My last residence in London was situate close to the heart of Canary Wharf, just across the river from Greenwich. Any clear morning I was greeted by the sight of the magnificent three masted tea clipper the ‘Cutty Sark’, there dry docked for perpetuity. The famed ship held the record for the return journey from Shanghai to the British Isles, the race finishing dependent on tide and current at either the Isles of Silly or Beachy Head, for eight consecutive years from eighteen seventy to eighteen seventy seven, the journey being completed in betwixt one hundred and seven and one hundred and twenty two days. All these voyages were without benefit of any mechanical propulsion, or the so recently completed shortcut of the Suez Canal. To accommodate such a miraculous feat every mast, spar, or cross member was covered in such an acreage of canvas as is difficult to imagine.
Even such a monumental area of sail still pails into mediocrity when compared to the canvas visible on any given summer weekend in the lower camp of Moran State park.