Round the Horn records by Clipper Ships, take your pick
There’s gold in California! That discovery in 1849 had huge repercussions across the country. In New England it meant ship builders and mariners needed to figure out how to get there (and back) quicker! The golden age of Clipper Ships, that “clipped” time off the journey from New York to San Francisco, peaked in 1852. Bragging rights on speed were highly sought, and the press gave epic coverage to the fastest.
A journey from New York to San Francisco around the horn was typically 120-150 days or more before fast Clipper Ships cut a month or more off the voyage.
Who was fastest? Well there are several claims…..Most accounts agree that the only 2 ship to make the voyage from NY to SF in under 90 days were the Andrew Jackson, captained by Mystic’s John (Kickin’ Jack) Williams: 89 days 4 hours. And Flying Cloud (Boston) Captained by JP Creasy: 89 days 8 hours. However Flying Clouds time was “anchor to anchor” and Andrew Jackson calculated the time to the Pilot area as they had to wait for Pilot to enter the Harbor.
It may be academic because Northern Light made the trip from Boston to SF in 76 days…..actually a further distance, but one that was not tracked as closely as the more trafficked NY to SF route.
Note: Current sailing record for NY to SF Round the Horn is 47 days by a custom racing yacht called ‘Maserati’
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