Flying Cloud

Clipper Ship

History of the Flying Cloud

The Flying Cloud was designed and built by Donald McKay at his East Boston yard in 1851. She was built for the account of Enoch Train but was purchased on the ways by Grinnel, Minton & Company of New York for $90,000.

Captain Josiah Perkins Cressey, a competent navigator and great diver, was given command and the Flying Cloud sailed from New York, June 2, 1851, for San Francisco. Although she lost her main and mizen top gallant masts only three days out, she arrived at San Francisco August 31st, just 89 days 21 hours from New York. This passage broke all then existing records for the run and was only exceeded once, by the Flying Cloud herself, who made the trip in 13 hours less on a later passage. She left San Francisco on October 20, for China arriving in Hong Kong in 45 days and then returned to New York in 94 days, having made the complete voyage around the world in 239 days sailing time. On numerous occasions she logged 18 knots. After six California-China voyages the Flying Cloud was sent to England and used in the China-Australia trade from Deal. Later she was sold and ran between England and Australia for a British firm.

The last years of the Flying Cloud were spent in the lumber trade between New Brunswick and London and in 1874, she ran aground and broke her back on Beacon Island bar. In June, 1875, she was burned for her copper fastenings.


Length overall



40' 9"


21' 7"

Gross Tons


Our Model

The Flying Cloud is built on scaled down plans based on the original ship lines. The hull is carefully carved from select basswood, and is accurately finished to duplicate the appearance of the original ship. The bottom is finished with an antiqued copper-green to simulate the corrosive action of the sea upon the Flying Cloud's coppered bottom.

Great care has been taken to create detailed deck houses, hatches, water casks, and ships boats.The stern rail has brass stantions and other brass fittings include the windlass and capstans. The rigging of this model is very detailed and intricate. There are many miniature blocks in the running rigging and tiny chain is used in the rigging at the points of stress, at the braces, and on the bowsprit. Masts are white and stained with black bands. The deck houses are white with gray tops. The model is mounted on a mahogany base with brass finished nameplates on each side of the name block.

Model Measurements

Length overall

24 1/2"


17 1/4"

Width of main yard

6 3/4"

How to Order

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