Herzogin Cecilie

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Name: Herzogin Cecilie
Owner: Norddeutscher Lloyd (1902- )
French Government ( -1920)
Gustaf Erikson (1920-36)
Port of registry: 22x20px Germany (1902-20)
22x20px France (1920- )
22x20px Mariehamn ( -1936)
Builder: Rickmers Schiffbau AG, Bremerhaven
Yard number: 122
Launched: 22 April 1902
Completed: 7 June 1902
Out of service: 25 April 1936
Identification: Finnish Official Number 703
Code Letters TPMK (1930-36)
General characteristics
Tonnage: 3,242 GRT
NRT 2,786
Length: 334 feet 8 inches (102.01 m)
Beam: 46 feet 3 inches (14.10 m)
Height: 175 feet 6 inches (53.49 m)
Draught: 24 feet 2 inches (7.37 m)
Propulsion: sails
Sail plan: 4-masted Barque, 38,000 square feet (3,530 m2) sail area
Crew: 81 (Norddeutscher Lloyd)
31 (Gustaf Erikson)

Herzogin Cecilie was a German four mast barque (Windjammer), named after German Crown Princess Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1886–1954), spouse of Crown Prince Wilhelm of Prussia (1882–1951).


Herzogin Cecilie was built in 1902 by Rickmers Schiffbau AG in Bremerhaven. She was yard number 122 and was launched on 22 April 1902. Completion was on 7 June that year.[1] She was 334 feet 8 inches (102.01 m) long, with a breadth of 46 feet 3 inches (14.10 m) and a draught of 24 feet 2 inches (7.37 m).[2] Herzogin Cecilie was built for Norddeutscher Lloyd Bremen. Unlike other contemporary German merchant sailing ships, the black Flying-P-Liners or the green ships of Rickmers, she was painted in white. She was one of the fastest windjammers ever built: she has logged 21 knots at Skagen.

The tall ships of the time remained only competitive against the steamers on the longer trade routes: the Chilean Salpeterfahrt nitrate trade, carrying salpeter from Chile to Europe, and the Australian Weizenfahrt wheat trade, carrying grain from Australia to Europe. Both routes required rounding Cape Horn routinely, and were not well suited for steamers, as coal was short of supply there.

Herzogin Cecilie was one of the fastest merchant sailing ships of her time, on a par with the Flying-P-Liners. The trip around Cape Horn from Portland (Oregon) to The Lizard (England) was done in 1903 in only 106 days.

At the outbreak of World War I, she was interned by Chile, returning to Germany in 1920, only to be given to France as reparation, and subsequently sold to Gustaf Erikson (24 October 1872 - 15 August 1947) of Finland for $20,000.[citation needed] She was homeported at Mariehamn[2]

As the freight rates for salpeter had dropped after the war, Gustaf Erikson sent her to bring grain from Australia. In so-called grain races, several tall ships tried to arrive first in Europe, to sell their cargo for a higher price, as e.g. told in The Great Tea Race of 1866, or in The Last Grain Race. Typically, ships were loaded in the Spencer Gulf area, Port Victoria, South Australia or Wallaroo, South Australia, and traveled to Europe, with ports on the British Isles like Queenstown, Ireland or Falmouth, Cornwall being considered as the finish.

After "winning" prior to 1921 four times, in eleven trips from 1926 to 1936, she again won the grain race four times.[3]

In 1927, when Herzogin Cecilie covered Port Lincoln - Queenstown in 98 days, Alan Villiers was on board, which would result in his book "Falmouth for Orders", and later a trip aboard the barque Parma.

