Thor Heyerdahl

Two German schooners based at Hamburg are regularly making voyages under sail with general cargoes across the Atlantic.

The 114 gross tonnage 43m steel schooner Avontuur, built in The Netherlands in 1920, had received a major refit in 2016 at Elsfleth on the River Weser below Bremen. She takes about 60 days to go on the westward voyage, but can come back with the prevailing winds in just 30 days. She carries sixteen people, some of whom are trainees from all over the world.

The Hamburg 31m steel schooner Undine was built in 1931 at Delfzijl in the Netherlands. In 1980, this vessel was bought by Joachim Kaiser who took her to Gluckstadt on the River Elbe where he spent four years working getting her ready to make cargo-carrying voyages under sail with young people, only using the engine when leaving and entering harbour. She made summer voyages from Hamburg to the west coast of Scotland and France. At the time Joachim sold the Undine, in 1989, she was the only sailing cargo ship in European waters.

Captain Torben Hass bought the abandoned Undine in 2012 and restored her as a sailing cargo schooner. In the summer she sails to the Caribbean with general cargo, but in the winter she sails between Hamburg and Sylt, a German North Sea island very near the Danish border.

The flagship of the High Seas High School of Germany is the steel 49m three masted tops’l schooner Thor Heyerdahl. Built as a schooner in 1930, she traded to the Caribbean and South America before becoming a motor ship. She has carried over 20,000 children on voyages since being converted back to a schooner in 1983.

More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - July 2018 Issue
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