To sail with the Statsraad Lehmkuhl is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The three-masted steel barque was built in 1914 in Bremerhaven, Germany as a training ship for the German merchant navy and originally called Grossherzog Friedrich August.
After the First World War the ship was taken by the British army as a trophy of war and sold in 1921 to the former minister of Norway, Kristoffer Lehmkuhl. That explains the name, Statsraad Lehmkuhl, which literally means ‘Cabinet Minister Lehmkuhl’.
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The Norwegian Tall Ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl
The Statsraad Lehmkuhl has an impressive and romantic appearance with the length of 98 meters and over 2000 m² of sail – you’d better roll up your sleeves! In fact, you’re welcomed aboard. No prior experience is necessary – the professional crew is expert sailors and will teach you all the skills you need.
The Statsraad Lehmkuhl takes daytrips, but also cruises of 10 days and naturally this ship competes during the Tall Ships Races. This Norwegian giant often finishes in the top three.
Related: Tall Ships Races
Saved from falling into foreign hands
Statsraad Lehmkuhl started sail training in Norway, transferring to the Bergen School Ship Foundation in 1924 where she was run until 1966 with the exception of five years during the Second World War when she was renamed Westwärts.
Ship tycoon Hilmar Reksten bought her in 1967 to prevent Statsraad Lehmkuhl from falling into foreign hands. Twelve years later he donated the ship to the foundation ‘Stiftelsen Seilskip Stadsraat Lehmkuhl’. The foundation has been the owner and manager since.
The steel barque is moored in Bergen, from where it will depart for most of its 2019 cruises.
Related: Hurtigruten (“The Express Route”)
Circumnavigation in cooperation with the University of Bergen
In August 2018, Statsraad Lehmkuhl and the University of Bergen (UiB) became the first partner to sign a statement of intent to participate in the circumnavigation and to provide the scientific content. In 2021, it plans to perform its first ever circumnavigation of the world.
A number of UiB’s research environments and initiatives have been involved in shaping the statement of intent, including the world-renowned Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, the SDG Bergen initiative and the Ocean Sustainability Bergen centre.
The Norwegian Tall Ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl, written by Tor Kjolberg