Female Navigator of the World's Fastest Clipper ShipEleanor Creesy was the navigator of Flying Cloud, a clipper ship that set the world's sailing record for the fastest passage between New York and San Francisco in 1851. She and her husband - Josiah Perkins Creesy, skipper - beat their own record two years later, and it was not broken until 1989.
Image: Clipper ship Flying Cloud by Currier and Ives
Flying Cloud, a Gold Rush era clipper ship, was commanded by Captain Josiah Creesy from 1851-1855. Eleanor Creesy sailed with her husband and served as his navigator throughout his career.
Eleanor Prentiss was born on September 21, 1814, in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Her father was a master mariner, and he taught Eleanor the mathematics of navigation when she was a girl. Neighbors thought it was peculiar that her father educated Eleanor at a time when women rarely learned a trade, especially one dominated by men. Her dream was to marry a sea captain and sail with him around the world, and she rejected many suitors until she found the right man. In 1841 Eleanor married her sailor, Captain Josiah Creesy.