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

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  399 ratings  ·  99 reviews
Ellen Prentiss’s papa said she was born with saltwater in her veins, so he gave her sailing lessons and taught her how to navigate. As soon as she met a man who loved sailing like she did, she married him. When her husband was given command of a clipper ship custom-made to travel quickly, she knew that they would need every bit of its speed for their maiden voyage: out of ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published February 18th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published January 1st 2014)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  399 ratings  ·  99 reviews

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Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ellen Prentiss is the daughter of John Prentiss, the captain of a coastal trading schooner. They lived in Marblehead, Massachusetts in the early nineteenth century. John taught his daughter how to sail and to navigate a sailing ship. In 1841, Ellen married Josiah Perkins Creesy, a merchant ship captain. Thousands of Americans were heading west to the Gold Rush in 1849. They had the choice of traveling over land by wagon for six to eight months. Clipper ships were faster, cutting the time of trav ...more
Margo Tanenbaum
In this picture book for older readers. Tracey Fern tells the little-known story of Eleanor Prentiss, an extraordinary woman who not only navigated a clipper ship but also set a record for the fastest time from New York to San Francisco, navigating around Cape Horn in a record-breaking 89 days, 21 hours.

Doesn't it seem incredible in our high-tech era how sailors used only the stars and a sextant to navigate around the world? Even more incredible (but true) is the life of Eleanor Prentiss, born
Jun 15, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It's hard to imagine the courage it took for Ellen Prentiss to become a ship navigator during an era in which females were relegated to passive roles in society. But her father had taught her navigation skills and supported her interest in sailing. This picture book provides brief background on this groundbreaking woman while also describing how she and the crew of the Flying Cloud set a record for the ship's voyage from New York to San Francisco. The descriptive text and wave-filled illustratio ...more
Becky B
In a time when women didn't often go to sea except as passengers, Eleanor Prentiss broke new grounds in being trained as a navigator. Eventually, she and her husband sea captain set out in their ship the Flying Cloud and Eleanor successfully plotted record-breaking fast trips from New England to San Francisco for the time. The back of the book also includes a page of further information on Eleanor, and a great list of further resources on her, her husband and their ship.

I had never heard of this
Feb 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Although a picture book, this is one that will be more appreciated by readers than by youngsters who need an illustration-driven story. At several points, there is a lot of reading to be done before one can turn the page, but not much happening or descriptive in the pictures. It is a good story, though little-known, and would be a nice addition to a westward expansion unit since it involves alternative transportation to the Gold Rush.
Edward Sullivan
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
A wonderfully engaging, true story about a 19th-century woman and the 15,000-mile sailing journey she navigated around the treacherous Cape Horn. Stunning illustrations by Emily Arnold McCully.
I love stories about women who follow their heart. This is a glorious one!
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Truly a great book! It has a map, biographical information in the postscript, and the story line is truly exciting, educational and interesting! This is what a children's picture book biography should be. As a sailor, I loved how Tracey Fern really communicated the emotions of handling the boat and of the dangers the wind presented. She chose an exciting aspect of Eleanor Prentiss' life to highlight in the book which should be of interest to the children. Great job! ...more
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
An amazing account of Ellen Prentiss's achievements not only being the first woman to navigate the NY-SF Gold Rush trade route but also setting the world record for speed. And- this is why back matter in nfpb's- it was a record that was broken three years later by none other than herself! The author's note included lots of other great information. ...more
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Great to see books for children and families highlighting women's achievements - in this case, a record breaking voyage from New York to San Francisco (around Cape Horn) with Eleanor Prentiss as navigator. ...more
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating read about a woman who bucked the gender roles of her day to become a great navigator. the author also teaches young girls to combine the caution of reading the waves (circumstances in our lives) with the courage to dare the wind (step out and take risks).
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautifully illustrated true story of a husband & wife team that set the speed record (and then broke their own record three years later) sailing from New York to San Francisco around Cape Horn. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in all things nautical or a love of the sea.
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
An engaging and well-illustrated biography on a woman who really should be better-known.
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A nice historical anecdote of a woman kicking butt well before women were regularly able to do so, with drop-dead gorgeous, emotive illustrations.
Leah NYC
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting read about an incredible woman.
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-nonfiction
Another great story for Women in History Month.
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great biography of super sailor Eleanor prentiss. A daring and record breaking trip around Cape Horn using wind water science and courage.
Eleanor (Ellen) Prentiss' father taught her everything he knew about the seafaring life - from keeping a vessel ship-shape, reading the sea, and navigation (using a sextant). Ellen loved sailing and eventually met her partner, Perkins Creesy, through their mutual passion for the sea. Together they sailed and commanded a new kind of clipper ship, the Flying Cloud - their mission to take people and supplies from New York around the tip of South America (Cape Horn) and on to San Francisco, Californ ...more
Cathy Mealey
Jan 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
In celebration of Women’s History Month, I am thrilled to recommend Dare The Wind, an exciting picture book biography of a brave and inspiring naval pioneer, Eleanor “Ellen” Prentiss. Born in 1814 in the maritime hub of Marblehead, Massachusetts, Ellen “had always felt the sea tug at her heart, strong as a full-moon tide.” Her father, a schooner captain, said she had saltwater in her veins and gave her lessons in the fine points of sailing and navigation.

