Sunday, 12 July 2015

Ostindiefararen Götheborg

This summer the Swedish sailing ship Götheborg is on a four month long tour in Europe, which will take it through Sweden, to Amsterdam and to a number of stops in the UK. At the moment it is sailing around Lake Vänern and today we went to see it as it is on a three day stop-over in Lidköping, not far from us, where it arrived yesterday. 

It was crazy busy in the harbour, it's been a long time since I've seen that many people out and about in Lidköping. The ship was open for the public to board, but the queues were really, really long, so we skipped that part.

Instead we enjoyed the exhibitions on the quay, about the East India trade, the history of the original ship and the movie and story about the current ship and it's expeditions worldwide.

This ship is a replica of the original 18th century Swedish East Indiaman, in full 1:1 scale. It's even built with the same kind of tools, building materials and traditional techniques as back in the 18th century. The only small change they had to do was to increase the headroom of the deck, as today's seamen are taller than their ancestors! 

While the exterior remains true to original, the interior is highly modern. Most of the new technology was necessary to pass national and international safety regulations.
The ship Götheborg is the largest sailing wooden ship in the world, totally unique.

The original Götheborg was built in 1738 and made three trips to China, but rather embarrassingly ran aground on their last return, just outside Gothenburg harbour in 1745. The ship remained stranded, while much of the cargo consisting of tea, porcelain, spices and silk was salvaged; and everybody on board survived.
The wreckage of the original vessel was found in 1984 and that's when the idea to make a replica of the ship emerged. It was launched in June 2003.
It sure was an impressive sight! Such a beautiful ship!

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