After having traveled to Falmouth in only 86 days, second fastest ever, Herzogin Cecilie, when making for Ipswich in dense fog, on 25 April 1936 she grounded on Ham Stone Rock and drifted onto the cliffs of Bolt Head. After parts of the cargo was unloaded, she was floating again, only to be towed in June 1936 to Starhole (Starehole) bay at the mouth of the Kingsbridge Estuary near Salcombe and beached there. Soon afterwards the pounding of the waves broke her apart. The remains of the ship sit at a depth of 7 metres at 50°12.82′N 3°47.02′W / 50.21367°N 3.78367°W / 50.21367; -3.78367.

Official Numbers and Code Letters

Official Numbers were a forerunner to IMO Numbers. Herzogin Cecilie had the Finnish Official Number 703 and used the Code Letters TPMK.[2]

File:Kronprinzessin Cecilie von Preussen 1908 1 .jpg
Duchess Cecilie, Crown Princess of Prussia, in 1908

See also


  1. ""5618260"" (subscription required). Miramar Ship Index. R.B. Haworth. http://www.miramarshipindex.org.nz. Retrieved 22 October 2009. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "LLOYD'S REGISTER, NAVIRES A VOILES". http://www.plimsollshipdata.org/pdffile.php?name=30a0114.pdf. Retrieved 22 October 2009. 
  3. "The grain races". Chez Alice. http://pamir.chez-alice.fr/Voiliers/Classe_A/Grainwe.htm. Retrieved 22 October 2009. 


  • Peter Pedersen & Joseph Conrad (1989). Strandung und Schiffbruch. Mit Entscheidungen der Seeämter des Deutschen Reiches. Bechtemünz Verlag: Augsburg. ISBN 3-86047-245-3
  • Fred Schmidt & Dietrich Reimer (1942). Schiffe und Schicksale. Andrews & Steiner: Berlin.
  • Clamp, Arthur L., The Loss of the Herzogin Cecilie on Ham Stone 25th, Plymouth
  • Colton, J. Ferrell, Loss of the "Herzogin Cecilie", Sea Breezes Vol. 65 No. 536, August 1990 p. 586
  • Cormack, Neil W., Herzogin Cecilie, The Flagship of the Gustaf Erikson Fleet of Mariehamn: 1921-1936, N.W. Cormack 1996, ISBN 0-646-29834-8
  • Cresswell, John P., The Loss of the Herzogin Cecilie, Artscape, Cornwall 1994
  • Darch, Malcolm, Herzogin Cecilie, the story of her charthouse 1936-1988. Ålands Sjöfart & Handel 5/88 s. 272-273
  • Lindfors, Harald, Round The Horn In The Herzogin Cecilie In 1922, Ålands Sjöfart 2/76 s. 56-59
  • McNeill, Robert B., Beatrice vs. Herzogin Cecilie, A most Curious "Race Round the Horn", New York 2001, Exxon Mobil Marine Lubricants. Volume LXXI, No. 1, 2001, of "The Compass", The Magazine of the Sea. 32 PP with b/w and colour illustrations.
  • Tod, Giles M.S., Herzogin Cecilie gets in a "Breeze", Sea Breezes Vol. XIX. No. 189 August 1935
  • Alan Villiers, Falmouth for Orders. The Story of the Last Clipper Ship Race around Cape Horn, Geoffrey Bles, London 1929
  • Alan Villiers, The Cape Horn Grain-ship Race, Washington. 1933, National Geographic Magazine. Extract from: volume LXIII, No.1, January 1933.39 pp., with 38 b/w photos (13 on full page).
  • Alan Villiers, Last of Windships
  • Pamela Bourne Eriksson, The Life and Death of the Duchess
  • Pamela Bourne, Out of The World
  • Elis Karlsson, Pully Haul
  • Elis Karlsson, Mother Sea
  • W.L. Leclercq, Wind in de Zeilen
  • Elisabeth Rogge-Ballehr, Schule der See Viermastbark Herzogin Cecilie
  • W.L.A. Derby, The Tall Ships Pass
  • Basil Greenhill & John Hackmann, Herzogin Cecilie
  • Harold A. Underhill, Sail Training and Cadet Ships

External links

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