Being the world’s largest tall ship, four-masted barque “Sedov” – sail training ship – is owned by the Russian Federal Agency for Fisheries (Rosrybolovstvo). The vessel was built and launched at the “Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft” shipyard in Kiel, Germany in 1921. The barque is 117,5 meters long, her displacement is 7,320 tons, she can carry as many as 240 people on board, her total area of sails is 4,192 m2. The tall ship’s first owner Friedrich Adolf Vinnen named the vessel after his wife Magdalene Vinnen. The barque was specially designed and constructed to carry bulk cargoes between ports in Europe, South America, Australia, South East Asia and Oceania. In 1936 F.A. Vinnen & Co sold the “Magdalene Vinnen” to the “Norddeutsche Lloyd” shipping company.
The new shipowner refitted the ship so that it now had living quarters for 70 cadets and could be used both as a cargo and training ship. At the same time the four-master was renamed into the “Commodore Johnsen”.
During World War II (1939-1945) the “Commodore Johnsen” sailed across the Baltic Sea under the Naval Ensign of Germany.
After the War the Soviet Union received the “Commodore Johnsen” as war reparations together with two other German sailing vessels: the four-masted barque “Padua” (the present “Kruzenstern”) and the three-masted barque “Gorch Fock” (which was renamed into the “Tovarisch” but in 2003 returned to her home port Stralsund in Germany and became a floating museum). As for the “Commodore Johnsen”, the vessel was renamed into the “Sedov” in honour of the famous Arctic explorer Georgy Sedov.
In January 1946 the USSR Naval Ensign was hoisted on the “Sedov” and the ship was reclassified into a training vessel. In 1951 the deep sea Captain Pyotr Mitrofanov took over the command of the vessel and the ship was made seaworthy under his supervision. In 1952 the legendary windjammer set off on her first sailing after the War. Making a training voyage with cadets on board in 1957, the “Sedov” took part in carrying out hydrographic researches in the Atlantic Ocean.
From 1975 to 1981 the ship was under repair at the Kronstadt Naval Plant. During the extensive restoration the ship was equipped with living quarters for 146 cadets, an assembly hall, officers’ mess, ratings’ saloon, cadets’ dining room, a gym, a museum and even a small sauna. Two classrooms were constructed and equipped in the former forehold, the latest navigational equipment and communication devices were installed.
In 1991 the “Sedov” was handed over to the Murmansk State Technical University, a higher education institution, subordinate to the Russian Federal Agency for Fisheries. Since that time future navigators, marine and electrical engineers and radio officers have had their first shipboard training on board the four-masted barque.
Barque “Sedov” holds the official world instant speed record among the tall ships of her class, which is 18,32 knots. This record was set by the sailing vessel in the Mediterranean Sea in 1987. There were glorious days when the “Sedov” could cover 300,9 nautical miles per day! (e.g. on July, 30th 1992). When the tall ship’s sails are filled with the wind, the “Sedov” is fast and unstoppable, and hardly any modern sailing vessel can overtake her.
From 1966 to 2015 the “Sedov” has made as many as 93 training voyages, repeatedly participated in the international regattas and visited more than 200 ports of call in Europe, America and Africa. 500 000 nautical miles has been covered, which is equal to the distance to travel from the Earth to the Moon and back.
From 1992 till 1999 the STS “Sedov” participated in the Cutty Sark Tall Ships’ Races and in 1992 the barque finished second in the races, came in third in 1994 and finally won the regatta in 1995.
In 2006 and 2010 the “Sedov” made unique high latitude Arctic expeditions dedicated to the great deeds of the Heroes of Severomorsk, who perished defending the Soviet Arctic during the Great Patriotic War (World War II) and development of the Russian Arctic continental shelf.
The “Sedov” and her crew transited the northern sea lanes using sails only. The four-master called at the ports of Iceland, Norway, the Spitsbergen archipelago and sailed in the area of Franz Josef Land.
During her high latitude sailing the barque set a peculiar and unprecedented record for such type of ships. Skirting the coastline of the Spitsbergen archipelago on the 23rd of September, 2010 the “Sedov” crossed the 78th parallel of northern latitude, entered the famous Isfjorden and was safely moored in the Russian port Barentsburg. Thus the new record for the tall ships of this class was set: similar vessels have never sailed so far to the north in almost early winter time.
In St. Petersburg on the 20th of July, 2013 the “Sedov” completed her first Russian-flagged round-the-world voyage, timed to coincide with the 1150th anniversary of the Russian statehood birth and key dates in the history of geographical discoveries.
The world cruise undertaken in 2012-2013 sponsored by Rosrybolovstvo under the aegis of the RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs lasted 14 months. Besides covering 47 000 nautical miles during the circumnavigation, the “Sedov” crossed the equator 4 times, sailed across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, rounded Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope, visited 32 ports of 24 foreign states in Europe, Africa, Latin America, French Polynesia and South East Asia. During the round-the-world voyage more than 330 cadets of Rosrybolovstvo educational institutions as well as 30 ship’s boys from the military-patriotic clubs for youth had their shipboard training on board the “Sedov”. The 2012-2013 world cruise of Russia’s sailing fleet flagship sparked great interest all over the world.
The STS “Sedov” has been entered into the Guinness Book of Records as the largest extant sail training ship.