Exciting news! Star Clippers is now building what will be the world’s largest square-rigged passenger ship. The new ship, the fourth in the Star Clippers fleet, is expected to launch mid-2017. Modeled after the five masted France II of 1912, the ship will be larger than the current world’s largest square rigged ship, the company’s five-masted Royal Clipper. Star Clippers also operates the sister ships, Star Clipper and Star Flyer, which are four masted barquentines.
As reported by the Telegraph: Announcing the new ship on board Star Flyer yesterday, founder and owner of Star Clippers Mikael Krafft described the build as “an ambition I have had for a long time”. He added: “The ship’s rig will be identical to that of France II and dimensions will be very similar, although we have added various features that will make this the most magnificent passenger sailing ship afloat.”
The ship will carry 300 passengers in 150 cabins, weigh 8,770 tons and be powered by 6,350 sq m of sails. Technically known as a five-mast barque, its facilities will include four bars, three swimming pools, a dining room, a library, a watersports platform and a spa and beauty centre.
Construction started 10 months ago in Croatia’s Brodosplit shipyard on the Adriatic coast. “Larger, more established shipyards are unable or unwilling to cope with the demands of hand-building a sailing ship of this size,” said Krafft.
Well over 20 years ago, I briefly met Mikael Krafft at a cruise industry conference. He described his two new ships then under construction, the Star Clipper and the Star Flyer, and said that they would be modern sailing ships, not just motor ships with masts stuck on deck. About a year later, my wife and I had the chance to sail on the then brand-new Star Flyer. Krafft had been true to his word. The Star Flyer sets 36,000 square feet of sail and is square rigged on her forward mast and fore and aft rigged on the after three masts. The ship sails beautifully. There are engines below decks to keep the lights on, the ice cold and even to turn the propeller when needed, but the Star Flyer and her sister Star Clipper are first and foremost modern sailing ships.
In 2000, Star Clippers launched the five-masted full-rigged Royal Clipper. Inspired by the Preußen, the Royal Clipper is only the second five masted full ship ever built. Setting 56,000 square feet of sail, square-rigged on all five masts, the Royal Clipper accommodates 227 passengers. The ship under construction will accommodate 300 passengers and set over 68,000 square feet of sail.
At Star Clippers, the “Great Age of Sail” is alive and well.