Clippership CUTTY SARK
Scratch-built waterline model      5" x 9"      $38,000

More Views of CUTTY SARK

She is the most famous of all the clippers, and the last complete survivor of them all. She is preserved today at Greenwich by the Thames, where she ended so many of her triumphant voyages. Her life began in 1869, when she was laid down in the Scott & Linton yard in Dumbarton, Scotland. Linton went broke over her, and she was finished by Denny Bros. She measured 212' 6" long, with an extreme breadth of 36', and a net register tonnage of 921.39. Her name is Scottish for petticoat or short shirt, and comes from the Robert Burns poem 'Tam o' Shanter'.

Her career is well documented, with Basil Lubbock's Log of the CUTTY SARK at the head of the list. This model is based on the official restoration plans of the ship, done by George F. Campbell, and a book on building a model by C. Nepean Longridge. I spent some time about the ship at Greenwich making notes and taking photographs.

This is a waterline scale model, 32'=1" scale, just over 9" long. The hull is of basswood, with holly side planking and hawthorne deck planking. The poop and stern house planks are fitted 'sprung', that is they curve and taper to fit the space of the stern, just as on the full size ship. Fittings are of holly, apple, and cedar. The spars are of lancewood. All rigging is either nichrome, a nickel-chromium alloy, or copper for the ratlines. Sails and flags are of glassine, a neutral-pH, archival paper. The ships bell, binnacle, and skylight bars are of brass or copper.

She is depicted on the port tack, in just the type of heavy sea described in so many log entries. All plain sail and four stunsails are set, with some headsails. The wind is just starting to shift more to the port beam. She has gotten her main topsail and topgallant stunsails in, and two of the crew are hauling in the booms. This avoids having these sails blanket the foremast sails. Her fore headsails are starting to fill as the wind changes, but there is some shaking going on at the upper main, and she will have to adjust her braces more sharply.

A total of 21 crew members are shown, out of a total of about 28-30, which was her usual complement. The captain directs from the port quarterdeck, next to the man at the wheel. The log has just been heaved over the lee quarter, with one man holding the line spool aloft while another turns the hourglass and calls 'stop' when the sand runs out. She has a lookout at the fore royal, and a solitary apprentice begins up the main weather shrouds on a maintenance errand. She has a lucky shark fin fitted to the end of the bowsprit.

The sea is carved of basswood, and painted with gloss enamel. The base is veneered with black walnut flame figured sheet. The nameplate is my own calligraphic design, and is acid etched on a brass nameplate. The model was made in 1996.

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