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Issue 7 - Dream boats

Whisky Magazine Issue 7
December 1999


This article is 18 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

Copyright Whisky Magazine © 1999-2018. All rights reserved. To use or reproduce part or all of this article please contact us for details of how you can do so legally.

Dream boats

Beautiful craft, adventure and the dram. What else is there? Cutty Sark have the perfect recipe, reports Brian Hennigan

Events don't come much bigger than The Cutty Sark Tall Ships' Race. Over five million people are attracted to the ports where the race makes a call. That five million represents the live audience and excludes all those who watch it on TV.

This is the world's largest international annual sailing event and the longest running sports sponsorship. Yet for all these facts nothing compares to the sheer scale of it all which is why so many witness it in person.

This year's race (in reality a series) started in the French Channel port of St Malo, before heading for Greenock, Scotland then on to Lerwick in the Shetland Isles, finishing in Aalborg in Denmark, a total of 1,380 nautical miles.

Greenock is a post-industrial town just south of Glasgow. Like many coastal towns it had applied to be considered as a host port about four years before. Over 80 ships, in a variety of styles and traditions, arrived there for a four-day extravaganza, the likes of which had not been seen on the river Clyde for many a year. Over a mile of waterfront was two or three deep with vessels; a staggering display of colour and craftsmanship. Over 500,000 people poured in to enjoy in the prolonged carnival that followed. For Greenock, this was the crowning achievement of a £60 million redevelopment of the area, with over £2 million being invested in the event itself.

But what has all this got to do with whisky? For the blenders of Cutty Sark, an awful lot. Cutty Sark literally means ‘short skirt'...

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