, Dragon, Stephen Lurnam and barque Isabellita Heyne, hence, had jtouched or ariived at Honolulu. The news is not of particular moment . . . The clipper Charles Mallory, hence, at Honolulu, was reported in quarantine, with small box on board.

Daily Alta California, May 16, 1884

Along The Wharves

Advices from New York state that the estate of the late Charles Mallory, of the well-known shipping house of C. H. Mallory & Co., for some time in litigation, is about being amicably settled. It is stated that the steamer property known as the Mallory Line, running between New York, Fernandina, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico ports, will pass into the hands of the Erie Railroad corporation. The sailing craft have already been sold.


Medium clipper ship, launched October 28, 1854 from the yard of George W. Jackman, at Newburyport, Mass. 203 overall x 37 beam x 23:3 depth of hold; 1055 tons, old measurement, and 1024, new measurement. Dead rise, 12 inches; sheer 3-1/2 feet. Her figurehead ws described by the reporter who attended her launch as that of a snake with the tongue hanging out of its mouth. Her original owners were Bush & Wildes of Boston. Was was sold to sail under British colors and commanded by Capt. J. S. Lucas reporting his passage as 114 days from Boston, 25 days to the line, 51 to Cape Horn and off it 18 days, losing jibboom and gear attached; crossing the equator in the Pacific, March 16, 1855 and being within 500 miles of the Golden Gate for seven days.

Daily Alta California, April 13, 1855

Shipping Intelligence

Arrived: Clipper ship Charmer, Lucas, 114 days from Boston, wtih mdse to Flint, Peabody & Co.
Spoken: Per Charmer: Off Cape Horn, ship Queen of the Pacific, from Callao for Boston
Memoranda: Per Charmer - Was off Cape Horn 15 days in heavy weahter; lost jib-boom and everything attached. Crossed the Equator March 16th, lon 116 W. since which time have had light winds from NE. Have been withing 500 miles of this port for the last 7 days.

Daily Alta California, May 10, 1855


Playing Cards: 36 green Highland Cards; 42 do Napoleon do, Landing ex Charmer, and for sale by H. F. Cutter & Co., 91 Front Street.

Daily Alta California, May 14, 1855

Exports. New York, Per Charmer: 700 flasks quicksilver, 100 bbls brandy, 13 pairs smiths' bellows, 31 cs specific, 12 cs cs wine, 26 cs blue, 4 cs cigars, 5 cs pirks, 2 bbls snuff, 3 pkgs salmon, 60 cs tobacco, 2S cs shovels. 65 cs and 2 pkgs hardware, 6 ct dry goods, 2112 bags barley, 1236 hf dozen shovels, 1814 bags wheat, 47 bales rags, 2900 qr bags flour, 23 bales bags, 20 hf bags flour, 173 bales wool, 4000 qr bags mdse, 15,901 do do, 6 bales skins, 330 do sheep skins, 410 do do, 375 calf skins, 1432 hides, 80 bales 138 cs 6 chts 3 pkgs 38 cks 6 bbls 21 taks 28 bxs mdse.

Returned to New York in 104 days and again arrived in San Francisco on March 8, 1856, in 143 days from New York. Sailed from San Francisco March 22, 1856, 53 days to Hong Kong. Arrived at New York, January 28, 1854 from Whampoa. Arrived back at San Francisco September 2, 1856, 136 days from New York.

Daily Alta California, September 18, 1857: Shipping Intelligence: Clear


Clipper Barque Clendovey
Clipper Barque Clendovey
Richard B. Spencer


Medium clipper ship launched from the yard of Paul Curtis, East Boston, Massachusetts on March 28, 1853. 220 feet overall. The full length figure of Cleopatra, in robes of white fringed with gold, ornamed her bow. Her owner was Benjamin Bangs of Boston. Captain Samuel V. Shreve sailed her from Boston on April 23, 1853.


Clipper ship built in 1853 by Hayden & Cudworth at Medford, Mass, for Howes and Crowell of Boston. Her figurehead was a gilded eagle on the wing and her stern oval. This rig was the invention of Capt. William F. Howes, who had superintended her construction and was to command her, and received its first trial on the Climax. In her case, a carew of only 14 men and two boys was required, about half of what the complement woudl otherwise have been.


Daily Alta California, July 1851
LAUNCH OF ANOTHER CLIPPER.--Mr. William H. Webb, the well known constructor of some of the finest clipper vessels afloat, will launch from his yard foot of Sixth street, East River, at High water, about 6 o'clock this evening, the beautiful clipper ship Comet. This vessel is owned by Messrs. Bucklin & Crane, and is destined for California and China, under the command of Capt. E.C. Gardiner, late of the Celestial, just arrived home, after an absence of 11 months and 8 days, in making the voyage around the world.

The Comet has been constructed of the best materials, and iron braced throughout and her model has been designed to combine the advantages of a fast sailer with great capacity for freight. Her dimensions are as follows: Length, 236 feet on deck; breadth of beam, 41 feet 4 inches; depth of hold, 22 feet 2 inches; and she rates 1700 tons of cargo carrying capacity.

The January 13, 1852 Daily Alta California reported that a writer in the New York Tribune says of her:

The Comet looks so small that a visitor is surprised to learn that her burden is 1,836 tons, by Custom House measurement. Her length on the keel is 217 feet 8 inches; on deck, between perpendiculars, 299 feet; over all, 241 feet; extreme breadth of beam, 41 feet 4 inches; breadth at the gunwales, 40 feet 2 inches, depth of hold, 22 feet 2 inches; dead rise, 27 inches. She is iron-braced throughout her whole frame, diagonally from stem to stern, like the Collins steamers, and is constructed chiefly of live oak. The poop-deck is 60 feet in length, and the compass-box, Robinson's patent steering apparatus, gangways, etc., are all ornamental. The main cabin is large, and elegantly furnished in every respect, with costly furniture, rich carpeting, book-case and library, mirrors, drawers, and every practicable convenience. There is also a ladies' cabin aft, equally admirable in construction. Between the two is a sliding partition, faced with looking glasses, which can be removed on occasion, and the two apartments thrown into one. The state-rooms are especially commodious; they are luxuriously equipped and rival on a miniature scale the best apartments in a first-class hotel. In addition to these elegance's, there are a bath-room, a smoking room, and water-closets, contiguous to the cabin. The forecastle is among the best lighted, best ventilated and most comfortably arranged of any we have seen. Every part of the ship is thoroughly ventilated by Emerson's ventilators, and the atmosphere is fresh and pure, even to the bottom of the hold. There is one iron tank under deck containing 4,900 gallons of water, and on deck are four smaller ones, holding 700 gallons each. There is also a force-pump, capable of throwing water to either end of the ship, and attached to it are 100 feet of hose, so that in case of fire, the means are at hand for its prompt suppression.

Clipper Ship Comet in rough seas.
Clipper Ship Comet
Currier & Ives

Daily Alta California, June 23, 1853

Shipping Intelligence

Daily Alta Shipping Intelligence Comet in Port.


USS Consitution being towed out of Boston Harbor.
USS "Constitution" being towed Out of Boston Harbor. 1812
Reprints of the USS Constitution available by clicking on the image
USS Constitution
Myron Clark

Crescent Moon

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Crescent Moon
Montague Dawson

Cutty Sark

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Racing Home, The Cutty Sark
Montague Dawson
The Cutty Sark.
The Cutty Sark
John S. Smith

Dashing Wave

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'Dashing Wave' Clipper Ship Off Boston
William Bradford


Daily Alta California, February 12, 1853


Per St. Charles--Dec 16th, came through the Straits of La Mar in company with the ship Dauntless, of and from Boston, for this port, was in company off Cape Horn for three days. (The St. Charles was off Cape Horn 7 days in heavy weather; cross the Equator Jan 18th long 109.)

Sacramento Daily Union, February 16, 1853

Marine Intelligence

Port San Francisco, Feb. 13, 1853.

Feb. 12.--Ship Dauntless, Miller, 116 days from Boston; mdse to Collins, Dushman & Co.

Daily Alta California, February 16, 1853

Consignee Notices

Consignee Notices for Ship Dauntless February 18 1853 Daily Alta California.

Ship Dauntless, from Boston.--Consignees by this ship are notified that she will commence discharging at California street wharf, This Day, and are requested to call on the undersigned, pay freight and receive orders for their goods. All goods remaining on the wharf after 5 p.m. must be stored at the risk and expense of the owners or consignees.

Daily Alta California, February 24, 1853

Consignee Notices for Ship Dauntless February 24, 1853.

Alton Weekly Courier, Alton, Illinois, April 27, 1854

The clipper Dauntless left Boston for Valparaiso on the 23rd of October, and her fate is unknown.

David Crockett

The Mystic built clippership David Crockett is again loading for her eighth passage to San Francisco. While many ships hav been from 150 to 180 days in making the voyage, this celebrated clipper has made seven successive passages in 122, 116, 131, 123, 114,114, and 110 days.

Dawn Chase

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Dawn Chase
Montague Dawson


Eliza F. Mason

Empress of the Seas

Measuring 240 feet overall and 2200 registered tonnage, Empress of the Seas saw immediate service in 1853 on both the California and China Trade routes. Her first run to San Francisco from New York under Captain M.E. Putnam. She’d continue on to Callao, New York, Quebec, London, Bombay, and back to London and New York.

Daily Alta California, June 4, 1856

Clipper Empress of the Seas arrived, 115 days from New York, to D.L. Ross & Co.


Per Empress of the Seas-Ap 13, off Cape Horn, bearing NNW, 20 miles, ship Coquimbo, fm Boston,, 104 (or 184) days out, reported to have been 21 days between Staten Land and the Cape.


Per Empress of the Seas-Crossed the Equator in the Atlantic, 26 days out; passed through the Straights of La Moire 54 days out, had heavy WSW gales off the Cape for 11 days. Crossed the Equator in the Pacific 89 days out, lat 115 days out. Mch 2, Hugh Leach, a seaman of N.Y. died of consumption; Mch 12, John Chamberlin, seaman, of Vermont, fell overboard and was drowned. Every effort was made to save him, but without avail.

Empress of the Seas made a couple more runs under the American flag before selling to James Baines Australian Black Ball Line in 1861, from Liverpool to Melbourne in 66 ½ days, her final run.

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Empress Of The Seas
24x18 Giclee Print. Painting by Roy Cross.
Prints are available by clicking on the image.

Sacramento Daily Union, November 24, 1853


POLHEMUS'S DRUG STORE— J. L. POLHEMUS, Proprietor, would respectfully inform his friends and the public generally, that he has on hand an extensive assortment of Drugs. Medicines. Chemicals, fee; and further supplies are expected by clipper ships Sirocco, Robert Center, Empress of the Seas and Witchcraft, some of which are now due. Friends and patrons, come and satisfy yourselves that I cannot be undersold in this market.

Flying Arrow

Daily Alta California, July 8, 1853

The expenses of this vessel, which put into St. Thomas some months since in distress, on her passage from Boston to San Francisco, will amount to something like $15,000, including the sum of $10,000 claimed by the British steamship Great Western, which fell in with her and towed her into port. As there were no sticks to be had large enough for masts, a set of made masts were contracted for. Her repairs were nearly completed on the 19th May, and she would leave in five or six weeks.

Daily Alta California, August 1, 1853
CLIPPER SHIP FLYING ARROW--Advices from St. Thomas to the 10th June state the Flying Arrow had finished reloading, and was waiting for lower and topsail yards. She had lost three of her passengers and four of her seamen by yellow fever. Capt. Treadwell, and Mr. Clark, first officer, had been down with it, but had recovered. There were several American vessels in port that had lost officers and crews entire.

Flying Childers

Flying Cloud

An extreme clipper launched April 15, 1851, at the shipyard of Donald McKay, East Boston, for Enoch Train, Boston.

The Boston Daily Atlas, April 25, 1851

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The Clipper Ship Flying Cloud
Published by Currier and Ives, 1852

If great length, sharpness of ends, with proportionate breadth and depth, conduce to speed, Flying Cloud must be uncommonly swift, for in all these she is great. Her length on the keel is 208 feet, on deck 225, and over all, from the knight heads to the taffrail, 235 - extreme breadth of beam 41 feet, depth of hold 21½, including 7 feet 8 inches height of between-decks, dead-rise at half floor 20 inches, rounding of sides 6 inches, and sheer about 3 feet.

She left New York on June 2, 1851, arriving in San Francisco in 89 days and 21 hours under the command of Captain Josiah Perkins Cressey. In 1853, she raced the Hornet to San Francisco, arriving in 105 days, just forty-five minutes after that clipper.

Flying Cloud: Captain and Elenor Creesy and Flying Cloud.
The True Story of America's Most Famous Clipper Ship and the Woman who Guided Her

David W. Shaw
Through a study of a record-breaking 89-day voyage from New York to San Francisco, the author recreates life aboard a 19th-century clipper ship. He tells of the role of the ship's navigator, Eleanor Creesy--who was married to the captain and who helped chart a safe voyage through dangerous seas and adverse weather conditions. Much of this book is based on primary source material: diaries, letters, and ship's logs.

Daily Alta California, September 1, 1851
Ship Flying Cloud, Capt. J. P. Creesy
Arrived San Francisco August 31, 1851, 89 days from New York.
The Flying Cloud--This skimmer of the seas, the largest American merchantman ever launched, commanded by Capt. Creesy, arrived in our port yesterday forenoon, after a passage of eighty-nine days from New York - the shortest time ever made; surpassing the hitherto famed trip of the Surprise by seven days. The Flying Cloud is not so remarkable by the richness of her interior decorations as for the perfection of her model and strength of her hull. The N.B. Palmer exceeds her in the former quality, but in the latter we believe her equal has never visited our port.

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Launch of Shipbuilder Donald Mckay's Clipper Ship Flying Cloud in Boston
(Giclee prints available by clicking on images.)

The Flying Cloud was built in Boston, and will stand, as long as she lasts, a monument of Yankee talent in the way of ship building. Her arrival in port yesterday morning created a considerable degree of excitement, and crowds rushed over to the North Beach to obtain a view of her.

When the Surprise arrived, it was thought by some that the acme of Cape Horn navigation had been reached, and that no ship would ever be built to beat her passage. Indeed, some gentlemen have even backed their opinion on this subject to some considerable amount, who will now find themselves slightly minus, but at the same time possessing the consolation of knowing that they belong to the greatest ship building nation in the world.

Of our merchants on the Atlantic coast may complain that they have been injured by sending out to California the useless trash that would sell nowhere else, they may well be proud that the discovery of our golden sands has done more in four years toward improvement in the style of ship building, than would have occurred from other general causes in half a century. The antiquated hulks which, like huge washing-tubs, has been floating about the seas, sailing about as fast sideways as in any other direction, has been forced, by the rapid spirit of the trade with California, to give place to entirely new models of ships, graceful in their motions as swan on a summer lake, and fleet as the cloud which is blown by the gale.

