THE MARITIME GRACE AND ELEGANCE are well expressed in this photograph of the Herzogin Cecilie. Launched In 1902 at Bremerhaven, the vessel was built for the North German Lloyd Line, to serve as a training ship. A steel, four-
FEW will question the right of the Herzogin Cecilie to be considered as the crack sailing ship at sea. To decide a point such as this to-
As far back as 1896, the North German Lloyd line decided to run its own sail training ships. Even then the sailing ship was disappearing and, as the German regulations still insisted on sail experience before granting a master’s certificate, there was the possibility of a shortage of the type of officer which the line wanted for its big fleet. The Grand Duke of Oldenburg interested himself in the idea from the first and was made the president of the scheme. The sailing ship Albert Rickmers, a fine vessel of 2,581 tons, was bought and refitted as the training ship Herzogin Sophie Charlotte, and began her work in 1900. So successful was she that the company decided to build a second ship designed for training purposes.
Accordingly, the Rickmers Yard at Bremerhaven, a firm which had great experience in building as well as running big sailing ships, was commissioned to build the Herzogin Cecilie, which was launched in 1902. She was originally a steel, four-
Under the North German Lloyd, cadets paid a premium of about £40 a year for their keep and tuition, and some of the finest lads in the country applied for admission. They did practically all the work of the ship, only a few paid hands being shipped to act as stewards and the like. Cadets were rated as able-
The ship remained on this training service until the war of 1914-
After the Armistice she was allotted to the French, but they already had more sailing ships than they needed, and had recently decided to end their subsidy scheme which encouraged the building and running of sailing tonnage. She went to Antofagasta to be fitted for her return to Europe, although there was little wrong with her after her long stay in tropical ports. It was not until October, 1920, that she finally sailed for Ostend, making a good passage, but striking the quay wall when she arrived and losing both anchors and chains. There she was laid up pending the arrival of a purchaser.
At that time Captain Gustav Erikson, a Finnish master mariner, was building up what was later to become the biggest fleet of sailing ships in the world. He had sent his commodore master, Captain Reuben de Cloux of the Lawhill, down to Marseilles to inspect the former German sailing ship Passat, which was offered for sale at £11,000.
THE FLAGSHIP of Gustav Erikson, an important Finnish shipowner, the Herzogin Cecilie, as she is to-
By chance Captain de Cloux called at Ostend on his way and there saw the Herzogin Cecilie offered for £4,000. He inspected her thoroughly with a critical eye, found her to be in perfect condition, and did not trouble to go on to Marseilles, buying her on the spot. A rival Finnish owner had examined her shortly before, but had decided not to bid for her, fearing that she would require too many men and would be too costly to run. Instead he bought the four-
Captain Erikson was delighted with his bargain, and, knowing her previous history, determined to keep her fitted as a training ship, to give as many Finnish lads as possible a chance of learning sea ways. So successful was this scheme that he put several of his other big sailing ships to the same purpose. He now provides practically the only chance of sail training to a large number of lads of all nations -
Her first charter under the Finnish flag was to carry a cargo of timber from Fredrikstad to Melbourne in the summer of 1922. Outward she made a passage of ninety-
Many passengers travel in this fine ship for the sake of adventure.
[From part 4, published 3 March 1936]