Cutty Sark

Binnacle
3rd February 2012, 19:24
Fri 3 Feb 2100-2200
BBC 2 TV
Restoration and insight into vessel's globe trotting adventures.

Jocko
4th February 2012, 11:58
I watched it last night and got my eyes opened. I had always thought that the Clippers were all wood and it turns out that the Cutty Sark had an iron frame clad in wood. What really impressed me was that she could do 17.5 knots!!!!!! The cargo ships I sailed on in 1950s/1960s couldn`t get anywhere close to that speed. I am really glad that a ship like this will now be preserved for future generations to get an insight on our great shipping heritage.

cueball44
4th February 2012, 12:56
Very interesting programme. Those very skilled and dedicated people involved were a pleasure to watch. It is amazing what some people can do when you put tools in their hands.

Michael Taylor
4th February 2012, 13:44
I suppose we shall have to wait a few months before the film makes its way over here but we did see the vessel "lifted" into place on TV news.

eriskay
4th February 2012, 14:10
I watched it last night and got my eyes opened. I had always thought that the Clippers were all wood and it turns out that the Cutty Sark had an iron frame clad in wood. What really impressed me was that she could do 17.5 knots!!!!!! The cargo ships I sailed on in 1950s/1960s couldn`t get anywhere close to that speed. I am really glad that a ship like this will now be preserved for future generations to get an insight on our great shipping heritage.


Sadly, along with the derelict City of Adelaide languishing away on a slip at Irvine, Ayrshire, the CUTTY SARK is the only other example of composite construction (planking over iron frames) that was much favoured for the fast tea clippers. It is unlikely that the City of Adelaide will enjoy the funding benefits and attention that her younger London compatriot has attracted over the years.

In the mid-19th century when these clippers were in their prime, and especially when on the 16,000 mile run for home with the new season's tea from China to London port, it was a regular occurrence for the cracks to overhaul and comfortably pass steamships of the well-known shipping companies of the day. Sometimes, as can be seen from their logs, they were moving at a ratio of two miles for every mile the steamer's were achieving. The clippers were, of course, designed for speed and, for the carriage of tea, these were the preferred vessels both for their speed, dryness and insulation properties being of composite construction.

The clipper era started with the need for a fast means of sea transport to serve the demand when the Californian gold-rush took off, overland being considered too dangerous and risky. One of the great clipper builders was the American Donald MacKay, who built some spectacular and large clippers, designed for both speed and capacity. One of these, the 1852-built Sovereign of the Seas, broke just about all the records, the first ship to log over 400 miles in a 24-hour period, and logged a speed of 22 knots in her short lifetime - only lasted 7 years - wrecked in Strait of Malacca (1859).

DAVIDJM
4th February 2012, 21:44
I watched the programme tonight on BBC 2 Wales.

I was saddened to watch the news when she caught fire. I suppose if it had to happen that was the best time when the ship was already gutted of all the more valuable parts ready for restoration.

Now she will be ready for her majesty’s celebrations and the Olympics, and I hope she will receive a bumper crop of tourist to see the work that has taken place.

I don’t think we will get there this year but I look forward to visiting her sometime next.

Shipbuilder
5th February 2012, 19:46
Mustn't forget that although they could move in excess of 17 knots in favaourable conditions, conditions were not favorable for very long. If you calculate voyage averages, they were pretty low and that is one of the reasons sailing ships became obsolete - they could not compete with steamers making 8 knots 24 hours a day! If we say 16,000 miles from China to London, the FIERY CROSS made a fast run of 99 days from Foochow to Liverpool in 1857/58. That is an average of 161 miles per day that comes out at 6.7 knots. Good, but that was a fast passage. In 1870/71, CUTTY Sark sailed from Shanghai to London in 110 days - 6 knots average!
Composite ships built in Britain went out of fashion in the early 1870s and from then on, it was iron and steel.
Bob

Andy Lavies
5th February 2012, 20:26
I went round the ship in 1961 when I was up for 2nd mates. One of the items on display were the Indentures of one of her Masters. Five or six years ago, on another visit, they weren't there and the attendants hadn't heard of them. Anybody else remember similar personal documents on display?
Andy

drwhoman
5th February 2012, 21:14
I hope that they show the programme in Oz. The fire was a tragedy. A visit to Greenwhich always included a tour of the Cutty Sark! The wooden clippers such as Sovereign of the Seas and composites such as Cutty Sark certainly had their day but it is interesting to reflect that the sailing ship did survive essentially through the Erikson fleet post WW1 by effectively becoming floating warehouses. Grain was shipped from Oz to UK in big (in sailing ship terms - 3-4000 tons) ships that were thinly manned and a fast passage was not necessary as had been the case with the China tea crop in the 1850s - 1870s.
I would also mention that here in Sydney we have the James Craig relatively small sailing ship that spent much of her working life in the trans Tasman trades but she was built in Scotland as the Clan Mcleod in 1874. After surviving as a coal hulk into the 1930s she was run aground and left to rot in a Tasmanian bay. In 1981 she was brought back to Sydney in a derelict condition and subsequently rebuilt largely by volunteers using corporate sponsorship money - a way forward for City of Adelaide? A visit is highly recommended for any members visiting Sydney. Berthed next to the Maritime Museum.

Jocko
6th February 2012, 16:54
I checked it out and I was astounded to find out that the Cutty Sark sailed with only 26 of a crew all told. I was positive a ship with all that canvass would have had a lot more crew than that.
I also read that her restoration was made possible by a donation of 3.3 million from an Israeli who had served in the Royal Navy.

drwhoman
6th February 2012, 19:33
Yes - the crew number seems low. While she was not a big ship by early 20th century standards - a yacht by comparison - I have seen 28-35. I will have a look at my copy of Lubbock's Log of the Cutty Sark and see what he says. If anyone will know it is him! His books appear a bit dated now but the detail is fantastic and they provide an outstanding record of the last days of sail.

drwhoman
7th February 2012, 19:46
Lubbock provides lots of detail re captains and voyages but not much about the crew. Scanning the official site I see that the Trust have reviewed the original crew lists so we should go with their estimate. She was only 963tons - very small by later standards but still a profitable undertaking until the Suez Canal and steamships killed the tea trade and she went into the Australian trade to carry wool. There is a famous photo of her loading at Circular Quay here in Sydney. Needless to say, the Quay looks a bit different today!