In Video: Riggers get Cutty Sark shipshape for 150th anniversary

The historic tea clipper has been given a birthday spruce-up at its home in Greenwich, south-east London.

Riggers have climbed to the dizzy height of 152ft to ensure the Cutty Sark, one of the fastest tea clippers of its day, is looking its best for its 150th anniversary next month.

To help it reach speeds of 17 knots, the ship had more than 11 miles of rigging, an original sail area of 32,000 sq ft across 32 sails, and a main mast standing at 152ft. 


Chris Wood, from TS Rigging, which helps maintain the vessel, said: “Some people say we must be fearless to work up in the rigging. It goes against all your survival instincts to be up that high but, if you like heights, it’s a fantastic job.

“The sunsets from up on the rigging, with the red skies over London sites such as St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and The Shard, are truly spectacular.”

The historic ship, which survived storms that ripped its rudder off on two occasions, a dismasting in the First World War and a terrible fire in 2007, reopened as a visitor attraction in Greenwich, south-east London, in 2012.