Sailing trader

East india trader on lake vänern

The “Götheborg”, a replica of a 18th century merchant ship, is sailing swedish waters. This summer, she came to visit lake Vänern and thus being the biggest sailing vessel ever seen on the lake.


From the homepage of “Svenska ostindiska companiet”:

It’s not easy building an 18th century ship in full 1:1 scale without any of the original drawings. And using the tools, building methods and materials of the 18th century doesn’t make it any easier. And as well as all that, the ship must of course also fulfil modern safety requirements. But crazy dreams sometimes grow wings and take flight. Particularly when there are a great many genuine enthusiasts involved, wonderful inventiveness, kind donations, patient sponsors and a never-ceasing interest from a city and a world longing for wonders. Today the Swedish Ship Götheborg is very much a reality, and the largest sailing wooden ship in the world. Totally unique, and an arena for showing Sweden’s cultural and business life to the world.

Originally built in 1738, these merchant ships where the backbone of international trade in their times.
In those days an East Indiaman could be built in just under 18 months, the replica was built during a period of 10 years!
The original ship ran aground outside Gothenburg in 1745. The biggest part of its cargo was salvaged during a 2 years period after the accident and plus to that the insurance for the ship was paid, making the whole enterprise still successfull.

When the wreckage of the vessel Götheborg was found in 1984, the idea to make a replica of the vessel emerged.

The ship was built using traditional techniques, and it was made as close to the original as possible. While the exterior remains true to the original, the interior is highly modern. The ship has an electrical system and propellers powered by diesel engines.
Plus to that a lot of modern safety features had to be installed to meet todays safety regulations, especially fire protection equipment and navigation systems.
Ten tons of hemp ropes were used for rigging the vessel, together with some 1,000 blocks and 1,964 m2 linen sail. All this was produced using 18th century techniques. The first trial under sail began on 18 April 2005.

Maiden voyage to China 2005 – 2007

The 2nd october 2005 the “Götheborg” left the prot of Gothenburg and set sails for its voyage of 33000 miles to China and back.
Visiting Recife, Capetown, Freemantle and the Sunda islands, the ship made its way around the globe and reached the port of Kanton on the pearl river the 21th Juli 2006.

The entire trip took 615 days at sea, vists in 14 cities on 5 continents and on the 9th of June 2007 the “Götheborg” finally came home again.

Today the vessel travels the baltic and north sea, visiting european harbours and is open to everybody, who wants to sail onboard an 18th century ship!

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