Cutty Sark and Pamir - Ships Nostalgia
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Cutty Sark and Pamir

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  #1  
Old 14th December 2007, 06:24
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Thank you all for your welcoming comments. Thanks especially to bengidog for his instructions as to how to cut and paste, hoping that it works!This year -- The near loss of the beautiful “Cutty Sark”

Fifty years ago – Loss of the beautiful sailing ship “Pamir”


The sea going and yachting fraternities the world over would have been saddened by the fire that has almost destroyed that famous remaining emblem of tall Tea clipper ships of the past, the Barque ‘Cutty Sark’.
The tragedy of the blaze that swept through the vessel as she sat in her Greenwich London dry-dock on
the 21st May 2007 was only tempered by the fact that the ship was undergoing an extensive refit at the time and many of her structural parts and fittings had been removed and safely stored elsewhere and so retaining some originality around which to consider and encourage the rebuilding of the hull and a total restoration.
In this era of general affluence it would be a marvelous outcome if “Cutty Sark” could be restored and refitted to the extent that she could once more travel down the Thames and beyond to open waters and it can be hoped that the British Government, the Trustees, the Insurers, the boating fraternity and the public can rally to make this happen rather than just a ‘patch up job’ on a burnt out hull to satisfy ongoing tourist curiosity.
I had the pleasure of going aboard “Cutty Sark” a few years ago and the visit remains a highlight of a visit to England from New Zealand.



Painting of “Cutty Sark”

The (almost) total loss of this piece of history has occurred almost exactly fifty years after the loss of another square rigged sailing ship, the “Pamir,” which foundered in an Atlantic storm in 1957.
The Barque “Pamir” and her history was well known to most New Zealanders although those of us that can remember seeing her on her last visit to Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour in 1948 are no doubt well into retirement but I, as a 14 year old, saw her in full sail in the Rangitoto Channel and also had the opportunity to visit the ship while she was berthed at Queens Wharf.
Just to recap for the younger, “Pamir” was originally launched in Hamburg in 1905, she had a steel hull, a tonnage of 3020 gross, an overall length of 375 feet, a beam of 46 feet and a loaded draught of 24 feet.
Her three masts stood 168 feet above the deck and the main yard was 92 feet wide. She carried a total of 50,000 square feet of sails and could reach a top speed of 16 knots while her regular cruising speed en-voyage was often better than 10 knots.
Her sailing history was long, spanning 52 years but her connection with New Zealand began in 1941 when she was sailing under the Finnish Flag on the Europe/Australia grain trade via Cape Horn and had the misfortune to be in Wellington Harbour when she was seized as a War Prize.
The ship was handed over to the care of Union Steamship Co of NZ for the duration of the war and she made ten commercial voyages under the New Zealand Ensign. Eight of these were trans Pacific to San Francisco and Vancouver and in 1948 after WW2 hostilities had ended she sailed from Wellington to London via Cape Horn then to Antwerp and back to Auckland for her final visit.
The Ship was handed back to the Finnish line Gustaf Erikson in late 1948 and made her final voyage from New Zealand back to Finland via South Australia in 1949 to become the last commercial sailing ship to round the Horn.



“Pamir” under sail

“Pamir” was later saved from the scrap yard along with a similar ship, the ‘Passat,’ by a German consortium and made many more trans-Atlantic voyages but as they were no longer profitable both ships were to be de-commissioned after their last voyages in 1957. Alas for “Pamir” this never happened.
On August 10th 1957 the vessel left Buenos Aires for Hamburg with a crew of 86 including 52 cadets and with a full cargo of loose barley grain. On the morning of 21st September while 600 miles south-west of the Azores “Pamir was caught in the fierce hurricane “Carrie” and foundered with the loss of 80 lives. The ship managed to send out a distress signal and after several days of searching 6 crew members were found and rescued from a life raft.
Accounts of this disaster abound on internet websites but my personal memories of this event are from being an engineer crew member of RMS “Rangitane” which sailed from Southampton near that day bound for New Zealand via Panama and our ship picked up Pamir’s distress call while entering the Bay of Biscay and punching into the fringes of “Carrie” which carried right up into the Irish Sea before dissipating. Other Vessels nearer to the sinking zone entered the search while we listened intently on marine radio and I can recall the sadness of the occasion especially after my earlier brief but enthralling association with this ship as a boy.



I later sailed on Union Company ships with Master Mariners Desmond Champion and Andrew
Keyworth who were Master and Chief Officer respectively of this magnificent sailing vessel on the final voyage to Europe and back under the NZ flag and enjoyed some of the many sea yarns they later related about their voyages on “Pamir.”

There are many square rigged sailing ships still serving in various nations including replicas of the likes of William Bligh’s “Bounty” and James Cook’s “Endeavour” but these merchantmen, the work horses or mules of the seas but with the grace and pace of Grand National winners were the real heroes and it would be downright negligent of us all, from Government to armchair sailors like me, to let the chance of restoring “Cutty Sark” to her former glory slip by.
After all she represents the British Merchant Navy from a time when it paralleled the British Royal Navy as the ruler of the seas and as a true Clipper Ship she represents the by-gone vessels that made Britain the then biggest world trading power.





