Earlier clippers such as Sea Witch had achieved speeds of 15 knots in very short bursts. Now, only four years later, Flying Cloud was achieving that speed for days on end. Twenty-six days, in fact, averaging, according to Matthew Fontaine Maury’s later calculations, “the enormous rate of 15-7/12 knots, or eighteen statute miles per hour.” The ship complained, the rigging shrieking under the strain of more than ten thousand square yards of taut canvas. Everyone on board hoped the sprung mainmast and the rigging repaired at sea would hold. They did, against all odds. On one remarkable day, Flying Cloud shattered all records for deep-sea sailing ships—at least according to Creesy’s calculations—by sailing 374 nautical miles. Ujifusa, Steven. Barons of the Sea: And their Race to Build the World's Fastest Clipper Ship (p. 227). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

— Sailing speed  

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