Windjammer ( Eng. Windjammer - literally “wind squeezer”) is the latest generation of large commercial sailboats , which appeared at the end of the XIX century on the basis of the achievements of the industrial revolution . The steel mast allowed these vessels to obtain huge, compared with the sailing ships of previous generations, dimensions (the length of the windjammers reached 100–140 m) with an increased load capacity of 3-4 times; steel masts made it possible to raise sails to a higher height and increase sail, using it to the maximum even in a strong aft wind.
Their appearance was preceded by the fact that in the 1870s - 90s . steamboats became economical enough to displace sailboats from European lines, but long-distance routes remained beyond their control (for this, intermediate bunkering was necessary, the procedure was quite long and expensive, because it required the maintenance of a network of intermediate coal stations); also the opening of the Suez and Panama Canals (which sailboats were not able to pass on their own) - dealt a significant blow to the sailing fleet - sailboats got into a joke or went for scrapping. They could compete with the steam fleet only when transporting large lots of low-value / specific cargo over long distances, but for this it was necessary to increase the size of the vessels. [one]
Vinjammers used all the new shipbuilding of that time, primarily the use of iron and steel. This allowed engineers to fulfill all the requirements of hydrodynamics - ships became larger and had longer hulls, as a result of which their average speed increased significantly, leaving tea clippers behind the previous fleet (however, in the US, rich in forest, they also continued to use wood in building - for example, on the 6-masted schooner Wyoming). The length of the windjammers reached 100-140 m, and the displacement - 4-10 thousand tons.
In addition to steel hulls, windjammers also received steel masts , which made it possible to raise sails to a great height and increase the sail area. Longer hulls made it possible to install more masts - from three to four or more. The greatest number was possessed by the American schooner Thomas Lawson , who had seven masts at once. In order to facilitate the work with sails, they began to be divided in two, with the corresponding designation “upper” and “lower”. At the beginning of the XX century, work with sails began to be carried out using winches , with steam or electric drive.
Winghammers armed themselves, as a rule, with barges , but there were also retreats - direct weapons on all masts, as well as schooners (in the USA).
Steam engines also received steam engines , which did not make them, however, steamers - the machines were low-power and served as an auxiliary engine in case of calm . In addition, not all shipowners agreed with the additional costs associated with the operation of steam engines in sailboats.
Builders and owners of windjammers
Vinjammers built shipyards in England, Germany, France and the USA . Companies in the same countries used them.
The largest builders were the Blom und Voss shipyard in Hamburg, and the Tecklenborg shipyard in Gestemünde . Smaller sailboats were built at the Rickmers shipyard in Bremerhaven . Prominent shipbuilders of those years were engaged in design and construction, for example, in Germany they were the University of Gottingen , aerodynamics Feppel and Prandtl , shipbuilders Middendorf , Grossek and others.
Most of the large sailboats were concentrated in the hands of the German company F. Layesh ", including sailing ships of the" line P ". The largest fleet of windjammers was owned by the Swede Gustav Erickson from Mariehamn on the Åland Islands - more than 40 large sailing ships sailed under his flag. Before World War II, he owned two dozen windjammers, and after the war his empire collapsed. Erickson died in 1947, stating before his death that life in a world without sailboats is meaningless to him.
Routes and loads of windjammers
When choosing the routes of commercial sailing ships, they tried to choose places well provided with constant winds, since the previous era of the Great Geographical Discoveries allowed us to accumulate extensive experience in using winds and currents .
Winghammers transported most often inexpensive bulk cargo . Sailboats brought saltpeter, guano and ore from Chile around the Cape Horn . Exotic woods, jute and rice from Asia were delivered from Brazil , copra from the islands of Oceania, oil came from the Persian Gulf (in barrels or in bulk in the hull). In the opposite direction, from Europe, sailboats transported coal to the ports where their rivals-steamers bunkered.
From Australia , making part of the journey in the “ roaring forties ”, wool and wheat were delivered. Given the seasonality of wheat supplies, sailing ships operating on the Australian line sought to deliver it to Europe (around Cape Horn) as quickly as possible in order to have better sales conditions. The so-called "Grain race", like the famous "tea race" of the middle of the XIX century. Moreover, adhering to the westerly winds and the accompanying current, ships sailed from Europe, circling Africa, and from Australia also east, circling the Cape Horn, returned to Europe, circumnavigating the world .
One of the specific cargoes that only sailing ships carried was the piano . The fact is that the vibration of the hulls during the operation of marine engines had an extremely negative effect on their tuning. Here, the winjammers had no competitors.
The team on windjammers was often made up of cadets of naval schools who were supposed to practice on sailing ships. In addition, a ship graduate could also command the ship, who needed to undergo an internship . This reduced the cost of maintaining the team, while there were still romantics who even paid for a place in the team.
The largest sailboat ever built was the France II , a 5-mast French sailboat created in 1911 to transport South American nickel ore. The hull length reached 146 m, a displacement of more than 10.5 thousand tons, and 5 steel masts carried 38 sails with a total area of 6350 m². The ship had excellent finishes, passenger cabins and even a library. However, the fall in prices for nickel raw materials, as well as the Chilean guano for the transportation of which it was transferred, led to the fact that in 1922 it was left without freight and stood, slowly collapsing, in the harbor of Bordeaux until 1944 until his skeleton died under American bombs.