The registered tonnage of the Flying Cloud is 1784 48-95, and will carry from 2000 to 2500 tons of freight. Her length on the keel is 208 feet; on deck, 225; and over all, from the knight-bends to taffrail, 235. Her extreme breadth of beam is 41 feet, depth of hold 21 ½. Her keel is 27 inches clear of the garboards; her dead rise, at half floor, 30 inches. Her bow, below the planksheer, is slightly concave. At 18 feet from the apron, inside, on the level with the between-decks, she is only 11 feet wide. She has three depths of midship keelsons, which combined, are molded 45 inches, and are sided from 17 to 15, making her, with her keel, which is in three depths, nearly 9 feet through the backbone. She has also two depths of sister keelsons - the first 16 by 10, and the second 14 by 10 - cross bolted diagonally and at right angles through the naval timbers. She is a full-rigged ship, and all her masts rake alike, 11/4 inch to the foot. The bowsprit is 28 ½ inches in diameter , and 20 feet out-board, jibboom, 16 ½ inches in diameter, and is divided at 16 feet for the inner, and 13 for the jib, with 5 feet reel; spanker-boom, 55 feet; gaff, 40; main spencer-gaff, 24 feet.

September 17, 1851: Married on Wednesday evening, the 17th inst., on board by the Rev. T.D. Hunt, Mr. Reuben P. Boise of Portland, O.T., to Miss Ellen F. Lyon, daughter of Lemuel Lyon, of Roxbury, Mass, who arrived on the Flying Cloud's maiden voyage to San Francisco on September 1, 1851.

Daily Alta California, September 1, 1851
Ship Flying Cloud, Capt. Josiah Perkins Creesy

Arrived San Francisco August 31, 1851, 89 days from New York.
The Flying Cloud--This skimmer of the seas, the largest American merchantman ever launched, commanded by Capt. Creesy, arrived in our port yesterday forenoon, after a passage of eighty-nine days from New York - the shortest time ever made; surpassing the hitherto famed trip of the Surprise by seven days. The Flying Cloud is not so remarkable by the richness of her interior decorations as for the perfection of her model and strength of her hull. The N.B. Palmer exceeds her in the former quality, but in the latter we believe her equal has never visited our port.

The Flying Cloud was built in Boston, and will stand, as long as she lasts, a monument of Yankee talent in the way of ship building. Her arrival in port yesterday morning created a considerable degree of excitement, and crowds rushed over to the North Beach to obtain a view of her.

When the Surprise arrived, it was thought by some that the acme of Cape Horn navigation had been reached, and that no ship would ever be built to beat her passage. Indeed, some gentlemen have even backed their opinion on this subject to some considerable amount, who will now find themselves slightly minus, but at the same time possessing the consolation of knowing that they belong to the greatest ship building nation in the world. Of our merchants on the Atlantic coast may complain that they have been injured by sending out to California the useless trash that would sell nowhere else, they may well be proud that the discovery of our golden sands has done more in four years toward improvement in the style of ship building, than would have occurred from other general causes in half a century. The antiquated hulks which, like huge washing-tubs, has been floating about the seas, sailing about as fast sideways as in any other direction, has been forced, by the rapid spirit of the trade with California, to give place to entirely new models of ships, graceful in their motions as swan on a summer lake, and fleet as the cloud which is blown by the gale.

The registered tonnage of the Flying Cloud is 1784 48-95, and will carry from 2000 to 2500 tons of freight. Her length on the keel is 208 feet; on deck, 225; and over all, from the knight-bends to taffrail, 235. Her extreme breadth of beam is 41 feet, depth of hold 21 ½. Her keel is 27 inches clear of the garboards; her dead rise, at half floor, 30 inches. Her bow, below the planksheer, is slightly concave. At 18 feet from the apron, inside, on the level with the between-decks, she is only 11 feet wide. She has three depths of midship keelsons, which combined, are molded 45 inches, and are sided from 17 to 15, making her, with her keel, which is in three depths, nearly 9 feet through the backbone. She has also two depths of sister keelsons - the first 16 by 10, and the second 14 by 10 - cross bolted diagonally and at right angles through the naval timbers. She is a full-rigged ship, and all her masts rake alike, 11/4 inch to the foot. The bowsprit is 28 ½ inches in diameter , and 20 feet out-board, jibboom, 16 ½ inches in diameter, and is divided at 16 feet for the inner, and 13 for the jib, with 5 feet reel; spanker-boom, 55 feet; gaff, 40; main spencer-gaff, 24 feet.

September 17, 1851: Married on Wednesday evening, the 17th inst., on board by the Rev. T.D. Hunt, Mr. Reuben P. Boise of Portland, O.T., to Miss Ellen F. Lyon, daughter of Lemuel Lyon, of Roxbury, Mass, who arrived on the Flying Cloud's maiden voyage to San Francisco on September 1, 1851.

Fore 35 82 13
Top 17 46 9
TopGallant 11 25 0
Royal 10 17 0
Sky-Sail 8.5 13 5
Main 36 88 14
Top 28 51 9.5
TopGallant 12 28 0
Sky-Sail 9.5 14.5 5.5
Mizen 26 78 12
Top 12.5 40 8
TopGallant 9 22 0
Royal 8 14 0
SkySail 7 10 4
Fore 20 70 4.5
Top 15 70 5
TopGallant 10 55 3
Royal 7 12 3
Sky-Sail 6.5 22 1.5
Main 22 82 4.5
Top 17 64 5
TopGallant 15 50 3
Royal 10.5 37 2.5
SkySail 7 24 1.5
CrossJack 16 56 4
Mizen TopSail 11.5 45 4.5
Top Gallant 10 33 2.5
Royal 7 25 1.5
SkySail 6 20 1

The Flying Cloud is intended for China trade. Capt. Creesy, her commander, has been engaged in the India trade for the past twelve years, during which he has made some of the shortest trips on record. Indeed, captain and ship, in this instance, appear to be well matched.

Daily Alta California


—The National Intelligencer says that the clipper Flying Cloud, Capt. Creesy, who is operating with Lieut. Maury in his system of observations for the wind and current charts, on her last voyage from San Francisco for the Sandwich Islands, which she accomplished in 8 days, carried skysails all the way, and averaged 256 miles a day. She was steering west in chase of the setting sun, and actually gained 20 minutes upon old Sol daily, for, in consequence of her great speed, each one of those 8 days was about 20 minutes longer than it was to any one at Washington, who remained at home stationery.

APRIL 20th, 1854.—"The clipper ship Flying Cloud arrived at San Francisco from New York, having accomplished the voyage in 89 days, 8 hours. This is the quickest passage recorded as having been made by a sailing vessel between the ports named. On a former occasion, the Flying Cloud made the same voyage in 89 days, 21 hours." The story of Flying Cloud is exciting in itself, but equally intriguing is the fact that the navigator was a woman -- the Captain's wife, Eleanor Creesy. Remarkable for being a functioning female member of the clipper's crew, she was also an inspired navigator. Her skills are considered to be a major factor in the ship's safe and swift passages. A native of Marblehead, Mass., Mrs. Creesy learned navigation from her father, a successful captain in the coastal schooner trade. When she married Josiah Perkins Creesy in 1841, he was master of the Oneida, plying the China trade and wishing for a faster vessel. She sailed with him throughout his long career.

New York Daily Times, September 10, 1858

News from San Francisco: STEAMERS—There was quite a rivalry in the sale of tickets by the steamers from San Francisco. By the Sierra Nevada, the fare was reduced in the main cabin to $300, second cabin $275; steerage $75. By the Winfield Scott, in the main cabin, to $200; second cabin $150; and steerage $40.

ARRIVAL OF TWO CLIPPERS—EXTRAORDINARY COINCIDENCE—Yesterday, the clipper ships Hornet and Flying Cloud arrived at this port, in 105 days from New York. The Hornet came in about forty minutes ahead of the Flying Cloud, having left New York on the same day, the Hornet several hours ahead. Outside the Heads at New York, she was becalmed until the Flying Cloud came up with her, when they started together, and have reached their destination almost simultaneously—an extraordinary coincidence. The Hornet was nineteen days on reaching the Equator, and the Flying Cloud seventeen. The Flying Cloud, it will be recollected, has made the quickest passage to this port on record. From the memoranda, she appears to have encountered much worse weather than her rival, having had her jib-boom carried away in a gale, as well as her chief officer, and one of her seamen washed overboard and lost. These passages are the best that have been made this season.

Flying Cloud became part of the "Black Ball Line" and it seems she never reached San Francisco again. In 1874, she was condemned and sold, then burned in 1875 for her copper and metal fastenings, a sad end to this elegant vessel.

Flying Dutchman

In the port of San Francisco February 1853 with "Two invoices of paintings." She sailed February 18, Nichols, Manila.

Flying Dutchman.

October 8, 1853, Sacramento Daily Union


Oct 7 -- Clipper ship Flying Dutchman, 106 days from New York to D.L. Ross & Co.

Reprints available by clicking on the image.
The Flying Dutchman

October 9, 1853, Daily Alta California (Advertisements)

BILLINGS' BACON--10 tierces, 20 boxes, and 30 barrels, ex. Flying Dutchman.

oc8-4 J.R. NEWTON & CO.

SOAP.--150 boxes Family Soap, now landing from ship Flying Dutchman

For sale by BRAGG, CONLEY & CO. oc9-a3 Corner Front and Merchant sts;

100 HALF BBLS. SPLIT PEAS-Ex Flying Dutchman --

September 20, 1856, Sacramento Daily Union

Arrivals at San Francisco.

San Francisco, September 19--9 p.m., the French ship Estelhet Pierce, from Bordeaux, and the clipper ship Flying Dutchman, from New York, arrived this afternoon.

October 14, 1857, Sacramento Daily Union

The Flying Dutchman in San Francisco.

Flying Fish

Flying Fish Poster.Boston Clipper ship Flying Fish, is of a similar model to the celebrated clipper ship Flying Cloud, and both constructed by the same builder (Mr. Donald McKay of East Boston) but has sharper ends, and is stated to be the sharpest vessel he ever launched. The Flying Fish entered the Golden Gate on January 31, 1853, with the winning Deep Sea Derby passage of 92 days, 4 hours, anchor to anchor (from Oct. 31, 1852 to Jan. 31, 1853). There to greet her in San Francisco Harbor, was the Westward Ho, another McKay clipper that had been launched on September 24, 1852. The Westward Ho had entered the Deep Sea Derby sailing from Boston twenty-two days after her launching on October 16, 1852, fifteen days before the Flying Fish; to chase after the Dauntless that had cleared Boston Harbor the day before on her maiden run to the Golden Gate, the same day the Flying Dutchman departed New York. Flying Fish out sailed fourteen other clippers which left that season. Only three clippers made four faster runs around the horn, with the Mckay-built Flying Cloud holding two of those records. Flying Fish's average voyage equates to a very fast 105.6 days, better than Flying Cloud and every other 1850s clipper.

Daily Alta California, February 1, 1853

Shipping Intelligence
Port San Francisco.

Arrived. Clipper ship Flying Fish, Nichols, 92 days from New York. Mdse to Hussey, Bond & Hale.

FLYING FISH completed seven westward Cape Horn passages to California, the most of any of the extreme clippers built by Donald Mckay.

January 1, 1858, Daily Alta California: The Flying Fish, one of the most regular clippers, and, indeed, from this port, claimed as the fastest vessel afloat, made her usual time in January, notwithstanding that before and after her the passages were not even passably good.


Daily Alta California, September 24, 1854

Clipper ship Gallatea, Barber, 114 days from Boston. Mdse to Flint, Peabody & Co. Anchored off North Point Dock; lies at Pacific Street Wharf.

Game Cock

Daily Alta California , March 1853
One of five clippers that arrived from the Atlantic since the first of March. She sailed from New York.


Daily Alta California, September 28, 1854

Clipper ship Gazelle, Dollard, 114 days from New York. Mdse to D. C. Howes & Co.

George Raynes

Daily Alta California, February 19, 1853

Arrived February 18--Clipper ship George Raynes, Penhallow, 127 days from Boston, via Juan Fernandez Jan 3d, mdse to Flint, Peabody & Co. Memoranda. --Crossed the equator Jan 22d in long 114, since which time has had light winds; has been within 6y00 miles for the last 12 days.

February 18: Clipper ship George Raynes, Penhallow, 127 days from Boston, via Juan Fernandez Jan 3. Crossed the equator Jan 22 in Long 114, since which time has had light winds; has been within 600 miles for the last 12 days. Merchandise consigned to Eldredge & Poualand; A. Martin; Story, Reddington & Co., Flint, Peabody & Co., Hussey, Bond & Hale; J.W. Stetson; N.L. Drew; J.F. Stuart; Whitman & Herrick; Chapin & Sawyer, J. Baker; Rankin & Co., S.W. Shelton & Co.; Eveleth & Co; Whitman & Hornek; Slide & Co., and Order. Spoken: Ship St. Patrick, from New York for this port, Jan 29, Lat 15 N, Long 122 W. Passengers: F.W. Bigelow; C.H. Cushing; A.F. Saywer; A.W. Haskell; J.H. Roberts; G.E. Russell; Mrs. Mary A. Rogers; Mrs. Amanda W. Rogers; Mrs. Julia How; Mrs. O. J. McKinney and four children; Lewis French; Mrs. Eliza French; Mrs. B. Fletcher; Masters James, William, Payette and Josiah Harlow; Mrs. Ann E. Rayne; Miss Ellen E. Main; Mr. A. Fernald; Mrs. Martha A. Fernald; Mr. G. Davenport; Mr. G.C. Scott; Mrs. Anna Scott; Miss Catherine Scott; Mrs. Eliza Kinsman and three children; Mrs. Mary A. Larnan; Mrs. Mary Kempman; Mrs. Ann Haywood; Miss H.G. Haywood; E. Johnson; E.E. Benjamin; N. Sherburn; F.W. Lewis; C. Barker; D. Scott; J. Scott; S. Trooop; S. Nash; G. Clark; J. Kinsman; E. Gifford; Mrs. Mary Hartwell; Mrs. H. Sweeny; A.C. Littlefield; C. Dunham; P. Cormin; G.C. Hodgden; W. Scott.

Glory of the Seas

October 1876 in San Francisco under the command of Captain Daniel McLaughlin. Glory of the Seas was not the fastest, the biggest, or the most successful sailing vessel of her time, but she was an outstanding example of the medium clipper ships operating under the American flag in the Cape Horn trade after the American Civil War when a marked decline in the United State merchant marine was already having its effects. She was also the last "clipper" built by Donald McKay, builder of Flying Cloud, Stag Hound and others, but because she lasted so long in heavy trade at a time when sailing was dying. A Victoria, B.C. newspaper writer wrote: "Full of years and honors, as the saying goes, the American ship Glory of the Seas is a vessel whose name is familiar to most shipping men the world over, and whose history, if told in detail, would fill a book of many chapters."

