And all I ask is a Tall Ship
and a Star to Steer her by
It is amazing that the Cutty Sark has survived at all. Many clipper ships were wrecked or lost at sea and the vast majority had a career that lasted no more than 20 years. And of course the Cutty Sark suffered a calamitous fire in 2007 while in dry dock that was very nearly the end.
Today, she is well worth visiting in Greenwich, a real life history lesson, a world cruise having traded tea from China and then wool from Australia.
Built in 1869 by a Scotsman John Willis, for £16,000 she is unique with a wrought iron framework onto which wooden beams were bolted. The result was a very sturdy vessel, with extra cargo room and most importantly of all she was a speed shifter, one that could ‘go at a full clip’. She held the fastest transit time from Australia for ten years !
The ships name has Scottish connotations, a cutty is a reference for a chemise, short skirt or undergarment and the ship’s figurehead is literally a Cutty Sark, the nickname of Nannie Dee from Robert Burns 1791 poem Tam O’ Shanter. She is carved in an erotic pose, bare chested with arm flung forwards, pushing onwards across the seas.
Certainly the Cutty Sark, still cuts a jib and must have been a menacing site when under full sail.
Posted by: Fawkes