November/December Issue 230: Passage on Kruzenshtern


Not all of the big Laeisz “P-Line” boats were built at the Blohm & Voss yard in Hamburg. The last of the remaining flying P-Line sailing ships, Padua, was actually christened at Bremerhaven in 1927. And Padua, with her sailing records, was a fitting way to end the line. 

Padua is a sister ship to the great ship Peking, memorialized in Irving Johnson’s film about his passage around Cape Horn. Padua, now called Kruzenshtern and Russian-flagged, is magnificent at 376 feet long with a draft of 19 feet, a 46-foot beam and a 176-foot sparred height. The ship can carry more than 36,000 square feet of sail or about one acre of canvas. Padua was built for the grain trade from Australia to Europe. She also worked carrying nitrates back from Chile to Europe. After WWII the vessel was taken as war reparations by the Soviets and converted into a sail-training vessel. 

Like most of the grain-carrying sailing vessels, Padua was rigged as a four-masted barque and built of steel. It’s difficult to imagine that as recently as the 1920s the best of these sailing ships were still at work making money. Padua could carry 4,000 tons in four holds. Her top speed was 13 knots and she regularly made passages where her average speed approached that. From 1926 to 1941, Padua made 17 voyages either to Chile or to Australia, rounding Cape Horn an astounding 28 times. Her maiden voyage around Cape Horn to Chile from Hamburg was an amazing 87 days. In 1933, she was at sea a record-breaking 67 days from Hamburg to Port Lincoln, Australia, averaging more than 8 knots over that period. Her fastest voyage was in 1938 from Hamburg via Chile to Australia and back to Hamburg in eight months and 28 days, an unbroken world record. It is a distance of 13,515 nautical miles via Cape Horn from Hamburg to Australia, and 9,822 nautical miles via Cape Horn to Chile from Hamburg. 

At the outbreak of WWII, Padua was no longer working and spent the war years dockside. By that time it was already clear that the cost of running the great sailing ships was becoming prohibitive and most of them were either sold or scrapped.

Padua, now Kruzenshtern, is now supported by Tall Ships Friends, a nonprofit out of Hamburg. The ship works as a sail-training vessel for paying trainees. If you would like to scale a 173-foot mast in a raging gale while furling sail you can have that experience by contacting

Let’s join the ship on Oct. 26, 1930 (use 2015 Nautical Almanac), as she approaches the Falkland Islands. The DR at the time of the observation is 51°10’ S by 58° 25’ W. The height of eye is 20 feet and there is no sextant error. The skipper gets an observation of Antares at sunset. The Hs of the star is 26° 30.8’

A. Calculate the time of Civil Twilight.
B. Using the shot time of 2323:20 GMT, calculate the LHA Aires. 
C. Find the Ho.
D. Reduce the sight. Using HO 249 Vol. 3, calculate the intercept.

A. Civil Twilight is 2322:40.
B. LHA Star is 80°.
C. Ho is 26° 24.6’.
D. Intercept is 3 nm toward.

By Ocean Navigator