Reprints are available by clicking on the image.
Glory of the Seas
Antonio Jacobsen

Golden Gate

Daily Alta California, August 31, 1851
Another clipper ship, called the Golden Gate, was launched from Mr. J.A. Westervelt's yard, in New York, on the 12th July last. She is described as one of the finest ships of her class.

Golden State

Great Republic

Buy at
American Clipper Ship Great Republic

High Flyer

The Clipper Ship High Flyer.
The Clipper Ship "Highflyer," 1111 Tons


This clipper ship was built in 1851 by Westervelt & Mackay, New York. Dimensions: 207'×40'×22' and will carry 1426 tons of freight. Launched June 20, 1851. In 1853, she left New York for San Francisco in a race against the clipper Flying Cloud. The Hornet, which had left two days before the Flying Cloud, arrived just forty-five minutes ahead of her after a passage of 106 days. On January 11, 1866, she sailed from New York for San Francisco under command of Captain Josiah A. Mitchell, with a cargo of candles and oil in cases and barrels. On May 3, 1866, the Hornet caught fire and sank. Only the Captain and a part of his crew survived when their boat was the only one of three to reach Hawaii.



In the port of San Francisco July 14, 1852. 111 days from New York via Rio Janeiro 75 days. 117 passengers (Note: There are conflicting reports on the number of passengers.) Anchored off North Beach. Left at Rio barque Asa Packer from Philadelphia for this port, with 147 passengers. Was to leave April 27. Steamer Pioneer to leave 29th April.

Jacques Coeur

Daily Alta California, July 23, 1859

Shipping Vessels: For Shangai. The splendid A 1 French Clipper Ship Jacques Coeur, 1,000 Tons Burthen.
Capt. Camille Michel, (P.A.) will sail for the above port on or before the 15th August next. This vessel has superior accommodations for Passengers, of First and Second Class. For Freight and Passage apply to

John C. Legrand

Referred to as a schooner, brig, and fast-sailing "Baltimore-built clipper-brig."

Daily Alta California, January 10 1851
Brig J. C. Legrand, Hall, which sailed from Baltimore for California on teh 7th Nov after proceeding so far as Cape Henry, was obliged to return, having, when off New Point, experienced a gale, in which she sprung a leak, besides sustaining some other damage. She will doubtless have to discharge her cargo. She made the run to the Cape in the very remarkable time of thirteen hours.

Daily Alta California, June 6, 1851
June 5, 1851: Arrived Brig J. C. LeGrand, Knowles, 180 days from Baltimore, assorted argo to G. H. Cassard.

Daily Alta California, June 11, 1851
The brig J. C. Legrand, Captain Knowles, recently arrived from Baltimore, made the passage from San Francisco to Sacramento City, having started on Sunday last, in eighteen hours. She was in charge of Mr. Samuel Gamage, pilot, who was absent from this city only thirty-one hours. This is probably the quickest trip ever made with a sailing vessel.

Daily Alta California, October 7, 1851

FOR SAN JUAN DEL SUD AND PANAMA - To sail on the 5th October - The A 1 very fast sailing Baltimore clipper built brig John C. Legrand, 13 months old, coppered and copper fastened, havin been expressly fitted for passengers, will sail as above. She will be well supplied with good provisions, and her accommodations will be found superior. For passage, apply to: Capt. John W. Gregory, Jr. on board at Pacific wharf or to O. Livermore, Battery st near Pacific wharf.

John Gilpin

In the port of San Francisco 1853.
Ships, Shipping, Migration, World Seaports.

Daily Alta California, November 5, 1857

Clipper Ship Arrived.--The American clipper ship John Gilpion, arrived at Honolulu on the 16th, in 117 days from Boston. We are informed she will load with oil and bone for the United States. She brought a large cargo, composed principally of provisions and mechanical and agricultural tools.

Sacramento Daily Union, May 17, 1858


Loss of the Clipper Ship John Gilpin. — The clipper ship Sunny South, Captain Stephenson, arrived at New York on the 14th of April, having on board Mr. Wood and two children, of Honolulu, S. I.; Edwin B. Ford, of Brooklyn, N. V.; and Mr. Sherwood, of Boston—passengers of the late ship John Gilpin, foundered at sea off Cape Horn. The latter vessel, while on the voyage from Honolulu for New Bedford, and when off Cape Horn, on the 29th of January last, at 2 o'clock in the morning; during a heavy gale, struck a sunken iceberg and sprung a leak. The leak gained rapidly in spite of all exertions to keep the ship free by pumping, and on the 30th she had thirteen feet of water in her hold. At this critical juncture, and just as the ship's company were completing their preparations for abandoning the vessel in the boats, the British ship Herefordshire hove in sight, and subsequently rescued the passengers and crew, forty-five in number. The Herefordshire put into Bahia, where a portion of the Gilpin's passengers were transferred to the Brig Hurricane Bird, which arrived at Baltimore on the 13th of April. The balance of the passengers, except those which went to England, and a part of the crew left Bahia in the Herefordshire, bound for Cork, and on the voyage fell in with the Sunny South, which brought them to New York.

The total number rescued from the John Gilpin was forty-five, including the following passengers: Edward Stevens, lady and three children, of Boston; Miss Mary Pitman, Mrs. Sarah W. Woods and two children, of the Sandwich Islands; Mrs. Kivett, two children and servant, of England; Walter Sherwood, Edwin B. Ford, and officers and crew.

The vessel was insured $146,000 in Boston, $54,500 in New Bedford, and $180,000 in New York— a total sum of $235,800. There is also some additional insurance, not yet ascertained.

John Rivett, the husband of Mrs. Rivet, above referred to, is a resident of this city, and he has received advices by the John L. Stephens, that his wife and children are probably safe in England.

John Lidget

Buy at
The Medium Clipper, "John Lidget,"
off Greenock. 1862
William Clark


Painting of the Clipper Ship Kaisow by Montague Dawson.
The Clipper Kaisow
Montague Dawson


Messrs. Westervelt & Sons have in frame at their lower yard the clipper ship Sweepstakes . . . to be launched about the middle of June . . . They have also another clipper on the stocks to be launched about the same. time for Messrs. Goodhue & Co., called the Kathay. She is 310 feet long on deck, 38 wide, and 22 deep.

King of Clippers

Daily Alta California, May 31, 1853

We take from the Boston Atlas the subjoined description of this leviathan of the deep. The world-wide reputation which her building and owner, Donald McKay, has achieved for constructing fast ships, is an ample guarantee that this last production of his skill will possess sailing qualities commensurate with her magnificent proportions. It will be perceived that the King of Clippers will be ready to receive cargo in New York for San Francisco about the 1st of July, and orders to make shipments by her which are forwarded by tomorrow's mail will be just in time.

This magnificent ship, the largest in the world, is now completely framed, and has her midship keelsons laid. She is 325 feet long, has 52 feet breadth of beam, 30 feet depth of hold, and will register about 4300 tons (of cargo carrying volume). She is not only the largest ship building or afloat, but has the sharpest ends of any ship or ocean steamer in the world. Her model is said by competent judges to be the most perfect combination of the swift, buoyant and beautiful that has yet been produced. Notwithstanding her vast size, such is the length and buoyancy of her floor, that when loaded, ready for sea, she will not draw more than twenty four feet water, a common draught for ships of half her size. Her forebody for sixty feet in length rises gradually, so that the gripes of her forefoot (?), instead of forming the vortex of an angle, is the arc of an ellipse, and rises three or four feet from a straight line. The junction of her keel and cutwater, therefore is not unlike that of a whale boat, but is more curved in proportion. She has a semicircular stern and a very clean run, and will unquestionably steer as easily as a pilot boat. She will have three decks, with a full poop and topgallant forecastle, and will be fitted out in a style worthy of her name. Her frame is of seasoned white oak, and all the frames are conged together and bolted through the coaging with inch and a quarter iron, and inside she is diagonally cross-braced with iron, the braces four inches wide and half an inch thick, bolted through every timber and through each other at every intersection. These braces extend from the floor-heads to the top timbers, and form a network of iron over her whole frames and cants, fore and aft. She has five depths of midship keelsons, each of sixteen inches square, double sister and bilge keelsons of the same size, and none of her ceiling in the hold, above the bilge, will be less than ten inches in thickness. In a word, she will be made as strong as possible. She will have Forbes' rig, the yards on the fore and mainmasts alike, and those on the mizzenmast the same as those on the other masts above the lower yards, so that except the courses, all her sails will have duplicates on every yard fore and aft.

Among many other improvements, she will have a stationary steam engine of eight-horse power on the deck, connected with the galley, which will be used for heavy work, such as taking in and out cargo, setting up rigging &c. Her fore and main yards are 103 feet square, and the others in proportion. This truly magnificent ship, the eighth wonder of the world, has been built at the suggestion of many of the largest California houses. A letter recently received from San Francisco, says to her builder: "We are glad to hear that you are getting along with your big ship. Go ahead, and we will fill her up, if she were ten thousand tons. Don't mind what the croakers say; California is a great place, and is daily growing greater. Your clippers rank high here, and we are bound to put them through." This is only a specimen of the numerous tokens of encouragement which Mr. McKay has received, to build a ship which will rank, both in size and speed, superior to any vessel in the world.. He has boldly taken his California friends at their word, and embarked all he is worth in this magnificent undertaking. We now call their attention to the fact, and inform them that the King of Clippers will be in New York ready to receive cargo about the 1st of July. Capt. L. McKay, who now commands the Sovereign of the Seas, will command her. He has proved himself, under severe circumstances, every inch a sailor, and in every way qualified to command the best, most beautiful and swiftest ship in the world. Such will be the King of Clippers.

King Phillip

The Lahloo

The British Tea Clipper, Lahloo.
Up Channel, the Lahloo, a British Tea Clipper
Montague Dawson


Buy at
The Clipper 'Lightning'
Montague Dawson
Montague Dawson was the son of a keen yachtsman and the grandson of the marine painter Henry Dawson (1811–1878). Dawson was born in Chiswick, London in 1895. Much of his childhood was spent on Southampton Water where he was able to indulge his interest in the study of ships. For a brief period around 1910 Dawson worked for a commercial art studio in Bedford Row, London, but with the outbreak of the First World War he joined the Royal Navy. Whilst serving with the Navy in Falmouth he met Charles Napier Hemy (1841–1917), who considerably influenced his work. In 1924 Dawson was the official artist for an Expedition to the South Seas by the steam yacht St. George. During the expedition he provided illustrated reports to the Graphic magazine.

Daily Alta California, April 29, 1851

Shipping Intelligence
Port San Francisco, April 29, 1851


Messrs. Perine, Patterson & Stack, of Williamsburgh, are building the clipper ship Lightning, for Messrs Harbeck & Co, for California and China. This vessel is built after the builders' own model, the owners having given them a carte blanche to produce a good clipper ship, which from their well known reputation, will be all that her owners may require. Her length is 190 feet; width 38-1/2 feet and depth 22 feet, and she will rate about 1400 tons. She was to have been ready by the 1st of April.


Daily Alta California , June 17, 1853

The clipper ship Mandarin, Stoddard, arrived at New York May 19 from Shanghai, in 90 days. This ranks as the second best passage between these ports; the Houqua having made the same trip in 1851 in 88 days. They are both New York vessels. The Mandarin was built by Smith & Dimon, and is 800 tons burden.

Daily Alta California, December 20, 1853

Ship Mandarin from New York, commences discharging this morning (Tuesday, 13th December) at Clay street wharf., Consignees will please pay their freight promptly to the undersigned, and received orders for their goods. All goods will be at the risk of the owners of teh same, when landed upon the wharf, and if not removed before 4 P.M., will be stored at thier risk and expenses.


Daily Alta California, August 1, 1853

Launched, at Shalsea, on the 30th June, by Mr. Taylor, a clipper ship of about 1200 tons of cargo carrying volume, called the Matchless, and intended for the California trade. She is owned by Messrs. N. & N. Goddard of Boston.


Daily Alta California, March 1853

One of five clippers that arrived from the Atlantic since the first of March. She sailed from Boston.


Daily Alta California

The clipper ship Mischief, of 500 tons burthen, is now loading at New York for San Francisco. She is 146 feet long, 29 broad and 16-1/2 deep, with a dead rise of 24 inches. She is said to have the sharpest ends ever put on a ship and her builder, Mr. J.M. Wood, of Somerset, Mass, fully anticipates her passage to San Francisco will be under 90 days., She will sail on about the 23d April. Her future position will be in Ogden & Hayne’s "Celestial Line" of San Francisco and China packets. Daily Alta California, June 17, 1853
The new clipper ship Mischief, for San Francisco, was anchored at Quarantine, New York, 20th May, waiting wind.

Neptune's Car

This extreme clipper ship was built in 1853 by Page & Allen, Portsmouth, VA. Dimensions 216'×40'×23'6" and tonnage 1,616 (of cargo carrying volume—old measurement). Launched April 16, 1853 for Foster & Nickerson, New York. Left New York for San Francisco October 15, 1853, arrived February 9, making the run in 117 days under command of Captain Forbes. In 1854, she sailed from San Francisco to Singapore, then from Calcutta to New York in 109 days.

Between 1854 and 1856, she was under command of Captain Joshua Patten and during two of his trips, his 20-year-old bride sailed with him.  During their 1855 journey from San Francisco to New York around the Horn, Captain Patten fell gravely ill just before reaching Cape Horn, his First Mate was in irons, his Second Mate was but 20. 

His wife, pregnant with their first child, had learned navigation during the long hours at sea.  She, along with the young Second Mate, steered the ship safely through the treacherous waters and storms of Cape Horn to San Francisco. It was an extraordinary achievement, detailed in Douglas Kelley's excellent first novel The Captain's Wife (Dutton, September 2001),  and covered in San Francisco and national press.

With the death of Captain Joshua Patten, Captain Caleb Sprague late of the clipper ship Gravina assumed command of Neptune's Car, with Captain Patten's WifeShips, Shipping, Migration, World Seaports. sailing her from New York to San Francisco, between December 31 1859 and April 23 (114-115 days).

Ships, Shipping, Migration, World Seaports.Between April 25 and October 18, 1861, Captain Sprague sailed from New York to San Francisco via Callao in 186 days. Heavy weather off Cape Horn carried away the jib-boom, fore-topgallant and main-top masts and sprang the bowsprit. Captain Sprague had to put into Callao for repairs. He ran her from San Francisco to New York between January 31 and May 9, 1861 (98 days). The Equator had been crossed 13 days out and she was off Cape Horn in 41 days.

Mary Patten brought them through to San Francisco, but Captain Patten died some months later. 

