Once the only means of transportation, tall sailing ships have become a history today as modern cruise liners equipped with the latest technology provide better speed and efficiency.
Despite very little utility value today, the towering masts, enormous sails and wooden hulls make these tall ships a distinctive piece of the maritime history and also a valuable part of our civilization process.
Here are 13 such beautiful sailing ships of all time:
Thomas W. Lawson
Majestic- that is the word that comes to mind when you see a picture or a replica of the Thomas W. Lawson. The reason why this ship is very famous is because of its seven masts.
This 369-feet-long ship with a steel hull was built by Fore River Ship and Engine Company. Thomas W. Lawson was made to serve her purpose of being a Schooner.
The seven masts were powerful enough to convert wind energy into motion, making Thomas W. Lawson the largest pure sailing boat that had no engine.
The beautiful sailing ship met her demise in a storm on December 14, 1907.
The Great Republic is a gigantic self-discharging bulk carrier which was built in 1981. She was called the American Republic then and was used to transport taconite pellets from Lorain, Ohio to Cleveland and then to the Cuyahoga River to LTV Mittal Steel (Now known as Mittal Steel).
Her name was changed to the Great Republic in June 2011, after being bought by the Great Lakes Fleet.
She is considered as one of the most maneuverable and nimble ships in the world with both stern and bow thrusters, eight rudders and twin diesel engines (7,200 bhp), which drives the propellers of variable pitch.
Juan Sebastian Elcano
The Juan Sebastian Elcano is a Spanish Navy training vessel which was launched in the year 1927 and delivered in 1928 to the Armada.
She is a schooner with four masts and a hull made of iron. The crew is composed of a total of 220 members including seamen.
The ship gets her name from Sebastian de Elcano, who was the first person to complete a globe round voyage. Each of her masts is also named Blanca, Almansa, Asturias, and Nautilus, which are other training ships after her.
Till today the 94.11 long beauty has completed 77 training quests, which include 10 globe circumnavigations. (More than 1 and a half million miles).
The German ship, Preussen, was one of the greatest wonders of her time. She was first launched in the year 1902 and sailed to Iquique in Chile from Bremerhaven on the same day. Preussen was the only vessel to have 5 masts with fully rigged sails at that time.
Her hull was made of steel, and she was able to outstand any storm like a Queen and even tackle a force of 9 winds. It is said that during such extreme conditions, Preussen took eight men to hold the steering wheel which was 6 and a half foot tall.
The beauty went down in 1910, during her 14th outbound voyage after a steamer (Brighton) rammed it.
The Royal Clipper is an outstanding beauty built in 2000, influenced by the German ship Preussen. She stands out for being the only biggest and 5 mast fully rigged sailing ship built after the Preussen.
The 56,000 square feet ship with its 42 sails on the sea, is an amazing sight to see. The Royal Clipper is longer, heavier and can carry more passengers than the Star Flyer and Star Clipper.
This ship combines beauty, comfort, and luxury, which is everything any traveler could long for. She possesses all the characteristics and style from the grand ages of sail till today and has a balance of grandeur, classic sailing, adventure and all the facilities one could wish for.
Barque Sedov is a four-masted training ship which was launched in 1921. Cadets from the University of Murmansk can only become mechanics, officers, and radio specialists only after being trained in the Barque Sedov.
Originally known as Magdalene Vinnen, the name of the ship was changed to Kommodore Johnsen in 1936 after being sold to Norddeutscher Lloyd. Then again she was renamed to ‘Sedov’ after the explorer Georgy Sedov who died in 1914.
The barque can accommodate about 320 people on board which includes 75 crew members, 45 trainees, and about 120 cadets. The training period includes a 3-4 months journey along the coasts of Europe.
Dar Mlodziezy (the gift of youth) was built in 1982 and has been under the ownership of the Gdynia Maritime Academy ever since then. She came replacing the wonderful Dar Pormoza which had trained several fishing fleets and officers over fifty years.
