One of the most exciting races between American clipper ships took place between October, 1852 and January, 1853. The vessels involved were the crack clippers FLYING FISH, JOHN GILPIN and WILD PIGEON. Departing New York, each a few days apart, the three ships met up off Cape Horn and proceeded, often in sight of one another, to fly up the west coast to San Francisco.
The JOHN GILPIN gambled by heading farther west into the pacific where a strong northerly got her to San Francisco first. FLYING FISH and WILD PIGEON remained in sight of one another for most of the voyage in their dash up the coast. FLYING FISH arrived a day after GILPIN, but having left New York three days behind her adversary, was declared the winner.
This view shows an excellent starboard view of the great FLYING FISH on her entry into San Francisco Bay. The water has superb light and reflection while the Marin headlands show as her backdrop, with the ever-present misty atmosphere of this important California port. A well captured moment of one of the fastest and most powerful 19th century great sailing ships created.
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