Neptune's Car continued sailing the world's seas under the command of various captains, including: 

Daily Alta California, March 14, 1854

Captain Bearse:  March 12, 1857, San Francisco to New York (99 days); August 29-March 4, New York to San Francisco (125 sailing days).  Captain Caleb Sprague late of the clipper ship Gravina assumed command, sailing her from New York to San Francisco, between December 31 1859 and April 23 (114-115 days).  Between April 25 and October 18, 1861, Captain Sprague sailed from New York to San Francisco via Callao in 186 days. Heavy weather off Cape Horn carried away the jib-boom, fore-topgallant and main-top masts and sprang the bowsprit. Captain Sprague had to put into Callao for repairs. He ran her from San Francisco to New York between January 31 and May 9, 1861 (98 days). The Equator had been crossed 13 days out and she was off Cape Horn in 41 days. Captain Reed took command and left New York on September 21, 1862, arriving in London on October 19 -- 28 days from the Downs. 

Neptune's Car was sold at auction to Barclay & Co. for £8000 in 1863.

North Wind

New York Herald, April 4, 1853
Shipbuilding in New York. Below is a statement of the vessels constructing in the New York shipyards. The builders appear to be doing a very good business -- not a yard among them but has from one to four or five vessels in various stage of forwardness.

The number of new vessels on the stocks at present is forty-one, of which eighteen are steamers and twenty-three sailing craft. Mr. A.C. Bell has two clipper ships on the stocks. One is named the North Wind, of about 1,100 tons burthen, building for S.W. Goodridge & Co., and to be commanded by Capt. W.B. Hildreth. She is 188 feet long on deck, 170 on the keel, 36 feet wide, and 21 deep. She is very nearly ready, and will be launched about the middle of this month, with all her spars and rigging set. She is intended for the California and China trade.

Northern Light

Built in 1851 by E. & H.O. Briggs, South Boston, MA, to the design of Samuel H. Pook. Dimensions: 171'4"×36'×21'9" and cargo carrying tonnage 1021. The figurehead was an angel carrying a torch with a golden flame in an outstretched arm. Launched September 25, 1851 from the shipyard of E. & H.O. Briggs, South Boston, MA, for James Huckins. She left Boston on November 20, 1851 and arrived in San Francisco 109 days later under command of Captain Bailey Loring.

December 17: Clipper ship Northern Light, Hatch, 122 days from Boston. Mdse to H.P. Blanchard & Co. Memoranda. Per Northern Light. The N.L. was 40 days and 14 hours to the Equator in the Atlantic; was becalmed 25 days on the passage. Had light winds during the whole passage except the last 10 ds; was 68 days from Boston to Staten Land, 3 days in passing Cape Horn, 100 days to the Equator in the Pacific, which we crossed in long 104; have been within 400 miles of this port for the last 6 days.

In 1852, she sailed from San Francisco to Boston in 100 days, then in 117 days between October 29 - February 23 under the command of Captain Freeman Hatch (1820-1889). She left San Francisco March 13, 1853 and reached Boston in 76 days and 8 hours, the record to that date. From the latitude of Rio de la Plata to the Boston Lights, Northern Light required 24 days which is believed to be the fastest passage on record. She made 355 miles in one day.

Daily Alta California, July 4, 1853
The Late Passage of the Northern Light. MESSRS. EDITORS--On the sailing of the clipper ship Northern Light for Boston, the 13th March, the principal of a Boston house here offered Captain Hatch a suit of clothes if he would arrive in Boston before the Trade Wind arrived at New York. The Contest, a New York clipper, was supposed by everyone to be the fastest ship in ballast trim, and was not thought of in the offer. The following is an extract from a letter received this day from the owner, which will show the passage and what the Bostonians think of it. 

Boston, June 1, 1853
I have the pleasure to inform you of the arrival here of the Northern Light on the 29th of May, after a passage of Seventy-Six Days, which rather astonished the natives. Captain Hatch had a good chance, and he put her through. Six days out was in the latitude of the Sandwich Islands; 38 days out Cape Horn bore southwest from him; 52 days was off Rio; 60 days crossed the equator; and 16 days from there to Boston Light; in all 76 days, which beats all the passages ever made yet. The Contest arrived on the 31st. The Northern Light beat her Six Days. The Trade Wind has not yet arrived. So you see the New York clippers are nowhere.

N.B.--The Northern Light spoke the Contest, and passed her with ease.

In 1854, Northern Light was sold at auction for $60,000 to Captain Doane. In 1859, she sailed from Boston to San Francisco in 116 days. In 1861, Captain Lovell assumed command. On January 1, 1862 she collided with and sank the French brig Nouveau St. Jacques. The St. Jacques crew was taken aboard the Northern Light, but because of damages sustained by her, she was also abandoned and the crew taken on by other ships.

Ocean Express

The Ocean Express was the largest vessels built at Medford. She was launched July 10; 1854. While she was a hard working ship; she never fulfilled her builder's boast that she was "first in speed; first in beauty; and first in the world of water." While she was a handsome ship; her passages to San Francisco were among the slowest of the Clipper ships of her time.

The Daily Union, Sacramento, August 29, 1854


The Boston Times gives the subjoined description of a new and magnificent clipper.

Ocean Express Reprints Available by clicking on the image.
Extreme Clipper Ship Ocean Express
Poster, 1851

The Ocean Express is 2000 tons burthen. Her frame is of well-seasoned white oak, with yellow pine planking. Length of keel 213 feet- length over all 230 feet; breadth of beam 42 feet; depth of hold 24 feet 6 inches. She has two decks with three sets of beams. Her between decks are airy and commodious; rendering her one of the best passenger vessels, if she should be assigned that service, there is afloat. She can easily accommodate 800 passengers. The Ocean Express has three kelsons, 16 inches square, two sister kelsons 15 inches square, one thick strake on the bilge, 15 inches; her thick works are graduated from 15 to 9 inches, to the first tier of beams.

She is heavily square fastened from stem to stern; and is copper butt and bilge bolted throughout. She has two garboard strakes, 7 inches thick, flush down to 4-1/2 inches, which is the thickness of her bottom planking. Her wales are of yellow pine, 5-1/2 inches thick. Bulwarks outside two inches, ceiled up inside with 2-1/2 inch hard pine. She has two houses on deck. The forward house is 48 feet long, and has accommodations for 40 seamen, galley, sail room, and two rooms for boys -- the practice of keeping the boys from the men having been generally adopted and found to work to advantage. The after house is fifty-two feet long, and is separated into two cabins, the after one being fitted up in luxurious style, with mahogany furniture and elegant fixtures, satin wood panels, beautiful mirrors, etc. There are in the cabin five largo state rooms for passengers, besides the captain's room, which is a lovely, little nest. The forward cabin contains two state rooms for passengers ; also, officers accommodations, steward's pantry and sleeping room, etc.

The mainmast of the Ocean Express is 90 feet long, 33 inches in diameter— this, with the foremast and bowsprit are made masts, heavily hooped with iron. The bowsprit is 41 feet long, 20 feet outboard. The main yard is 90 feet long and 24 inches in diameter; the other Yards in the same proportion. She is sheathed with Muntz metal to 19 feet forward and 20 feet aft. Her spars were manufactured by Samuel Aspinwall of Boston. Her standing rigging, of best Russian hemp, was furnished by Messrs. Sunnier and Swift, of Boston, and will be fitted by Mr. Cheesman, also of this city. The iron work for spars was furnished by Nason and Cleveland, Boston. Her sails, constructed of best cotton duck, are from Branson and Cunningham's establishment. She will spread between 18,000 and 14,000 yards of canvas. The iron work tin hull was executed by Nathaniel Tay, Medford; painting and gilding by B. M. Clark & Co., Boston. -- the whole work being done under the superintendence of Mr. Chas. Curtis, foreman of the yard. The figure head of the Ocean Express is a large spread eagle — on her stern are ornaments appropriate to her name. She is furnished with all the modern improvements, including Robinson's steering apparatus, Perley's ventilators, patent windlass, chain stoppers, water tanks, and patent tanks, and patent air ventilators in bulwarks. This magnificent ship belongs to the firm of Messrs. Reed & Wade, the extensive California house in this city. She was built at a cost of $150,000 and is in every respect a perfect vessel. Mr. Curtis, her builder, acknowledges having outdone himself in her construction.

Ocean Express was a major participant in the Pacific Coast trade. Between 1855 and 1871 she made at least ten west-bound trips from North Atlantic ports to San Francisco; seven of which were from New York; one from Boston and two from English ports. She often returned with grain to England or sometimes stopped at Callao in Peru for guano. In 1861-62 she served as a troop transport in the Civil War. She returned to Pacific Coast service between 1871 and 1876 under Peruvian and Costa Rican flags; operating in the lumber trade between Puget Sound and Peru and Australia. In 1876 she was sold to a German firm; renamed Friedrich; and home ported in Bremerhaven. By 1890 she had been sold to Norwegian owners. During these years of European ownership; she was active in the North Atlantic trade. Finally in 1890; after 36 years of hard service; she had to be abandoned in the North Atlantic. The Reed family of Boston; for whom she had been built; owned the largest number of clippers operating under the American flag. At one time twenty clippers sailed under their ownership.

Ocean Monarch

Ocean Monarch.
Ocean Monarch, Leaving New York
Roy Cross

Ocean Spray

Sacramento Daily Union, July 21, 1853: Arrived Clipper ship Ocean Spray, McLelland, 143 days from New York. Ship Ocean Spray has hauled in to California wharf.

Ocean Telegraph

Cargo list per Ocean Telegraph, November 25, 1854. Daily Alta California.

The Ocean Telegraph was an American extreme clipper ship designed by Boston-based Naval architect Samuel Hartt Pook and built in 1854 by James O. Curtis from in Medford, Maine and launched on Mary 29, 1854.

She was destined for the run between New York and San Francisco, but was sold to the Black Ball Line in 1863 and thence sajild from Liverpool/London to the South Pacific.

November 25, 1854, Daily Alta California: Clipper ship Ocean Telegraph, Captain Willis, arrived San Francisco 120 days from New York. Merchandise to Shaw & Reed. Memoranda per Ocean Telegraph: Passed Cape Horn in 64 days; experienced severe weather off the Horn; stove water cask, broke ringbolts from the deck, stove part of deck load carried away topsail-yard, bulwarks, etc. Crossed the Equator Nov 1st, long 110 40, from thence has light winds and calms. Made Monterey 7 days ago; has been becalmed for the last six days with dense fog; anchored off the South Heads last night, the seak making a clean breach over her; lost anchor and 42 fathoms chain.

Daily Trade Report,
Friday Evening, November 24, 1854
By the arrival of the clipper ship Ocean Telegraph, we are in the receipt of a large amount of assorted stock, much of which has been sold to arrive and previously reported in this paper.
SOAP - 2000 boxes Hill's Soap, No. 1, ex Ocean Telegraph sold on private terms.
CANDLES - 100 boxes Judd's Patent Candles at about 58c. The mass of the Candles brought by the Ocean Telegraph have been sold previous to arrival, at prices ranging at say 40 to 50c.
BUTTER - 100 firkins new Butter, ex Ocean Telegraph sold without guarantee at 47-1/2c; 80 firkins old Butter at 25c.
LIQUOR - Sales today, ex Ocean Telegraph, amount to 41 bbls old Magnolia Whiskey at $1.37-1/2; 200 bbls Pure Spirits, 350 octaves, and 25 pipes Domestic Brandy at $1.40; sales previous to arrive of 159 bbls whiskey, in two lots, at $1; 250 bbls do, in one lot, on private terms, 250 octaves Domestic Brandy on p.t.


Daily Alta California, February 21, 1855

Shipping Intelligence
Port San Francisco, Feb. 21, 1855

On the Pampero. Sacramento Daily Union, May 4, 1855. February 20: Clipper ship Pampero, Coggins, New York, 125 days from New York. Mdse to D. L. Ross & Co. Memoranda: Was off Cape Horn in fine weather. Was 94 days to the line, on the Pacific. Crossed the Equator Jan. 19th, lon 112 40. Has been 32 days north of the line. Feb. 10th, was in company with clipper ship Sweepntakes, from New York for this port; 15th, experienced a heavy gale from the N W, stove hatch bulwarks, and supposed to have damaged part of the cargo.

Consignee Notices

CLIPPER Ship Pampero, Captain Coggins from New York, will commence discharging at Shaw's Wharf this day, Wednesday, the 21st inst. Consignees are requested to call on the undersigned, pay freight, and receive their orders. All merchandise, as soon as landed, will be at the risk of owners, and all goods remaining on the wharf at 5 P.M. will be stored at risk and expense of same.

50 baskets in bond.
For sale by Bingham & Reynolds. 201 Sansome street.


Sacramento Daily Union, July 21, 1853: Arrived. July 19 -- Clipper ship Peerless, Bascom, 212 days from Boston. Peerless has anchored off North Point.

Procymatia (Clipper Bark)

Buy at
Clipper Barque 'Procymatia' Off Dover
Richard B. Spencer

Queen of the Clippers

Daily Alta California, August 1853

From the Daily Alta California's New York correspondent: " . . . As another en dit in nautical matters, I will state that the largest, finest and most graceful sailing ship afloat at the present time has been purchased by a few members of California houses. Among those whose names appear upon the register of the Queen of Clippers, are Bingham & Reynolds and C.J. Huntington of San Francisco. She is now loading for California, and will probably hail from San Francisco. She is a credit to any city or nation in the world."


This splendid vessel has been the admiration of all who have inspected her, not only for the faultless beauty of her model, but also for the strength of her construction and the excellence of her workmanship. She is 245 feet long on the keel, 10 feet longer on deck, and 258 feet over all from the knight heads to the taffrail. Her extreme breadth of beam is 44-1/2 feet, depth 24 feet and will register about 2,300 tons (of cargo carrying volume), Custom House measurement. Her ends are very long and graceful, and extremely sharp, particularly the bow, and her lines are slightly concave below, but convex above, to correspond with her outline on the rail. The steam and cutwater form the vortex of a plain angle, of which her lines represent the sides, and make her appear, bows on, a complete wedge. Her stern swells outward, and is oval in outline, with a semi-elliptical turn in the monkey rail. Her run is very easy, and yet has buoyancy enough to bear her up, however fast she may fly through the water. She is sheathed with yellow metal up to 20 feet, is painted black above the metal, and inside she is pearl color relieved with white. The bulwarks stanchions are of oak, and are the continuation of every other top timber. She has a small topgallant forecastle, a house abaft the foremast 45 feet long, 18 wide, and 6-1/2 high, fitted for the accommodation of the crew, and also contains the galley and other apartments.

She has a small poop deck, upon which she is steered, and connected with it is the after part of her cabins, which are in a house sixty feet long, leaving gangway room on each side of it. This spacious house contains two splendid cabins and an ante-room. The after cabin is wainscoted, with mahogany, rose and satin wood, set off with pilasters, cornices and flowered gilding, in the most perfect style of art. The forward cabin is also finished in superior style, and the state rooms of both are spacious, well-lighted and ventilated, and like the cabins, are well furnished. 

