Prussia (ship, 1902)

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Prussia - SLV Allan C. Green H91.250-378.jpg
Ship data
flag German EmpireThe German Imperium German Empire
Ship type Freighter
Callsign RMPT
home port Hamburg
Shipping company F. Laeisz
Shipyard Joh. C. Tecklenborg , Geestemünde
Build number 179
building-costs 900,000.00 M ( launched ); 1,200,000.00 M in total
Launch May 7, 1902
Commissioning July 31, 1902
Whereabouts November 6, 1910 Collision in the English Channel
Ship dimensions and crew
147 m ( Lüa )
121.92 m ( Lpp )
width 16.34 m
Draft Max. 8.26 m
displacement 11,650  t
measurement 5,081 GRT
crew 46 men
Rigging and rigging
Rigging Full ship
Number of masts 5
Number of sails 47
Sail area 6,806 m²
under sail
Max. 20.5 kn (38 km / h)
Transport capacities
Load capacity 8,000 dw
The Prussians lying in the harbor
The Prussians in the port of Hamburg
The Prussians at anchor
The Prussians as wreckage after the collision in the English Channel

The Prussia (1902–1910) was a German five - masted full ship of the shipping company F. Laeisz (FL). She is considered the most famous ship named after the Kingdom of Prussia . The spelling of the name on the ship's hull was written in capital letters with "PREUSSEN", and this spelling was also used in the writings of the shipping company F. Laeisz.

The Prussia was to commissioning of the luxury cruise ship Royal Clipper in 2000 the only ever built five-masted full ship and reached 30 square sails and the maximum in the number of sails. She is one of the largest sailing ships in shipping history. Were greater after the tonnage only the French five-masted France , which was initially equipped with two diesel engines, the RC Rickmers , a German auxiliary -Fünfmast bark of the shipping company Rickmers and the steely US Seven mast gaff schooner Thomas W. Lawson , the biggest savers and the largest Sailing ship in the world that never had an auxiliary drive. The Prussians , however, was the largest Rah - Sailboat , never with one of the world auxiliary drive was equipped. Furthermore, the Prussia was the longest (Lüa) pure sailing ship and the sailing ship with the largest sail area that was ever built.


The Prussians in 1902 at the shipyard of John. C. Tecklenborg AG in Geestemünde (Bremerhaven) of high-quality open-hearth steel built. It was also the largest and fastest Flying P-Liner of the Laeisz shipping company, faster itself than the five-masted barque Potosi , which it overtook in the South Atlantic on its way home in the only documented meeting of five-masters on the high seas in 1906/07.

The hull construction corresponded to the three-island ship type, the type of ship preferred by F. Laeisz for all four- and five-masted sailors. All masts and spars except the mizzen gaffel were made of steel pipe. As a five-masted full ship, the Prussians drove a modern standard rig with double Mars and Bramrahen and royal sails , i.e. 30 square sails in six floors on all five masts. In addition, she had "Jarvis" brass winches (named after the Scottish captain John Charles Barron Jarvis (1857-1935)) on all masts, as well as other mechanical aids to support work on deck. She had a sharper bow and stern than any clipper before her. The Prussians were easy to maneuver because of their excellent sailing properties, even if two to four men had to hold the 2 m high double rudder wheel due to the pressure on the steering gear in wind force 8 and more. Even with wind force 9 she could still turn. At wind force 1, the Prussians picked up speed of up to 4 knots depending on the course to the wind (light and heavy wind runners).

Ship data

to travel

In her day, British sailors considered her the fastest sailor: This was supported by the record voyage to Iquique in 57 days in 1903, which was never set. The highest Etmale reached the ship 392 nm (fully loaded) and 426 nm. This enabled two complete tours to Chile a year. On March 12, 1910, she sailed in the English Channel on the 12 to 16 o'clock watch, the distance of 135 kilometers, which corresponds to 18.25 kn (33.8 km / h) and means that at times she exceeded 20 knots must have run. On her world tour in 1908, with Petroleum from New York to Japan, Captain Petersen set course for the Cape of Good Hope . East of it she took the route through the 40s and 50s latitudes with reliable westerly winds. From July 11 to August 6, 1908, she covered 6,944 nautical miles (12,860 km) in 27 days. This corresponds to an average of 10.72 knots or 19.7 km / h. Due to its economic construction, the ship earned money despite the majority of ballast trips to Chile; FL was also the owner of the saltpetre shipments, which were then sold accordingly.

The famous Cutty Sark transported around 1,700 tons with 35 men, while the Prussians carried 7,874 tons (1.016 tons = 8,000 tons) with 45 to 49 men. The infrequent utilization of the ship's capacity on departure was mainly due to the lack of cargo for sailors to Chile due to the steamship competition. Even smaller sailors often received no cargo during this time due to the decline in sailing shipping.

