Legendary sailing ship ‘Krusenstern' returns to Estonia for Tallinn Maritime Days

31. May 2011

The idea to invite Krusenstern back to Tallinn was conceived after the success of the first Tallinn Maritime Days in 2008. Speaking about the return of Krusentstern, Tallinn’s vice mayor Taavi Aas stated: ‘we found that in 2011, when Tallinn is the European Capital of Culture, this would be a dignified present to city people and visitors’.

After many years of negotiations, the Tallinn 2011 Foundation and the Russian Baltic State Academy of the Fishing Fleet (whom currently own Krusentstern) triumphantly signed an agreement at the beginning of 2011 to bring the former barque back to Tallinn.

The sailing ship, originally called Padua, was built 85 years ago in 1926 at Joh C. Tecklenborg shipyard by the order of Hamburg ship-owner Ferdinand Laeisz. Before the Second World War the ship sailed 15 long journeys between Australia and Chile, the fastest of which was between 1938-1939 during a record breaking return trip from Hamburg via Chile to Australia  with Captain Richard Wendt at the helm. It took 8 months and 23 days.

Hamburg remained the ships home during the Second World War where it was used for domestic journeys as a cargo barge. Fortunately, the ship was not significantly damaged during the war. On January 12th 1946 the ship was transferred to the Soviet Navy as part of the war reparations and was renamed ‘Krusenstern’ at her new home port in Riga. The new name was chosen in the honour of Adam Johann von Krusenstern (1770–1846), born in Hagudi, Estonia, who in 1803-1806, led the first Russian circumnavigation with the ships Nadežda and Neva. Between 1959–1961 the ship was completely refurbished and turned into a research and training vessel. The next large scale modernisation took place between 1968–1972. From 1981, at the initiative of Hugo Maide, head of Estonian Fisheries, Tallinn became Krusenstern’s new home port and, between long sailing trips, it was anchored at Paljassaare port. Ten years later on 29th of May 1991, the ship was handed over to Kaliningrad (Konigsberg) School of Marine Engineers. Kaliningrad is currently Krusenstern’s home port.

The historical sailing ship Krusenstern will arrive at Tallinn Maritime Days at midday on Friday 15th July and will dock at Tallinn Harbour quay no 8. The ship will be open for public from 14.00 to 20.00. On Saturday 16th July the ship will be open from 11.00-20.00 and on Sunday 17th of July from 11.00 to 18.00.

Tallinn Maritime Days will take place from 15th to 17th July in three of Tallinn’s ports -Admiralty Inlet, Seaplane Harbour and Peetri Harbour. It will be the biggest free family festival of the European Capital of Culture summer programme. During the three days Tallinn’s coastline and surrounding waters will be filled with a vibrant cultural programme- exclusive marine themed concert by great Estonian musicians, stalls selling marine products, open access to historical ships, police and border guard ships and Estonian Maritime Administration’s ships. In addition there will be a special regatta Tallinn race with 49ers, Optimists and RS Fevas competing. Finally, during Tallinn Maritime Days the closing ceremony of Muhuväina regatta will take place.

The main organisers of Tallinn Maritime Days are Tallinn 2011 Foundation, Tallinn City government, Port of Tallinn, Estonian Maritime Museum and Estonian Historical Ships Society. The main sponsors of the event are Viking Line Eesti OÜ and BLRT Grupp as well as cooperation partners Clarion Euroopa Hotell, Eesti Jahtklubide Liit, Jazzkaar, Nargenfestival, Energia Discovery Centre, Estonian Maritime Administration, Estonian Police and Border Guard, EMA Marine School and Säästva Renoveerimise Infokeskus.