Friday, June 28, 2013

The Polly Woodside

You can only work so many hours a day. If nothing else there comes a time when the head begins to hurt and the hotel's house keepers are knocking on the door.

Fortunately I had my plan for a quick break all worked out and spent a happy hour on the tall ship Polly Woodside and jolly good it was too.

The Polly Woodside was built in Belfast in 1885 by William J. Woodside and named after his wife Marian. 

So why is it not the Marian Woodside you might wonder. Well according to the visitor's centre William "would tease her and say she talked all the time like a parrot" - hence Polly.
The Polly Woodside was launched into the great last years of sail, of the same era and routes as the Cutty Sark, around Cape Horn between Australia and Glasgow, and it was interesting to compare the two restorations.

On this score there was no contest, for Polly Woodside had that feel that all good ships should have that it could head out to sea where it belonged at a moment's notice, unlike the Cutty Sark which is now more of a museum.
Of course the poor old Cutty Sark was ignored for decades and then half consumed in a fire, but the Polly Woodside had some particularly good supporters.

One in particular stands out - Tor Lindqvist from Finland who had spent his youth sailing square rigged ships such as Lawhill, Viking and Passat and was to put his expertise to good use in its restoration.

Absolutely worth a visit if you are in Melbourne.

The only slightly hmmm.... moment was in the inevitable gift shop where along with nice memorabilia and books there was a pile of pirate flags and kits for the kids (eye patches etc), which of course was a different time, place and occupation.

Sailing a tall ship around the world should be excitement enough, but then I'm not 8 so what do I know.

No comments: