Tall ship

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Windjammer Khersones (Kiel Week 2005)

The tall ship is a tall ship that appeared after the clipper era in the second half of the 19th century and succeeded the fast sailor. They were tall ships made of wood (mainly USA until 1892), iron and steel (since 1882), designed more for load-bearing capacity, handling and economy, in order to make a profit for their shipowners. The later, freight sailing training ships also belong to this category. Over the decades, the ships have also been optimized in terms of speed and operation (changes to the hull and rigging, steam-supported winches, Jarvis Brass winches, halyard winches, better accommodations for the crew “in front of the mast”, etc.). Today the term is synonymous with “tall ship” and, as the last generation of windjammers, includes modern sailing training ships and cruise ships such as the Sea Cloud .

Origin of the term

The word "Windjammer", which is spoken in German after the German spelling, is preceded by the English windjammer , a noun agentis to English wind (wind) and English jam (press hard). The initially American word windjammer (wind presser, wind squeezer) has a wide range of meanings in English: it denotes or designated military trumpeters (documents from 1880), tall ships (documents from 1892), their crew members, grand speakers (documents from 1893), an air pump and a type of jacket (Evidence from 1930). It was initially used mockingly by steamer crews for sailors and their crew, according to other sources (see below) for schooners , but because of the success of these ships, which ruled the oceans for more than 50 years, it developed into a name that has long been reputable Includes character. The German pronunciation is taken from “Jammer” (to the verb “moan” in the sense of “lament, howl”), accordingly one often reads the derivation from the “howling wind in the yard”. This folk etymology is widespread in the German and Dutch language areas. In English, the spelling windyammer and the indication of the word origin from English wind and English yammer (whine, complain), which corresponds to the German and Dutch folk etymology, can be found here and there.

Delimitation of the type

The term Sailing or the corresponding English term tall ship (ship = high) covers all large deep water sailors , frame-like or schrat- gemischtgetakelte, z. B. brig , barque , barquentine , full ship , gaff schooner etc. All tall ships are tall ships, but not all tall ships also tall ships, if one defines "tall ships" as a functional term from the wind utilization: While schooners with their lengthways sloping sails their propulsion over the under pressure similar to an airfoil , especially when high-am-wind condition -Sailing be square rigger, particularly in free wind, "pressed forward wind" by the (wind-jammed). Many marine authors therefore avoid the term "windjammer" in connection with schooners and also use the term "clipper" for the cargo sailors of the 19th and 20th centuries.


Windjammer in Hamburg around 1900

Since windjammers emerged from the clippers, of which z. B. the concave clipper bow and the basic lines were adopted, some windjammers had length-to-side ratios like extreme clippers. An early approach was the four-masted clipper barque Great Republic from 1853 by clipper builder Donald McKay , originally with 4,445 GRT, four decks and a crew of 125. Initially, the new tall ships were not designed for speed, but rather optimized for economic transport, as they mainly transported bulk goods such as saltpeter , coal , guano , wheat or cement . Even sensitive goods, which one did not want to expose to the constant vibrations of the steam engines , were still entrusted to sailing ships. The Prussians , for example, had pianos as freight on their last voyage . The ships therefore had a comparatively rectangular hull with wide holds and sails that managed with fewer staff, which was also achieved through the four-mast concept - the huge sailcloths of the sometimes over-rigged clippers were distributed among the larger windjammer units, the four-masted full ships and four-masted barges, on four masts, which were almost the same size, while the main mast dominated the clipper. In addition, the lee sails , which were laborious to operate, were omitted . This tripled the load-bearing capacity compared to the clippers. In the United States there were a number of huge tall ships made of wood (with metal reinforcements) and later of steel, which were called "Down Easter" because of their origin in New England (mainly Maine ). They came mainly from the shipyard and shipping company Arthur Sewall & Co. from Bath (Maine) and, after the Great Republic, provided the largest wooden barge ships in the world ( Roanoke , Shenandoah , Susquehanna , Rappahannock ).

The windjammers were ships of the early industrialization and therefore benefited from the achievements of industrial production such as hulls and masts made of iron or steel , steel cables for rigging and winches on deck to make work easier. Auxiliary steam engines to operate loading gear and pumps were also installed. A mixed drive with sail and engine was used on a trial basis, but did not prove itself. Windjammers were rigged as a barque and a full ship with three masts, larger units were the four-masted full ships and four-masted barges, of which there were approx. 40 and approx. 400 respectively. There were only seven five-masted yachts in the world merchant fleet, with the exception of the Prussians they were all rigged as five-masted barques and, with the exception of France I , Potosí and Prussia, had an auxiliary drive (steam, diesel). With 6,200 to 8,000 t they were able to transport 1.5 to 2 times as much as a medium four-masted barque, but came too late because the steamship competition became more and more superior:

  • France   (sunk off Brazil in 1901, crew saved)
  • Maria Rickmers   (lost in 1892 on her way home from her maiden voyage in the Indian Ocean)
  • Potosi   (burned out in 1925 andsunkoff Comodoro Rivadavia )
  • Prussia   (stranded off Dover in 1910)
  • RC Rickmers   (sunk by submarineoff Ireland as Neath under British flag in1917)
  • France   (stranded off New Caledonia in 1922)
  • København   (missing in the South Atlantic with 60 men in 1928)

The last four-masted barques built in Germany were typically 110 meters long, had 3,200 gross register tonnes (GRT) and 4,000 tonnes load capacity with a crew of around 30.


Windjammers are also known as deep water sailors, which is to express that they are intended for intercontinental travel across the deep oceans . They are poorly suited for trips in coastal waters and mostly rely on tugs , as the rigging with square sails makes them difficult to cruise. This is seldom necessary on the oceans as the routes were chosen based on the prevailing winds. Nevertheless, there were and are square sailors who, due to their hooking and their "brassiness", could and can sail very high upwind almost like a yacht. Examples of this are the fast Laeisz sailors like Prussia , Pitlochry , then the fast Duchess Cecilie and today the Russian Mir . A total of over 1,500 three-masted ships were built after 1870, 440 four-masted ships (approx. 40 full ships and approx. 400 barques) and seven five-masted ships. For reasons of economy, the Barkrigg has prevailed.

The windjammers were in direct competition with the steamers, which had already conquered large areas of shipping and were pushing sailors into ever smaller niches. The domain of tall ships were long distances that could not be served economically by steamers due to the fuel problem. This included above all the saltpetre voyage from Chile to Europe around the southern tip of South America, Cape Horn , or the wheat transport from Australia .

While the then leading shipping nation Great Britain , under whose flag there was never a five-master apart from the Neath ex RC Rickmers , quickly converted its merchant fleet to steamers, the windjammers in France and Germany still found their fans. In Germany, the so-called Flying-P-Liners from the Hamburg shipping company F. Laeisz became famous. In France, the leading shipping company with sailing ships was Antoine-Dominique Bordes & Fils. Almost 70% of the large tall ships (the four- and five-masted ships) came from shipyards in Great Britain, especially Scotland, followed by France, Germany and the United States. On the other hand, seafaring nations like Italy only built seven, Canada four, Japan five, the Netherlands two and Denmark only one (the Viking, which still exists today ) of the great sailors, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Sweden and Finland none, although a number of Norwegian and Finnish shipping companies some of the four-master crewed.

End as a freighter

In the First World War , many tall ships were lost, which sealed the end of cargo shipping under sails. The Finnish shipowner Gustaf Erikson was the last to maintain a fleet of windjammers for freight transport until after the Second World War .

It was not until the middle of the 20th century that the last tall ships carrying cargo disappeared from the seas. The last three tall ships - all four-masted barques - were the two former Flying P-Liner Pamir , Passat and the Drumcliff . The Pamir sank on September 21, 1957. The Passat , which also came into contact with a hurricane but narrowly escaped the disaster, was decommissioned a few weeks later. A year later, on June 26, 1958, the Omega ex Drumcliff sank off the coast of Peru with a load of guano . At this point in time, the ship had been in service for 71 years and was the last tall ship in cargo voyage to sink.

