As fast as the wind

Legendary four-masted barque PASSAT

Storm-tested emblem of Travemünde

Travemünde ahoy! Embark on an exciting voyage by ship into the past and visit the legendary four-masted barque Passat on the Priwall bank. This fascinating “Flying P-Lliner” has experienced many stormy adventures and thrilling voyages right across the world’s oceans since its launch. After a total of 39 roundings of Cape Horn and many thousands of sea miles, the ship was retired “unrigged”, i.e. without sail, to Travemünde. Since then, this steel sailing ship has lain majestically and well-protected in the Trave estuary and has become the floating emblem of the resort.

What do a poodle and the “Flying P-Liners” have in common?

The legendary series of cargo sailing ships belonging to the Hamburg shipping company F. Laeisz were called Flying P-Liners as their names began with P. This applied to 66 out of 86 sailing ships owned by the F. Laeisz shipping company. The initial letter “P” is – supposedly – due to the name of a vessel which bore the nickname of the ship owner’s wife Sophie Laeisz which was “poodle”. She owed this name to her hairdo. So she really did go down in sailing history. In those days, sailing ships were the fastest means of transport across the world’s oceans, and for many years, they were able to compete with the up-and-coming steamers.

Chronicle of the four-masted barque PASSAT

The Passat is launched from the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg as a cargo sailing ship in the legendary Flying P-Liner series.

The Passat makes its maiden voyage round Cape Horn to Valparaiso in Chile. In the ensuing period, the ship conquers the world’s oceans on numerous further journeys between Europe and Latin America.

The Passat remains stuck in Chile for a whole seven years during the 1st World War.

The Passat returns to Europe, is assigned to France as a reparations payment, but is soon offered for sale for lack of any requirement and is finally bought back by the Laeisz shipping company.

Faster and more profitable than any steamer: The Passat is converted to a freight-carrying training ship.

The Passat is sold to the Finnish ship owner Gustaf Erikson.

There is a threat of it being scrapped in Belgium! However, thanks to an interest group around Captain Helmut Grubbe and the Lübeck ship owner Heinz Schliewen, it proves possible to save the Passat.

It is transferred to Kiel and an auxiliary engine is installed to save on tug costs.

The Passat sets off on its first voyage as a German training sailing ship from Brake to South America with 54 cadets on board.

The Passat is bought by the “Pamir and Passat Foundation” and used again as a cargo sailing ship between Europe and South America.

The sister ship Pamir sinks in a hurricane. 80 to 86 sailors die in this tragic accident.

The Passat itself runs into heavy seas and threatens to capsize in a hurricane. Listing heavily, it barely reaches Lisbon as a port of refuge and after the cargo is unloaded, it is taken out of service.

The Hanseatic city of Lübeck buys the Passat for DM 315,000 thus saving it from being scrapped.

The Passat finds a permanent berth as a museum ship, cabin boy ship and international meeting place in Travemünde.

The Passat is made subject to a preservation order as an example of German sailing history.

The “Rettet die Passat e.V.” (Save the Passat Association) is set up. Over the years, donations from this Association have made a decisive contribution towards carrying out urgently needed work to preserve the Passat.

The Passat is given a general overhaul at Lübeck’s Flender yard for DM 7.2 million.

On 16 May 1998, the Passat is enthusiastically welcomed back to Travemünde by thousands of spectators and escorted by numerous boats. Since then, the ship has been serving again as a location for events, exciting museum and in summer as a youth hostel.

Visit the Passat in Travemünde

Experience the exciting age of the windjammers in the newly designed exhibition rooms with numerous interactive stations. You can immerse yourself in life on a large vessel on board this storm-tested ship and follow the cabin boy Herbert Scheuffler on his adventures below deck. His diary entries accompany you through the maritime exhibition in the belly of the ship and offer thrilling insights into everyday life on board for this 15 year-old boy who joined the Passat in 1932 and sailed around the world with her. On board, the floor rocks gently under your feet, even in retirement the Passat is still a proper ship and always has a hand-span of water under its keel.

Are there any “Flying P-Liners” left?

Four of the former eight Flying P-Liners have been preserved to this day: the Pommern (Mariehamn/Finland), the freshly renovated Peking (Hamburg/Brunsbüttel), the Passat (Travemünde) and the Padua, now the Kruzenshtern. It is the only P-Liner still operating – as a Russian training sailing ship with its home port in Kaliningrad – and from time to time, it pays a visit to its 15 years older sister ship in Travemünde.

The PEKING is back in Hamburg

After over 70 years and lengthy, complex restoration work, this traditional “Flying P-Lliner” has returned to its home port. This sister ship to the Passat now lies in Hansahafen in Hamburg, right beside the German Port Museum. From 2021, the Peking is set to become the emblem of this museum and it will become a museum ship itself. Then finally, visitors will be “Welcome on board“!

Rolling Home

Learn more about the Shanty Choirs in Travemünde

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Storms threaten sailing ships in the North Sea. Thick fog in the busy Channel poses danger. The full might of the ocean bears down on her in the Bay of Biscay. Once the Tropic is crossed, the ship heads quickly for her destination port with the trade winds filling her sails. May kind winds always guide you, proud ship, quickly and safely into safe havens. Your name shall reflect this wish. I christen you Passat.

This was the christening toast to this tall ship named after the German word for the Passat trade wind.


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