What piece of bad luck prevented the Cutty Sark from winning the race?
One of the most famous sailing ships of the nineteenth century, the Cutty Sark, can still be seen at Greewich. She stands on dry land and is visited by thousands of people each year. She serves as an impressive reminder of the great ships of past. Before they were replaced by steamships, sailing vessels like the Cutty Sark were used to carry tea from China and wool from Australia. The Cutty Sark was one the fastest sailing ships that has ever been built. The only other ship to match her was the Thermopylae. Both these ships set out from Shanghai on June 18th, 1872 on an exciting race to England. This race, which went on for exactly four exactly four months, was the last of its kind. It marked the end of the great tradition of ships with sails and the beginning of a new era.
The first of the two ships to reach Java after the race had begun was the Thermopylae, but on the Indian Ocean, the Cutty Sark took lead. It seemed certain that she would be the first ship home, but during the race she had a lot of bad luck. In August, she was struck by a very heavy storm during which her rudder was torn away. The Cutty Sark rolled from side to side and it became impossible to steer her. A temporary rudder was made on board from spare planks and it was fitted with great difficulty. This greatly reduced the speed of the ship, for there was a danger that if she traveled too quickly, this rudder would be torn away as well. Because of this, the Cutty Sark lost her lead. After crossing the Equator, the captain called in at a port to have a new rudder fitted, but by now the Thermopylae was over five hundred miles ahead. Though the new rudder was fitted at tremendous speed, it was impossible for the Cutty Sark to win. She arrived in England a week after the Thermopylae. Even this was remarkable, considering that she had had so many delays. These is no doubt that if she had not lost her rudder she would have won the race easily.
New words and expressions 生词和短语
比赛开始后，“赛姆皮雷”号率先抵达爪哇岛。但在印度洋上，“卡萨萨克”号驶到了前面。看来，它首先返抵英国是确信无疑的了，但它却在比赛中连遭厄运。8 月份“卡蒂萨克”号遭到一场特大风暴的袭击，失去了一只舵。船身左右摇晃，无法操纵。船员用备用的木板在船上赶制了一只应急用的舵，并克服重重困难将舵安装就位，这样一来，大大降低了船的航速。因为船不能开得太快，否则就有危险，应急舵也会被刮走。因为这个缘故，“卡蒂萨克”号落到了后面。跨越赤道后，船长将船停靠在一个港口，在那儿换了一只舵。但此时，“赛姆皮雷”号早已在500多英里之遥了。尽管换装新舵时分秒必争，但“卡蒂萨克”号已经不可能取胜了，它抵达英国时比“塞姆皮雷”号晚了1个星期。但考虑到路上的多次耽搁，这个成绩也已很不容易了。毫无疑问，如果中途没有失去舵， “卡帝萨克”号肯定能在比赛中轻易夺冠。