Maritime Journal –
Her Majesty the Queen will officially reopen the 1869 tea clipper, Cutty Sark, today after a massive UK restoration project spanning 6 years and totalling £25m.
There appears to be little to worry about though, His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh, should be incredibly proud of the ship for which he originally set up the Preservation Society back in 1954 – the memorial to “the great days of sailing” and to all those who served in the merchant service.
There was plenty of pre-opening mayhem yesterday, with builders hastily completing last minute jobs – but the restored ship is a joy to behold.
The ship has been lovingly restored with much of the original fabric having been maintained – thankfully most of the timber was in storage at the time of the catastrophic fire in 2007, which threatened to put paid to the entire renovation project.
In a brilliant feat of engineering, Cutty Sark has been raised 11 feet into the air relieving the keel of the weight of the ship – all 900 tonnes of it, and preserving its unique shape.
For the first time visitors can walk underneath the hull, which is strangely disconcerting. The ship’s decks and rigging have been painstakingly restored piece by piece.
The metal frame of the hull is largely original and the new metal cladding on the hull is true to the original.
The timber planks that form the hull – each measuring around 30ft – are still the original elm below the water line and teak above.
In fact it is reckoned that over 90% of the ship is ‘original’ – if a ship is ever truly that after undergoing repairs throughout the course of its working life.