All the stanchions, all the hooks, and all the knees in the hold are of superior white oak, the between knees only are of hackmatack, and of these are very stout. Her ends are well secured with massive hooks and pointers, and no ships beams can be better kneed. The bolt beams are 16 inches square, the upper deck beams ten by sixteen, the frames of both decks are of hard pine, and the planking 3-1/2 inches thick.

She is seasoned with salt, has Emerson's ventilators, and all the other means of ventilation now in use. She has patent blocks, patent trusses, chain topsail sheets and ties, and all the other improvements of the day. Aloft, as well as below, she is fitted in superior style, and looks most gloriously. More than usual care has been bestowed upon her iron work, and so far as we are qualified to express an opinion, we think it not only strong, but well finished. Capt. John Zerega, long known in the Liverpool trade, commands her. She was built in East Boston by Mr. Robert E. Jackson, the builder of the John Bertram, Winged Racer, and many other fine ships. Her enterprising owners have spared no expense to make her a perfect ship, and to ensure her success. She is expected to suit twenty miles an hour with a leading wind, and to rank first among the foremost upon the world of waters.

-- Boston Atlas

Daily Alta California, October 28, 1853

PASSENGERS per Queen of the Clippers: Mr. J. Easterberry, Misses Easterberry, Miss Grey, Mr. Lewis, W. Rankin, Mr. Morgan, Mrs. Gibson, Mrs. Stout, Mr. Donnelly & 4 children, Miss Stoutenburg.

Consigness per Queen of the Clippers, Daily Alta California, October 28, 1853.

Daily Alta California, November 3, 1853

Arrived. Clipper Ship Queen of Clippers. J. A. Zerega, commander, from New York, commences to discharge at Vallejo street Wharf, this morning, Saturday, Oct. 29th Consignees are requested to call upon the udersigned, pay freight, and receive orders for their goods. All merchandise, when landed upon the wharf will be at the owner's risk, and if not removed by 5 P.M., will be stored at their expenses. ~ Bingham & Reynolds, 201 Sansome Street.

Queen of the East

Queen of the Seas

Daily Alta California, March 1853

One of five clippers that arrived from the Atlantic since the first of March. She sailed from Boston. Her maiden voyage of was part of a "Deep Sea Derby," in the fall of 1852 representing a sampling of some of the finest clippers of the day racing around the Horn at the most favorable season of the year. Much of the time they were in sight of one another, often going tack for tack slicing on through the seas, each looking for the first opportunity to haul up more sail and fly on past to take the lead again, day after day, through fair winds and foul.

Buy at
Ilha Fiscal, Rio de Janeiro


Daily Alta California, November 1, 1852

THE CLIPPER SHIP RACER. We were kindly favored with an invitation from our friends. Messrs. Lee & Winans, the consignees, to visit this splendid vessel yesterday. A handsome collation was served, which was partaken of by a choice party. It was altogether a delightful affair. We noticed among the company some of our principal merchants and bankers and consuls of several foreign nations.

The Racer is well known from ber having made the fastest passage between New York and Liverpool. Her best day's run has been 394 miles. She was built at Newburyport, at a cost of $125,000 for David Ogden and others of New York, under the superintendence of her experienced commander, Capt. R. W. Steele, formerly of the packet ship Andrew Foster, and previously of the U. S. Navy. She is 207 feet long, has 42-1/2 feet breadth of beam, 28 feet depth of hold, is 7 feet high between decks and registers 1696 tons. She is provided with large loading ports, one on each side in the upper, and two on a side in the lower between decks.

In stepping on board this fine vessel, one is surprised at the immense deck, which, spacious in itself, is so arranged as to give the best opportunity for working the ship. Her form here presents itself in great beauty. Between the fore and main masts is a large house, 47 feet by 18, in which are apartments fitted up with cooking ranges, hospital, ice-house, etc.

The chief cabin, which is entered from the poop derk, is the most splendid of any we have ever seen, the panels, framework and part of the pilasters are of the most beautiful mahogany: the pilasters and part of the cornice are rosewood, richly ornamented in imitation of inlaid gold; and the caps of the pilasters are of papier mache, resembling carved rosewood, and serve not only for ornament but ventilation of the state rooms. The cabin is also ornamented with two fine pictures and very handsome furniture. Forward of the saloon is the officers room, with their apartments; and then the second cabin, which is large and commodious, and in which every care has been taken for the health and comfort of passengers. She has brought to this port one of the most valuable cargoes ever received; her freight list is upwards of $50,000, and her manifest eighteen feet long; besides which she has 500 tons of well-selected goods on her owner's account, which have paid a profit of $50,000 more. The rapidity with which she is discharging reflects credit on her consignees, and on the stevedore, Capt. Allen.


Daily Alta California, September 28, 1854

Shipping Intelligence Memoranda: Per Gallatea: July 29th, Cape Horn N 8 miles distanct, was in co with ship Radiant, and parted company same night.


Daily Alta California, January 9, 1853
LAUNCH.-A fine clipper ship, called the Rattler, of 580 tons burthen, designed for the California trade, was launched at Baltimore. The Rattler is likewise the name of a new clipper ship of 1,100 tons (of cargo carrying volume), launched recently at Rockland, Maine, and now at New York.

Daily Alta California, August 16, 1853

From Our Own Correspondent.

Valparaiso, August 16, 1853

Messrs. Editors.-- . . . We are anticipating the arrival of the clipper Rattler from San Francisco; she will readily obtain a freight at our quotations.

R. B. Forbes

Buy at
Clipper Ship R.B. Forbes in Boston
Talomg pm Cargp fpr California 1851

Red Jacket

Buy at
Clipper Ship Red Jacket
Currier & Ives
Buy at
Clipper Ship, Red Jacket, Off Cape Horn

Romance of the Sea

This extreme clipper was built in 1853 by Donald McKay, East Boston. Rigged with Capt. Forbes' double topsail rig. Her dimensions were 140'x39'6"x29'6" and tonnage 1782 of cargo carrying volume.  She was launched on November 15, 1853 from McKay's Yard at East Boson for George B. Upton of Boston and employed in the California Trade.  On December 16, 1853, she sailed for San Francisco under command of Captain Dumaresq after having loaded at the Long Wharf in Boston for Messrs. Timothy Davis & Co.'s line of San Francisco Clippers.  When the George Lee and Flying Eagle sailed from Hong Kong for San Francisco in late 1862, the Romance of the Sea was in port. She left Hong Kong on December 31, 1862 and was lost at sea enroute to San Francisco.

San Francisco

New York Herald, April 4, 1853

The San Francisco is about 1,400 tons of cargo carrying volume and is being built for T. Ward & Co. She is 195 feet on deck, 199 on the keel, 38 feet wide, and 22 deep. She is now in frame, and will be launched next July She is intended for the California and China business.

February 8, 1854 (from the Annals of San Francisco)

Loss of the clipper ship San Francisco From New York to this Port

This was a fine new ship of large tonnage, whose cargo was valued at $400,000. In beating through the entrance to the bay, she missed stays and struck the rocks on the north side, opposite Fort Point. This was nearly at the spot where the English outward-bound ship Jenny Lind, from the same cause, was wrecked a few months before. The "Golden Gate" is narrow, but the channel is deep and perfectly safe, if only its peculiarities be known and attended to. The loss of the ships named was supposed to be more attributable to the ignorance or neglect of their pilots than to any natural dangers in the place at the time. If it were obligatory on masters of sailing vessels, not small coasters, to employ steam-tugs to bring their ships from outside the Heads into the harbor, such accidents as these could not occur. It appears that twenty-three large vessels have either been wrecked, stranded, or seriously injured in San Francisco Bay since 1850. This number is exclusive of any accidents occurring to vessels at anchor in the roadsteads, or lying at the wharves. The total losses in the harbor, since 1850, are estimated to have exceeded a million and a half dollars.

The wreck of the San Francisco was attended by circumstances very discreditable to some of the people in and around the city. So soon as the occurrence was known, a multitude of plunderers hastened to the wreck, and proceeded to help themselves from the ship's hold. It was in vain that the owners or their agents attempted to drive them away. Some two hundred dare-devil Americans, nearly all armed with the usual weapons, five or six-shooters and bowie knives, were not to be frightened by big words. They stood their ground, and continued to take and rob as they pleased, plundering from each other as well as from the ship. It was said that even some of the soldiers from the Presidio crossed the strait, and became wreckers themselves. Then a storm came, and scattered and capsized the deep-laden boats that were bearing the spoil away. Some were carried out to sea, and were lost; others were swamped close beside the wreck and a few of their passengers were drowned. The number of lives lost could not be exactly ascertained, although it was supposed that, at least, a dozen persons must have perished in the midst of their unhallowed occupation. There were no lives lost of those connected with the San Francisco. She was sold after the wreck, as she lay, her contents included, for $12,000. A short time afterwards, and when some of the lighter parts of the cargo had been removed, the ship went to pieces, as had been the case with the Jenny Lind before her.


Daily Alta California, April 13, 1855

Memoranda: Per Saracen: Was off Cape Horn 17 days with strong gales from the westward. Crossed the Equator on the Atlantic in 41 day sout. Crossed the Equator on the Pacific lon 109; from thence had fine weather. Except 20 days off the Horn have not furled the royals, have been 7 days with 500 miles of the port with light winds and calms. Jan 22d: Wm. Waige, seaman, was washed from the jibboom and was drowned.

Seaman's Bride

Daily Alta California, May 21, 1852. May 20 - Clipper ship Seaman's Bride, Myrrick, 152 days from New York, via Valparaiso 42 days. Mdse to order. 6 passengers, lay off Griffin's wharf. Carried away her formast and fore and mizzen topgallant mast in a heavy squall on the night of 29th Feb., and put into Valparaiso to repair damages. Consignees: Case, Heiser & Co; O. R. Wade; Turnbull & Walton; Levenstine, Gibson & Co.; Hussey, Bond & Hale . . .

Sea Nymph

Daily Alta California, July 13, 1852

Built in Fairhaven, Mass. 1253 tons. ARRIVAL OF CLIPPERS.--The Sea Nymph, Argonaut and Staghound are among the numerous arrivals which are reported in our paper this morning. They have all been looked for during the past week, though not supposed to have been over due, as many of the same class of an earlier date from the Atlantic are still out.

These ships have done well, and their passages may be considered good. The season of the year is much against a rapid run from the Atlantic to the Pacific, as is usual, and which may be seen by the reports in another column.

The Staghound had three skysails set for eighty-eight days, and was within one thousand miles of this port on the 14th ult. Ad selling goods from the wreck of the Sea Nymph.The Argonaut and Sea Nymph report similar weather. We shall no doubt have another fleet to report in our next publication, as well as some wild transactions in merchandise.

Speculation is rife in nearly all descriptions of goods by these vessels, the arrival of which only happily relieves the want of many articles, without depressing the market or effecting prices. Indiscreet speculators may possibly suffer.

Daily Alta California, April 13, 1855
Per Sea Nymph: Was 45 days ot the Equator on the Atlantic, 68 days to Staten Land; 21 days off the Horn in heavy gales; put into Valparaiso for water. Crossed the Equator in fine weather; from thence had light winds; had royals set up to lat 32N. Have been 10 days within 600 miles of the port.

May 7, 1861, Daily Alta California

Total Wreck of the Clipper Ship Sea Nymph, from New York -- Eighteen of the Crew Saved.

Intelligence reached the city this morning of the total loss of the clipper ahip Sea Nymph, from New York, which went ashore on the morning of Saturday, 4th inst., three miles north of Point Reyes. The vessel had been enveloped in fog for some tiime, which made her position somewhat uncertain, and, whilst standing into the land, she struck, and became a total loss.

A boatman was dispatched overland by the Captain to the consignees of the vessel, Messrs. W. T. Coleman & Co. The boatman says the vessel is in the breakers, broken in two, all her masts gone, and a heavy surf running. He, with the aid of several companions, plunged into the surf with ropes attached to them, and brought several of the crew ashore.

They had attempted to land in the life boat, but a heavy roller turned the boat end over end, throwing the all crew into the boiling surf, where several would have perished, but for the timely aid of the fishermen. From the following letter of the Captain, it will be seen that he had little hopes of those who still remained in tbe ship.

Point Reyes, May 5th.

W. T. COLEMAN & CO: I write to inform you of the wreck of the ship Sea Nymph, three miles north of Point Reyes, totally lost. Eighteen of the crew are ashore--seven still on board. No chance to land, and small prospect they ever will.

The consignees of the vessel, immediately on learning of the loss of the ship, dispatched the steamer John T. Wright to her assistance. The Wright went to sea at 11 o'clock this morning Our Marine Reporter furnishes the following account:

Ship Sea Nymph, Capt. Harding, from new York for this port, ran ashore about three miles north of Point Reyes, during a dense fog, on Saturday, 4th inst., and will prove a total loss. The ship has broken in two and the sea making a clean breach over her; her masts are gone.

When she struck Capt. Harding succeeded in flying a kite ashore, with a line attached, and by that means got a hawser ashore, by which the greater part of the crew succeeded in getting saved. The steward was drowned while attempting to reach the land. When our informant left, the first and second officers, with five of the crew, were still on board. She lies inside of a sand bar with heavy breakers outside.

Daily Alta California, May 9, 1861

Shipping Intelligence

San Francisco, May 8, 1861: Arrived: Schr Flying Dart, Lemmen, 3 hours from Point Reyes with the officers and crew of the wrecked ship Sea Nymph.

Sacramento Daily Union, May 15, 1861

Two schooners arrived to day with full freights of goods saved from the wreck of the Sea Nymph. The purchaser of the wreck expects to save $15,000 worth of goods.

Sacramento Daily Union, May 21, 1861

Another schooner load of goods from the Sea Nymph wreck arrived tonight . . . it is raining in torrents again.

Sea Serpent

Daily Alta California, July 13, 1852


This magnificent ship has made this best passage of the season, 112 days from New York, beating the fleet of clippers now due, whose average passage already amounts to about 124 days. She was built at Portsmouth, N.H., by Geo. Raynes, Esq., the famous building of the Witch of the Wave, that has excited the admiration of the Londoners, both by her unrivalled passage of 90 days from China, and her symmetrical proportions. Mr. Raynes is also the builder and architect of the Typhoon, which it will be recollected, made a voyage to Europe in 12 days. He has orders now for four clippers, the same model with the Witch of the Wave, and has forwarded her model by request to the Board of Admiralty in England.

Daily Alta California, October 1, 1864: Messrs. Grinnell, Minturn & Co.'s beautiful clipper Sea Serpent is also up for the same destination (San Francisco). She has made her pasages in 120, 116, 115, 112 and 107 days.

