Manufactured in 1906 at Bremen by the shipyard AG Weser, Alexander von Humboldt is a German tall ship, whose original title was ‘Reserve Sonderburg.’ After nearly 80 years of service, during which she regularly operated in the Baltic and North Seas, Reserve Sonderburg was retired in 1986. Two years later, another German shipyard Motorwerke Bremerhaven transformed her into a three masted vessel and re-launched it under the current name of Alexander von Humboldt.
Reserve Sonderburg was originally drafted in on September 10, 1906 as a reserve light vessel so that it could cover for others at the time of yard maintenance. Having being assigned the construction serial number of 155, it was the first light vessel of its kind, made by AG Weser. Like most of the other light vessels of that time, Sonderburg’s hull was also based on another sailing ship.
Baron Alexander Von Humboldt in His S…
There is some ambiguity regarding the ship’s original name, as according to the documentation dating back to its 1906 inauguration, Reserve Sonderburg was also called ‘Reserve Fehmarnbelt.’ Her first home port was in the Danish city of Sønderborg and therefore, it can be argued that the name ‘Reserve Sonderburg’ was a derivation from this connection. From the 25 year period of 1920 to 1945, the light vessel served on a number of routes, but its main operational area was around the Baltic Sea, while its home port was based in Kiel-Holtenau. In 1945, she was permanently chosen as the replacement vessel for Kiel- the light vessel, which had been damaged severely in the World War II bombings.
Alexander Von Humboldt
Reserve Sonderburg sank in 1957 as a result of a collision with a Swedish freighter. She was subsequently pulled out of the water and required intense overhauling of two years, before it was possible to put her back into service. In 1967, upon receiving a promotion in her location, she was again assigned the role of reserve light vessel- her original sea role. A few years later, she was again selected to fill in for retired vessel ‘Amrumbank.’ Another accident ensued and Reserve Sonderburg was towed to Bremehaven and renamed ‘Confidentia.’
In May 1988, she was re-inaugurated by the ‘Deutsche Stiftung Sail Training’ under its current name of Alexander von Humboldt- a tribute to the famous German voyager of the same name. DSST transformed the reserve vessel into a tall ship and coloured its hull green, as a tribute to the Rickmers shipping company’s historical green sailing ships.
Nicknamed ‘Alex’ by her crew, Alexander von Humboldt is currently serving as one of DSST’s sail training ships and has covered more than 300,000 nautical miles during its two decades with the German company. She still takes parts in several annual events such as tall ships’ races and summer cruises in the North and Baltic Seas.
The competition is beginning to heat up as the vessels pass the first waypoint and head south. The wind has also veered to a more southerly direction which is slowing the square rigged ships and meaning more tactics will come into play. Christian Radich (Norway) has now taken up the lead overall on corrected time as well as in Class A. Behind her is Alexander von Humboldt (Germany) with Statsraad Lehmkuhl (Norway) now in third.
The competition for Class B is also hotting up with Trinovante (UK) going well and now in the lead on corrected time. Moosk (UK) is also on the move and up into second place with Jens Krogh (Denmark) in third.
Photo: Cisne Branco (Brazil)
The battle for Class C continues with Black Diamond of Durham (UK) now in the lead with Gaudeamus (Poland) in second and Akela (Russia) third. Class D is also going to be another UK battle with Rona II (UK) taking up the lead with Assarain II (the Captains’ Daughters)(UK) in second and St Barbara V (UK) in third. All these positions are sure to keep changing as the race progresses.
On the water Mir (Russia) continues to lead with Cisne Branco (Brazil) keeping pace and Christian Radich, Cuauhtemoc (Mexico) and Statsraad Lehmkuhl all close behind.
Because of the change in direction and speed of the wind, the estimated times of arrival listed for each of the vessels is likely to be extended as the race progresses.
