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Historic clipper ship Cutty Sark invites guests to the Tall Ships Races at the airport

Since last week, a model of the world-famous and historically fastest merchant ship, the Cutty Sark, has been displayed in the passenger area of Tallinn Airport. This initiative is a collaborative effort between the organizers of the Tall Ships Races Tallinn 2024 and the Estonian Maritime Museum. The ship model, alongside information about the Tall Ships Races, invites people to visit Tallinn’s three harbors from July 11-14 to participate in the world's largest sail training regatta.

Marje Tõemäe, project manager for Tall Ships Races Tallinn 2024, encourages everyone to attend this summer's biggest maritime festival. "The Tall Ships Races, featuring magnificent sailing ships, is a very special regatta returning to Tallinn after a long interval. It offers a unique opportunity for both locals and visitors to enjoy an extraordinary maritime festival in Tallinn’s harbors. More than 60 large sailing ships from around the world will converge, with various activities taking place both on land and at sea," said Tõemäe.

Iris Tomson, program manager for the Tall Ships Races Tallinn 2024 at Lennusadam, stated that the clipper Cutty Sark is an iconic sailing ship, perfectly representing the regatta coming to Tallinn this summer. "Cutty Sark has a long and exciting history. Known for its impressive speed compared to other clippers of its time, it stood out in races to be the first to bring valuable tea cargo from China to London. The young and daring captains of the tea clippers, known as China Birds, were as famous and popular in the late 19th century as Formula 1 drivers are today. This parallels the spirit of the sail training regatta, where the fastest vessel and the smartest crew win," explained Tomson.

The model of Cutty Sark was created by Estonia’s greatest model master, Hermann Tõnissoo, and was his last completed work in the 1970s. He reportedly worked on the model for several years before his death in 1974.

The world-renowned tea clipper Cutty Sark was one of the fastest sailing ships of its time, originally transporting tea between Britain and China, and later wool between Britain and Australia. The largest known tea cargo carried by the vessel was over 600 tons—a remarkable feat for a ship measuring 64.77 meters in length. This iconic sailing ship is a symbol of the age of sail and the seafaring profession. Cutty Sark also lent its name to a whiskey brand, which was the title sponsor of the Tall Ships Races from 1973 to 2003.After serving 25 years in British merchant shipping, Cutty Sark was sold to Portugal in 1895 and renamed Ferreira. In 1922, it became the last clipper sailing the global seas. Briefly renamed Maria do Amparo, it returned to its homeland in 1922.From 1924 to 1950, Cutty Sark served as a training ship, preparing cadets for the British Royal Navy and merchant fleet. Since 1957, after extensive renovation, Cutty Sark has served as a museum ship in Greenwich, London, continuing to educate and inspire generations of young sailors.

The Cutty Sark model arrived at Tallinn Airport through the efforts of the Tall Ships Races Tallinn 2024 organizing team and the Estonian Maritime Museum. It will be on display at the airport until the end of the Tall Ships Races Tallinn 2024 event in mid-July, located just before passport control in the passenger area.

The Tall Ships Races is the world’s largest sail training ship regatta with the longest traditions, bringing over 60 large sailing ships to Tallinn’s three harbors. From July 11-14, visitors can tour the ships, enjoy performances by Estonia's top artists, and participate in various land and sea activities.More information about the Tall Ships Races can be found at

Photo credit: Tallinn Culture & Sports Department


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