This is the story of a boy who lived a hundred years ago, when the towering, square-rigged clipper ships were setting records never surpassed in the annals of sail. Young Bob Wingate watched the Javelin being built in a shipyard at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and he was in the cheering crowd that saw her launched. Then, by a great stroke of luck, he was fortunate enough to be given a berth aboard her as ship’s boy on her first voyage.
It was an exciting day for Bob when the Javelin shipped out of Boston and set course for San Francisco. There was much to learn, and he was kept busy during the long days that followed. But there was excitement, too—when the Javelin raced another clipper around the Horn, when they traded for furs with hostile Indians on the Northwest coast, when they picked up a cargo of tea in China and sailed with it for London. Before the Javelin finally returned to her home port, Bob had had more than his share of adventure. He had helped to capture a mutinous foremast hand; he had made a trip to the California gold fields; he had fought pirates in the China Sea. Most important of all, though, he had learned seamanship and navigation and won promotion to Fourth Mate—all before he was eighteen!
Stephen Meader loves blue water, and while he has written many fine tales of the sea before this, his readers will agree that this one tops them all. Both the story and the illustrations by John O’Hara Cosgrave II provide a salty and accurate picture of the stirring days when Yankee clippers roamed the oceans of the world.