More vessels in The Tall Ships’ Races continued to cross the finish line overnight making small amendments to the provisional results. In the lead on corrected time overall remains Jolie Brise (UK) with Stina Mari (Norway) in second place and Christian Radich (Norway) in third. In Class A on corrected time Christian Radich is in first place with Mir (Russia) in second and Alexander von Humboldt (Germany) back up into third place. However Alex has not yet finished the race so this may change again.
In Class B on corrected time, behind Jolie Brise and Stina Mari is now Constantia (Sweden) although again, she has not yet finished the race so this placing may again change. In Class C on corrected time, positions remain unchanged with Alba Explorer (UK) in first place, Black Diamond of Durham (UK) in second and Spaniel (Latvia) in third. Class D is also unchanged with Assarain II (UK) in first place, Lietuva (Lithuania) in second and St Barbara V (UK) in third.
The vessels are now pouring into Maløy in beautiful bright and sunny weather. The smallest town ever to host The Tall Ships’ Races is gearing itself up for it’s busiest week ever with thousands of people expected to visit the town over the coming days. Almost all the people who live in the town are involved in some way and cruise ships have been brought in to cater for the expected visitors.
More vessels in The Tall Ships’ Races finished overnight and arrived in Maløy to a warm welcome with their national anthems played and flags raised. The small fishing town of Maløy is about to be doubled in size with the arrival of the fleet and everyone is involved in some way or other. Two cruise ships have been brought in to cater for the numbers of people expected, as the one hotel with its 48 rooms would not be able to cope!
Overall on corrected time Jolie Brise (UK) is in first place with Stina Mari (Norway) in second and Christian Radich (Norway) in third. Behind Christian Radich in Class A is Mir (Russia) with Alexander von Humboldt (Germany) in third. However, there are a number of other Class A vessels yet to cross the finish line so this may change.
Photo: Stina Mari
Class B remains unchanged from last night with the first three being, Jolie Brise, Stina Mari and Far Barcelona (Spain). Classes C and D are also unchanged as all vessels have now crossed the finish line.
A total of 23 vessels have now crossed the finish line with another dozen or so frustratingly waiting just off the coast for some wind to help them across the line.
Lord Nelson and Pelican of London (UK) are the back markers, still some way back north of the Shetland Isles. Other vessels making their way across the North Sea are Moosk (UK) and Spirit of Fairbridge (UK). However with the race time limit not up until Thursday 31 July, they should have sufficient time to make progress. A number of vessels have retired and are making their way to Maløy under power. These are: Jens Krogh (Denmark), Leader (UK), Roald Amundsen (Germany), Svanhild (Norway) and Williwaw (Belgium). Hebe III (Czech Republic) was also forced to retire after being dismasted and has made her way to Stromness.
More vessels crossed the finish line today despite the light winds close to the Norwegian coast. As more vessels finish, so the leaders on corrected time change. Currently the Class B Jolie Brise (UK) is in first place on corrected time overall. Behind her is Stina Mari (Norway), also Class B, and then Christian Radich (Norway) in third.
As for the Classes, behind Christian Radich in Class A is Mir (Russia) with Alexander von Humboldt (Germany) in third. However, as more vessels cross the line, this may well change and these positions should be viewed as provisional. Behind Jolie Brise and Stina Mari in Class B is Far Barcelona (Spain). The majority of Class C have finished with Alba Explorer (UK) holding on to her lead with Black Diamond of Durham (UK) in second and Spaniel (Latvia) in third. All the Class D vessels are now finished with Assarain II (UK) in first place, Lietuva (Lithuania) in second and St Barbara V (UK) in third.
Vessels that have now finished the race are: Akela, Alba Explorer, Antwerp Flyer, Assarain II, Christian Radich, Clyde Challenger, Dar Mlodziezy, Dasher, Jolie Brise, Lietuva, Mir, Ocean Spirit of Moray, Rona II, Spaniel, St Barbara V and Urania. With the finish line extremely close to the port of Maløy, many have opted to go straight there, although a number have chosen to stay out and enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery.
The winds for those vessels close to the Norwegian coast remains very light making it difficult for them to get across the line. For the vessels further back into the North Sea winds remain fairly fresh which should help them along over the next two days. The first official port day in Maløy is Friday 1 August.
