Inside Cutty Sark's workshop (5) - The Capstan Bars

Cutty Sark Closure

Cutty Sark will be closed to visitors on Sunday 10th March 2019 due to the "Vitality Big Half Marathon". The ship will be open as usual again from Monday 11th March. For further information on the Big Half Marathon, please see



Visiting Cutty Sark’s workshop with Senior Shipkeeping technician Piran Harte, Marketing Volunteer Gina got the opportunity to see some of the ongoing maintenance taking place. This week she got a sneaky peak into the process of maintaining the Capstan Bars. 

“The Capstan Bars, found on the Main Deck on the starboard side, would have been used to rotate the capstan. The Capstan was used to haul in the anchor; it would take four crew-members, each placing a bar into the Capstan and push so to rotate the Capstan and bring up the anchor.

Capstan Bars in the workshop
“The Capstan Bars"

I had noticed that a few of the Capstan Bars were missing from the Main Deck, and as I enjoyed my tour around the workshop with Senior Shipkeeping Technician Piran I found them lying along a bench. The bars were shiny with a new layer of paint; Piran explained that it is important to build up the layers of paint, and it usually takes about a day for each layer to dry. With ongoing maintenance on the bars takes place every three to four years, when they need their old paint removed and any damages to the structure repaired.

Capstan Bars looking lovely on the Main Deck

At the time of publishing of this blog, the bars are back on the ship – in all of their glory - pinned to side of the Heads (or toilets) on the Main Deck for our visitors to touch and admire when they’re on board."

About Gina

My name is Gina and I have been working at Royal Museums Greenwich for just over a year. I am a Visitor Assistant on board Cutty Sark, which has been an amazing experience as I have met so many people from all over the world, who each have their very own fascinating Cutty Sark memory or story. I am also a Volunteer within Cutty Sark’s Marketing department, and I have been assisting the Marketing Manager on a one day a week basis since October. This role has taught me so much, and has given me the opportunity to work on some amazing projects such as this series of blogs - I hope you enjoy them.