Sea History 089 - Summer 1999

Page 32



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~;c-~~:;~kF Next summer,. the greatest fleet of big square riggers ever seen in this century will visit the US East Coast, working northwardfrom San Juan PR, to Miami FL, Norfolk VA, Baltimore M D, Philadelphia PA, New York NY, New L ondon CT and Portland ME. One of the most important is Russia's four-masted bark Kruzen sh tern-as her history makes clear!


en the Cape Horner Padua ame down the ways at th e T ecklenborg ya rd in W esermi.inde, Germany, in 1926, any o ne of the observe rs would likely have taken th e bet, had ir been suggested , rhar she wo uld be rhe las t of her kind. In design, in speed, in strength and in size, sh e was at rhe pinnacle of what man co uld do und er sail, bur there we re really only two trades left her-hauling nitrates from the west coas t of So uth America and carrying grai n from Australia-and these trades were under pressure from steam navigation, a facr nearly uni ve rsal ly accepted . Would any of the men who designed her, built her, and manned her have suspected rhar, 73 years later, Padua wou ld still be crossing oceans under sail? Today she is doing j usr rhar as the Russ ian sail trainer Kruzenshtern, a ship millions of Americans will once again have th e opportu nity to see next summ er, when she a rrives as part of rhe international fl eer celebrating the new millennium in No rth Am eri ca n seaporrs with Operation Sa il 2000 . The F. Laeisz Line, for which rh e Padua was built, had a well-deserved reputation for building superior square riggers, manning rhem w ith unmatchab le captains, officers and crews, and sending rhem ou r ro challenge th e oceans in hi ghly regulated , fin ancially successful trades when most of their co mpetitors had turned ro steam. Reliabiliry was their watchword, and rh ey were known round rhe world for rheir fleer -called rhe Flyin g "P" Lin e as rhe names of all th eir ships bega n with rhe letter "P. " The Laeiszes encouraged their captains to seek o ur ga les. T he ships were built ro


Th e sreel-hul led , fo ur-masted ba rk rake rhe hammer bl ows of hi gh seas and exploit rhe power of a hard wind . T hey also P adua was typical of Laeisz's later ships. ordered their captains never ro rum north Sh e measured 342' in length on deck, 46' after roundin g Cape Horn until rhey were in beam and 3545 gross tons. H er upper 200 miles clea r of rhe dangerous headland; deck followed rhe "three-island" parrern in ships were caught and wrecked on the w hich raised decks-poop, Live rpool house C hilean coast by turning north roo early. a nd fore-created two small well decks, T his mix of boldness and cauti o n made which co uld more eas il y handle a nd disth eir ships the ultimate sea chariots for gorge rh e seas rhar inevitably was hed over what Cape Horn er and author Alan Villiers rhe side in the wate rs off Cape H o rn rhan called rhe War with Cape Horn . o ne large, undivided well deck. Catwalks Before the First World War, Laeisz had ran between rhe raised poop , Liverpool a half doze n steel-hulled Cape Homers on house and raised fo redeck all owing sailors a regular run ro South America in rhe quick access along rhe upper deck above nitrate trade, an industry rhe company rhe often water-fi lled wel ls. The interior of rhe Liverpool h ouse largely crea ted and developed through rhe end of rhe 1800s and on into rhis century. co ntained rhe sailors' quarters, the gall ey, Ar rhe end of the wa r, rhese ships were sent and work areas for carpenter and sail maker. as prizes ro rhe victors, and th e company Aware rhar the arenas for tra ining new had to rebuild irs reso urces in wa r-devas- ge nerations of sail o rs for sailing ships were tated Europe, purchas ing back som e losr di minis hi ng, Laeisz also provid ed space for ships and buying or building new ones- up to forry train ees o n board, and from rhe including rhe barks Priwall, completed in first voyage fill ed rhose spots wirh young men . The Vi lli ers quotatio n above regard19 19, and Padua of 1926. ] . C. Tecklenborg had built Laeisz's first ing rhe prol iferation of power co ntinues : two fo ur-m asted steel barks, Pisagua and In this there was one other factor, too, of Placilla. Their success in rhe nitrate rrade incalculable importance-indeed it was the enco uraged Laeisz ro center the fl eer aro und very keystone of the whole structure of shiprhe powerful barks, and orhers we re ac- ping everywhere. That was the men. Power quired, usually from Tecklenborg or rhe spoiled good men just as it spoiled the ships H am burg firm of Blohm and Voss. Unlike which tried to use it. Power spoiled masters, other compan ies rhar maintained a sailing and it spoiled crews. Once bigger engines tradition , Laeisz never made rhe "fatal er- became the cry, and sailing qualities and ro r" of suppl ementing the power of rhe abilities went on the discard, it was fatally wind with auxiliary steam engines. The easy to start up the internal combustion enCape Horn sa ilor Alan Villiers, in The Way gine. Once started, there was no end to it. ofa Ship (New York, 1953), wrote: Thus, with rhe co mpany'sco mmirment Indeed no auxiliary square-rigged ships ro sailing ships, rh eir domination of rhe did much good in the deepwater trades. The remaining trades open ro square ri ggers, advantages which the auxiliary was thought and their own nursery for seam en more to possess were largely imaginary on long rhan capab le of traveling rhe Cape Horn deeps ea voyages, and the engines wasted space road, Laeisz succeeded between rhe wars and added to both capital and running costs. where similar operatio ns rorrered ro a close . .. The H ouse ofLaeisz, unlike the French after WWI , leaving windships to rot in H ouse of Bordes and the Vinnens and harbors. T he Padua made her m ark on her Rickmers- the lastgreat German sailing ship maiden voyage in the C hilean nitrate trade, lines-was never deluded by the auxiliary runnin g from H amburg to Quiriquina, motor fallacy. The way to develop better C hile, in 87 days and returned ro Delfzijl from Taira! in 94 days-rimes rhar wo uld sailing-ships was by doing just that-by developing pure sailing ships. nor suffer by comparison with th e clipper


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