Götheborg (ship)

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File:Goteborg 2005.jpg
Götheborg in Oslo, at the 100 year celebration of the dissolution of the Union between Norway and Sweden on June 10, 2005.

Götheborg is a sailing replica of an 18th century Swedish East Indiaman, a wooden sailing vessel. The original sank off Gothenburg, Sweden on 12 September 1745 while approaching its home harbour after returning from her third voyage to China. All sailors survived, but the ship was lost.

The Swedish East India Company

The Swedish East India Company was established 14 June 1731, its purpose to trade in East Asia. The company followed the Portuguese, the Dutch, the Danish, the French and the English East India Companies. The company got a 15 year monopoly on the trade, and the goods exchanged were Swedish timber, tar, iron and copper against silver, tea, porcelain and silk. The company was situated in Gothenburg, while most of the ships were built in Stockholm, among them the vessel that has now been made a replica of.

The company existed for 82 years and its vessels made 132 expeditions with 38 different ships. Even though the company in the end went bankrupt it made an enormous profit in most of its years of operation and it has influenced Swedish history in a number of ways.

File:East Indianman Gothenburg.jpg
The Götheborg in Moss, Norway, 13 June 2005.

The Götheborg revived

When the wreckage of the vessel Götheborg was found in 1984, the idea emerged of making a replica of the vessel. The keel for the replica was laid on 11 June 1995. The vessel was built using traditional means, and is as close to the original as possible. One small change is that the height of the deck is 10 cm more, as today's seamen are taller than their ancestors.

While the exterior remains true to the original, the interior is highly modern. The perhaps most important differences are electricity and propellers powered by diesel engines. The engines are however only intended for port navigation and in emergency situations. In reality they have been used also in unfavourable winds since there was a timetable for the China trip. Other enhancements include electronic navigation and communications equipment, modern crew facilities (kitchen, lavatories, washing machines, desalination equipment, ventilation, refrigerators, etc.), watertight bulkheads and fire protection (fire sprinkler systems, fire hydrants etc). Most of this new technology is necessary to pass national and international safety regulations.

The vessel was launched 6 June 2003 with great festivities, and the Swedish Royal Family were represented. Ten tons of hemp ropes were to be used in rigging the vessel, together with some 1,000 blocks and 1,800 m² linen sail, all produced as in the "old days". The first trial under sail was 18 April 2005.

The project has so far cost some 250 million SEK (c. $30 million), some 40% from public funds and the rest from sponsors.


The voyage to Southeast Asia and China

After various tests and achieving its safety certificates from Det Norske Veritas, the vessel sailed for China in October 2005, as the original vessel did, but it did not follow the same route. The vessel berthed at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, and then left for Hout Bay today before continuing on its voyage. The voyage took about one and a half years. The vessel returned to Gothenburg June 9, 2007, welcomed by the president of China, Hu Jintao, who visited Sweden mainly for this reason, and by the King and Queen of Sweden, Carl Gustaf and Silvia. The ship was also welcomed by thousands of private boats, and a hundred thousand spectators on shore.

Among the harbours visited were Cádiz, Recife, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai. The total list of legs with cities and distances are listed below.

File:Ostindiefararen Götheborg departure from Gothenburg 2005 oct 02 pic2.jpg
Götheborg leaving Gothenburg on October 2, 2005, for its voyage to China.
The Götheborg berthed in Fremantle harbour on May 14, 2006.

The route to China followed approximately the 18th century original route, with the added detour to Australia (although in the 18th century, they usually avoided ports to avoid pirates). The journey home took the shortcut through the Suez Canal while they during the 18th century had to go back around South Africa.

Baltic Sea Tour 2008

During the summer of 2008 "Götheborg" will hoist her sails for the expedition Baltic Sea Tour. Between 16 May and the 5 September the ship will visit several ports around the Baltic Sea:

Scandinavian Tour 2009

Facts about the ship

  • Length: 40.9 m
  • Total length including bowsprit: 58.5 m
  • Beam: 11 m
  • Sail area: 1,900 m²
  • Draugth at the stern: 5.25 m
  • Draugth at the bow: 4.75 m
  • Ballast: 400 tonnes
  • Displacement (weight of ship and load): 1,150 tonnes
  • Engines: 2 Volvo Penta, each at 405 kW. Four fuel tanks with a total capacity of 36,000 litres.
  • Average speed: 5 to 6 knots (9 to 11 km/h), with a max. engine speed of 8 knots (15 km/h)
  • Crew: 80, of whom 50 are trainees
  • Bunkering: Food for 80 people for 60 days and spare for another 30 days
  • Navigation and communication equipment: GPS, radar and Satcom B (a Inmarsat B terminal)
  • Desalination equipment capable of producing 14,000 litres of fresh water during a 24-hour period[1].
  • 14 cannons (for salute). The original ship had 30, both six and three pounders for self-defence against pirates and hijackers.

See also

External links


fr:Götheborg id:Götheborg no:Østindiafareren «Götheborg» fi:Götheborg sv:Ostindiefararen Götheborg zh:哥德堡号