A Closer Look at the Royal Clipper
24th February 2017
The Star Clippers fleet is amazing for many reasons. 40 years ago, at the beginning of an age of air travel, the idea of embarking on a journey across the seas would have been deemed unthinkable. People soon fell in love with the idea of cruising, but Star Clippers offered a completely different insight altogether. Having established in 1992 with the launch of the four-masted barquentines, Star Clipper and Star Flyer, the line has continued to offer traditional sailing experiences that are synonymous of the age of discovery.
The dawn of the millennium saw the introduction of a new and vessel that would eclipse the other two in terms of sheer size and prowess. The five-masted Royal Clipper became one of the largest tall ships ever built when she was launched in July 2000. She began construction at the Gdansk shipyard, having been designed by Polish naval architect Zygmunt Choren. An existing hull, which had been specifically modified, was used in the construction of the ship. She was later sold due to financial problems and subsequently picked up by the Merwede ship yard in the Netherlands. Her interiors were designed by Rainer Maria Latzke, who introduced a Mediterranean feel to the vessel.
Her design was based on the Preussen, a famous German five-masted windjammer which was built in 1902. Preussen was equally as impressive as the Royal Clipper, sailing for the F. Laeisz shipping company and was named after Prussia – a German state and kingdom. Prior to the launch of the Royal Clipper, she was the only five-masted full-rigged ship ever to be built – which only adds to the impressive story of the Star Clippers vessel.
The Royal Clipper is listed in the Guinness World Records as being the largest square-rigged ship in service. She sails elegantly across the seas with a structure that consists of 5,202 square metres of sail. This is spread across five masts and 42 sails, with the tallest mast extending 197 feet. Passengers sailing on board the Royal Clipper today are even able to climb the mast in a safety harness to the passenger lookout crows-nest.
Unlike Preussen, which embarked on many transatlantic journeys between Germany and Chile, the Royal Clipper travels at a much more leisurely pace. Each of the 227 passengers on board will be able to sit back and relax in luxury as they travel from one beautiful destination to the next. The experience on board can be described as similar to that of an elegant modern yacht, with 19,000 square feet of open deck and three swimming pools for passengers to enjoy.
Throughout the winter season the Royal Clipper operates Caribbean cruise itineraries and – due to her smaller size – she is able to dock in a number of ports that are generally inaccessible to larger vessels. During the summer season, she is transferred to the Western Mediterranean to operate a series of 7, 10 and 11-night sailings. Between seasons, she embarks on transatlantic sailings between the two regions – providing a unique opportunity to experience a traditional sailing experience across the sea.
2018 will see the introduction of another brand new vessel for the Star Clippers fleet. Based on France II, which entered service as a French merchant navy ship in 1911, the Flying Clipper will offer summer Mediterranean and winter Caribbean sailings – catering for a capacity of 300 passengers.