The Class B vessel Stina Mari (Norway) has held on to her overnight lead overnight on corrected time with fellow Class B Jolie Brise (UK) now in second place and the Class A ship Alexander von Humboldt (Germany) now in third. Behind Alex in Class A on corrected time is Christian Radich (Norway) with Asgard II (Ireland) in third.
Far Barcelona (Spain) remains in third place in Class B on corrected time behind Stina Mari and Jolie Brise. The battle for Class C continues with Alba Explorer (UK) now back in the lead with Black Diamond of Durham (UK) in second and Spaniel (Latvia) in third. In Class D, Assarain II (UK) has held onto her lead on corrected time with St Barbara V (UK) in second and Lietuva (Lithuania) in third.
Ten vessels have now crossed the finish line, Akela, Alba Explorer, Antwerp Flyer, Dar Mlodziezy, Dasher, Jolie Brise, Lietuva, Mir, Ocean Spirit of Moray and Spaniel but many more are frustrated by the lack of wind to help them across the finish line. The square rigged ships are at more of a disadvange in these circumstances which allows the smaller vessels to make some progress, albeit slowly.
Akela, Alba Explorer, Black Diamond of Durham, Lietuva and Ocean Spirit of Moray have all arrived in Maløy to a warm welcome with a gun salute and their national anthem being played. More are expected later today although a number have decided to take some time to explore the beautiful fjords as the sun in shining with warm mid 20s temperatures. The first official day in Maløy is Friday 1 August.
As a number of vessels are approaching the finish line in the first race of The Tall Ships’ Races 2008, it is clear that many of them are pulling out all the stops to beat their rivals. Christian Radich (Norway) retains the lead overall on corrected time, but now Alexander von Humboldt (Germany) has moved up to second place with Statsraad Lehmkuhl (Norway) in third. On the water, Alba Explorer remains likely to take line honours with an expected finish time of around midnight tonight.
Class B continues to be led by Stina Mari (Norway) on corrected time with Jolie Brise (UK) now in second and Far Barcelona (Spain) back up into third place. Behind Alba Explorer in Class C is Black Diamond of Durham (UK) who are making a run for the line and Spaniel (Latvia) in third, who are always keen to be in the winning line up. Lietuva (Lithuania) has now taken over the lead in Class D, pushing Rona II back into second place and Urania (Netherlands) remaining in third.
The fleet tracking shows that some of the fleet decided to go further north, while others kept a more southerly course. Strategically Statsraad Lehmkuhl may have an advantage over Christian Radich as she is slightly more up wind which may help her close the gap.
Winds remain fresh for much of the fleet but as the vessels approach the Norwegian coast, winds will become light and variable, which may extend the calculated ETAs for many of the vessels.
At the 1700 hrs GMT report Alexander von Humboldt (Germany) has taken the lead on corrected time, in front of Christian Radich (Norway) and Sorlandet(Norway). Alexander von Humboldt has however taken a more westerly route which may mean this good placing is short lived.
On the water the Class C vessels are leading, with Alba Explorer (UK) in the lead, Ocean Spirit of Moray (UK) in second and Spaniel (Latvia) in third. A little way behind them is a group of Class A ships, including Christian Radich, Mir (Russia) and Dar Mlodziezy (Poland).
On corrected time, Class B is being led by the Norwegian Stina Mari with Far Barcelona (Spain) in second place and Jens Krogh (Denmark) in third. Alba Explorer is not only leading on the water but also in Class C on corrected time. Behind her is Black Diamond of Durham (UK) with Ocean Spirit of Moray (UK) in third. Class D on corrected time is now being led by Hebe III (Czech Republic) with (UK) in second and Rona II (UK) in third.
Weather has become light and variable meaning the average speed has reduced considerably for the majority of the fleet. The winds are however due to increase again tomorrow afternoon. As the fleet head for the north of Scotland, the challenge will only get harder!