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"Gorch Fock" (Type 441) training sailing ship

The "Gorch Fock" is the second ship of that name and the sixth in their class. Every officer of the German Federal Navy is required to take a training cruise in Gorch Fock. The training on a training sailing ship has a long tradition in Germany. Nowhere is the impact of the weather on the ship and crew is so intensely experienced and backed experience, such as on a tall ship. Nowhere else is the human dependence from each other is so much certainty as in the yards of the "Gorch Fock" in a stormy trip.

The central content of the training of the officer candidates is to experience the unique professional and working environment of the sea, which in this form and intensity is not possible on modern motor ships, but only on sailing ships. As a learning effect, it should be linked to the knowledge of the importance of the cohesion of a ship community and their joint action in the face of natural forces on the high seas. These two central aspects of the training go hand in hand with the fact that the cadets receive elementary nautical and meteorological knowledge and skills. For the goals of her work she explicitly quotes the German explorer and co-founder of the field of geography Alexander von Humboldt: "Nature has to be felt."

Johann Kinau who called himself as a writer Gorch Fock was born on 22 August 1880 as a son of the deep-sea fisherman Heinrich Wilhelm Kinau and his wife Metta Holst in Finkenwerder near Hamburg. As an accountant at the Hamburg-America Line, dreams pursued him by the lake and boat trips again and again. Therefore his great poetic skills made a variety of high and low German writing stories. The most famous of all his works, which appeared in an edition of 440,000 novel, was "Seefahrt ist not" (Seafaring Is Necessary), with which he set new standards in the Low German literature. On 31 May 1916, the SMS Wiesbaden fell during the Battle of Jutland in the heaviest enemy fire, she sank in the early hours of June 1st. A single man of 650 crew members were saved, among the dead was Gorch Fock. Four weeks later the body of the poet washed up in Sweden on the small, uninhabited island Stensholmen, together with that of other German and British sailors. They were buried by fishermen.

The “Gorch Fock” is the navy's sailing training ship. It serves to train the officer candidates of the naval forces. During their basic nautical training on board, the cadets learn two things: First, what teamwork means in practice. The ship can only be ruled by working together as a group, because a lot of things on board only work with muscle power. Four helmsmen are needed to keep the “Gorch Fock” on course, and dozens of cadets have to work on the so-called bream to move the heavy yards. Second, the officer students learn about the element that will be the natural environment for their professional life. Wind, waves and tides have the same effect on modern ships as they do on sailors. But only on a sailing ship do the cadets experience the elementary forces at sea so closely. The "Gorch Fock" is a barque. That means, the two front masts are rigged, the aft one gaff rigged. The mast and hull are made of steel. Over 300 tons of iron ballast deep in the hull give the ship a high level of stability. The 23 sails, with an area of ??over 2,000 square meters, and the cordage are made of modern plastics. The ship is powered by a diesel engine for navigating port entrances and estuaries, but also for calm conditions. The sailing training ship does not belong to the associations of the fleet, but reports directly to the Mürwik Naval School. Built in 1958 in Hamburg and completely restored from 2016 to 2021, the “Gorch Fock” belongs to a class of six training ships. You five sisters are significantly older than you. The "Eagle" of the United States- Coast Guard, for example, was launched in 1936 and the Portuguese Navy's “Sagres” in 1937. Most floating units in the post-war German Federal Navy were small and has to operate in waters where. navigational and meteorological difficulties abound. This fact alone called for particularly high standards of seamanship on the part of the comparatively young men who command these small units.

Training in a sailing ship is better than any other type of training for attaining these standards. It makes a man familiar with the sea, develops a feeling of dependence on wind and weather ahd it accustoms the men to working closely with their comrades. It instills toughness and courage because the crew members have to throw themselves into their jobs in all kinds of weather. It develops personalities with the power of decision and character traits necessary in an officer at sea.

Speculation over the continuation of German naval cadets training under sail since the loss of the Pamir was dissolved with commissioning of the 1,760-ton auxiliary barque Gorch Fock in 1959. Built by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg, the ship is 295 feet in length, a beam of 39 feet, a mean depth of 16 feet, and has a sail area of 21,140 square feet.

That the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg with the design and construction of the "Gorch Fock" I 1932/1933 a great success had succeeded was recognized very quickly. The contracts for the construction of other sail training ships of the same class show this very clearly; a next proof is the fact that all the ships delivered before the war today are still in service, even if they are now nearly twice as old as the present "Gorch Fock".