Robert Hilgendorf , first captain of the Potosi , the largest sailor of the Laeisz shipping company up to that time, turned down the offer to take over the command of the ship. Under the captains Boye Richard Petersen and Jochim Hans Hinrich Nissen, the Prussians then made a total of thirteen trips, twelve to Chile and in 1908 one via New York to Yokohama , Chile and back to Europe:

The Prussia collided on November 6, 1910 at the English Channel with the British steamer Brighton who unlawfully crossed in front of the nose of the glider. When they wanted to bring them to the port of Dover with three tugs , the cables broke because of an upcoming storm, and the Prussians stranded on the cliffs in front of the safe harbor after the unsuccessful attempt by the crew to free them independently . It was not even possible to free the full ship with twelve tugs . The valuable cargo , including pianos , was later recovered. In June 1911 it was still hoped to save the ship. The wreck deteriorated over time. F. Laeisz also lost the Pangani (30 dead) and the Pitlochry in the canal through steam collisions in 1913 . Conversely, due to accidents with the Laeisz sailors Pisagua 1912 and Passat 1928, the respective steamer sank . In all cases the steamers crossed in front of the sailor contrary to the regulations or evaded incorrectly.


40 + 20 Pfennig - special stamp of the Deutsche Bundespost (1977) with the Prussia - with three instead of the actual two division of the masts

In 1977, which gave German Federal Post Office a special mark out where the Prussians had displayed.

The Royal Clipper , a five-masted four-star luxury cruise ship and currently the second largest sailing ship in the world, was built in 2000 based on the model of the Prussians .


  • Horst Hamecher: five-masted full ship »PREUSSEN«, Queen of the Sea. The life path of a deep water sailor . Hamecher self-published, Kassel 1993; ISBN 3-920307-46-1
  • Jochen Brennecke: Windjammer . The great report on the development, travels and fate of the "Queens of the Seven Seas". Koehlers Verlagsgesellschaft, Herford 1984 (3rd edition); Cape. XXII - The Biggest Among the Sailing Ships in the World, pp. 291–297; ISBN 3-7822-0009-8
  • Hans Jörg Furrer: The four- and five-mast square sailors in the world . Koehlers Verlagsgesellschaft, Herford 1984, p. 168; ISBN 3-7822-0341-0
  • Heinz Blöß: Splendor and fate of the "Potosi" and "Prussia", Hamburg's and the world's greatest sailors . Schmidt Verlag, Kiel 1960
  • W. Kaemmerer: The five-mast full ship Prussia, built by Joh. C. Tecklenborg A.-G., shipyard and machine factory in Bremerhaven-Geestemünde . Journal of the Association of German Engineers, Vol. 48, No. 34, Berlin 1904
  • Hans Georg Prager: "F. Laeisz ”from cargo sailors to bulk carriers . Koehlers Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, Herford 1974; ISBN 3-7822-0096-9
  • Peter Klingbeil: The Flying P-Liner. The sailing ships of the shipping company F. Laeisz . Publishing house Die Hanse, Hamburg 1998 a. 2000; ISBN 3-434-52562-9
  • Basil Lubbock: The Nitrate Clippers . Brown, Son & Ferguson, Glasgow 1932 and 1953 (p. 86 ff)
  • Manfred Prager: Comparison between the five-masted full ship “Preußen” and the five-masted barque “Potosi” on voyages to the west coast of South America and back . Annals of Hydrography and Maritime Meteorology: Zeitschrift für Seefahrt und Meereskunde, Hamburg & Berlin 1908; ISSN  0174-8114
  • Ship and time. Trade journal of the German Society for Maritime and Marine History. Five-masted full ship "Prussia" . Issue 5/1977, Herford 1977, order no .: 5872
  • Jens Jansson: SOS - Fates of German Ships - White Sails Over Blue Waves - Issue No. 51 - Five-masted full ship “Prussia” . P. 2 ff., Pabel-Moewig Verlag KG, Rastatt 1976

Web links

Commons : Prussia  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. Horst Hamecher: five-masted full ship »PREUSSEN«, Queen of the Sea. The life path of a deep water sailor . Hamecher self-published, Kassel 1993; ISBN 3-920307-46-1 , p. 64
  2. Laeisz, company history paragraph "1926"
  3. Jarvis Brass Winches. Retrieved December 8, 2018 .
  4. : New Hamburg newspaper, 24-06-11, p 11 "PRUSSIA" be saved? In: . Dieter Merges, accessed December 7, 2018 .