Sea Witch

The American Tea Clipper Sea Witch was launched December 1846 from Smith & Dimon's yard at the foot of Fourth Street, New York. At 890 tons, her length was 179 feet, breadth was 34 feet, and depth was 19 feet. She proved to be no disappointment to her owners, Howland & Aspinwall. Sea Witch can be considered the first of the very sharp-ended full midsection clipper ships. She had little sheer, a straight keel with no drag, and markedly hollow bows. When loaded, the Sea Witch lay low on the water.

At the time of her launching she was the most beautiful ship afloat: painted black with a bright stripe, her figurehead was an aggressive-looking, beautifully carved gilded Chinese dragon whose long coiling tail gave emphasis to her hollow bows. She was described as being rakish and heavily sparred, her mainmast being 83’ 2” long. She had the reputation at that time of being the handsomest ship sailing out of New York, and her officers and crew were hand-picked men, several of whom had sailed with Captain Robert "Bully" Waterman on his voyages in the Natchez. Captain Waterman sailed her from China to New York in a record-breaking run of seventy-five days from China, having performed a voyage around the world in 194 sailing days. (Editor's Note: Apparently, as of 2004, no one has broken Captain Waterman's record).

New York papers reported that Sea Witch made the shortest direct passages on record, viz.: 69 days from New York to Valparaiso; 50 days from Callao to China; 75 days from China to New York. Distance run by observation from New York to Valparaiso, 10,568 miles; average 6 2/5 miles per hour. Distance from Callao to China, 10,417 miles; average, 8 5/8 knots per hour. Distance from China to New York, 14,225 miles; average, 7 7/8 knots per hour. Best ten (consecutive) days' run, 2,634 miles; 11 1/10 knots per hour.

Waterman basked in his latest limelight at the Astor Bar and soon left for Connecticut to reunite with his wife. Griffiths basked in the limelight as well and was never at a loss for words when praising the ship that was his masterpiece. He wrote:

The model of the Sea Witch had more influence upon the subsequent configuration of fast vessels than any other ship ever built in the United States.

Sea Witch, like other clippers, was built for speed. They could sprint at 20 knots and cruise at 16. Sea Witch was an opium clipper, which meant she was not only swift, but was also well-armed, mounting from 6 to 10 eighteen pounders. These armaments were necessary to see off the numerous Chinese pirates, who, in their fast lorchas, were attracted by the rich cargoes of silver and opium. The opium clippers sped up and down the coasts delivering opium to, and collecting silver from, the 'receiving ships'. These hulks, heavily armed and fully manned by Manila men, were anchored in the open ports as depots.

Snow Squall

Built at Butler Yard in South Portland, Maine in 1851, Snow Squall was a full-rig, three-mast clipper ship, designed and built for speed not capacity. She made voyages all over the world, carrying valuable and time dependent cargoes. In 1864, she was heavily damaged trying to round Cape Horn and was abandoned in the Falkland Islands. (Through conservation efforts in the 1980s, parts of the Snow Squall were recovered and are now housed at Maine Maritime Museum; these are the only remains of an American clipper ship in existence.)

Snow Squall: The Last American Clipper Ship
Nicholas Dean's book begins (and ends) with a series of unusual volunteer archaeological expeditions in the aftermath of the Falkland War. Snow Squall's story is pieced together with information gleaned from shipping lists, newspaper accounts, disaster books, and diaries. Her world turns out to be a fascinating one, from the laying of her keel to her captain's heroic efforts to repair his badly damaged ship after going aground near Cape Horn in 1864.

Sovereign of the Seas

Sacramento Daily Union, November 18, 1852

San Francisco Items

The magnificent clipper ship Sovereign of the Seas, Capt. McKay, arrived last night, in one hundred and three days from New York, being, with the exception of that made by the Staffordship, the shortest passage of the season. Her best days sailing was 368 miles. The greatest speed in one hour, 17 miles, though it is confidently believed that she is capable of making 20. She brings an immense cargo of assorted merchandize, the largest ever brought to this port. She is truly what her name denotes, the "Sovereign of the Seas," and as a specimen of naval architecture is far in advance of any vessel — Journal. .

Daily Alta California, June 18, 1853

The Sovereign of the Seas
Letter from Lieut. Maury.

National Observatory, Washington
May 9, 1853

SIR:-- I had the pleasure this morning to receive the abstract log of the Sovereign of the Seas, from San Francisco via the Sandwich Islands, to New York. Be pleased to accept my thanks for this, as well as the outward trip.

I am sorry you are so much like your ship, for you appear to be in as great a hurry as ever she was, at least I infer so from the absence of remarks in the abstract. I notice your suggestion about sailing directions from the Sandwich Islands — they shall go down. I congratulate you on your glorious run; you have proved what I have been preaching up for the last two or three years, viz : That in the southrern hemisphere, way out to sea, as along the route you came, you will find the westerly wind to blow, with trade wind-like regularity; and there is the race course of the ocean. Say to your owners, that if they will send you next time to Port Philip, Australia, and thence straight home to New York, that you will put a girdle around the earth in one hundred and twenty-five days at sea. and astonish the world with the greatest achievement that has ever been accomplished. I would be almost willing to go with you on such a trip, and help you to pick out the fair windy places. Please say to them that I am getting out your distances run for each day, and attach importance enough to the performance to make it a subject of official report to the government.

Respectfully, etc.,

Art prints available by clicking on the image.
Donald McKay's Sovereign of the Seas
The first ship to travel more than 400 miles in 24 hours.
Her dimensions 258.2 x 44.7 x 23.6. 2420 tons

Daily Alta California, November 29, 1852

Remarkable Triumph of Science
The Sovereign of the Seas

Since the arrival of the magnificent Sovereign of the Seas in this harbor, one of the most interesting circumstances has transpired, connected with her late passage, that has ever been recorded in the annals of voyages to this ocean. The incident is fraught with the deepest importance to the cause of science, and we hasten to lay the particulars before the public.

The Sovereign of the Seas left New York on the 3d day of August and arrived in this port on the 15th day of November, her passage occupying 103 days, two hours. A few weeks previous to her departure, her captain, L. McKay, addressed a letter to Lieut. M. F. Maury, the well-known astronomer at the Washington Observatory, requesting copies of the fourth edition of his "Sailing Directions," for use during the voyage. Captain McKay received, shortly before sailing teh following letter in reply.

This letter furnishes one of the most remarkable instances of scientific foresight and knowledge that has ever come in our possession. The astronomer in his studio at Washington predicts from the observance of certain sailing directions, which he himself has resolved and laid down, the passage of a vessel bound on a voyage over 17,000 miles in length, and does not err, in his calculation of the time, occupied, two hours!

Here is the letter.

If you have not the charts and old sailing directions that accompany them, please call on my agent, George Manning, No. 142 Pearl street, and he will furnish you with them.

I am driving through the press the 4th edition of Sailing Directions. I hope to have the chapter on the route to California out in time for the Sovereign of the Seas. If so I will send you them in the sheets, and yours will be the first vessel that takes them.

If you get them, stick to them, and have average luck, I predict for you a passage of not over one hundred and three days.

Wishing you all the luck you can desire,

I am, Very Truly, &c,

Captain L. McKay,

(Care of Messrs. Grinnell, Minturn & Co ) New York.

P. S.— For fear the new directions should not be out in time, do this: Follow the old (third edition) as they are for doubling Cape Horn. After you get round, make as much westing, where the degrees are short, as the winds will conveniently allow, aiming to cross the parallel of 40 south, between 100 and 105, the parallel of 30, about 110. Don't fight head winds to do this. Cross the line near 150 deg. west, which you will do, considering you have a clipper under your feet, on or before the 25th October. Ten will hardly get the northeast trades south of 10 deg. north. Make a due north course through the " doldrums,'' and when you get the northeast trades, run along through them with topmast studding sails full, of course going no farther west than the winds drive you, taking care not to cross the parallel of 20 deg. north to the east of 125 dec. west.

When you lose the northeast trades, if you get a smart breeze, make eastard. But if you have "horse latitude" weather, make the best of your way due north until you get a good wind or find yourself in the variables, (westerly winds,) between 35 and 40 deg. Then stick her away for port.

Captain McKay "crossed the line" fourteen hours behind the time specified above. Lieut. Maury's directions were fully observed and with what success it may be seen. His prediction was fully verified, end a glorious triumph achieved for American science.


May 27, 1851, Sacramento Transcript

Arrival of the Staghound. — This clipper ship arrived in the harbor yesterday morning, from New York in 113 days. When five days out, she carried away her main topmast, three top-gallant masts, which caused much delay. Her passage to Cape Horn occupied 49 days; thence to Valparaiso 17 days; and 42 days to this port. She is of 2534 tons register, and has on board nearly 2000 tons cargo. Her manifest is about 33 feet in length. The model of this ship is much similar to that of the previous clippers lately arrived, and her cabin fittings and accommodations are very superior.

Daily Alta California, July 13, 1852

ARRIVAL OF CLIPPERS.--The Sea Nymph, Argonaut and Staghound are among the numerous arrivals which are reported in our paper this morning. They have all been looked for during the past week, though not supposed to have been over due, as many of the same class of an earlier date from the Atlantic are still out. These ships have done well, and their passages may be considered good. The season of the year is much against a rapid run from the Atlantic to the Pacific, as is usual, and which may be seen by the reports in another column.

The Staghound had three skysails set for eighty-eight days, and was within one thousand miles of this port on the 14th ult.

Storm King

1,289 tons, built by John Taylor at Chelsea, Masachusetts, in 1853. The main yardarm measured 78 feet long on a mainmast that measured 86 feet in height. (By comparison, the 2,421-ton McKay-built clipper Sovereign of the Seas, a ship nearly twice the size of Storm King, had a main yard that measured 90 feet in length and was two feet in diameter on a mainmast that was 93 feet high.)

October 16, 1860, Daily Alta California

An Escaped Slaver Captured on the Coast of Africa.

The arrival of the Storm King at Norfolk has already been announced by telegraph. It appears that the San Jacinto sighted the vessel in a calm, and captured her easily. The Storm King, it will be remembered, fitted out at New York, and sailed on the 3d of May last, getting safely off with her materiel by corrupting tthe Federal officers at that port. She is a fine clipper brigantine of about 290 tons, well found in every necessary for her peculiar business, and having at the time of her capture every prospect of getting off in safety and leading her carge in good order. Her capture was a most unexpected event for her captain and passsengers, who were already congratulating themselves on the certain prospects of their ill-gotten gains.

The vessel hoisted no colors, had no name on her stern, and possessed neither register nor log : had she produced both it would have been unavailing, as her suspicious appearance would have fully warranted boarding her, when sufficient internal evidence existed to at once convict her. Her cargo consists, in very great part, of young children of both sexes, together with a very large number of women, all in a complete state of nudity, packed into a space not more than four feet high, and ventilated by only one large and two small hatches, from which an effluvia ascended enough to discompose the strongest stomach. Although a heart-sinkening sight, and most revolting to all our feelings of humanity, it was not unalloyed with satisfaction when the welkin rang with their shouts of joy, on comprehending that they were now in the heads of friends and benefactors.

Sunny South

Daily Alta California, April 13, 1855

Clipper ship Sunny South, Gregory, 144 days from New York via Rio de Janeiro. To Geo Clifford & Co.
Spoken Per Sunny South: March 26th, lat 18 18N, lon 119 50 W., bq Clara, Cook, from Glawgow for this port. Same day, spoke and boarded bq Sherwood, Haskell fm Bristol, with coal for this port .
Memoranda: Was off Cape Horn 16 days with very heavy weather. Crossed the Equator March 17th, lon 112 55. Since then have had light winds and calms; was within 500 miles of this port for the last 16 days.


Daily Alta California, July 23, 1859

Shipping: First Vessel for Australia

The splendid A 1 Clipper Ship Surinam, 650 Tons. A. Andrew. Commander will be dispatched on the 5th August, for Melbourne direct. Having her entire cargo engaged, she will positively sail on the day advertised. For CABIN PASSAGE ONLY, having very superior accommodations, apply to


Daily Alta California, May 13, 1859

The Clipper Ship Sweepstakes

Strolling down Pacific wharf yesterday, we noticed the famed clipper ship Sweepstakes, which came in a few days since in 106 days from New York, being the second best passage this season. The Sweepstakes is in every respect a "clipper ship," showing fine "points" in every line and curve. She was built several years since, at a cost of $120,000, of the best material, and extra fastened and strengthened, having diagonal braces in the between decks and lower hold. Capt. MacGill on leaving New York, met a heavy gale which threatened to dismast his vessel, but by good management ran it out, with the loss of a light spar and sail. As a specimen of her good qualities Captain MacGill showed us the log and track of the Sweepstakes when rounding Cape Horn, having made the run from Cape St. John to St. Ildefenso at the rate of fourteen miles per hour, and making, in one day, 320 miles. Hugging the land close, with a stiff northerly wind blowing, he got to the westward of the Cape, and showing that locality her heels, the Sweepstakes swept up the south Pacific in gallant style, distancing all the fleet which sailed within from fifteen to thirty days of her departure.

This is the fourth visit of this fine vessel to this port, turning out each time her cargo of 2,500 tons of merchandise in excellent order. On her present trip she was well ventilated, and discharges her good in bright condition and prime order. The Sweepstakes is owned by Mr. R. L. Taylor, of New York, and comes consigned to Messrs. Geo Howes & Co. She sails in a few days for Hongkong, and thence to New York.


Advertisement for the clipper ship, Syren, from New York to San Francisco.


THERMOPYLAE was one of a series of vessels built by Walter Hood for the Aberdeen White Star Line and designed by Bernard Weymouth.

Aberdeen Herald, 22 August 1868:

"LAUNCH - There was launched, on Wednesday, from the shipbuilding-yard of Messrs. Walter Hood & Co. a composite ship of 1300 tons, owned by Messrs. George Thompson & Co., and commanded by Captain Edward, late of the Ethiopian. The ship, which was christened "The Thermopylae" by Mrs Hardy Robinson of Denmore, has been throughout constructed after the most approved principles, built of the most durable materials, and classed in the highest range of character at Lloyds. She is intended for the London and China trade."

All of George Thompson's Aberdeen White Star Line vessels were noted for their handsome appearance; green hull, gilded scroll work and white masts, yards and bowsprit. The Thermopylae had a white and gold figurehead of the Greek hero Leonidas, the King of Sparta.

Buy at
The Thermopylae Leaving Foochow
Montague Dawson

During her early career, she was presented with a statue of a golden cockeral, which was placed atop her main trunk, only to be stolen one night and discovered the next day at the top of her rival, the Taeping's main mast and restored to its rightful owner.

