Royal Clipper

The Largest True Sailing Ship in the World

They call her the "Queen of Queens", and for a brief period at the turn of the century, the five - masted, fully- rigged ship Preussen ruled the sea trades which were then still open to sailing ships. The great lady was the biggest sailing vessel ever to sail the oceans. Despite this distinction, when she slid down the runway of John Tecklenburg shipyard at Geestemunde, Germany, in 1902, in the twilight of comercial sail, no one would have guessed that a century later she would be the inspiration for a new ship.

The stuff of legend is the drawing board for Star Clippers, the Monaco-based luxury cruise line that specializes in recreating the sailing vessel experience.


The Preussen`s specifications were scrutinized for the construction of the company`s new flagship, Royal Clipper. It is not the first time that Star Clippers` Swedish-born managing owner, Mikael Krafft, has cast his eye back into the history of sail to find a classic style.
To build Star Clippers` two existing sailing cruise ships, the rakish looking, 360-foot barkentines, Star Clipper and Star Flyer, they studied the hull concepts and rigging propotions of several of the fastest 19-century vessels,all from the acclaimed clipper ship designer Donald McKay of East Boston, Massachusetts. It is a nice coincidence that Hartmann Design has already carved a figurehead replica from one of McKay`s ships, Glory of the Seas, for another Swedish costumer from Trelleborg.  

C.Hartmann (r.) and the designer of the Royal Clipper D. Starkey (l.) on board in London

The historic Preussen had no figurehead, as was true with many sailing vessels at the turn of the century, but she did have carved trailboards and ornaments. This where the Royal Clipper will be different from her original model. The owner, Mikael Krafft, wishes to see the image of his daughter, Marie Krafft, as the ship`s figurehead.

Marie Krafft with the plaster modell of her face
The final works on the ship before the presentation.


                        Lili Marleen

The ship Lili Marleen that was newly built by the Elsfleth shipyard was naturally also intended to have an individually, personally sculpted figure of Lili on its bow. As there were no concrete indications as to what this lady might have looked like, we worked without any fixed image and were able to let our imagination run free. A pinewood block was glued together out of square timber for this job, at the Nobiskrug shipyard in Rendsburg. The measurements and contours were then transferred onto the block in order to get an idea of the shape. We worked out the rough shape using a chainsaw and an axe. Hereafter the developing shape of the figure was carved more finely with large carving knives. Every detail was worked out with increasingly finer tools, up to scalpels and finally sanded smooth.Following the sculpting work, the figure was impregnated and then coated with varnish. The figurehead was thereafter fastened to the bow of the ship at the Elsfleth shipyard.

The bolts welded to the stem post were led through the drill holes in the thorax region of the figure and screwed fast. The drill holes were afterwards plugged up with wood again. Following further varnishing, the drill holes were no longer detectable. The final coat of varnish was applied directly on the bow.



                  Großherzogin Elisabeth

We first made contact to Captain H.W. Janssen, the president of the Elsfleth Shipping Association in 1994, offering our services as figurehead/busthead carvers, which the captain enthusiastically accepted. Mr. Janssen was interested in having a female figure carved to resemble the real Grand Duchess. A well preserved old photograph of the Grand Duchess Elisabeth from the year 1908 served as the model. The size of the busthead was to be approximately 1.70 m., standing on a golden scroll head, a typical ship's adornment. To begin with, two cubic metres of pinewood were glued together into a block, then the figure was transferred onto the wooden block.

