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Балтийская государственная академия рыбопромыслового флота

Barque history

Birth of the Windjammer
The four-masted barque built in Bremerhaven (Geestemünde) and launched in 1926 with the name "Padua", and for 70 years known throughout the world as the "Kruzenshtern" is a unique sailing ship.
Working youth
In the first voyage "Padua" set off from Hamburg on August 30, 1026 and in 74 days – on November 24th - she reached the Chilean port of Talcahuano.
The second world war
When guns fire and kill people there is no time to enjoy the romance of sails.
New name - new life
The barque’s service under the pennant of the Naval Fleet of the USSR.
The barque in a new uniform, but now in civil one
The first years of being a training sailing ship of the fishing industry fleet.
First international regattas
Weekdays of the sailing ship as part of the Baltic squad training ships.
The estonian period of the barque Kruzenshtern
Finding representative mission and the first earnings of the sailing ship.
Port of Registry - Kaliningrad
"School of sails" at Kaliningrad Higher Maritime Engineering College.
The first circumnavigation of «Kruzenshtern»
The expedition as devotion to the traditions of the Russian fleet and ambitious challenge to the realities of time.
The barque’s week days: regattas, training voyages, repairs
Aristocratism of the spirit: noble feat despite the elements.
Second circumnavigation
Confirm once his victory is sometimes very difficult.
Change captain
Kolomenskiy’s disciples in “Kruzenshtern’s” cabin.
The transatlantic Expedition
The broken mast, for the first time in her history the ship has passed through Panama Canal and moorage at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Home Winter Olympics in Sochi
Another Captain Change on the Barque.
International historical memorial expedition
Visiting the Black Sea ports of the hero-cities and waters of hostilities, repetition of the route of the Arctic convoys, dedicated to the 70th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.
The barque «Kruzenshtern» turns 90
One year - and as many anniversaries: 70 years under the name of the famous navigator and 25 years as a part of the sea of high school, who turned 50 years old!

Birth of the Windjammer

How and for what was the most famous 90-year-old Russian sailing ship built?

The four-masted barque was built in Bremerhaven (Geestemünde) and launched in 1926 (with the name "Padua"). The unique sailing ship has been known throughout the world as  "Kruzenshtern"  for 70 years. We wouldn’t like to call her "legendary" because there are practically no legends and myths about the vessel and all possible questions are answered sooner or later. There are irrefutable facts, documents and reality. The steel giant is more than a tangible object and her life history  is quite evident in the 20th century. So there are no mysteries, except just one.

The magic of this extraordinary vessel, and it is indeed extraordinary, is her people. They were the people who gave the second birth to the barque and a future prosperous life.

As it happened, this sailing ship has always been lucky in terms of people. The captain Gennady Kolomensky, who had had a 45 years of sea-going  experience aboard  the vessel, used to say “no matter how different those responsible for  the ship’s destiny and operations were, the most important thing was to work  for the image and  well-being of the ship". The time  when the barque appeared was rather hard to both people and ships. But, if truth be told, “the Padua" time, and then "the Kruzenshtern" one, was always lucky.

So, Germany, 1926: social instability, high unemployment rate, hunger, poverty, attempts of political upheaval and unrest, and the overall oppressive mood after the lost war and the humiliating Treaty of Versailles. The Laeisz shipping company having a squadron of steel cargo sailing ships decided to build another windjammer. But  building it without the engine was quite controversial in terms of construction. That is why the Laeisz company had started to build ships with steam engines since 1922. The sailing ships carrying capacity was not sufficient, so it was difficult to find the shipment loads for freight.

Cheap cargoes  able to  cover operational costs were very dependent on the fluctuations in world market prices. Remote  ports with bad infrastructure,  with  primitive conditions of cargo handling  were not in favor of a sailing ships intended to carry out   transoceanic transportation.

There was no clear and conceivable   economic perspective that would ensure the profitability of construction of the vessel. It is only now, nearly a century later, the Germans can speak  that  the reason for the construction of such a large cargo vessels as  windjammers is to delivery  ammonium nitrate (the common name for minerals that contain alkali metal, primarily - the raw material for the production of industrial explosives and only after  that - to use as nitrogen fertilizer in agriculture).

Europe and especially Germany  sought to make up for the production of dynamite after the First World War to replenish the arsenals ravaged by war- and the demand for Chilean nitrate was high. And although in 1917, German chemists synthesized artificial ammonia, traders realized that they still could constantly make money on this cargo . Thus, It can be said that windjammers were partly involved in preparation of the Second World War transporting  nitrate to Europe and   dynamite to South America in 1920-1930.