Between 1933 and 1938, Blohm & Voss built three similar vessels for the German Navy. The first, also named Gorch Fock, was in service until the outbreak of World War II. The other two were called Horst Wessel and Albert Leo Schlageter. After the war the first Gorch Fock went to Russia and was renamed the Tovarisch, and, as part of war reparations, the other two went to the United States. The Horst Wessel was renamed Eagle and used as a training ship by the Coast Guard. The later ship was sold to Brazil, also as a training ship, under the name Guanabara. Further sister ships are the Sagres and Mircea.

It was not surprising that the German Navy decided again for a sail training ship of this class in its post-war reconstruction. Launching was on 23 August 1958 commissioning was followed on 17 December 1958. Immediately thereafter, the takeover of the sponsorship of the City of Hamburg by the First Mayor. Traveling abroad and visits by foreign ports determine the CV of the sail training vessel. The "Gorch Fock" cost in 1958, the year of their entry into service, 8.5 million. DM. Today its value is estimated at € 50 million.

The new Gorch Fock was expected to have a complement of 250, including about 200 cadets. Previously, West German cadets had to be content with short trips in the Nordwind, a small 100-ton yacht, but longer voyages were contemplated during the cadets' 6-month shipboard training.

Today's "Gorch Fock" in principle, although a replica of the "Albert Leo Schlageter", which even at that time embodied the most modern design for two decades in the sailing ship, but her experience with regard to the safety, the use of modern materials and new manufacturing methods , The original design of this sailing ship class went back to requests that had been made after the sinking of the "Niobe" by the Imperial Navy. This was due mainly to the initial stability and righting that demanded of 90 degrees a righting moment even at an inclination of the vessel. It was also demanded that the bodies should be completely waterproof.

The windjammer is equipped with 20th century features. She has two radar sets mounted in such a manner that they can Scan her surroundings both ahead and astern. She has six watertight bulkheads. Her keel carries fixed iron ballast and her hatches and deck openings are so designed that water will not get in, even at maximum heel.

The machinery of the "Gorch Fock" is housed in two rooms: the prime mover, the reduction gear and the CPP, as well as fresh water heaters and hot water system are in the back, the diesel generators and marine and fresh water pumps are in the front room.

During a long dry dock overhaul in 1991 by just under four months, the entire propulsion system, as well as energy production, including the main switchboards and to a large extent was renewed wiring. For this purpose, the ship received a combined air cooling and air heating system, which now stands at outside temperatures between first - aims to ensure an internal temperature between 20 ° C and 27 ° C 15 ° C and + 32 ° C. Finally, the abundant asbestos used in the construction within the meaning of fire protection and isolation has been discarded because of the now known health hazards and replaced with more suitable materials.

Elsflether Werft had for decades guaranteed quality, Know-how and experience in the field of boat repair and modification. Numerous famous boats have already been either repaired by us or renovated for further uses. Amongst our regular customers is the famous sailing ship "Gorch Fock", from the German navy. From 2000 to 2008, the sailing ship paid five visits to the Elsflether Werft.

The Bremen Lürssen shipyard announced on 08 June 2021 the three- master is to be relocated to the naval arsenal in Wilhelmshaven on a shipyard test sailing as early as the beginning of September 2021. The final equipment, internal tests and acceptance by the client are planned there. The refurbishment of the "Gorch Fock" will have taken around five and a half years in the end. Most recently, it was the corona pandemic that caused a delay beyond the end of May - there were staff shortages at companies involved in the project. The repair, which began in December 2015, is considered a multi-million dollar thriller: Originally, the costs were supposed to be around ten million euros. In the meantime they have grown to at least 135 million euros due to bad planning and mismanagement . Irregularities at a previous contractor, Elsflether Werft, also contributed to the disaster.

Germany’s Luerssen Group bought the insolvent Elsflether Werft - along with the controversial contract to repair and renovate the famous Navy sail training ship Gorch Fock - in late 2019. Lürssen said it will use the small Weser shipyard and its 130 workers that for repair. It will also have to complete the rebuilding of Gorch Fock for the Bundesmarine by autumn 2020. The price for the yard purchase was reported at about €3.5 million. The ship was laid up for much of the time since Elsflether Werft won the job to repair its steel hull in 2015.

The initial cost of the renovations was put at nearly €10 million but the discovery of further problems saw costs rocket to €64 million. In 2017 it was decided that the almost complete replacement of hull plating, deck renewal and engine refurbishment was needed at a cost of some €135 million. Repairs were halted in 2018 for a Government review and consideration of calls the ship be scrapped and replaced. It was decided to go ahead with the repairs against delivery in 2019. However with the ship reported in a “completely dismantled state” this year claims of government and shipyard mismanagement were aired which led to the resignation of Elsflether Werft officials.

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Page last modified: 30-06-2021 12:04:00 ZULU