History in brief
The "Statsraad Lehmkuhl" is a 3-masted steel bark, built by Johann C. Tecklenberg AG in Bremerhaven-Geestemünde in 1914 as a training ship for the German merchant marine. Her original name was "Grossherzog Friedrich August". During most of World War Ι the "Statsraad Lehmkuhl" was used as a stationary training ship in Germany, and was, after the war, taken as prize by England.
On an initiative by the current director of Det Bergenske Dampskibsselskab (Bergen Line) and the former cabinet minister Kristofer Lehmkuhl, the «Statsraad Lehmkuhl» was purchased from England in 1921 and put into service as sail training vessel under Norwegian flag from 1923. As a token of appreciation and gratitude to Kristofer Lehmkuhl for his work for the school training ship cause, and for his work in the 1905 cabinet, the ship was renamed «Statsraad Lehmkuhl» (Minister Lehmkuhl).
«Statsraad Lehmkuhl» served as training vessel for Bergen School Ship Foundation until 1967, except for the period 1940 - 1945, when the Germans confiscated the ship during World War II and renamed her «Westwärts».
Despite public contributions, the Bergen School Ship Foundation
could not afford to operate the ship beyond 1966. The interest in
traditional Training Vessels was declining, and in combination with
increasing operating costs this resulted in serious considerations
of selling the ship.
Shipowner Hilmar Reksten purchased the ship in order to prevent it from being sold abroad, and to make sure that it continue as a school training ship.
During the years 1968 - 1972 Shipowner Reksten operated the
«Statsraad Lehmkuhl»as a training ship at his own expense and
mainly for the benefit of his own shipping company. Following the
oil crisis and the tanker crisis, «Statsraad Lehmkuhl» was
ultimately laid-up in Bergen harbour from 1973. In 1978 Shipowner
Hilmar Reksten donated the «Statsraad Lehmkuhl» to the Statsraad
Lehmkuhl Foundation, which is the current owner and operator of
the ship. The foundation has, over the years, rented the ship out
to schools, clubs, companies and other
organizations who have used the ship for cruises and shorter trips. In addition the Foundation itself do arrange cruises and coastal trips which are open for the public to attend.
The «Statsraad Lehmkuhl» has a gross tonnage of 1.516 tons and
has a sail area of 2.026 square meters distributed between 22
sails. The capacity for trainees has been up to 200, and the
cabin capacity for the permanent crew accommodates 20
persons. The ship has a diesel engine for propulsion that
develops 1125 HP, which gives the ship a speed of up to 11 knots
under fair weather conditions. Under sails,
the ship has on several occations gained 17 knots, and during an Atlantic crossing in the fall of 2007, she sailed at a speed of 18 knots.
The «Statsraad Lehmkuhl» has also participated in several of the
Tall Ships' Races, arranged by Sail Training
International. The «Statsraad
Lehmkuhl» has participated in the following races with the following results in her class:
In consideration of the cadets' safety, the «Statsraad Lehmkuhl» was originally given a reduced rig relative to her size. This represents a certain handicap in sail races when the wind is gentle. The ship sails really well in stronger winds.
«Statsraad Lehmkuhl» has made several visits to USA. She visited New York in 1952, Baltimore in 1954, Philadelphia in 1956, Boston in 1957 and New York, Boston and Rhode Island in 1964. In recent years USA has been visited in 2001, 2002 and 2005, 2006 and 2007.
«Statsraad Lehmkuhl» has served as a school training vessel for the German Navy, and has been chartered for the same purpose by the Royal Norwegian Navy since 2002.
The «Statsraad Lehmkuhl» is today Norway's largest and oldest square rigged sailing ship, and also the oldest amongst the large square rigger in the world today.
Harold A.Underhill has given the following statement about «Statsraad Lehmkuhl»:
"This ship is I think the best looking of all the three-posters of barque rig, and that is quite a statement, for there were, and still are, some extremely fine vessels of this class, and it is far easier to pick out the odd one which is not quite so pleasing than to select one to place above her contemporaries; yet I do think that this ship can make that claim, and what is more, I think that a glance at her profile will also convince the reader of that point. I find the sweep of her cutwater just perfect - and I like curves for their own sake - the sheer just right, and the whole composition so pleasing that I get great pleasure from this particular design." Sail Training and Cadet Ships, 1956.