The Flying Cloud was purchased at launching by Grinell, Minturn & Co, New York, for $90,000. Within six weeks she sailed from New York and made San Francisco round Cape Horn in 89 days, 21 hours under the command of Captain Josiah Perkins Cressey. On July 31, during the trip, she made 374 miles in 24 hours. In 1853 she beat her own record by 13 hours, a record that stands today for a sailing vessel.
On June 19, 1874 the Flying Cloud went ashore on the Beacon Island bar, St John's, Newfoundland and was condemned and sold. The following June she was burned for the scrap metal value of her copper and metal fastenings.