Dare the Wind: The Record-Breaking Voyage of Eleanor Prentiss and the Flying Cloud

by Tracey E. Fern and Emily Arnold McCully

Ellen Prentiss learned to sail on her father’s schooner as a child. “He... read more

Ellen Prentiss learned to sail on her father’s schooner as a child. “He taught Ellen how to hoist a sail and splice a rope. He taught her how to tack against the wind and turn the wheel.” And he taught her to use a sextant, something many sailors never learned, let alone children, and a girl at that. When Ellen grew up she married a fellow lover of the sea. And when her husband, Perkins Creesy, became captain of a ship called the Flying Cloud, Ellen was his navigator. As they raced to set a new world record for a trip from New York to San Francisco, Ellen pushed the ship on a swift course. The mast broke, they got caught in the windless doldrums, only to emerge into a storm in the dangerous waters of Cape Horn. Ellen had to move beyond self-doubt and trust her knowledge, her training, and her understanding of how to read the sea. In the end, the ship set a new record of eighty-nine days for the journey. Tracey Fern’s lively, informative account of this mid-nineteenth-century woman’s singular accomplishment is paired with Emily Arnold McCully’s fine illustrations. An author’s note provides additional information on Ellen and shipping in that era. (Ages 7–10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2015

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