Thermopylae and Cutty Sark.
Thermopylae and Cutty Sark
Tim Thompson

On her maiden voyage, Thermopylae sailed to Melbourne in just 60 days, pilot to pilot, via Shanghai and Foochow, breaking records on each leg of the journey - only steamers had previously matched such speeds. 

In the 1890s, after more than two decades as a China tea clipper and then an Australian wool clipper, she was sold by her Aberdeen owners to a Canadian company. She was put on the rice and timber carrying trade between Rangoon and Vancouver. Despite shortened masts and being cut down to a barque rig in July 1893 and her crew reduced from 35 to 20 men, she continued to make speedy passages. On one occassion she crossed the Pacific in 29 days, a world record at that time.

In 1897 she was sold to the Portuguese Navy as a training ship and renamed Pedro Nunes, after a 16th century Portuguese mathematician and geographer. The vessel was converted to a coal hulk and finally sunk by gunfire as target practice on 13th October 1907.

Thomas Watson

Daily Alta California, March 7, 1852: Arrived, March 6--Clipper ship Thomas Watson, Lyle, 113 days from Philadelphia. Mdse to J. B. Thomas.

Three Brothers

Clipper ship Three Brothers was built by Commodore Vanderbilt at a cost of $1 million and launched as the Vanderbilt, a side wheel paddle steamer, for transatlantic passenger service. During the Civil War, she was taken over by the Union Navy, which used her as a cruiser to hunt for Confederate commerce raiders and blockade runners. In 1873, after the war, the Navy sold her to George Howes & Brothers of San Francisco for $42,000. They took the machinery out and sold it for more than they paid for the steamer, and taking off her paddles made her into a three-masted ship, naming her the Three Brothers, after George, Henry and Jabez Howes.

Her first trip out of the Golden Gate was in October, 1873, Captain Cummings in command. Her cargo consisted of over 5000 tons of wheat, and every vessel in port was decorated in honor of her departure. Marine Artist W. A. Coulter's picture of the scene is at the Merchants Exchange. She was known as a fast and handy ship. She was scrapped in 1899.

Three Brothers.
Clipper Ship Three Brothers, 2972 tons.
Largest sailing ship in the world.


February 21, 1851, Daily Alta California

Marine Affairs

Launched— At East Boston, Mass., on the 21st el December, a superior ship af 1320 tons, called the Tornado, owned by Daniel C. Bacon, Esq., and others. She is intended for the California trade, to be commanded by Capt. Hollis, late of the ship Somerset. This is the ship which it was at first intended should be called the Game Cock.

Trade Wind

The Trade Wind was built by Jacob Bell in 1851 and owned by Messrs. Booth and Edgar, and Messrs Wm. Platt & Son of Philadelphia. She made three round voyages to San Francisco, the first two from New York in 121 and 102 days and the third from Philadelphia in125 days.

The Daily Orleanian, August 23, 1851

LARGEST MERCHANT SHIP IN THE WORLD.--The new clipper ship, Trade Wind, was recently launched from the foot of Houston street, New York. The Trade Wind is the largest merchant vessel ever launched; her length is 235 feet keel, 265 feet over all (English measure,) 43 feet breadth of beam, 23 feet hold.

Shipping Intelligence


Feb. 1--Clipper Ship Trade Wind, W. H. Osgood, 121 days from New York; mdse to order, 1 passenger.

Spoken per Trade Wind--Dec 3d, off Cape Horn, barque Sarah L. Ross, standing eastward.


The Trade Wind is a magnificent ship, of the following dimensions: Length, 244 feet; breadth of beam, 43 feet; depth of hold, 23 feet. She has a round stern and billet head. She is 2029 tons, and has on board 2800 tons measurement goods. She was 60 days to Cape Horn, 16 days off the Cape in heavy gales, and 18 days from the line to this port. Her greatest day's run on the passage was 293 iles. She has had a pilot on board for two days, and has been off the harbor with light weather four days. She came to anchor inside of Fort Point.

The Trade Wind was repainted after discharging her freight and ready for a trip to Panama.

Daily Alta California, March 5, 1852: The clipper ship Trade Wind was at anchor opposite the outer Telegraph at sundown last evening. We learn the steamer Sea Bird went to her to tow her out clear of the heads. Clipper ship Trade Wind, Osgood, sailed for Panama.

June 26, 1854: Ships Trade Wind and Olympus came in collision at 11 o'clock, resulting in the loss of both ships and 24 lives.

Westward Ho

In the port of San Francisco around January 31, 1853. Johnson, 163 days from Boston; mdse to Flint, Peabody & Co.

Daily Alta California, February 12, 1853

April 2, 1857, Daily Alta California

COURT PROCEEDINGS -- April 1, 1857

BEFORE U.S. COMMISSIONER MONROE.--The crew of the clipper ship Westward Ho was up before Mr. Commissioner Monroe to-day, on a charge of desertion. They alleged, in defence, that they had signed shipping articles in New York city for the passage to this port, and that a few hours before the ship sailed they were required to sign other articles which they were not permitted to read; that, in tha first articles, they only agreed to come as far as San Francisco; but in the second, it was agreed that they should stay by the ship for fifteen months. They say that their signatures to the second articles were obtained from them by fraud, the officers of the vessel alleging that the former ones were lost, and that the second were in all respects similar to the first. They also allege cruel treatment by the Captain and mates, and produce in evidence of this charge a boy who bears all the marks of ill-treatment, which they allege he received from the officers of the ship.

Mr. Turk appears for the seamen; Mr. Cook and Mr. Manchester, for the officers.

Mr. Commissioner decided that those who had signed the first and second articles should be discharged. Seven of the men were accordingly discharged. Four remain in custody on board the revenue cutter, and eleven are in the station-house awaiting the Commissioner's further action.


White Swallow

Extreme clipper arrived in San Franciso on October 24, 1853, Captain Lovett, 149 days from Boston. In 1858, Samuel Gardner Wilder chartered White Swallow to carry the first cargo of guano to New York from Jarvis Island.

On February 6, 1866, the Sacramento Daily Union reported: The trial of the crew of the White Swallow on the charge of mutiny, in the United States District Court, is progressing, but will not be finished for several days. The testimony of the officers is positive as to the mutiny, but there are pretty strong indications of the fact that the scenes enacted on the Great Republic were repeated on the White Swallow before the crew rose and took possession of the vessel. On February 9, 1866, the Sacramento Daily Union reported that "the trial of one of the mutineers is progressing. It is the general opinion he will be acquitted and further prosecutions abandoned."

White Swallow's sailings include:

  • October 27, 1853: Clipper ship White Swallow, Lovett, 149 days from Boson with merchandise to Flint, Peabody & Co. 11 passengers. (From the Sacramento Daily Union, November 29, 1853)
    Received per White Swallow November 29, 1853 ad.
  • August 18, 1855, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California: Foreign Ports: Sailed May 29, American ship White Swallow, Gore, Hong Kong.
  • August 7, 1860, White Swallow arrived San Francisco 110 days from New York.
  • May 14, 1863: Ship White Swallow, cleared San Francisco for Howland's Island, in ballast.
  • July 12, 1864: Arrived San Francisco, ship White Swallow, 184 days from New York.
  • August 23, 1864, Daily Alta California: Ship White Swallow, outward bound, has anchored of Meiggs Wharf.
  • May 27, 1867, Daily Alta California. Consignees per White Swallow:
    White Swallow in San Francisco 27 May 1867.
  • December 2, 1868, White Swallow, Captain Knowles, cleared Hong Kong with cargo for Koopmanschap & Co.
Meiggs Wharf San Francisco 1800s.

Abe Warner Opened His Saloon on Meiggs Wharf, San Francisco

Wild Duck

Daily Alta California, July 8, 1853

Shipping Intelligence

The Clipper Ship Wild Duck is loading at New York for San Francisco. She was built by Mr. Geo. Raynes, of Portsmouth. N. H and is well worthy the fame already acquired by Mr. R. for producing first class clippers. Her extreme length is 175 feet; breadth 34.6 feet; depth 20 feet; and she registers 860 59 95 tons. She is a sharp vessel and has great storage capacity for her class, and has been built in the best style of the art. Her timbers are heavy and all thoroughly bolted and fastened in the best manner. Her head has for an ornament a handsome figure of an eagle on the wing, and the stern, which is of a round form, is adorned with the figure of a sporting dog and some gilt scroll work. Her model is very handsome, and somewhat resembles that of the clipper Wild Pigeon, also built by Mr. Raynes. Her accommodations for passengers are very good, and she is fitted with all the modern aids for working ship, etc., that ingenuity has invented. She is loading in Mr. John Ogden's Pioneer Line. Her Commander is Capt. A.J. Hamilton, late of the Laconia, a very exerienced navigator, and will no doubt make a very quick passage.

At New York, same date, the rates were steady, and but five full built vessels loading . . . The Wild Duck has some measurement goods at 50c, and 500 bbls flour at $2.75.

Wild Duck in San Francisco November 15, 1853.Daily Alta California,
November 15, 1853


Nov. 14--Clipper Ship Wild Duck, Hamilton, 130 ds fm N York; mdse to Hussey, Bond & Hale.


Per Wild Duck--July 13, lat 36 lon 42, ship Arab, fm Boston for this port. July 20th, lat 10N, bq Kremlin, 28 ds fm Boston for Honolulu.


Per Wild Duck--Made the run from new York to Cape Horn in 65 days, where we encountered violent gales for 12 days, adn have had light weather most of the time since. Crossed the equator Oct 20th, lon 115, and had light winds and calms. Have had skysails set for the last 40 days, and been within 800 miles of this port for 6 days.


Per Wild Duck-Hussey, Bond & Hale, Austin & Lobdell, J D Andrews, J R Louis, J Atwill & Co, Cook Bro & Co, Case, Heiser & Co, Henricksen, Renike & Co, Main & Winchester, W S Coleman & Co, A Jacobi, Atwill & Co, G Howes & Co, Wm H White, W Hubbard & Co, G B Post & Co, Wells, Fargo & Co, Turnbull & Walton, Crocker & Bros, Gibbbs & Co, Quereau & Johnson, Segrist & Bro, J Patrick, Forsyth & Reeves, O R Wade, Stoutenburg, Lambert & Co, C P Brisbane, L B Gostorf, W Steinhardt & Co, E Rosenbaum, A Bartol, Wood & West, and order.

Consignee Notices

Ship Wild Duck, A.G. Hamilton, master, from New York, will commence discharging this day (Nov 15th), at Long Wharf.

Consignees are hereby notified to call at our office, pay freight, and receive orders for thier goods, without delay.

All merchandise, when landed on the wharf, will be at the risk of the owners, and all remaining on the wharf after 4 P.M. will be stored at thier risk and expense.

SUGAR-Sales of 100 bbls East Boston. Crushed at 13c; 200 do do, ex Wild Duck, at p.n.t.

SYRUPS-200 hf bbls New York, ex Wild Duck, sold at 80c; 200 bbls Stuart's Molasses, per same vessel, sold previous to arrival at 60c.

Wild Pigeon

Wild Ranger

Received per White Swallow November 29, 1853 ad.

William Mason

Buy at
The Clipper William Mason
William Pierce Stubbs


Daily Alta California, November 3, 1853: Arrived. Nov. 3--Clipper ship Windward, Whiting. 150 days from new York; mdse to Flint, Peabody & Co.

Winged Arrow

The Boston Daily Atlas, August 2, 1852

The New Clipper Ship Winged Arrow.

This is another of that beautiful class of vessels known as the medium between the extreme sharp and the packet model, and is as fine a combination of speed with good stowage capacity as we have inspected. She is 170 feet long on the keel, 6 feet longer between perpendiculars on deck, and 183 feet from the knight-heads to the taffrail. Her extreme breadth of beam is 36 feet, depth 22 feet, including 8 feet height of between-decks, and she will register about 1050 tons. Her dead rise at half-floor is 20 inches, rounding of sides 6, and sheer 2 feet 2 inches.

Her lines are rounded, and, as may be seen by her fore rake, her stem is nearly upright; but her sheer is carried boldly forward, which, combined with as easy and graceful flare, given her a beautiful bow. A large gilded flying dragon displays his length along the trailboards, and grins, with outspread wings, a flying arrow issuing from his mouth, and forms the termination of the head. The moulding of the planksheer forms the lower outline of the head boards, and makes a neat finish in the rear of the head. She has a narrow waist of three strakes, defined between the mouldings of the upper of the wale and the planksheer. Her stern swells boldly from the quarter timbers across, and from the arch bard to the rail, and is ornamented with gilded carved work, emblemeatical of her name. Instead of stern windwos, she has patent circular air ports, with plate-glass lights. She is sheathed with yellow metal up to 17 feet forward, and a foot higher aft, and is painted black above. Inside she is painted buff color, releived with white; has mahogany gangway board, and mahogany monkey rail stanchions, bright and varnished. Her deck-room is spacious, and well designed for working ship. The whole height of the bulwarks, including the monkey rail, is 5 feet, and she has a large house amidships, fitted for the crew, the galley, &c. She has also moveable houses over the hatchways, and a temporary house on the quarter deck, for a store-room and sail-room. Her cabin is under a half poop deck, with a house in front. This house contains two state-rooms for the officers, and also forms an ante-room to the cabin below. The cabin conatins seven spacious state-rooms, and is wainscotted with plain branch mahogany, set off with pilasters, cornices, gilded mouldings, &c., and is furnished and fitted up with taste and skill. The tables, sofas, settees, &c., are all that could be desired, for neatness or comfort. The means of light and ventilation are of the best kind, in every state-room and the cabin. While speaking of ventilation, we may state that she has air ports below, ventilators along her covering board and in her bitts, and "Emerson's correponding patent ventilators" fore and aft, communicating with the between decks and the hold. She is well built of good materials. Her frane is of white oak, and her frames, ceiling, &c., of hard pine. Her keel is 16 by 30 inches, floor timbers in the throats, 16 by 12, and she has three depths of keelsons, the lower two 16 inches square, and the upper one only two inches less, the whole bolted with 1¼ copper and iron, the copper driven through, every floor timber and the keel, and rivetted. Her floor ceiling is 4 inches thick, and over the floor heads the work is 10 inches thick, graduated to 7 inches within 5 feet of the deck, where there is a massive stringer of 10 by 14 inches, upon which the lower ends of the hanging knees rest. The clamps are 7 inches thick, and all her thick work is scarphed and square fastened, and extends the whole length of the vessel. The between decks waterways are 15 by 16 inches, with two strakes of 8 by 13 inches over them, and one of 8 by 12 inside of them, let into the beams, bolted through them and horizontally through all. The thick work above is square fastened and bolted vertically into the waterways. The ceiling above varies from 5 to 6 inches.

