Thursday, May 24, 2007

Cutty Sark Fire

The 280ft vessel Cutty Sark was ravaged by fire in the early hours of Monday and police believe the fire, which caused £25 million damage, may have been started deliberately. Donations have poured in since the blaze left the 138-year-old vessel in charred ruins. But despite firefighters doing all they could to save her, the tea clipper will need millions of pounds spent on her if she is to rise from the ashes.

Forensic examination of the remains of the Cutty Sark has failed to establish how the fire started. Scotland Yard said tests on the remains had proved "inconclusive".

Named after a fleet-footed witch in the Scottish legend of Tam O'Shanter, it has become one of London's biggest attractions. The 280ft vessel, built in 1869, was once the world's fastest tea clipper sailing from Australia to England in a record 72 days in 1885. The Cutty Sark left London on her maiden voyage on February 16 1870, sailing around the Cape of Good Hope to Shanghai in three-and-a-half months. She made eight journeys to China as part of the tea trade until steam ships replaced sail on the high seas.

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