World's largest sailing ship Sedov stops off in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 February, 2013, 8:38pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 February, 2013, 3:36pm

The world's largest sailing ship in operation paid a visit to Hong Kong for the first time yesterday.

The Sedov, a 92-year-old Russian windjammer, sailed into the harbour and to its berth at the Ocean Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui, where the public will be able to see and board it.

The 117.5-metre-long, four-mast ship, which marked its birthday on Valentine's Day in the South China Sea, is in the middle of a 13-month journey round the world as part of celebrations for the 1,150th anniversary of the founding of the Russian state. Along the way, it will visit 20 countries and 32 ports.

The public will have free access to the Sedov's deck from today to Sunday.

Those who have more time and are willing to pay can even travel on the ship and experience life as a crew member as it circumnavigates the globe.

The ship was christened the Magdalene Vinnen II in 1921 in Germany, when it was the world's largest three- or four-mast auxiliary barque. On its maiden voyage, the vessel took coal from Bremen, Germany, to Buenos Aires, Argentina - a 30-day trip during which it overcame bad weather.

During the second world war, it was used as an auxiliary fleet supply ship.

At the end of the war in 1945, the ship was ceded to the Russian victors and renamed the Sedov, after the Arctic explorer Georgy Sedov. The Russian navy used it initially as a training ship and later as an oceanographic research vessel in the North Atlantic. The Sedov today is again a training ship used to teach sailing skills.

According to Russian media, the recent Valentine's Day was a memorable one aboard the Sedov. Two trainees, identified as Ivan and Diana from the Russian port city of Vladivostok, boarded in Busan, South Korea.

Without Diana's knowledge, her boyfriend Ivan had brought on board a wedding gown, champagne and a ring.

On the special day, as they were both practising tying knots high up on one of the masts, he pulled out the ring and proposed. She said yes and the captain married them that day.