The long-established Hamburg shipping company F. Laeisz was founded in 1824 by Ferdinand Laeisz and today has 800 employees and more than 20 ships. In addition to its headquarters in Hamburg, it has offices in Rostock, Bremerhaven, and Grabow. In the past, however, it was best known for its fast and robust tall ships, called Flying P-Liners. From 1877 onwards, three-quarters of the sailing ships of this shipping company were given a name beginning with "P", as "Pudel" was the nickname of Sophie Laeisz, wife of Carl Laeisz.

The Eight Sisters

A total of 83 legendary Flying P-Liners were built. The last eight are referred to as the "eight sisters." They were the four-masted barks Pangani, Petschili, Pamir, Peking, Passat, Pola, Priwall, and Padua (now Kruzenshtern), built between 1903 and 1926. This designation is not entirely correct, however, as sister ships must have identical construction plans. Real sister ships were Peking and Passat or Pola and Priwall. After very different fates, of the "eight sisters" the Passat (Travemünde), the Peking (Hamburg), and the Kruzenshtern (formerly Padua) are still preserved today.

The sailing ships Pangani and Petschili were both launched in 1903. As early as January 1913, the Pangani sank in the English Channel after a collision with the French steamer Phryné. The Petschili was interned after the outbreak of World War I and spent the next five years at anchor in the port of Valparaíso, where a storm destroyed her in 1919.

In 1905, the Pamir (built by Blohm & Voss) was commissioned. After World War I, she was ceded to Italy as reparations. The F. Laeisz shipping company managed to buy the Pamir back in 1924 for only 7,000 pounds sterling. After several more ownership changes, the sailer was used as a cargo sail training ship between Europe and South America's east coast in the 1950s. In 1957, the Pamir sank in Hurricane Carrie about 600 nautical miles west-southwest of the Azores.

The Peking was launched at Blohm & Voss in 1911. In 1932, due to the Great Depression, the ship was sold to the Shaftesbury Homes and Arethusa Training Ship, London. She was converted into a stationary training ship and renamed Arethusa. In 2015, the Budget Committee of the German Bundestag decided to bring the now completely dilapidated Peking back to Hamburg for the Hamburg Port Museum.

Likewise, in 1911, the sister ship Passat left the Blohm & Voss shipyard. She was initially deployed under six Laeisz captains as a cargo sailer between Europe and South America. She served primarily to transport wheat between Australia and Europe. At the launching on September 20, 1911, the ship was named after the trade wind. The godmother was Gertrud Grau; the Passat's baptismal motto was:

The storm threatens the sailor in the North Sea.

Dense fog in the busy channel causes danger.

The full force of the ocean hits him in the Bay of Biscay.

Only when the turning circle is crossed,

with the sails swollen by the trade wind, the ship moves quickly towards its destination.

May favorable winds keep you, you proud ship,

may favorable winds always guide you, proud ship, quickly and safely into the sheltering harbor.

Your name shall express this wish.

I christen thee Passat.

Passat Image by Ragny

For a price of 680,000 gold marks, the ship was ready for sea on November 25, 1911. She exhibited excellent sailing qualities, reaching speeds of up to 18 knots under 4,100 m² of sail area, thus providing serious competition for the growing steamship industry. In the 1950s, she was a cargo sail training ship between Europe and South America's east coast. She rounded Cape Horn, notorious for its weather conditions, 39 times. When the sister ship Pamir sank in a hurricane in 1957 and the Passat itself only narrowly escaped sinking in a hurricane shortly afterward, the ship was decommissioned against a background of declining profitability. Since 1978, the Passat has been listed as a historical monument and is now considered Travemünde's landmark. The Passat is available as a venue for events, as a museum ship, and, in the summer, as a youth hostel for school classes and offers 106 beds in 35 cabins. Civil marriages can be performed on the Passat. In addition, there is also the non-civil ceremonial captain's wedding.

The sister ships Pola and Priwall, also built by Blohm & Voss, did not meet with a good fate: the Pola, after being launched in 1916 and completed in 1919, was immediately delivered to France as a reparation service and scrapped there in 1933, the Priwall, delivered in 1920, sailed the world's oceans for two decades - from 1941 under the Chilean flag. But after a fire, the ship renamed Lautaro, exploded off the coast of Peru in 1945.

The Padua (now Kruzenshtern) was the last ship launched by the Joh. C. Tecklenborg shipyard in 1926 and was used as a cargo sailer and sail training ship. Likewise, it served as a film set for the movies "Die Meuterei auf der Elsinore", "A Heart Drops Anchor" and "Große Freiheit Nr. 7″. After the Second World War, the Padua went to the Soviet Union as reparations. The new homeport became Kaliningrad. It was renamed after the German-Baltic captain and Russian admiral Adam Johann von Krusenstern. The new name is Kruzenshtern (Russian Крузенште́рн). In German, one often finds the name Krusenstern. Today, the Russian Ministry of Fisheries uses the Kruzenshtern to train the next generation of the fishing fleet. Since 1974, the Kruzenshtern has participated in many international regattas, including Kiel Week.

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