The last tall ship built as a freighter was the Padua , which was commissioned by F. Laeisz in 1926 . After that, some windjammers were built for training purposes for the merchant and navies, many of which are still in use today (see Nippon Maru , Kaiwo Maru ).

Recently, some new builds followed as a replacement for the aging school ships and as luxurious cruise ships such as the Royal Clipper .

Today's meaning

Wavertree , beyond Beijing in New York, South Street Seaport
Windjammer parade at the Kiel Week 2009

Today the windjammers are almost only used as museum ships or sailing school ships in the Navy or for rental or exhibition purposes, e.g. B. at the Sail in Bremerhaven , the Kiel Week or the Travemünder Woche as well as the special windjammers Baltic Sail and Hanse Sail . But some are still driving and taking paying, helping passengers with them.

Parade and regatta

Tall ship parades are very popular at international regattas such as the Kieler Woche , the Travemünder Woche , the Hanse Sail , the Tall Ships' Races and other events without an associated regatta, such as the Armada Rouen and the Sail Amsterdam .

As a training ship

Today tall ships are often used as training ships for the Navy . Increasingly also as sail training ships (sailing training on large ships, especially with the aim of personal development, character building and the joy of sailing) and for tourist purposes.

See also Sail Training International and Clipper DJS .

For rehabilitation

Larger sailing ships are used as "therapy ships" to rehabilitate socially conspicuous young people. On the mostly six-month trips, young people, isolated from the old milieu, learn self-confidence, responsibility and team spirit and develop new life perspectives ( experiential education ). You will be accompanied by teachers and therapists. The trips are intensively prepared and followed up with the young people. The sponsors are youth associations Pro Juventute (Switzerland), church and state institutions. Well-known therapy ships are, for example, Thor Heyerdahl , Tectona , Ruach , Salomon and Noah .

List of ships

Although the number of tall ships initially declined since the beginning of the 20th century because of the more profitable machine-operated ships, they began to gain momentum again as ships for sailing enthusiasts from the second half of the century.

Selection of tall ships still in motion today

Surname Type Construction year Length ü. a. [m] flag comment image
Belem Barque 1896 58.5 France ex Giorgio Cini ex Phantome II ex Belem Bark Belem under topsails
Khersones Full ship 1988 109.4 Ukraine The Chersones is a Ukrainian sailing training ship. She was built in 1988 in the Stocznia Gdanska shipyard in Gdansk, as part of a series of six sister ships, including the Mir. The Chersonese at the Kiel Week 2005
Christian Radich Full ship 1937 74.5 Norway Christian Radich
Cuauhtémoc Barque 1982/82 95 Mexico largest of the four barges Cuauhtémoc , Simón Bolívar , Guayas , Gloria The Cuauhtémoc off the coast of Los Angeles
Esmeralda Four-masted barkentine 1952 113 Chile ex Don Juan de Austria , sister ship of the Juan Sebastián de Elcano Esmeralda
Gloria Barque 1968 76.00 Colombia closed bridge structure on the poop Gloria
Gorch Fock Barque 1958 89.4 Germany Sail training ship of the German Navy Gorch Fock II
Guayas Barque 1977 78.40 Ecuador Guayas
Krusenstern Four-masted barque 1926 116.7 Russia ex Padua (1926) Krusenstern
Libertad Full ship 1963 103.75 Argentina Libertad
Me Full ship 1987 109.60 Russia very fast tall ship (19 kn) Me
Nadezhda Full ship 1991 109.60 Russia Home port Vladivostok, sister ship of Mir and Khersones "Nadeschda"
Roald Amundsen brig 1952 50.2 Germany Roald Amundsen
Sea cloud Four-masted barque 1931 109.7 Malta ex Antara ex Patria ex Angelita ex Sea Cloud ex Hussar II Sea cloud
Sedov Four-masted barque 1921 117.5 Russia largest sailing yacht; ex Commodore Johnsen ex Magdalena Vinnen II Sedov
Simón Bolívar Barque 1980 82.5 Venezuela
Sørlandet Full ship 1927 65 Norway Sørlandet
Statsraad Lehmkuhl Barque 1914 98 Norway ex Grand Duke Friedrich August Setting the royal sail on the Statsraad Lehmkuhl