Manning of the  large cargo ships - also a real problem: the severe working conditions,  long-term and complex voyages- not attractive for qualified seafarers. That is why the Laeisz family applied effective management and attracted cadets  for practical training which was paid. Since the late 19th century( in Germany) to receive a professional sailor diploma you had to have a 24-month of seagoing experience (including 12-months aboard a sailing ship).

The Laeisz entrepreneurial talent and progressive thinking contributed to scientific achievements in navigation and meteorology. And the factors made a success.

One cannot deny the fact that during the construction of "Padua" Germany began to challenge the British priority on ocean routes. The ambitious Germans humiliated by military and political defeat of the first quarter of the 20th century considered the construction of windjammers not only as economic benefits but also as an opportunity to assert its national prestige. And the Kaiser's government strongly encouraged such aspirations, even under the influence of economic constraints in shipbuilding . They  believed that the commercial fleet would give a chance to revive the economy and the sailors would be an excellent resource to restore the rapidly increasing navy.

The Germans did not miss this opportunity and by 1913 the German steel sailing fleet had “overran” the English one in terms of quality. Hamburg and Bremen "Cape Horners" made voyages from Europe to South America faster than the British ones - despite the fact that they often had fewer crew members. It was impossible not to say that the Germans had the best vessels and great captains. As sad as it could be for the British, but the concepts of "windjammers" and "Cape Horners" are primarily associated with the German sailing ships, and in particular with the Ferdinand Laeisz ones (1801-1887), remaining in history as the famous " Flying P-Liners".

Based on the already build most successful project of a sailing ship (1926) the Laeisz company launched their new windjammer called "Padua" on June 23, 1926. Most likely the prototype for the newly built ship was the vessel called “Pangani” constructed in 1902. Nobody could think that this was the last ship in the family of classic windjammers (about 16 sailing ships of the same type). The company owned 135 sailing ships but in 1925 there were only 33 left,   just 6 in 1935  and before the war the Laeisz had only two, the most new ones.

Barque`s name

The first years of "Padua" were not filled with special achievements and records – she was the youngest sister in the sailing ships family. The Laeisz "Placilla", "Pisagua", "Pamir", "Passat", "Parma", "Peking", "Priwall" and others had demonstrated their achievements in seaworthiness  and cost-efficiency.

Being the youngest daughter, “Padua” had gone  through many trials that prepared her for a special life  incomparable with the fellow sailing ships. For over nine decades she had to cope with severe storms and hardships: to survive the devastation and a real threat of destruction, reflagging and the name change. As a young girl sent by iron-hearted parents to a foreign country for a marriage, she changed everything: the language, traditions, way of life. She was reorganized and rebuilt, and with her new name, it has not only survived  and eventually became strong enough to show everyone her incredible character. Isn’t it a good lesson for the people?

Today the barque, after numerous reconstructions, is significantly different from what it used to be in 1926. But the modern crew has always stressed that the main things of the ship are the hull, spars, rigging and the work organization principles which have been authentic for more than 70 years.

Let’s leave the discussion of specifications and details to shipbuilders, designers and engineers. Kruzenshtern is a unique and outstanding achievement of shipbuilding and ship repair. We are just about to completely investigate the phenomenon. Kruzenshtern is in fact a sailing museum which represents the temple of engineering art.

There’s an interesting fact (according to informal information) that the hull, coating, frames, the keel and stern-posts were built from the Krupp steel intended to construct a German destroyer after the World War I. This explains the excellent quality of the hull which ensured the vessel’s long life.  Over its history the bark has changed several professions operating as a cargo, scientific, and military vessel, and for half a century (!) continues to work as the civil training ship.

Barque`s construction

The general information about the barque: steel hull built in accordance  with the class  and the rules of Germanischer Lloyd. Framing system – transverse; frame spacing –  635mm (in the bow – 610mm); planking thickness – 13mm; steel “grade 3” (according to the analysis conducted in the USSR); 7 watertight bulkheads; they are placed on frames 8, 22, 42, 74, 86, 122 and 135 (the frames are numbered from stern to bow in accordance to the German rules).

Like all the Laeisz four-mastered ships  the vessel had three superstructures and two decks. There were premises for the permanent crew, a salon in the middle superstructure , berthing compartments for cadets in the stern and  storage and technical rooms in the bow. The middle superstructure (behind the wheel) had a wooden chart house. The tween-decks ,the main deck, the  forecastle, the poop and  the middle deck consisted of overlapped steel plates fixed  with studs. Wooden coating  were made of solid teak wood, as well as from the core of the fir and pine bog.

