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Captains of the Cutty Sark

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1870 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. Villiers 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.

1872 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 Tiptaft till he died 1878

Collecting Tea At Hankow and back to the UK. Cargo was some £4.5s and beat the Thermopylae by a week on the return journey home.

Cutty Sark ended the Tea Trade 1878 due to steamships taking this over

Dec 1877 It sailed to Australia for a coal cargo but after arriving in China as before in the following’s spring year they could obtain no Tea consignment. prices given for tea dropped to as low as 25-30 shillings and not a full ship. The Steamers had taken most of the supply and even the Rival Thermopylae was only being offered 35 shillings. It was the end of the Tea Era.

1878 Captain James Wallace appointed Captain

He had been the first mate and was promoted. He only had 2 years of experience, good sailor skills, but lacked leadership and 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 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 crew lead to near starvation. He also schemed to get rid of the pricy Australian Crew but pocketed the money. In New York, 1882 an enquiry lead to him and his first mate being dismissed.

1882 Captain  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.

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