The “Christian Radich”, a Norwegian tall ship built in 1937, departed Las Palmas in the Canary Islands off the West Coast of Africa last week as part of the annual Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), for the Caribbean. It is one of a number of sailing vessels in the rally which name Oslo as a home port.
In 1939, the ship sailed the Atlantic on a visit to the World Trade Fair, which was on show in New York. This is when the ship first became famous.
Maspalomas lighthouse by Pablo Avanzini
After her return to Norway in 1939, she became part of the Norwegian Navy. Before the Second World War was finally over, the Christian Radich was bombed and sunk in the port of Flensburg. After the war, she was not left in her watery grave, but was salvaged and towed to the city of Kiel and a minesweeper was used to protect her. In 1947, she was completely restored.
In 2005, the Christian Radich was given the status as a training ship.
There are now 30 crew members fully employed running the tall ship.
The name Christian Radich originates from Simeon Christian Radich, who managed a number of sawmills in Norway as a very successful business person.
During 1985, an 8 year old from Chile sent a letter to Kjell Thorsen, then the captain of the tall ship, and informed him that his name was also Christian Radich. He was given a free visit to Oslo in 1987 to take part in the 50th anniversary of the tall ship.
The ship is certainly the oldest and most magnificent of the sailing ships seen under sail off Las Palmas in preparation for the Atlantic crossing to the Caribbean.
In 2010, the Christian Radich won the Tall Ships Race, but last transited the Atlantic Ocean in 2001. On this year’s crossing she will have 90 passengers onboard, including 15 who work as fulltime crew. A large number of crew is essential to assist in managing the 1,360 square metres of sail area and all 27 sails. If all of the 200 ropes on board were laid out in a long line, the length would reach an incredible 9 kilometres and, not surprisingly, each one has its own name.
The ship leaves an amazing history in its wake as a sail training ship. From 1999, the ship has been involved in chartering, sightseeing tours, summertime visits to overseas ports, with trainees who pay while on board.
The Christian Radich reached fame after its appearance in the movie “Windjammer” in 1957 and its regular appearance in the series shown on BBC TV called “The Onedin Line”. This was in the 1970s and featured as a ship owned by James Onedin, who was one of the world’s largest shipping magnates in the 1800s involved in global trade following the industrialisation of Europe.