First launched in 1914 (under the name Gross Herzog Friedrich August) from the Geestemünde Tecklemborg AG Shipyard in Bremerhaven, Germany. The Statsraad Lehmkuhl is a three-masted, steel hulled barque-rigged tall ship.
She began her sailing career as a vessel to train German merchant seamen. However, that changed quickly after her launch when World War I broke out. The ship was quickly militarized for use in the German Imperial Navy.
But, it's military service was short lived and by 1918, after Germany had surrendered, she was delivered to the United Kingdom as reparations for war.
The English didn't quite know what to do with her and she sat in port in England for close to five years but in 1923 she was sold to a former Norwegian cabinet minister from Bergen, Kristoffer Lehmkuhl in 1921 for approximately NOK 300,000 (about $49,000 usd at current exchange).
"Statsraad" in Norwegian actually means "Cabinet Minister" and the ship was named after its new owner in recognition for his cultural and political accomplishments. She was once again put to work for her original purpose and was used for training cruises in the Spring and Summer months.
As fate would have it, fifteen years later it ended up back in German hands when Norway came under occupation by the Nazis. The Germans renamed her Westwärts (meaning 'Westwards') and the ship was used by the German Kriegsmarine (Navy) as a training vessel.
At the end of the war she was returned to Norway and given her old name back. She sailed as a training ship for six more years before high maintenance costs led her to port where she stayed for nearly 10 years and was at risk of being sold overseas until she was purchased in 1967 "for the benefit of Norway's citizens" by Norwegian shipping magnate and Vice-Admiral Hilmar Reksten.
Between the years of 1968 and 1972 the new owner had difficulties with insurance and accessing suitable funding for the vessel in order for it to remain certified as a training vessel.
As a result it ended up being moored at Bergen Harbor in 1973.
In 1978, she was donated by Reksten to the private Norwegian Stiftelsen Seilskibet Statsraad Lehmkuhl Foundation who have now owned and sailed her for more than thirty years. She is now the oldest Norwegian Tall Ship and also one of the very oldest in the world that continues to cruise the seas. She has participated in many international and European Tall Ship racing events that now take place annually in various parts of Europe and the Atlantic.
For reasons of safety, when racing, she is "under rigged" meaning her sails are only raised to a percentage of their capacity relative to her deadweight. This creates a handicap for her within her sailing class, but remains a policy of the Foundation that owns her. She has visited North and South America on many occasions.
Between 1994 and 2005 she underwent an extensive refit, and is now considered as one of best maintained, and most beautiful, traditional sailing ships in the world. She'll be celebrating her 100th birthday in 2014 and is registered to race in the The Tall Ships Races 2014: Harlingen- Fredrikstad Race July 6 - 12th, the Fredrikstad - Bergen Race July 15 - 24th and the Regatta Etape Bergen - Esbjerg, July 27 - August 2nd. The public can even take part as a voluntary crew member on the 'Cruise in Company' leg of the race.
In 2000, Statsraad Lehmkuhl was leased to her old rivals, the Germans, for use in their Naval Training Program while their own Gorch Fock II was being refitted.
Her home port is out of the Royal Naval Academy in Bergen, Norway and these days she's dedicated to training civilian crews of 17 members per trip. She also acts as a training vessel of the Norwegian Navy and can be booked for corporate or association events, by schools for various purposes including tours. Also, since 2002 she is leased each autumn by Norway's Navy as a training ship for use by Officer Cadets and the Naval War College.
Statsraad Lehmkuhl has three surviving sister ships:
Dar Pomorza (originally named the Prinzess Eitel Friedrich)
Duchesse Anne (originally the Großherzogin Elisabeth or 'Grand Duchess Elisabeth')
Schulschiff Deutschland (which literally translates to 'Training Ship Germany')
Length with bowsprit: 98.2 m
Hull length: 84.6 m
Length: 98.2 m
Beam: 12.6 m
Draught: 5.2 m
Mast height: 48.2 m tall
Sail area: 2,025 m2
Top speed under sail: 17 knots
Weight: 1,516 tons
Capacity: 200 persons
Permanent crew: 20 males
Homeport: Bergen, Norway
|See other Class A ship profiles:||Dewaruci KRI||Etoile Molene||Elissa||Mercator||Gloria||Endeavour||Libertad|