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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Peking to return to Hamburg

From the National Maritime Museum blog

Peking will Return to Hamburg

The South Street Seaport Museum has announced that the 1911 barque Peking will return to Hamburg, Germany, to serve as the centerpiece of that city’s new waterfront museum.

Photo: Bob-Athinson

Launched at Hamburg’s Blohm & Voss shipyard, Peking was one of the famed Flying P line sailing for the Reederei F. Laeisz in the nitrate and wheat trade around Cape Horn.

One of only four surviving ships of the Flying P fleet—the others are Kruzhenstern (ex-Padua), Pommern, and PassatPeking was made famous by sailing legend Irving Johnson. In 1929 Johnson and his friend Charles Brodhead signed on as paying passengers aboard the barque, with the intention of soaking up the experience of sailing a tall ship, working with the crew as much as they could get away with it.

The experience was captured both in Johnson’s book The Peking Battles Cape Horn,  which can be found in the NMHS bookstore) and the film Around Cape Horn, available through Mystic Seaport.

Peking came to the South Street Seaport Museum in 1975, joining the Liverpool-built Wavertree of 1885, Ambrose, Pioneer and Lettie G. Howard. In recent years, however, South Street determined that financial realities would not support two such large ships, given the cost of maintaining them in good condition. 

Capt. Jonathan Boulware, executive director of the Seaport Museum, summed it up:
“South Street Seaport Museum has long worked to maintain a fleet of well-maintained, relevant historic ships at her East River piers. The idea of recreating the “Street of Ships” is an important one, but what is clear is that two huge sailing ships are a crushing burden of maintenance.

"Our 1885 ship Wavertree, currently the subject of a $13 million city-funded restoration project, is the right ship for the Seaport Museum and for New York. Wavertree called at New York. She is the type of ship that built New York. Peking has a similar relationship to Hamburg. With the return of Wavertree in the middle of 2016, there will again be a huge square-rigged sailing ship at South Street  in outstanding condition.

"Peking will return to Hamburg, the city of her birth, and there be cared for in much the same way. This is good for the Seaport Museum and it’s good for Peking."


Bill Osmundsen said...

It kind of sad that New York can't support two square riggers like this. Wavertree is a much smaller vessel and should be easier to support. In '76 I sailed on a leg with the Christian Radich also a smaller full rigged ship. When I first saw the dimensions of the Peking; Mast height and depth of spar, all steel, seemed intimidating compared to a 200 footer.
South Street did have quite a few volunteers but not enough for such major restoration.
I met a man years ago (almost 50) who sailed on the Peking he was 60-70 then; he said these ships are beautiful and romantic but this was a real 'ball braker'.
I wish the Peking a good new life, in the waters she was born.

World of the Written Word said...

Lovely comment, Bill. I had a friend (now passed on) who sailed as a boy on the Pamir, and gave me a copy of the little logbook he kept. He stayed with the sea,but that voyage was the highlight of his career.

You are right about South Street. I have visited there many times -- and researched there, and given talks -- but always came away with the impression that it was a difficult area for a maritime museum. Too many kinds of other work going on around it.

Mojicap said...

Really sad to see the departure of PEKING I was able to do a ship survey back in 2007, STSPM was trying to keep it stable and the City don't know what to do with it, Key people in the administration that may have the ability to improve the museum and support it just jump out the boat and neglect the city the opportunity to keep these wonderful boats and don't forget SANDY that basically put them on the brick of disappearing. The positive its that PEKING is going to a new home were they will love it and preserved hopefully forever.

Bruce Marich said...

When will she be towed bacK to Hamburg? Will she be a working ship like James Craig (1874)?