Selection of windjammer museum ships

Surname Type Length ü. a. [m] place comment image
CA Thayer Gaff saver 66.60 San Francisco The CA Thayer in 1903
Dar Pomorza Full ship 91.0 Gdynia ex Princess Eitel Friedrich The Dar Pomorza around 1978
Edwin Fox Full ship later barque 43.90 Picton Ship under reconstruction
Gorch Fock Barque 82.1 Stralsund Ship under reconstruction At their berth, the "ballast box"
Af Chapman Full ship Stockholm Museum ship and youth hostel Af Chapman seen from Skeppsholm
Balclutha Full ship San Francisco Museum ship Balclutha
Duchesse Anne Full ship Dunkirk (1901) ex Grand Duchess Elisabeth The ship as Grand Duchess Elisabeth
Glenlee Barque Glasgow Galatea (ex Glenlee)
Falls of Clyde Four-masted full ship Honolulu , Oahu , Hawaii Museum ship Falls of Clyde in Honolulu
Passat Four-masted barque Travemünde Museum ship 060715 Passat.jpg
Beijing Four-masted barque Hamburg (1974), ex Arethusa , ex HMS Beijing , ex Beijing , from 2020 in Hamburg as a museum ship, currently under construction Beijing
Polly Woodside Three-masted barque 70.00 Melbourne (Australia) Polly Woodside
Pomerania Four-masted barque Mariehamn (Finland) ex Mneme , with anniversary rig Pomerania
Rickmer Rickmers Barque (originally full ship) Hamburg ex Santo Andre , ex Sagres I , ex Flores , ex Max , ex Rickmer Rickmers Rickmer Rickmers
Training ship Germany Full ship 86.2 Bremen-Vegesack Naval memorial ship Training ship Germany
Star of India Barque San Diego (1901), ex Euterpe (full ship, 1863) Star of India
Viking Four-masted barque Gothenburg stationary sailing training ship , then museum ship Viking
Wavertree Full ship new York (1885) At their museum berth
Moshulu Four-masted barque Philadelphia ex Kurt , restaurant ship Moshulu

Selection of tall ship wrecks

In addition, there are a number of cargo sailors that are dismantled or lying as wrecks in ports and on coasts mainly in the southern hemisphere.

