The Cutty Sark
The Cutty Sark, grand old lady of the high seas
by John Carlton
(for complementary boating products such as 12v lighting control and 12v motorized blinds and shades, see our RV &
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I thought you all might like to see this and contemplate the ocean. It is the Cutty Sark, beautiful thing that
she is, on a wave encountered according to her log, on the 19th of June 1891.
She was in the wool trade at that time, and considering that the wool clip left Australia in September, late
June would have put her somewhere in the '60's, halfway from Capetown to Sydney. She would have rounded
Tasmania and entered Sydney in August where she discharged her cargo of manufactured goods and migrants, loaded
wool, which was literally screwed into the ship with large screw presses. She would then have headed out to the
Southern Ocean again on her way to Cape Horn.
The ship is 212 feet long, which makes the wave about 85 to 90 feet. The rudder, if you look carefully, is
almost entirely out of the water. Not bad for a crew of about 20, no engine, no radio, no electricity, no GPS,
just a lot of skill and experience.
The painting came from a post card, and is in the Greenwich Maritime Museum.
The Cutty Sark is today preserved as a museum ship, and is a popular tourist attraction near the centre
of Greenwich town, in south east London. The National Maritime Museum, the former Greenwich Hospital and
Greenwich Park is nearby. She is a prominent landmark on the route of the London Marathon, and she flies signal
flags on her ensign staff reading "JKWS", which is the code representing Cutty Sark in the International Signal
Code, which was introduced in 1857.