Gorch Fock I
Shipyard: Blohm+Voss Hamburg, Typ of ship: Barque Length 82 m Beam 12m Draft 5,2 m Airdraft 41,5 m Displacement: 1354 t Sailarea 1797 m², number of sails: 23 Propulsion: 500 BHP Diesel Crew: 58 +160 Cadets
The first life :
… started with the laying of the keel January 1933. The hull was launched after only 100 (!) days at the shipyard Blohm+Voss, Hamburg. The barque was christened „GORCH FOCK“ the pseudonym of the German writer Johann Kinau from Hamburg-Finkenwerder, who wrote in a local German dialect. He lost his life in WW1. After the commissioning of the ship, sail training began in the territorial waters of Germany. Dartmouth (UK) and o ports in Norway, Finland and the Netherlands were called. With the outbreak of the WWII the sail training came to an end. The ship was ordered to Lauterbach on the Island of Rügen ( German Baltic coast) where the sail training ships HORST WESSEL (today EAGLE, USA) and ALBERT LEO SCHLAGETER (today SAGRES, Portugal) were moored. In March 1945 the latter two ships were moved westward, GORCH FOCK remained and was scuttled by the German Wehrmacht on April 30th in the sound south east of the island of Rügen.
The second life:
… of the Ship began in 1947 with the raising of the ship on the orders of the Soviet Military Administration In Germany. Shipyards in Wismar and Rostock (German Baltic coast) were ordered to rebuild the barque. In 1951 the barque was to set sail again under her new name TOVARISHCH (Comrade) under the flag of the USSR at her Homeport of Kherson (today Ukraine).
Over 280.000 nautical miles were sailed during the following 15 years. In 1974 TOVARISHCH participated in the Tall-Ship Race and won the leg from Copenhagen (DK) to Gdynia (PL). When the Soviet Union broke up in 1990, TOVARISHCH remained in her Ukrainian homeport of Kherson and changed flags. From 1991 the first western trainees joined the ship. This was arranged by the non-profit-organisation Tall-Ship Friends. In 1992 the ship took part in the Columbus-Race to the east coast of America. Due to the lack of its own funding, the Ship sailed to the Appledore Shipyard in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, on an invitation from the organisation People against Crime. After an inspection of the ship, it became clear that the funds available were not sufficient to cover the cost of the repairs. In 1997 TOVARISHCH was towed to Middlesborough, where the Teeside Development Corporation intended to build a shipyard for traditional ships. During this time, friends of the crew and ship in the U.K provided support for coping with everyday problems Tall-Ship Friends (UK) and Germany arranged the home transport for the crew twice every year. In 1999 Tall-Ship Friends was able to arrange for a berth free of charge in Wilhelmshaven (German North Sea coast) for two years during the „Expo 2000 at sea“. Tall-Ship Friends started work on board with great enthusiasm but failed to raise sufficient funding for the repairs. A new proposal for fund raising was rejected by the Ukrainian ship owner. The Ship owner also refused to allow the towing of the Ship to another shipyard. Tall Ship Friends then cancelled the agreement with the Ships owner, the Maritime College in Kherson. Most of the crew left, when the support of Tall-Ship Friends and the German Seamen´s Mission ended. In 2002, TOVARISHCH was towed to the German Navy Museum in Wilhelmshaven(D). In May 2003 the Ship was abandoned by the crew. In June of the same year, Tall Ship Friends was asked to purchase the ship. On September 9 th 2003 the Ship changed owners and flags.
The third life:
The German Marine Safety Agency refused permission to tow the ship to another port. TSF then had to transport the ship using a dock vessel, which boosted the transportation cost by € 125.000 (approx. BPS 78.750 /150.000 US$) After repairs at the local shipyard in Stralsund the good old ship was rechristened on November 29 th , 2003 and registered in the German List of Ships. Volunteers worked through ice and snow dismantling old equipment on deck, in crew quarters and machinery in the engine room.
In 2004 the local support club established a ship´s museum.
In 2005 the former cadet quarters were ready for corporate hospitalities.
In 2008 the underwater hull was refurbished,
in 2009 the Poopdeck was replaced,
in 2010 the Captain´s saloon restored,
in 2011 the quarters of the officers are rebuilt
We want to join the fleet of tall ships again and sail with young people. Admiral Nelson was right: Ships and men rot in ports!