While other girls stitched samplers and s
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Ever since she was a little girl, Eleanor Prentiss dreamed of being at sea. Her father had a trading schooner and though others thought he was a fool, he taught his young daughter how to steer it. Most importantly though, he also taught her what few sailors and only some captains knew, how to navigate. Ellen quickly learned how to navigate and started using her new skills on her father’s schooner every chance she got. As she grew older, Ellen married a captain and served as his navigator. Then t ...more
Jacquelynn Ruot
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
*Spoilers Below*
Dare the Wind is about Eleanor Prentiss who was taught how to navigate the sea starting at a young age by her dad. She would practice her skills by taking out her dad's boat from time to time. She married a man who loved the sea just as much as she did and they planned to set a record for taking a shipment from the east to the west coast. This was a long trip that all the way down around Cape Horn at the bottom of South America. Eleanor was taught to dare the wind but watch the s
Luke Azzarelli
Mar 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
**Spoiler Alert**

Dare the Wind was about Ellen and her skills out a sea in the 1800's. At a young age her father taught her about sailing and how to navigate at sea, which most people thought teaching a girl this was foolish. Ellen keep working on her navigation skills and when she married a sailor named Perkins, they worked as a team. Perkins was the captain and Ellen was the navigator. After years together, they were given the challenge to sail the ship called the Flying Cloud from Massachuset
Chelsea Davis
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Breanna Ninmer
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-lit
Dare the Wind is about a girl named Eleanor that was born wanting to be on the sea. She basically grew up on a boat and took sailing lessons. Her father gave her a sextant and taught her how to navigate. Eleanor grew up and met a man that loved the sea as much as she, and married him. They sailed together for 10 years and then her husband, Perkins got command of a new ship the Flying Cloud. They set off from New York to San Franccisco. They got blown off course and went through some bad weather, ...more
Jordan Brewer
Mar 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Eleanor Prentiss loved the sea. At a young age her father taught her how to navigate his ship through the Massachusetts Bay. She always dreamed of going on bigger adventurers. She married a man who loved the sea just as much as she did. He was a sea captain and she navigated his ships on a trade route to China. Ellen's husband was asked to command a new ship named the Flying Cloud. They were in a race to San Francisco. Eleanor set a world record for speed.
I loved this book. The relati
Kaitlyn Norris
Mar 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
Dare the Wind is a beautiful picture book biography of Eleanor Prentiss, a brave woman making her mark in the man's world of sailing. She spent her youth learning everything her father could teach her including how to navigate using a sextant, the sun, the wind and the sea itself. She married a man as smitten with life aboard she ship as she was. They spent many years working together, he as the captain, she as the navigator. Their ultimate journey began when they were given charge of The Flying ...more
What a book to see with these gorgeous full-page illustrations, adding so much to this adventurous real-life story about a young woman who loved the sea. Lucky Eleanor Prentiss had a father who loved teaching her about the sea, and she loved it too. Here is another little-known story of daring that we never heard about in our history books. By the time Eleanor was a good sailor and navigator, she met her husband to be, who also loved the sea. Together they took the challenge to see how fast the ...more
Stacey Burnett
Mar 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-lit
Ellen in the story is girl who loves the sea and wants to be on a ship and sail the unknown waters. Her father is a captain and navigator who teaches her everything she needs to know about navigating the see. After several years of learning and practicing, her husband and a crew go from Massachusetts to Cape Horn and on to San Francisco. She wants to do this journey in the fastest time every, after some challenges along the way, they end up there in eighty-nine days. She is the first navigator t ...more
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When I started my own family, I began to write stories for children’s magazines. One day, I found myself driving to the library to help my daughter search for her own missing Nancy Drews. I suddenly remembered that long ago day when I told my father that, yes, of course I could write a book. I decided to try. I haven’t stopped since.
I now live in Newton, Massachusetts with my husband Doug, my two

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