The Mlodziezy is one of the highest training ships built to train the cadets of the Polish marine. 5 other sisters, the Khersonses, Druzhba, Mir, Pallada, and Nadeshda, were built after her.
The 3-masted, beautiful sailing ship made her longest journey in 1987 to Australia, covering a distance of 352 nautical miles in about 274 days. It also made the longest non-stop pass way under the sails of 1241 nautical miles.
The Cisne Branco (meaning White Swan) is a 3-masted, tall giant (249 foot) clipper, which was commissioned on 4th February 2000 by the Brazilian Navy. The design of 19th Century’s last clippers inspired the construction of this ship.
While she is equipped with latest navigation technology and safety equipment, the maneuvers on the deck are still done in the traditional 19th Century way.
The main aim of the Branco is to promote the naval traditions of Brazil by taking part in all important events representing the country in Brazil and overseas.
A Black Angel: Amerigo Vespucci-Italy
Amerigo Vespucci is known as the world’s most beautiful ship and was launched on 22nd February 1931.
This beauty is a 101 meters long sailing ship with a steel hull, engine and 3 vertical masts made of steel. At the time she was built, Amerigo Vespucci had FIAT Q 426 2-stroke 6-cylinder engines which were later replaced by 2 FIAT B 308 4stroke 8 cylinder diesel engines.
The beauty was actually built as a school ship and is still in use as one. She takes part in several important events all over the globe and also carries out the role of Italian naval tradition and culture ambassador. 'Not those who begin but those who persevere,' is her motto.
Kruzenshtern, which was built in 1926 in Bremerhaven, Germany is the world’s 2nd largest sailing ship behind Sedov. She was originally called Padua and was renamed to Kruzenshtern in 1946 after she was surrendered to USSR.
This beautiful sailing ship was built as a cargo ship with the capacity for carrying about 4000 tons of material across Germany. But after the World War 2, she was converted to a pure sail training vessel and then was surrendered to the USSR.
From 1961 onwards she had her owners changed several times, and in the year 1991, she became a part of the USSR’s Baltic Fishing Fleet State Academy.
The USS Constellation which was built in the year 1854, is the last civil war vessel built by the US Navy. Commissioned in the year 1855, she is the 2nd ship of the US Navy to carry the name “USS Constellation.”
The USS Constellation was active during the time of the American Civil War and have served as the African Squadron’s flagship, which was a unit that tried to end the Trans-Atlantic trade-of-slaves off the West African coast.
During the World War Two, she was used in different ways as a training vessel, receiving ship and the Atlantic Fleet’s flagship. She is now berthed in the Inner Harbour of Baltimore, open to visitors.
The HMS Endeavour, used by Captain James Cook back in the 1770s is one of the most famous ships of the naval history which was launched in the year 1764. Back then she was used to find the East Coast of Australia.
In the year 1778, she was set to sail to the Rhode Island as a prison ship, and that is where she was believed to be blown up. Even though the Endeavour was discovered in an archaeological investigation with the latest technology of seabed mapping and from analysis of documents from London, her precise location is not found even today.
Often dubbed as the “World’s Last Commercial Sailing Ship”, the four-masted Pamir was built in 1905 by Blohm & Voss shipyards in Hamburg, Germany. Extending to a length of 114.5m (375 ft), she carried 40,900 sq.ft. of sails which helped her propel at a top speed of 16 knots (30km/h).
The beautiful barque was seized in prize by the New Zealand government during World War II. Pamir was the last commercial sailing ship to round Cape Horn in 1949 under the New Zealand flag, as modern bulk carriers took over her place in 1957 for being more efficient.
Shipping consortium for Pamir couldn’t manage finance for the repairs she needed and couldn't recruit enough sail-trained officers, which led to further technical difficulties. September 21, 1957 was the day when Pamir on her way to Hamburg from Buenos Aires, got lost in the Hurrican Carrie. Only six out of the 86 crew members survived, marking the incident as a national tragedy in Germany.