Nov/Dec 2012 Issue 206: The barque Peking and the P-Line ships

Peking, one of the last of the eight Flying P-Line ships, built in 1911 for the F. Laeisz Group of Hamburg, Germany, and constructed by the famous Blohm & Voss Shipyard of that city, remains one of the most famous of the four-masted barques that regularly sailed between Hamburg and the Chilean nitrate port of Valparaiso around Cape Horn.

The Laeisz line of Hamburg made its reputation, and its fortune building ships like the 377-foot Peking, a 3,100-gross-ton vessel. These ships regularly made the voyage between the west coast of South America and the English Channel in less than 80 days. Usually averaging more than 12 knots, the P-Line ships had a reputation for reliability and speed.

Peking is built of steel; the main mast is 170 feet tall — about the same height as the barque Eagle. Peking carried a sail area of 44,132 square feet, which is more than one acre of sail. Her maximum speed is about 17 knots.

The evolution of steel rigging which took place in the 1830s, substituting wire for the standing rigging instead of hemp rope, made these large sailing ships possible. Peking has more than 15,000 feet (2.84 miles) of 6×19 wires.

The Laeisz line began in 1824. In 1861 the son of the founder Ferdinand, named Carl, was married to Sophie and her nickname — because of her curly hair — was “Poodle” in English. When Carl Laeisz started building boats, he named all of the boats with P’s, in honor of his wife. Out of the 86 sailing vessels owned by the company, 66 had names beginning with P.

Peking made money for the Laiesz company until 1932 when she was sold to the British and established as a children’s home and training ship under the new name Arethusa. During World War II the vessel was commissioned in the Royal Navy and served as HMS Peking. In 1975 the commodities broker Jack Aron, a great friend of the South Street Seaport Museum in lower Manhattan, purchased the vessel and had it towed to New York. For the past 36 years, Peking has been on display.

Recently it has been announced that due to budgetary constraints New York City and the South Street Seaport Museum are gifting Peking back to the city of Hamburg. The ship will be put on a heavy-lift vessel and returned to the city on Elbe.

Her first master was Hinrich Nissen and her first passage from Hamburg to Valparaiso took 76 days. Let’s join him aboard ship bound for the Falkland Islands and thence on to Cape Horn. We will use the 2012 Nautical Almanac. It is Sept. 24. Peking is bowling along in the South Atlantic under all canvas, reaching down to the Horn. The height of eye is 35 feet. The DR position is 45° 15’ S by 29° 12’ W. The captain is taking a morning lower limb sun shot to get an LOP. The Hs is 21° 38.8’ and the time of the shot in GMT is 09:52:27. Find the Ho then reduce sight, and using H.O. 249 find intercept, plot and find EP.

A. What is Ho?
B. What is intercept?
C. What is EP?

A. Ho is 21° 46.7’
B. Intercept is 6.3-nm away
C. EP is 45° 14’ S by 29° 09’ W


Extended Solution

We have a sun line of position that will assist the navigator in establishing an Estimated Position. The day is September 24. DR is 45° 15’ S by 29° 12’ W. Height of eye is 35 feet and the time of the observation of the lower limb of the sun is 09:52:27 GMT. Hs of the sun is 38° 28.8’. We are using the 2012 Nautical Almanac.

GHA @ 9 hrs              317° 01.5’
Min corr 52:27        +    13° 06.8’
GHA                            330° 08.3’
– Ass. Long                    29° 08.3’
LHA                              301°

Dec at time of observation S 0° 41.1” (d) +1
                                                      +   0.1
Dec                                         S 0° 41.2’

Hs          21° 38.8’
-Dip                -5.7’
App Alt   21° 33.1’
+ 3rd corr      13.6’
Ho           21° 46.7’

HO 249 Volume 3 Declination Same as Latitude. Ass. Latitude S 45°

Hc             21° 22’                   d +45                Z 113° Zn =180°-Z =67°
+Table 5          31’
HC            21° 53’

Hc 21° 53.0’
-Ho 21° 46.7’
Intercept 6.3 nm Away

After plotting the EP is 45° 14’ S by 29° 09’ W

By Ocean Navigator