The upper deck waterways are 10 by 12, and the main rail and planksheer are each 6 inches, with stout oak stanchions, bolted in the usual style. The decks are 3½ inches thick. All the knees, hooks, pointers and stanchions in the hold are of oak, and she has 8 hooks forward and 5 aft. The lower deck beams are 16 inches square, and those under the upper deck are 15 by 10, and the hold stanchions are 11 inches square, kneed in the wake of the hacthways, and clasped with iron elsewhere. The between decks stamchions are turned and secured with iron rods in the usual style. The lower deck hanging knees are of oak, with 15 bolts and 4 spikes in each, have 3 feet 3 inches arms, 5 feet 2 inches bodies, are sided from 9 to 12 inches, and are moulded 22 inches in the throats. The between decks knees are of nearly the same dimensions, but have two or three more bolts through them. The lodging knees meet and scarph in every berth. She has 5 transoms, the main one of which is 18 inches sqaure, with stout transom knees. Her cutwater stem, apron, stern and rudder post are all very stout, and are bolted with copper up to the load displacement line, and above there with iron. Her garboards are seven inches thick, the bottom planking four, and her wales five by seven, square fastened with threenails, and butt and bilge-bolted with copper. She is seasoned with salt, and, as already stated, is most thoroughly ventilated.

She is a full rigged ship, has made fore and mainmasts, yellow pine topmasts and jibbooms, and pole topgallant and royal masts, also sports a main skysail yard, rigged aloft. Her lower masts are white, her bowsprit and yards black, and her booms bright. She has all the iron work now in general use, about her masts, yards, bowsprit, and jibboom. Her mast heads are crowned with gilded balls, and altogether aloft she appears majestically beautiful. Her lower masts, commensing with the fore, are 74, 80, and 70 feet long; topmasts 42, 44, and 32; bowsprit outboard 26 feet; jibboom 18 feet; lower yards 66, 73 and 53; topsail yards 53, 59, and 42 feet, and the other spars in proportion. Importations per Winged Arrow February 9, 1855.In her outfits, such as ground tackle, windlass, capstans, boats, steering apparatus, &c, she is most substantially found. She was built at South Boston by Messrs. E. & H.O. Briggs, well known as the builders of the Southern Cross, and other fine ships, and she is not only well built, but beautifully finished. Mr. J.W. Mason ornamented her, Blanchard & Caldwell made her spars, and Capt. Brewster rigged her. Messrs. Baker & Morill own her, and she is now loading in Messrs. Glidden & Williams's line of San Francisco packets, and will sail of the 5th of August. A better or more beautiful vessel of her class has not yet been produced in this vicinity.

February 9: Daily Alta California. Clipper ship Winged Arrow, Bearse, 115 days from Boston. Mdse to Flint, Peabody & Co.

Memoranda Per Winged Arrow: Was 12 days off Cape Horn in heavy gales; made the run from 50 degrees in the Pacific to within one day's sail of San Francisco in 34 days; has been becalmed for teh last six days; crossed the equator in 118 degrre 30'; made the passage in 115 days; was in company with the clipper ship Pampero from New York for San Francisco for three days.

Daily Alta California, February 21, 1855: Consignee Notices: Ship Winged Arrow from Boston. All claims against this ship must be prsented on or before Saturday, Feb. 17th, or they will not be allowed. Flint, Peabody & Co.

Winged Racer

The Capture of the Amanda and Winged Racer.

BATAVIA, November 14th. 1863.— 0n the morning of tbe 12th instant the officers and crew of the American ship Amanda (660 tons register) arrived here at the United States Consulate, reporting that on the night of Friday, the 6th instant, one hundred and twenty miles south south-west of Java Head, in the Indian Ocean, the Amanda was burned by the so-called Confederate steamer Alabama, Semmes commander. She had on board a full cargo of sugar and hemp shipped by Messrs. Ker & Co. of Manila and bound to Queenstown. Ships, Shipping, Migration, World Seaports. After the crew of the Amanda were taken on board the Alabama the vessel was burned, and the Alabama steered for Sunda Straits, where she arrived at night-time and anchored close under the coast of Sumatra. When there, she was informed by a Dutch vessel lying at anchor, that the U. S. Steamer Wyoming was at Batavia, upon which she steamed on, always keeping close to the Sumatra coast, and finally running out of Sunda Straits, stood in near North Island on the 10th, and at 5 p.m. signalized the American clippership Winged Racer (770 tons register, Cummins, commander, which was owned by Robert L. Taylor. Esq., of New York, and had on board a full cargo of sugar and hemp, bound from Manila to New York, shipped by Messrs. Peele, Hubble, & Co. After distributing, her crew in three of the ship's boats, they were permitted to take such clothing, provisions and water as they wanted and the boats could carry, and the ship was burnt. Captain Cummins, who had his wife and child, went on board the British ship Julia bound from Shanghai to London, then at anchor not far off, and they were landed at Anjer. The Alabama then put the crew of the Amanda into a boat in which they arrived at Batavia.

The Winged Racer sunk at half-past eight. When the Alabama was last seen she was steering far the northward. The U.S. steamer Wyoming left Batavia, on the morning of the 8th inst., for a cruise, having been detained at Batavia in order to repair her machinery. The Amanda was the first vessel destroyed by the Alabama since she left Cape Town.

By later telegram, the Alabama was cruising between North Island and Nicholas Point. The Wyoming had gone on a cruise to Christmas Island, supposed to be a coaling station for rebel steamers.

From the Java Times, November 13th.


Boston Daily Atlas, January 20, 1851

This another of that splendid class of ships which the growing trade to California has called into existence; and like the others, has been designed specially for speed, without particular reference to stowage capacity. But in the outline of her model, she bears little resemblance to any of the others we have described. Indeed, all the clippers embody the various ideas of speed, entertained by their several designers, and as "no two men think alike," neither do any of the clippers resemble the others in their particular details. The Witchcraft has all the airy grace of a clipper, combined with the imposing solidity of a ship of war. There is something substantial about her appearance, both inside and out. She is 180 feet long on the keel, 185 between perpendiculars, and 193 feet over all, from the knight heads to the taffrail -- has 39 feet 4 inches extreme breadth of beam, 22 feet depth of hold, and registers 1310 51 95ths tons. Her depth of keel, clear of the garboards, is 29 inches, dead rise at half floor 35 inches, swell or rounding of sides 6 inches, and sheer 2 feet.

Her keel is of rock maple in two depths, sided 15 inches and moulded 3 feet; the floor timbers are sided from 11 to 12, and moulded 17 inches, and she has two keelsons, each 16 inches square. The floor timbers are bolted alternately through the keel, and through the first keelson and the keel, with 1¼ inch copper, driven through and riveted; and the upper keelson is bolted with iron, of the same size as the copper, through every navel timber down blunt into the keel. She has two sister keelsons 12 inches square, cross bolted in the usual style. The ceiling on the floor is 4½ inches thick, and commencing well down below the floor heads, and extending over them, she has 4 strakes of 12 by 14 inches, the lower strake of oak, and are all scarphed and square fastened with inch iron, and extend the whole length of the vessel. Above these there are four strakes of 10 by 12 inches, secured in the same style with 7/8ths of an inch fastening. The ceiling above, up to the deck, is 6 by 12 inches. From the commencement of the thick work in the hold up to the upper deck, she is all square fastened, and her fastening varies from 1¼ inch to 7/8ths of an inch. Her cutwater, stem, apron, sternpost, stern knee, &c., are all bolted with copper up to her load displacement line. Her beams are of Southern pine, those in the hold are 16 inches square, and those in the between-decks 10 by 16. The hanging and lodging knees in the hold are of oak, and those in the body of the vessel, under the beams, have 6 feet bodies, and 4½ feet arms, -- are sided 12 inches, and moulded about 23 inches in the angles, and have 18 bolts and 4 spikes in each. Of course towards the ends they vary in size, but still they are very stout. The knees in the between decks are of hacmatack, and vary little in dimensions or fastening from those below. Her hold stanchions are of oak, and vary from 12 inches to 10 inches square, and are kneed to the beams above and to the keelson below. In the between-decks they are of oak, 9 inches in diameter, turned and secured with iron rods through their centres. She has 7 hooks forward, and 5 aft, including the deck hooks; and in each end two of the hooks cross the cants diagonally, and connect with the beams. She has also pointers forward and aft.

The between decks are 7 feet 8 inches high, and their waterways are 15 inches square, the strake inside of them 9 by 12, dovetailed over the beams, and the strake over them 10 by 15. All these strakes and the waterways are cross-bolted, vertically and horizontally, and seem firm enough to last forever. The ceiling up to the deck is 6 by 11 inches, and the planking of both decks is 3½ inches thick.

The upper deck waterways are 12 inches square, with two thick strakes inside of them, let down over the beams, and these and the waterways are cross bolted. Her bulwarks are 4½ feet high, surmounted by a monkey rail of 20 inches, and her bulwark stanchions are of oak, very close together, and are well fastened.

Her garboards are 7½ inches thick, the next plank 6, the third 5 which is graduated to 4½, the substance of her bottom. The garboards are crossbolted through the keel, and up through the floor timbers and the ceiling, and riveted, and the others are all square fastened. The treenails through them are of locust, and the bolts copper. Her wales are 5½ by 6½, and extend up to within 18 inches of her planksheer. She has three narrow strakes of waist, which are defined by a moulding of the upper wale. Her planksheer, or covering board, and the main rail are each 6 inches thick, and are moulded outside and inside.

The frame is of seasoned white oak, and her scantling and deck frames of hard pine, and besides being thoroughly copper fastened, many of her treenails are of locust. In materials and fastening, she is certainly one of the best vessels of her class afloat. Her frame is seasoned with salt, and she has brass ventilators along the line of her planksheer, and all her bitts. Besides these ordinary means of ventilation, she has two of Emerson's patent ventilators forward, and one upon the quarter deck, the last of polished brass. One of those forward draws up a column of air from the bottom of the hold, through a flue of ten inches in diameter, and the other an equal column from the between decks, while that upon the quarter deck blows down a column into the between decks. They are all constructed so as to exclude water, and will be kept in operation in all weathers. In seasoning and ventilation, she is as complete as a ship need be.

In model she is very sharp forward and aft, but has rounded lines. The whole rake of her stern is 5 feet; her sternpost is upright, and her stern curvilinear. Opposite the sternpost, over all, she is 27 feet wide, and her stern on deck extends 8 feet from the post. It is in depth about three feet below the line of the planksheer, and somewhat resembles the round sterns of ships of war. It is bold and massive in its outline, is ornamented with a huge serpent, which is represented in the act of uncoiling himself for a march.

Her head is long and rakish, and is ornamented with a tiger, represented crouched, ready for a spring. Along the trailboards and around the hawse-holes are ornamented with carved branches, which, together with her other ornamental work, are tastefully bronzed. The lines of her planksheer and main rail are carried forward in unbroken sweep, until they terminate in the head. Outside she is painted black from the copper to the rail, and inside buff color, relieved with white. She is coppered up to 17½ feet forward, and to 18½ feet aft.

On deck she has a small topgallant forecastle, the height of the main rail, with a capstan on it, and has in its after wings two water closets for the use of the crew.

The sailors' accommodations are below forward, and are beautifully fitted up, well lighted and ventilated. Her long boat, galley, &c., are secured amidships before the main hatchway, and as she has no houses amidships, but what range with the boat, her decks forward are very roomy. She has patent pumps, and abaft the mainmast a square iron tank her whole depth, capable of holding 4000 gallons of water. On the quarter deck she has a beautiful capstan; also four lever winches, two on each side, one forward and the other aft. Her windlass is a powerful machine and is strongly secured, and the chain lockers are in the between decks near the foremast.

She has a half-poop deck 45 feet long, and the height of the main rail. In its front, and partly overlapping it, is a house of 10 by 20 feet, and 7 feet high. This house forms a protection to the entrance of the cabin. The great cabin aft has eight state-rooms and two water-closets, and is splendidly finished with mahogany wainscotting and cornices, relieved with highly polished, dark wood pilasters, edged with gilding, and having imitation marble pedestals and capitals, edged with gilding. The transom is fitted as a sofa, and all the cabin furniture is of the choicest kind, tastefully arranged. For every state-room there is a deck and side-light, and over the cabin a large skylight. The forward cabin contains the pantry, and state-rooms for the officers, and is neatly painted and grained. Her accommodations throughout, forward and aft, reflect great credit on the liberality of her owners.

She has a patent steering apparatus, and is will found in boats and ground tackle, and has a liberal supply of stores. She is a full-rigged ship, and her masts rake, commencing with the fore, 1, 1¼ and 1½ inches to the foot. 

The clipper ship Witchcraft, built in 1850 for the California and China trade, arrived in San Francisco 44 days from Hong Kong, Captain Rogers, on May 17, 1852. Merchadise to Macondray & Co. 344 passengers: C. Woodbury and servant, B. C. Howard and 342 Chinamen in steerage; 8 died on the passage. On July 8, 1853, Witchcraft, Captain Dudley, arrived in 110 days from New York. Merchandise to Querreau & Johnson.

Messrs. Richard S. Rogers and W.D. Pickman, of Salem, own her, and intend her for the California and China trade. She is the largest vessel belonging to Salem, and one of the best and most beautiful that wears the stripes and stars. She is now at New York, and will there load for California. Success to her.

For her dimensions, refer to the Boston Daily Atlas of January 20, 1851, or Lars Bruzelius' site.


Daily Alta California, December 20, 1853

Clipper ship Wizard, Slate, 146 days from New York via Rio Janeiro, 64 days. Mdse to C. Minturn. Spoken per Wizard: Oct 31st, lat 52 26, lon 74 W, Br clipper ship Pioneer, 56 days from Liverpool to Valparaiso, Nov 2d, lat 53 35 S, long 81 W, clipper ship Golden Racer, bound E.
: Per Wizard: The Wizard was obliged to put into Rio Janeiro for a new bowsprit, having carried it away in a heavy gale. Left at Rio clipper ship Water Witch, Plummer, from Boston for this port. She was leaking badly, and would have to discharge all her cargo. The Wizard was off Cape Horn 3 days; crossed the Equator Nov 20th, long 116; most of the time have had light winds and calms until within the last 10 days, during which time have been beating to the northward in a heavy gale. Have been within 500 miles of this port for the last 10 days. The Wizard has anchored off North Beach.

Daily Alta California, July 23, 1859
For Hongkong, Direct: To sail on the 15th instant.
The A 1 Clipper Ship Wizard, J. G. Woodside Commander. For Freight or Passage apply on board at Pacific street wharf, or to

Young America

Young America available by clicking on the image.
Young America
Antonio Jacobsen

The Young America was built by William H. Webb of New York. She was launched in 1853, at the height of the clipper construction boom. She sailed in the California trade, on transatlantic routes, and made voyages to Australia and the Far East.

Daily Alta California, October 21, 1854.

Young America, Captain Babcock, arrived in San Francisco 110 days from New York. Merchandise to D. L. Ross & Co. Young America is anchored off Shaw's wharf.

 Importations per Young America 1854.

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