During the Hanse Sail 2001 I took part in a day trip on board KRUZENSHTERN. I had known the ship for some time before as the crews of KRUZENSHTERN and MIR are close friends. Actually my friends on KRUZENSHTERN had started to complain why I always sailed with MIR and not with them.
KRUZENSHTERN is a very nice ship. By rigging she is a 4-masted barque what means she has square sails on the first 3 masts and a gaff sail with 2 top sails on the aft mast. With 114m loa she is one if the biggest tall ships ever built. She is the last one of the famous "Flying-P-Liners" still afloat. KRUZENSHTERN was built in 1926 for the German Laeisz Shipping Company, whose vessels all got a name starting with -P-. So her original name was PADUA. Many people still remember her from the old movie "Grosse Freiheit Nr. 7" with Hans Albers. Alike all ships of the company she was well-known for fast voyages and in the old days she sailed several times around Cape Horn.
After the war PADUA had to be delivered to the USSR who laid her up in Leningrad as stationary school ship for the navy academy. That was when her name was changed into KRUZENSHTERN after Adam von Krusenstern who first sailed around the world under Russian flag. Only in 1961 she was taken into active service again. For this she received her first engine. Alike all Flying-P-Liners she had never had any other propulsion but sails in her time with Laeisz.
Being used as school ship now her homeport was first Riga, then Tallinn and finally after the break down of the USSR it became Kaliningrad. Nowadays she belongs to the Baltic Fishing Academy, a government owned maritime school that educates future officers for the Russian fishing fleet. She takes on board up to 200 cadets, most of the coming from the Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg areas. She operates mostly in European waters, but from time to time she undertakes longer voyages such as the circumnavigation in 1996 and the participation in the Tallships2000 trans-atlantic race in 2000.
The upkeeping of such a big vessel costs a fortune and the Kaliningrad region is among the poorest in Russia. So it is clear that KRUZENSHTERN had to find ways to make some money. For several years she is now linked with the Tallship-Friends, a German charity who helps them to find people interested in tall ship sailing. Up to 40 trainees can now take part in voyages of 3 days to 3 weeks durance. The trainees can take part in all activities on board though of course the education of the cadets comes first. KRUZENSHTERN also takes part in all major port festivals in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. At that festivals it is often possible to take part in day sailings.
Some years ago a beautiful song was written about the KRUZENSHTERN. It is called "Parusa Kruzenshterna" and is about a sailor who explains his wife why he cannot stay at home with her but always return to the ship.