Date:  30 June 2011 - 08 August 2011

Norwegian tall ships race to the UK

Historical Norwegian tall ships Statsraad Lehmkuhl, Sørlandet and Christian Radich will dock in the Shetland Islands and Scotland in July as part of the annual Tall Ship Races.

From 30th June until 8th August the ships will dock at 5 places going from Irland, through the North coast of UK, across the pond to the west coast of Norway before they reach the final destination: Halmstad in Sweden.

The Tall Ships Races was first held in 1956. The regatta then started in Torbay (England), and ended up in Lisbon (Portugal). The idea for the race originally came from London lawyer, Bernard Morgan, and several other eminent Englishmen. They wanted to arrange a race to mark the final end for the days of sailing ships, but at the same time arrange a race that would foster friendship and understanding among young people from different countries. The initial idea was to only have a single race, but the popularity of the race quickly changed that. Now the race is more popular than ever, bringing together 3000-4000 youths from over 30 different countries.

Statsraad Lehmkuhl
Norway’s biggest tall ship and one of the world’s best preserved sailing ships is “Statsraas Lehmkuhl”. The ship originates from Bremerhaven-Geestemünde and was built in 1914 as a training ship for the German merchant fleet under the name “Gross Herzog Friedrich August”. After the First World War the ship was taken by the British as war exploitation and it wasn’t until 1921 that the ship was brought to Bergen, Norway by the former minister Christopher D. Lehmkuhl. Once again it was used as a training ship, but during the Second World War the ship was seized by the Germans. After the war the ship found its way back to Bergen, and since 1978 it has been owned and managed by “the Foundation Statsraad Lehmkuhl”. It is now open for the public to join on various cruises, but you are not then just a passenger – you are a member of the crew.
The Ship “Sørlandet” represents a unique heritage from the days of the tall ships and fast clippers. It is the oldest of the three Norwegian Tall Ships and was built at a local shipyard in Kristiansand in the south of Norway. In 1927 the ship was launched and measured 210 feet and 577 gross tons. Through "Sørlandets Seilende Skoleskibs Institution"(a school/institution for seafarers to be), she became a vital part in the education of young seamen from the southern region of Norway called Sørlandet.
One of the ships highlights was the cruise to the World Fair in Chicago in 1933. Being the first Norwegian training ship to cross the Atlantic, she actually served as the Norwegian pavilion during the exhibition "A Century in Progress". The ship is still going strong and is bringing with it history to the Tall Ships Races.

Christian Radich
Christian Radich was built in 1937 and is one of four training ships based in Oslo. The original purpose of the training ship was to train sailors for the transport and trade sector. In 1939 the ship sailed across the Atlantic to visit the World Exhibition in New York and “Christian Radich” received massive press coverage and became famous worldwide. When the ship returned home it was taken over by the Marine. After the invasion of Norway during the Second World War the ship was seized by the Germans. Towards the end of the war, the ship was towed to Flensburg, Germany, where it was later bombed and sunk.  When the war was over the ship was hoisted up again and towed back to Norway with a minesweeper in front for protection. In 1947 it was fully restored and in 2005 the ship got back its training status and is now a venue for the training of new officers in the Norwegian Navy.

This year’s Tall Ships Race:
 Waterford, Irland (30th June – 3rd July).
Greenrock, UK (9th 12th July)
Lerwick, UK (21st – 24th July)
Stavanger, Norway (28th – 31 July)
Hamstad, Sweden (5th – 8th August)


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