Mast and spars: steel masts with overlapping double rivet joints and  treble rivet joints on the seams .The  fore mast  and both  mainmasts were made in one piece with the top masts. Each mast (except the mizzen) had one non-removable  mast top and crosstrees. The angles of the masts lean to the stern were : 3 ° for the foremast;  4 ° for  the 1 st mainmast; 5 ° for the 2nd mainmast  and  5,5 ° - for the mizzen-mast. The maximum diameter of the masts was  760 - 840 mm.  The height of the masts are different  from the original ones.  In 2015, the upper part of the fore mast and the 1st mainsail were  converted into  lifted ones  allowing to adjust the height up to  2 meters  to go under  modern fixed bridges or to save on expensive tug services (for example, in the Bosporus).  Today the masts have height of 56 meters.  Being  constructed it used to be as follows: the fore mast - 53.2 m, the 1st main mast- 54 m,the main-mizen mast - 52.4 m  and the mizzen mast - 44,8 m.

All yards, booms and flagpoles  are steel, with the exception of the wooden flagpole on the mizzen-mast. The three bottom rows of yards are riveted , the top ones are  made of of seamless pipes. The length of the lower yards  together with booms reached 29.9 m. The bowsprit design is similar to the masts’ one, its maximum diameter was 700 mm, length-14.1 m from the forward perpendicular.

The barque’s rigging  was hemp, the shrouds  and backstays were covered with a special composition of black color.   There was a small quantity of steel cables and chains used . The blocks were mostly wooden. There were ladder rungs instead of ratlines on the shrouds.  

The rigging  mechanism  included  3 brace, 3 self-locking topsail halliard,3 topsail halyard and topgallant halyard winches  as well as 6 double-helical geared capstans. The most difficult of them  were braced winches having  three pairs of conical hoist drums. In addition,  "Padua" had  simpler   bulwark winches for sheets and tacks of the  lower sails. All of these mechanisms have the manual drive: there were  no steam engines on the ship.

The sails were made of canvas "Cape Horn" standard (1 kg / m2). The total area of 32 sails  was 3800 m2. Although there is a very accurate model of the bark "Padua" in the Bremerhaven Maritime Museum . It  has 34 sails and there are 3 staysails between the fore-mast and  the 1st and 2nd main masts  instead of two in the drawings. The photos of "Padua" with the full sails set  can not be unambiguous evidence, so it is not  clear if these two top staysails were  in reality or not.

The steering gear  was manual,  typical for large windjammers of the last century. The main steering station was located on the spar-deck in  front of  the chart room and had two steering wheels(made of teak ) on one shaft. There was the secondary  station (with the Davis steering mechanism)  on the poop deck. The rudder stock was controlled by the steering rope passed through the special pipes along the entire upper deck of the ship. The Rudder  had parabolic shape.

The anchor device had  two admiralty bower anchor weighing 3.25 tons with anchor chain (caliber of 57 mm and a length of 250 m). The anchors were removed onto the forecastle deck  with the cathead  and cat-tackle and were secured in the same way as it was done in the old sailing ships  by means of   cathead stoppers and chain shank painters. There were two chain stoppers   between the cat-holes and the windlass.

The fore running lights were mounted on the forecastle in special turrets (manufacturer - Teklenborg company  called them "beacons") and  traditionally had oil or kerosene lamps.

The cadet ‘s berthing compartments accommodated 40-50 people  and the sailor lived in the 12-bed compartments. The standard number of permanent crew was 28-32 people. As the structure and appearance of  the ship has largely changed as a result of multiple renewals and  to picture how the living compartments and cabins looked like  you’d better  visit the "sisters" on the family: "Passat" in Travemünde (Lübeck) and "Peking" in New York ( Both -1911 th year of construction).

The sailing ship had five lifeboats - four of  them were 7-meter long and  the captain’s one (on duty) was more than 6 meters in length.

Since there were no refrigerating chambers on the vessels in those days  to ensure crew with meat and milk there was a herd of living creatures aboard the ship. The barque was equipped with a chicken coop (on the booms of the  poop) and a pigsty (under the forecastle). To combat the mice and rats there were also dogs and cats on board. Bilge and ballast systems of the vessel were equipped with hand-operated pumps .

"Padua" went down in history that was the last big sailing vessel built without auxiliary motor. Her followers were sailing and motorized vessels used only as training ships.