Bob Jenkins August 2007

Last edited by Bruce Carson : 14th December 2007 at 14:01. Reason: Transferred from 'Say Hello' to 'Tall Ships'
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Old 18th December 2007, 19:19
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As far as the CUTTY SARK is concerned, I feel that most people are forgetting why she was being torn apart in the first place. As far as I know (& I may be wrong), the reason was that the iron frame was deteriorating at a rapid pace & the planking needed to be removed to try & correct this. The iron frame has now been subjected to very high temperatures which can not have improved its condition. Even if the buckled frame is corrected & the planking is replaced, it will be far from seaworthy. It would be the height of folly to send such a weakened ship to sea again, even in mild conditions. I really believe that the majority of the British public couldn't care less about our maritime heritage - to most of them, anything that floats is simply another "boat" even if it be quarter of a million tons! The word "ship" has been systematically phased out of the English language for many years & even before this began, British seafarers were never greatly thought of by the British public unless, of course, they had family connections with seamen. I would be inclined to let the CUTTY SARK go. A preserved ship might provoke a few "OOhs & AAhhs," but they are never the same as when they were following their lawful trade on the oceans of the world. And when they were - they were generally unnapreciated anyway!
As far as I am concerned (& I am a great enthusiast of both sail & steam ships), this is the best way to maintain the memories of such vessels. A model I completed recently of the steel-hulled full-rigged ship PAMPA (Germany).
P.S. It was sold shortly after completion. P.P.S I do not accept private commissions - it is only a hobby!
http://img155.imageshack.us/img155/9...l1largelz6.jpg
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Last edited by Shipbuilder : 18th December 2007 at 19:27.
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Old 27th December 2007, 08:02
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Cutty Sark A disco Club?

Cutty Sark and Pamir Post

Some weeks before finding the Ships Nostalgia site I sent a copy of my Cutty Sark and Pamir story to a London magazine BYM News and it was not until I went to their website this morning that I discovered they had done a nice job of publishing my story and included the following comment

Quote
A few days after the BYM News learned of plans to turn the Cutty Sark into what is perhaps best summed up as a disco style restaurant, entertainment centre and promotion venue (see editorial), BYM News received an unsolicited story, about the Cutty Sark and the Pamir from a retired New Zealand Merchant seaman called Bob Jenkins.
Mr. Jenkins was unaware of the latest plans when he summed up by saying;

“It would be downright negligent of us all from the Government to armchair sailors like me, to let the chance of restoring “Cutty Sark” to her former glory slip by.”
Unquote

I also sent a copy of my article to the Cutty Sark Society’ Trust Board thinking that I was aiding the noble cause but the deafening silence may be an indication of their embarrassment and adding truth to the above rumour of a patch up job to keep the tourists coming

Have any of you UK based SN members heard of this “down grade" plan? I can hear the Rolling Stones, and Rap beats already, or is this a distorted view of their real intentions

Has anyone got Patron HRH the Duke of Edinburgh’s E-mail? I should give him a rev!

Bob Jenkins
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Old 27th December 2007, 08:24
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I think it is highly likely that if the CUTTY SARK is put back together again, it will be used in the manner described. This is a sign of the times & why I believe they should let it go. Deafening silence is also another sign of the times. I sometimes wonder who everyone is talking to on their mobiles. I usually only get "press 1 if... press 2 if..." Or "Your call is umportant to us, please hang on until we can find someone to disconnect you!"
It is unusal to get replies to anything these days, by letter, phone or e-mail - Note the almost zero response to this post!
Bob
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Old 27th December 2007, 11:49
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Just look how City of Adelaide is fairing in the public's response to preservation of such vessels. Yes, loads of Oohs! & Aarhs! & "why don't they just get rid of it". Unfortunately, as you state Shipbuilder, Joe Public would rather dine & dance on such decks, without any regard for what history those said decks hold. Sad but true!!
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Old 30th December 2007, 14:00
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This was the state of the CITY OF ADELAIDE ten years ago - I don't suppose it has improved with the passing years!
http://img411.imageshack.us/img411/5...e1largerz2.jpg
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Old 2nd January 2008, 06:46
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Cutty Sark and Pamir

