The Cutty Sark is one of the most famous ships in the world. It was built in 1869 as a clipper ship, designed for speed, and was used for trade, primarily in the tea and wool trade between Britain and China, and Australia. It is now a museum ship, located in Greenwich, London, and is open to the public. Over the course of its long and storied history, the Cutty Sark had many captains, some of whom were more notable than others. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at some of the most famous captains of the Cutty Sark.
1869-70 Captain Moodie
Since Willis had selected Moodie to supervise the construction, it was logic for him to Captain the first voyage. He already had sailed the Tweed, and other clippers Lauderdale and Laurel. Being skilled at the complex art of rigging was his forte, alongside being able to command men and business awareness.
In A. Villier’s book on the Cutty Sark, he mentioned that it took Moodie the whole journey from London to Shanghai to get the rigging right on the Cutty Sark.
Captain Moodie’s Wife launched the ship.
1870-77 Captain F. W Moore
Being Previously used as Willis’s Marine Superintendent. F. W Moore took over from Captain Moodie. The downside was that he was too conservative about driving the ship hard because of wanting to spare potential damage. The ship was born to race cut water designed for speed so, with that in mind, it was not being used to the optimum. He made one trip to China.
1873 Captain William Edward Tiptaft Died in Shanghai
1878 Captain James Wallace
He had been the first mate and was promoted. He only had 2 years of experience, and good sailor skills, but lacked leadership and was too easygoing.
During those times Sailors were superstitious and did not sail on a Friday. Wallace had no regard for this so commanded the men to sail on a Friday. The Crew was not harmonious. One Character called Vanderdecken was a winger and mentally challenged, he would pace the ship at night keeping people awake. He would repeatedly go on about mishaps, accidents bad luck drama that he predicted would happen. He was totally against them sailing on Fridays. Much of what he predicted turned into reality.
1880 Captain William Henry Bruce
Bruce was transferred from the ship the Hallowe’en and made Captain. He was an Alcoholic and incompetent, he forgot to get food supplies for the crew leading to near starvation. He also schemed to get rid of the pricy Australian Crew but pocketed the money. In New York, 1882 an inquiry led to him and his first mate being dismissed.
1882 Captain Frederick Moore
Transferred from the Blackadder ship, with its crew, as it happened to be in New York at the same time. Good Captain credentials, but the ship was in a neglected state, requiring a lot of money to restore it. Since Cargo was limited and not paying so well, this was not an option to fix it up.
1885 Captain Richard Woodget
This Captain commanded the happiest successful times the ship had seen. 10-11 years as a successful wool Clipper. He captained the ship on record-breaking voyages to Australia.