May 21, 2007

RIP Cutty Sark

My uncle pinged me first thing this morning with the sad news about the burning of one of the world's greatest maritime treasures, the Cutty Sark.

It's a shame the whiskey named after her isn't top notch. It's a blend (and not my favorite) but probably still much better than what the Cutty Sark's sailors drank.

Like the Royal Navy, maybe I'd feel better if I drank a pint of grog or more every day myself.

I was glad to read that the Cutty Sark's metal skeleton did not buckle in the heat of the blaze -- and that firemen preserved her figurehead. She may be preserved yet.

It's extraordinary to think back the days of epic tea races as the clipper ships scudded across the world's oceans, coursing over the waves. . . how else to explain a trip from Australia-to-Britain in as little as 67 days? Under sail?

According to Wikipedia (ahem), the Cutty Sark's best run, 360 nautical miles (666 km) in 24 hours (an average 15kt, 27.75 km/h), was said to have been the fastest of any ship of its size.

Viva windpower

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