Thanks Shipbuilder for your clip of the "City of Adelaide" she certainly looks a forlorn and hopeless sight . I understand that a demolition order had been sought by the present trustees but this has been refused following the Cutty Sark fire which sees both ships revered as heirlooms of the British Merchant Navy.
Go to http://cityofadelaide.org.au to see what the Australian City's support plan is. They intend to load the hulk on to a submersible loading heavy lift ship to bring her "home" to Adelaide and eventually start a true restoration but what comes home to me is perhaps not the money, not the massive amount of English Oak and teak needed for hull and superstructure repairs (Adelaide would at least have the resourses of Tasmasnian Hoop Pine as a timber)but the artisan labour. Any country today would be hard pressed to assemble enough skilled shipwrights to made any real progress unless perhaps this was sigularly directed to one specific project
When I served my apprentiship at the Devonport (NZ) Dockyard in the 1950's
a shipwright/boat building apprentice had to craft a clinker built Navy Dinghy or Whaler as passing out proof of his skills but those men are now in their seventies and the later craftsmen in this field were leaning toward composite hulls and a vastly different range of skills. There is still a lot of willingness out there at grass roots level but the task is enormous and beyond working bee volunteer levels
Perhaps the "Lords" of the British Merchant Navy, if there are such people, should press for unity to achieve at least one restoration project, the obvious one being the Cutty Sark as she represents the Merchant Navy in one of their finest hours when sail ruled and the merchant ships made Britain the international trading power that she once was while the Royal Navy played only the game of wicket or gate keeper.
Take a look at HMS Victory's pristine upkeep, take a look at the Tudor "Mary Rose" museum, countless millions have been found for these projects and probably the majority of the funding comes from the British Admiralty and Government.
I am not British born but being from British parents I am anglophile enough to feel strongly about this subject to the extent of suggesting that the present Cutty Sark Preservation Trust is pehaps too long in the tooth to galvanise into a new mode of action and that Britain needs an upswelling from all you Mariners out there, old and young to crank up public awareness of the need to properly preserve this obvious Icon.

Where there is a will there is a way

Bob Jenkins

p.s on rereading I cant believe I got so excited!

Last edited by Bruce Carson : 2nd January 2008 at 18:42. Reason: Edited by author's request
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Old 2nd January 2008, 10:54
dominic dominic is offline  
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Hi Bob.

Great post. Agree with your comments about the lack of interest in this important part of our maritime heritage.

Here is a link to a website showing how the folks in New Brunswick (Canada) are creating a small replica of the famous Marco Polo.

http://new-brunswick.net/marcopolo/index.html

The Photo Gallery shows the progress up to October 2007.

Best Regards

Dom
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Old 3rd January 2008, 11:04
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See more here from Sunderland Maritime Heritage

http://www.sunderlandmaritimeheritag...k/adelaide.htm
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Old 20th July 2008, 20:50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob jenkins View Post
Thanks Shipbuilder for your clip of the "City of Adelaide" she certainly looks a forlorn and hopeless sight . I understand that a demolition order had been sought by the present trustees but this has been refused following the Cutty Sark fire which sees both ships revered as heirlooms of the British Merchant Navy.
Go to http://cityofadelaide.org.au to see what the Australian City's support plan is. They intend to load the hulk on to a submersible loading heavy lift ship to bring her "home" to Adelaide and eventually start a true restoration but what comes home to me is perhaps not the money, not the massive amount of English Oak and teak needed for hull and superstructure repairs (Adelaide would at least have the resourses of Tasmasnian Hoop Pine as a timber)but the artisan labour. Any country today would be hard pressed to assemble enough skilled shipwrights to made any real progress unless perhaps this was sigularly directed to one specific project
When I served my apprentiship at the Devonport (NZ) Dockyard in the 1950's
a shipwright/boat building apprentice had to craft a clinker built Navy Dinghy or Whaler as passing out proof of his skills but those men are now in their seventies and the later craftsmen in this field were leaning toward composite hulls and a vastly different range of skills. There is still a lot of willingness out there at grass roots level but the task is enormous and beyond working bee volunteer levels
Perhaps the "Lords" of the British Merchant Navy, if there are such people, should press for unity to achieve at least one restoration project, the obvious one being the Cutty Sark as she represents the Merchant Navy in one of their finest hours when sail ruled and the merchant ships made Britain the international trading power that she once was while the Royal Navy played only the game of wicket or gate keeper.
Take a look at HMS Victory's pristine upkeep, take a look at the Tudor "Mary Rose" museum, countless millions have been found for these projects and probably the majority of the funding comes from the British Admiralty and Government.
I am not British born but being from British parents I am anglophile enough to feel strongly about this subject to the extent of suggesting that the present Cutty Sark Preservation Trust is pehaps too long in the tooth to galvanise into a new mode of action and that Britain needs an upswelling from all you Mariners out there, old and young to crank up public awareness of the need to properly preserve this obvious Icon.

Where there is a will there is a way

Bob Jenkins

p.s on rereading I cant believe I got so excited!
I make you right Bob , it is all so easy to let the old ways go as is often said every cloud has a silver lining , just think how terrible this would have been if Cutty Sark had been near the end of her refit when this fire happened ,i have been aboard her numerous times over the years , and if she had not been composite built that may very well have been the end of her , perhaps this will make security a top priority when she is finaly finished best regards to all who love the old days , Dave
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Old 21st July 2008, 05:00
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Thanks Dave,
When I posted my original story re Cutty Sark and Pamir I sent a copy to the Cutty Sark Society but had no response until recently when I received a reply from Jessica Beverly the newly appointed Curator of the Cutty Sark Trust.
She confirmed that the vessel will never again sail but the aim is to restore the ship's structure and fittings to their original glory.
I am looking forward to a trip to London in the not too distant future and to visiting the site.
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