Surname Type Construction year Whereabouts place comment image
County of Peebles 4-mast full ship 1875 Set aground by the Chilean Navy in the 1960s Punta Arenas / Chile The sailor was the world's first iron four-master. With her the era of the iron and later steel deep water sailors began. The ship was put aground in Punta Arenas on the Strait of Magellan in the 1960s. In the superstructure there is now an officers' mess of the Chilean Navy, the lower masts of the sailor are still standing.
Falstaff 3-mast full ship 1875 Grounded in the 1930s. Punta Arenas / Chile Only the hull without rig still exists.
Lord Lonsdale 3-mast full ship 1899 ? Punta Arenas / Chile Only the bow and the bottom shell are still preserved Side view of the wreck of the Lord Lonsdale, March 2010
County of Roxbourgh 4-mast full ship 1886 Stranded in 1906 Takaroa / French Polynesia The sister ship of the aforementioned County of Peebles stranded in 1906 during a severe storm on Takaroa Island in the Tuamotus Archipelago , French Polynesia. In the thirties all four masts, along with yards and wire ropes, were still in place. In the meantime, only the hull still exists, the structure of which has given way due to corrosion. The ship is listed on the beach.
Ambassador Clipper / 3-mast full ship 1869 ? Strait of Magellan / Chile The ship is moored on the beach on Magellan's Strait, right next to the Estancia San Gregorio. Only the composite structure remains of this ship. The ship is one of three remaining real clippers in the world. The other two are the perfectly restored Cutty Sark in London and the wrecked City of Adelaide in Irvine, Scotland. The ships mentioned are all British ships; only the bow of the Snow Squall remains of the American clippers .
Majorie Glenn 3-mast barque 1892 Stranded in 1911 Punta Loyola / Argentina In 1911, the sailor ran onto the beach at Punta Loyola on the Rio Gallegos delta, near the town of the same name, Río Gallegos, with a load of burning coal . During the Falklands War, the well-preserved hull of the sailor (without causing damage) was used as a target for target practice by the Argentine Air Force .
Duchess of Albany 3-mast barque Stranded in 1884 July 13, 1893 North side of Tierra del Fuego / Argentina Probably due to a navigational error in the search for a protective bay, the sailor, led by Captain John Wilson, came too close to the coast in Policarpo Bay on July 13, 1893 on the way from Rio de Janeiro to Valparaíso at dawn in fog ran aground. The captain reached Thetis Bay further east in a lifeboat with 13 men. A steamer brought them back to England. The rest are said to have been saved except for one person. The wreck is falling apart. The figurehead, recovered at the end of the 1970s , depicting Helene von Waldeck-Pyrmont , later Duchess of Albany (English Duchess of Albany , Spanish Duqueza de Albany ) and daughter-in-law Queen Victoria of Great Britain , is now in the “Museo del Fin del Mundo ”(“ Museum of the End of the World ”) in Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego).
Lady Elisabeth 3-mast barque 1879 Stranded in 1936 Port Stanley / Falkland Islands Stanley in the Falkland Islands was the most important port of refuge for ships wrecked off Cape Horn at the time of sailing under sail. Only a handful of the formerly numerous sailors who found their last anchorage here still exist. The most famous ship is the barque Lady Elisabeth , which called at Port Stanley on the Falkland Islands in 1913 as a port of refuge. In 1936, the ship broke loose from its anchorage and drifted onto a sandbar in Port Stanley harbor. The ship is still in the same place with a well-preserved rig.
Peter Iredale 4-mast barque 1890 Stranded in 1906 Ford Stevens, south of the mouth of the Columbia River The entry into the mouth of the Columbia on the Pacific coast of Oregon was a difficult channel for sailors and the four-masted barque Peter Iredale was doomed in 1906. Only a few frames of the bow section remain of the ship.
Jhelum 3-mast barque 1849 Calls at Port Stanley in 1870 as a port of refuge Port Stanley / Falkland Islands The wooden 3-mast barque is one of two existing ships of the former East India Company. The ship was used as a warehouse for decades. For this purpose, the ship was provided with a cover made of corrugated iron. After removing part of this cover, the ship visibly deteriorates. In 1987 and 1990, the ship was therefore stabilized by employees of the Merseyside Maritime Museum and the Falkland Islands Foundation. In October 2008, the front part of the ship collapsed, so that only the stern and part of the central nave are left today.
Charles Cooper 3-mast full ship 1856 Calls at Port Stanley in 1866 as a port of refuge Port Stanley / Falkland Islands The full ship, built in Connecticut as a package sailor, was also used as a warehouse in Port Stanley. After a long period of decay, parts of the ship, u. a. the bow, recovered and set ashore.
Vicar of Bray 3-mast barque 1841 in Whitehaven The 1880/81 Lloyd's Register lists the ship as "now a hulk" / Falkland Islands Goose Green , Falkland Islands The wooden 3-masted barque is the last surviving sailor from the time of the Californian gold rush (1848–1854). The ship is half sunken in the water; it was used as a pier.
Egeria 3-mast full ship 1859 in New Brunswick ? Port Stanley, Falkland Islands The ship is dismantled and covered with a corrugated iron cover in the port of Port Stanley. It is used as a warehouse.
Garland 3 mast barque 1865 ? Goose Green, Falkland Islands The hull and parts of the superstructure have been preserved.
Bayard 3 mast barque 1864 1911 South Georgia Used by the whaling industry formerly located there. The wreck lies in the bay of Ocean Harbor . The hull and the superstructure with the lower masts are still preserved.
Brutus 3 mast barque 1883 ? South Georgia Used by the whaling industry formerly located there. The wreck lies half sunken in a bay of Prince Olav Harbor .