Schulschiffverein " Großherzogin Elisabeth " e.V. Rathausplatz 7
26 931 Elsfleth
Tel : ( 04404) 95 00 - 0
Fax : ( 04404 ) 96 02 24
Telex 2 52 35 und 2 52 36

      Horst Werner Janssen       Captain and Owner

History of the ship

In 1909, the Dutch Jan Smit shipyard in Ablasserdam built and handed over the first freight wherry (freight sailing schooner) in the world, equipped with a diesel motor, to their client.The ship's name was "San Antonio". At the time, this was a courageous step into the future. The patron saint Anthony who was credited with making it possible to find lost things again, was the inspiration for the ship's name. Following an eventful history as the "San Antonio", the ship came to Elsfleth as the Grand Duchess Elisabeth in March 1982. A square rigged vessel named Grand Duchess Elisabeth had already been commissioned by the Sailing School Ship Association in 1901, which had its home port in Elsfleth. The naval/seamen's recruits were educated and trained on this ship according to tradition. Even today, the Grand Duchess Elisabeth is utilised as a training ship. Apart from learning how to handle the most modern of nautical - technical equipment, the young sailors are taught the vital practical experience and knowledge concerning the forces of nature.



                   Fridtjof Nansen

A further ship, that is especially well known in Scandinavia, the Fridtjof Nansen, was provided with a ship's figurehead in 1997. The figurehead of this ship represents an Inuit hunter who is on the lookout for prey with a bone harpoon, on the bow of the main top sailing lugger. This archaic figure was designed by Birgit Hartmann with the background of the journeys of the Norwegian diplomat and North Pole explorer Fridtjof Nansen and his intensive relationship to the arctic people. The bust head was worked from one single elm trunk, which enabled the beautifully pronounced grain and colouring of the wood to be maintained. The face and hair were stained with different colour tones to contrast/offset the hood and anorak of the Inuit.

Traditionsegler Fridtjof Nansen e.V.

Mr. Temme
Grönenweg 23
D-22 549 Hamburg
Tel.: +49 (0) 40 / 803 374
Fax: +49 (0) 40 / 800 72 56




Die niederländische Barkentine "Antigua" wurde im Rahmen der Veranstaltung Jade Weser Port - Cup 2003 in Wilhelmshaven mit einer Galionsfigur geschmückt.
Die Idee entstammt aus der Verbindung Detlev Weide, Weide - Projektbetreueng Wilhelmshaven und Peter Westphal, Westphal Maritim mit den beiden Schiffbildhauern Birgit und Claus Hartmann, die auch den Jade Weser Port Cup einer Meerjungfrau entworfen und angefertigt haben.

Detlev Weide und Peter Westphal brachten die Wilhelmshavener Oceanis AG - Deutschlands einzige virtuelle Unterwasserstation - mit an den Tisch.

Als besonders Ereignis war im Rahmen des Jade - Wochenendes in Wilhelmshaven der 160 Zentimeter große hölzerne Rohling für die Galionsfigur vor dem Oceanis Gebäude, am Bontekai zu sehen . Informationen rund um die Galionsfiguren und Segelschiffe für die die Hartmanns gearbeitet haben vervollständigten das Projekt.

Die Befestigung der Galionsfigur wurde durch das Wilhelmshavener Unternehmen TURBO TECHNIK REPAIRYARD übernommen.



                     Signora del Vento

The figurehead was ceremoniously unveiled by Nina, Countess Von Pfeil on the 12th of September 1998, accompanied by guests of honour, representatives from the media, music and a grand buffet, before the ship now named "Peace" started on its maiden voyage with its brand new figurehead.



The “Signora del Vento” is a three-masted sailing vessel with more than 3.000 sq. meters (32.000 sq. feet) of sails. She was built in Poland in 1962 and she has been sailing the Northern Seas for 30 years. Beginning from the nineties the vessel has been used as a school ship worldwide, taking part in countless rallies for sailing ships. S.I.N. (Italian Society of Navigation) bought her in 2006 and, understanding her great potential, restored her completely in order to meet the very high safety standards needed to obtain the Italian flag and the registration in the Italian Register of Shipping, conforming to SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) and RINA (Royal Institute of Naval Architects) regulations

Società Italiana di Navigazione Srl - Via Saverio Mercadante,32 - 00198 ROMA
Direct: +39 (06) 84.17.000 fax: +39 (06) 853.44.959 Commercial mobile: +39 347.3503387