Plans have been revealed for a £25m bid to save the historic ship, the Cutty Sark, from total ruin.
Work on the Cutty Sark will begin in 2006 if funding is secured
The plan is for the 134-year-old ship to be encased in a bubble effect and protected by fabric which will preserve her timbers and corroding iron frame.
But it can only go ahead if a grant for £11.75m from the Heritage Lottery Fund is approved in January.
The Cutty Sark is situated at the Maritime Greenwich Heritage Site in Greenwich, south-east London.
The Cutty Sark Trust hopes to raise the other £13.25m needed from the public, business sponsors and charitable trusts.
Once the restoration work is complete, the technology will be shipped around the world and used in the restoration of other historic vessels.
Richard Doughty, chief executive of the Cutty Sark Trust, said: "The ship already has a successful track record as a heritage destination, but needs a capital injection to re-energise her as a sustainable 21st Century visitor attraction.
"Our plans have been formulated now because of the physical condition of ship."
He said that if the trust does not received the money it will be forced to close as a public attraction in 2007.
'Cutting through waves'
The trust is working with Grimshaw, the architects who designed the Eden Project and Waterloo International Station.
Their plans include raising the ship up in her dry berth in a kevlar web, which will enable visitors to walk underneath it.
They also plan to reinstate some of her sails and portray it cutting through waves.
Mr Doughty said: "Securing the Heritage Lottery funding is pivotal to our strategic planning. Not only would it be a significant contribution to the cost of the project but it has the potential to unlock other sums of money from many other investors."
Work on the Cutty Sark will begin in September 2006 if the funding is secured.
The Cutty Sark - the world's only surviving tea clipper - was originally used to speed the delivery of tea from China and later travelled on many journeys fetching wool from Australia.