"A magical tale of a master-mechanic and creative artist, whose genius lifted the construction of sailing ships from the level of a journeyman's trade to the plane of an exact science. He stands pre-eminent among those acute and daring Americans whose marine achievements were the wonder of the world … and enthroned the United States of America as Mistress of the Seas!" — Foreword. Donald McKay was the presiding genius of the nineteenth-century designer-builders who brought the American clipper ship and other sailing vessels to the acme of perfection. Year after year, his shipyard in East Boston launched a flotilla of the largest, fastest, and most beautiful clippers afloat. Such vessels as the famed Flying Cloud, Sovereign of the Seas, Flying Fish, Westward Ho, Great Republic, and many more surpassed in size, beauty, strength, and speed all that had gone before. McKay's ships proclaimed a new era of American supremacy on the high seas and helped put her first among the trading nations of the world. This rare and valuable study, written by McKay's descendant who had access to important family records, reveals McKay's extraordinary accomplishments as it re-creates the great era of the American sailing packet and clipper ship. In the end, steamships replaced McKay's masterworks, but never eclipsed the magnificent sailing tradition whose climax they represented. Enhanced with 58 superb illustrations, including numerous views of McKay's ships — in port, on the high seas, and in close-up detail — along with a wealth of plans, models, maps, and other materials, this volume will find an eager audience among ship enthusiasts and modelers, marine historians, and lovers of Americana.