The 'extreme' clipper Westward Ho was designed and built by Donald McKay at his East Boston yard and launched on 24th September 1852. Ordered by Sampson & Tappan of Boston for the California and Far Eastern trades, she was registered at 1,650 tons (American) and measured 220 feet in length with a 40½ foot beam. Her superbly tailored lines were soon remarked upon wherever she went and although somewhat beamier than most of McKay's early vessels, her ends were extremely sharp and she carried practically no ornamentation except for her figurehead of a full-length native Indian warrior mounted upon a flowered pedestal.
Leaving Boston on 16th October 1852, her maiden voyage was to San Francisco and she made port on 31st January 1853 after a good run of 107 days. From there she went to Manila in an exceptionally fast 39 days, and then back to New York - via Batavia - in a further 111 days, the complete circumnavigation of the globe being achieved in 8 months and 10 days including stop-overs. After a somewhat similar round trip in 1853-54, she recorded one of her best-ever runs in the winter of 1854-55 when she sailed from the Boston Light to San Francisco, a distance of 17,123 miles, in a remarkable 100 days and 18 hours during which she frequently logged 16 knots. After this hugely promising start to her career, she found herself carrying coolies to South America in 1855-56 where she so impressed one of the local shipowners that he purchased her and thereafter operated her solely on the coolie route from China to Peru. Retaining her original name until the last, she was lost when she caught fire and sank at her moorings in Callao (Peru) on 27th February 1864.