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Cutty Sark

After travelling the world, the Cutty Sark is just just a short ride from central London. For the full story behind this tour, check out Cutty Sark: A tour of 147 years of sailing history.

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Figurehead

Named after a line about a poorly clad witch in a Robert Burns poem, the Sark's figurehead is said witch carved in white.

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Entrance at the stern

The Sarkis suspended above its drydock, and the glass greenhouse that surrounds its hull vaguely implies the water and waves. You enter under the stern.

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Rudder

Inside is far more impressive, with the ship hovering in a lattacework of beams.

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Hull cut

Given how immaculate the rest of the ship is, this decision to make the main entrance to the ship via a hole cut in the hull seems odd.

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Structure

The hull is a skeleton of metal, clad with wood and more metal.

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Cargo hold

During its shipping days this would have been packed with tea, wool or other goods.

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History in screens

Today there are short clips describing the ship's history.

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Model skeleton

The model in the foreground shows the iron framework of the ship, which you can see full size behind it.

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Tween deck

The next deck up is the Tween deck, which was also used for cargo. Multiple exhibits line the space now.

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Fo'c's'le

Once a place where upwards of 20 men slept, it was later used for cargo and the sailors slept in cabins on deck (which you'll see later).

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Porthole view

A typical British view out the porthole, though there are fewer and fewer telephone boxes every year.

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Tween deck aft

It's nice that they didn't pack this space full of exhibits and artifacts. It gives a better sense of the size of these ships.

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On deck

The bow of the ship, fully laid out with all its running gear.

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Fresh meat

This bacon had a decided woody flavor.

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The view northwest

Peeking out over the buildings in the distance is The Shard.

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Wet and rainy

The deck was wet, and the last time I toured a wet British ship I sprained two fingers in a fall. Being weather in Britain, it changed completely over the next 30 minutes, to a bright sunny day.

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Rigging

In full kit, the Sark had 36,000 square feet (3,345 square meters) of sails. At various times in its life, it had far less so fewer crew were required.

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Cabins on deck

Along the right (the center of the ship) are a series of cabins that held work and sleeping space for the crew.

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Galley

The ship's tiny galley, featuring a cameo of my hand and camera.

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Workshop

This is the carpenter's workshop, a handy thing to have on a ship made primarily of wood.

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Sleep tight

If you watch a show like "Deadliest Catch," you'll notice how little the bunks of the crew have changed in 150 years.

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Chest

In the center is a seaman's chest, where he kept all his belongings for the multi-month trip.

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Scrubbin'

Note the display so kids can try out mopping and scrubbing the deck. Seems like a clever way for the museum to get help cleaning.

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Ghost in the machine

A "real" officer talking about what life was like on the ship. A clever use of a projector and glass. Similar to my favorite Disney effect at the Haunted Mansion (was that a spoiler?)

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Ropes and pullies

Though the Cutty Sark had many sails, it only had a crew of around 30; fewer in later years when they reduced the total number.

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Stern weather

Some ominous looking clouds over the stern.

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Wheel

I have to say this confused me. Why is the wheel "facing" the wrong way. Wouldn't you want the sailor steering the boat to be able to see where he's going?

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Compass

The binnacle compass.

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Back inside

The Master's Cabin, just down the ladder from the bridge. A few decades after it was built, a later owner expanded one of the smaller cabins and made a larger suite for the captain.

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Saloon

An all purpose room, generally used as the officer's mess, but also to entertain guests and more.

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Second Mate's cabin

The second mates did a bit better than the lowly crew members, but had to share their room.

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Pantry

The ship's pantry. Most meals would be salted meats, vegetables and so on.

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Sun?

After reemerging from belowdecks, the sun had come out. I'm sure Londoners were horrified.

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Rudder from below

A quick elevator ride (or stairs) bring you to the big open space below the ship, where there's a small cafe where you can stare at the massive rudder.

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Keel

This is a unique angle as far as I know for viewing a sailing ship. The tiered steps of the drydock have a few displays and offer a place to sit.

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On land dreaming of sea

The blue greenhouse (bluehouse) cradles the ship like the water once did, water that is so close but never to touch the hull again (probably...).

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Permission to disembark

Such a well-preservied and gorgeous piece of history.

For the full story behind this tour, check out Cutty Sark: A tour of 147 years of sailing history.

Read the article
Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
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