The sad fate of "Prussia"
Here is what Konstantin Vasilchishin, the administrator of the Big Sailboats page in the FB wrote:
Today I wanted to talk about an outstanding ship. I read about him many times and admired him. I have a lot of photos of this giant in my collection.
The ship was excellent in every sense. The largest, most beautiful, most modern at the time of construction. His name is Preußen (Rus. "Prussia") – a five-masted sailing ship with an all-steel hull. It was the largest ship in the world with direct sails and the only five-masted sailing ship of this class in the history of the world merchant sailing fleet. The world’s merchant sailing fleet has never seen anything like it again.
This miracle was built in 1902 at the Johann C. Tecklenborg shipyard, commissioned by the Hamburg shipping company F.Laeisz. At the same shipyard in 1926 the handsome "Kruzenshtern" (ex "Padua") was built. Port of registry Hamburg. It is noteworthy that the "Prussia" has never been equipped with auxiliary engines. Only sails and nothing more. The ship was gigantic. Its total displacement was 11,100 tons. The Kruzenshtern I mentioned was substantially smaller. I will give a few figures of his outstanding steel mast. So, the height of the largest of the masts from the spur to the navy was 68 m, the diameter at the level of the upper deck was 0.9 m. The length of the rails riveted from bent 6 and 12 mm sheets reached 31.5 m, and the diameter reached 0.65 m, gross weight – up to 6.5 tons. 24 km of steel cable, 17 km of vegetable cable, 700 m of lifting chains and 1260 different blocks went to equip the giant with rigging. To work with sails with a small crew (only 45 people), 8 spiers and about 20 different manual winches were installed on the deck. Admiration was caused, for example, by ingenious winches for the transfer of yards when turning the ship.
On November 5, 1910, the Prussia, traveling in the English Channel with a load of musical instruments in Chile, in the darkness collided with the English steamer Brighton. As a result of the collision, the sailboat lost the bowsprit with rigging, and the foremast was broken. The clash was due to the irresponsibility and ignoring of the rules of navigation by the captain of the British ship. They tried to tow Prussia to the port, but a storm prevented this. An attempt to hold a huge sailboat anchored was unsuccessful. The anchor chains were broken, and the "Prussia" sat on the stones, from which it was no longer possible to remove it. The cargo was saved, but the ship was doomed. Soon he was left by the crew and gradually collapsed into shallows. By the end of the day on November 11, 1910, a huge 120-meter three-deck hull was finally broken by waves. After a week of struggle, the ship crawled into the water in a pile of metal.
So, thanks to the ignorance of the English captain, one of the most outstanding sailing ships was destroyed. Here is such a sad story of a sailing giant!
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