Star Clippers To Build The World’s Biggest Square Rigger

STAR CLIPPERS New Build No. 4, courtesy Star Clippers
STAR CLIPPERS New Build No. 4, courtesy Star Clippers

Tall ship sailing cruise line Star Clippers has announced that it has started building a fourth ship to add to its fleet of graceful square-riggers.  The decision to construct a modern sailing ship replica, came on May 27, 2015 in an announcement to the press.  For the present time the vessel is known simply as New Building No. 4 Star Clippers.  It is the first new-build since the launch of ROYAL CLIPPER in July 2000. The new vessel will be the biggest and most ambitious project to date and will be launched in the second half of 2017, carrying 300 passengers, measuring 8,770 tons and powered by more than 6,350 square meters of sails.                                                                     

The new ship will technically be a five-masted, square-rigged barque. While the company’s flagship ROYAL CLIPPER is modeled on the legendary German sailing ship PREUSSEN, the new member of the fleet will be a near-replica of the even more impressive FRANCE II, commissioned in 1911 and the largest square rigger ever built. Just as the original FRANCE II eclipsed the PREUSSEN more than a century ago as the world’s largest square rigger, the Star Clippers newbuild will replace its fleetmate, ROYAL CLIPPER as the largest ship of its kind afloat today.

Mikael Krafft, founder and owner of Star Clippers, says:  “We have already built the five-masted full ship ROYAL CLIPPER, which is very much influenced by the PREUSSEN.  This time, we intend to build a ship inspired by FRANCE II, an ambition I have had for a long time.  The ship’s rig will be identical to FRANCE II and dimensions will be very similar, although we had added various features that will make this the most magnificent passenger sailing ship afloat.”

As well as the generous deck space only found on a sailing ship, the new vessel will have three pools, one that funnels sunlight through the ship’s atrium into the elegantly appointed dining room. There will be a watersports platform in the stern for use when the ship is at anchor and a variety of cabin grades, including 34 suites with balconies and four luxurious owner’s suites. A restaurant in the light-filled atrium will accommodate all passengers for open-seating dining. Regular guests will be delighted to discover their favorite hallmarks of all Star Clippers ships, such as the cozy library, the bowsprit net and the popular, al fresco Tropical Bar, where evening entertainment takes place. While the ship will have ecologically sound, high-tech engines, like its sisters it will rely on wind power and sails wherever possible.

Star Clippers was founded in 1989 by Swedish entrepreneur and classic boat connoisseur, Mikael Krafft, initially operating two identical four-masted barquentines, STAR FLYER, which set sail in 1991 and her twin, STAR CLIPPER, launched in 1992. At 115.5 m long, with 3.365 m² of sails apiece, and carrying up to 170 passengers and 74 crew, both are modern, high-tech, re-creations of the classic clipper sailing ships that dominated the oceans of the world in the 19th century.   The vessels were the first sailing clippers to be built since 1910 and heralded a renaissance recalling the golden age of sail. In 2000, Krafft added a third vessel, ROYAL CLIPPER, a fully square-rigged vessel with 42 sails.  ROYAL CLIPPER  holds the Guinness World Record as being the biggest five-masted ship in the world.

The new ship will be delivered in the second half of 2017 and will initially sail the company’s most popular itineraries in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.  The line is expecting to begin taking bookings sometime in 2016.

Ship Facts for New Building No. 4 Star Clippers:

·       Shipyard: Brodosplit shipyard, Split, Croatia

·       Tonnage: 8,770 grt

·       Hull: Steel

·       Passengers: 300 in 150 cabins

·       Crew: 140

·       Sail: area 6,350 m2

·       Rig: Five-mast barque

·       Facilities: Three pools; massage and beauty treatments; watersports platform with equipment; library; function room; piano bar; Tropical Bar; deck bar; sports bar; open seating dining

·       Cabins: 150 cabins including 34 suites with balconies plus four owner’s cabins.

Shawn Dake

Shawn Dake

Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years.  A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary.  A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs.  Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America.  With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.
Shawn Dake

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