The largest currently existing windjammer is the Sedov bark, the leader of the Russian training ship fleet. It was built in Germany in 1921 for the company F. A. Vinnen ”, at the time of launching it was the 4th largest sailing ship (117 m, 7200 t, 3800 m² of sails), under the name“ Magdalena Winnen ”, in 1936 became the property of North German Lloyd and became a training vessel under the name "Commodore Johnsen", and after the war as part of reparations came to the USSR.
One of the most famous were sailing boats of the “P line” (“flying P”) of Ferdinand Layesh company, so named because their names began with “P” - Potozi, Pommern, Passat, Pamir, Proysen, Beijing, Padova, Ponape, Pinvall, etc. The Pamir was the fifth of ten; sank near the Azores on September 21, 1957 as a result of a hurricane, returning from Chile, out of 86 crew only 6 survived. due to a rare combination of circumstances). The former Padua got into the USSR after World War II and became the training barque Kruzenshtern .
One of the most beautiful and fastest was the barge “Duchess of Cecilia”, built by the Rickmers shipyard in 1902 and named in honor of Duchess Cecilia of Mecklenburg , wife of Prince of Prussia, heir to the throne. Many years of experience were taken into account in his design, and therefore the ship turned out to be very salable. The barque was built by order of North German Lloyd and originally went to South America, but with the outbreak of World War I, he was interned in Chile and only returned to Germany in 1920. He could not find work there, and for 20 thousand dollars it was bought by the Finnish shipowner Gustav Erickson with his transfer to the Australian line, where the bark perfectly proved itself. His accomplishments include a daily transition of 341 miles and a weekly transition of 2120 miles. However, in 1936, at night, calmly, he ran aground off the coast of South America, and it was decided not to restore it. Part of the parts was removed from it, the rest was destroyed by waves.
The ship with the largest number of masts was the American steel schooner Thomas W. Lawson . She was launched in 1902 in the city of Quincy (USA). "Thomas W. Lawson" was intended for the transport of coal, but after construction was converted into a tanker. The length of the hull reached 120 m. Each of the seven steel masts with a height of 35 m each weighed 20 tons. Their continuation was served by wooden 17th rods. The total sail area reached 4000 m², divided into 25 sails. The work of the sailors was facilitated by various mechanisms. The schooner, which did not have an engine, was equipped with a steam steering machine , steam winches, an electrical system and even a telephone network. According to the existing terminology, the masts from the 2nd to the 6th should be called the mainmasts , however, the sailors quickly found a way out - they gave the masts the names by day of the week. The fate of this giant was unenviable - in the very first transatlantic voyage, due to a navigational error, the ship hit the rocks off the coast of England, he did not have his own engine that could prevent this.
Sail Age Sunset
In 1869 , the Suez Canal appeared, which sailboats could not use and continued to walk around Africa, which negatively affected their competition with steamboats. A similar situation has developed with the commissioning of the Panama Canal in 1914 . 
Winghammers were advantageous only on long lines, for certain goods, and therefore suffered greatly from fluctuations in their prices. Thus, the fall in prices for South American ore, as well as the depletion of South American nitrate deposits, led to a sharp reduction in the number of occupied sailboats on this line and the transfer of the majority to the Australian line.
Forced in the search for wind to constantly visit sections of the ocean with developed storm conditions, sailboats often suffered from severe storms and cyclones, breaking masts, displacing ballast, etc.
The technical imperfection of large sailing ships also played its role. Vessels that did not have an engine often ended up on cliffs, where they fell as a result of calm. Also, the lack of an engine adversely affected the duration of the crossings - most of the major European ports were located at the mouths of the rivers, and helpless sailboats were sometimes forced to wait days for the tug to arrive . No less difficulties awaited the court in the port , where the mast and rigging interfered with the operation of modern cargo vehicles, as a result of which loading was often manual.
A further increase in the size of merchant ships was not available to sailboats, they reached their maximum, and therefore lost the size race.
The main enemies of the windjammers were not only the steamers that drove the sailboats to land, but also the submarines that discovered the sailboats from a greater distance than the steamers, because of the very high silhouette. During World War I , more than 60 large four-masted vessels were sunk. 
After World War II, large sailboats finally left commercial exploitation. Many were scrapped, became floating museums and even restaurants, but some were transferred to the category of training ships, including in the Soviet navy, which received the largest German sailboats as part of the repair payments. Subsequently, even the special construction of such vessels was carried out ("Gorkh Fock II" in the Federal Republic of Germany, and the "Gift of Molodezh" in Poland). So technically windjammers live and live.
Despite some suggestions (Michael Willoughby’s Windrose project), commercial operation of the Windows jammers is still considered unprofitable. Sailing ships of the Dinarig type may become their successor on the commercial lines of the future.
- Steam vs. Sails // Historical Document
- H. Hanke: “The opening of the Suez Canal dealt the first sensitive blow to sailing. The canal ... turned out to be unsuitable for sailing ships: they could not overcome it on their own, and towing increased the cost of freight beyond measure. ”- People, ships, oceans
- Windjammers - giant ships, wind turbines of the seas . proboating.ru. Date of treatment June 29, 2016.
References and References
- Kryuchkov Yu.S., Perestyuk I.E. Wings of the ocean. - L .: Shipbuilding , 1983.
- Mitrofanov V.P., Mitrofanov P.S. Schools under sail. - L .: Shipbuilding, 1989.
- Balakin S. Windjammers at war // " Around the World ", No. 10 (2829), 2009
- Balakin S. Windjammer “Padua” and others // “Marine Collection” No. 3, 1998
- Anniversary of the Passat sailboat in Travemuende // Our Hamburg website