After the terribly fire, what does the future hold for the Cutty Sark? Could she, should she be saved?


It is too soon after the terrible fire that engulfed the Cutty Sark on Monday 21 May, to be certain of anything much regarding her future. Are the remains capable of being saved? Should they be saved?

The Cutty Sark Trust clearly believes the answer to both questions is ‘yes’.

In their favour, the good news is that a lot of the fabric of the ship, including the masts, was in store while the current £25 million refurbishment was carried out. So it may be that the extra cost caused by the fire will be relatively small. On the other hand, smoke and water damage and, above all heat damage to the iron frame work, may prove hugely, even prohibitively costly to put right.

If the latter is the case why not abandon the current Cutty Sark (there is little of the original left anyway) and put the money towards a new, fully operational, sea going Cutty Sark; one that could be a flagship for the nation, an ambassador at international maritime events around the world, an inspirational sail training ship for young people and a valuable historical and maritime resource. Whatever remains of the old ship could be incorporated into the new vessel to give historical continuity.