Get to grips with Cutty Sark's mast and rigging

Essential information

Opening times: 
10am–5pm daily
Cutty Sark, Level 2: Main Deck

See the terrifying height of Cutty Sark's masts and touch the 11 miles of rigging that helped make her the fastest ship of her day.

What did it take to get Cutty Sark under sail?

Come aboard and get up close to the beautiful ropes and masts, which are all restored as they would have appeared when she first launched in 1869.

Cutty Sark made her name as one of the fastest tea clippers of her day, and this was partly down to the modern engineering techniques behind her rigging. Unlike other vessels, Cutty Sark was rigged with wire and not hemp rope, as was more common in 1869. To help her reach speeds of 17 knots, Cutty Sark had over 11 miles (17.7 km) of rigging, an original sail area of 32,000 sq. ft. (2,976 sq. m) across 32 sails, and a main mast standing at 152ft (47m). 

As part of our restoration project ahead of her reopening in 2012, a team from T S Rigging undertook the huge task of stripping down and re-rigging Cutty Sark. This involved 2.5 km of wire standing rigging, 14km rope for running rigging, 400 wooden blocks, 700 shackles, 41 spars, 9 mast sections, 17 yards, including one as spare for Cutty Sark. The craftmanship of the team is extraordinary can only truly be appreciated by coming on board and taking a look for yourself.

Watch a video about the creation of Cutty Sark's rigging:

Plan your visit to Cutty Sark