See also


  • Herbert H. Böhm, Eigel Wiese: Windjammer. Müller, Cologne 2004, ISBN 3-89893-301-6 .
  • Jochen Brennecke: Windjammer. The great report on the development, travels and fate of the "Queens of the Seven Seas" . Koehlers Verlagsgesellschaft, Herford, 3rd edition 1984, ISBN 3-7822-0009-8 .
  • Wolfram Claviez: Sailor's Dictionary . 3rd edition, Delius Klasing, Bielefeld 1994, ISBN 3-7688-0853-X .
  • Jonathan Eastland: Nostalgia Under Sail. Pietsch, Stuttgart 1999, ISBN 3-613-50156-2 .
  • Jürgen Eichardt: Sail training ship "Greif". In: Model shipyard. Vol. 31, 2007, ISSN  0170-1819 , pp. 46–48, 53–55 (plans for ship model building and those interested in tall ships).
  • Hans Jörg Furrer: The four- and five-mast square sailors in the world . Koehlers Verlagsgesellschaft, Herford 1984, ISBN 3-7822-0341-0 .
  • Franco Giorgetti, Erik Abranson: The world of windjammers. Delius Klasing, Bielefeld 2001, ISBN 3-7688-1302-9 .
  • Basil Lubbock: The Down Easters . Brown, Son & Ferguson, Nautical Publishers, Glasgow 1929.
  • Basil Lubbock: The Last of the Windjammers . Vol. 1; James Brown & Son, Glasgow 1927.
  • Basil Lubbock: The Last of the Windjammers . Vol. 2; James Brown & Son, Glasgow 1935.
  • Basil Lubbock: The Nitrate Clippers . Brown, Son & Ferguson, Nautical Publishers, Glasgow 1935.
  • Otmar Schäuffelen: The last great sailing ships. 10th edition, Delius Klasing, Bielefeld 2002, ISBN 3-7688-0483-6 .
  • Joachim Schult: Sailors Lexicon . 9th edition, Delius Klasing, Bielefeld 1994, ISBN 3-87412-103-8 .
  • Erdmann Wingert, Photos: Kai Greiser and Wilfried Krüger: Windjammer: The Last Buccaneers . In: Geo-Magazin. Hamburg 1978, 11, pp. 136-156. Informative experience report about different types of sailing ships. ISSN  0342-8311

Web links

Commons : Tall Ships  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Windjammer  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Duden online: Windjammer
  2. Oxford English Dictionary (OED) online: windjammer sv wind
  3. Webster Dictionary online: windjammer , after "Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary" 1828, 1913
  4. Schult: Segler-Lexikon , p. 581; similar to Claviez: Seemännisches approximately , p. 452: "Mocking designation of English sailors for the American schooners, which could go higher than the square sailors on the wind"
  5. ^ Basil Lubbock: The Last of the Windjammers . Vol. 1; James Brown & Son, Glasgow 1927
  6. ^ Basil Lubbock: The Nitrate Clippers . Brown, Son & Ferguson, Nautical Publishers, Glasgow 1935
  7. Literature review
  8. www.jugendschiffe.ch ( Memento of the original dated November 15, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.jugendschiffe.ch
  9. Balclutha (1886) in the English language Wikipedia
  10. City of Adelaide (1864) in the English language Wikipedia