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Sedov, over 90, but midway through a circumnavigation

by Nancy Knudsen on 11 Mar 2013
Sedov sets off to cross the Indian Ocean to Mauritius - 90-years-old but still going strong SW
She's over ninety but still sailing strong. One of the world’s biggest tallships, Russia’s Sedov, a four masted steel barque which has been under Russian ownership since 1945, has left Singapore and is now crossing the Indian Ocean on its way to Mauritius. On board there are almost 200 lucky university cadets doing sail training.

Originally named the Magdalene Vinnen II, was launched in Kiel in 1921, and was the first ever tallship to have an engine installed.

It set sail from St Petersburg last May on a 14-month circumnavigation intended to wave the Russian flag on the 1,150th anniversary of Russia’s statehood. She participates regularly in the big maritime international events as a privileged host and has also been a regular participant in The Tall Ships' Races.

She has had a romantic history. When the graceful sailing ship was launched, she was the world’s largest auxiliary barque and exclusively used as a cargo ship with a crew that was partially made up of cadets. She sailed on her maiden voyage on September 1, 1921. Her voyage took her from Bremen via Cardiff, where she took on coal, to Buenos Aires. Despite bad weather, the journey from England to Argentina with holds full of coal took just 30 days.

The Magdalene Vinnen II carried all sorts of cargo: apart from coal, she took timber from Finland, wheat from Australia, pyrite from Italy and unit load from Belgium. The four-masted barque made two voyages around Cape Horn to Chile. Until her last voyage under the Vinnen flag in 1936, the ship sailed to Argentina, South Africa, Australia, Reunion and the Seychelles.

Under Russian ownership she was renamed the Sedov after the Arctic explorer Georgy Sedov who died during an investigation in the Arctic in 1914, she travelled the world, being used as a training ship of the Navy from 1952 to 1957 and as an oceanographic research ship.


In 1981, was renovated, with new features added such as a glass-domed banquet hall with a stage and a movie theater.
In 2011 'Sedov' celebrated her 90th anniversary. Then, in May last year came her grand circumnavigation, which is still underway.

Her original claim to being the world's largest tall ship is no more, however. Now she is merely the 25th longest tall ship in the world.

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