Saying Goodbye to Peking — Windjammer Leaves South Street for the Last Time

bow2thumbThis morning, the 1911 built, steel, four masted barque, Peking, left South Street Seaport, its home for more than 40 years, for the last time. For those of us who have known the ship for almost as long, it was both a sad and joyous day. The South Street Seaport Museum lacked the resources and even the berth space to support the Peking. The museum worked very hard to find a good home for the historic ship and they succeeded.  (See a video of the departure after the page break.)

Sometime next Spring, the grand old ship will be carried on a heavy lift ship back to Hamburg, Germany, its original home port and the city where it was built 105 years ago.  In the mean time, Peking has been moved to Caddell Dry Dock in Staten Island to be made ready for the voyage home.  Peking will be restored in Germany and serve as the centerpiece of a new Hamburg harbor museum for which the German government has allocated 120 million euros. A reported 30 million euros have been allocated to transport and restore the Peking.

Peking was built in 1911 at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg for the German ship owner, F. Laeisz, one of the famous Flying P Liners, which were among the last of the great sailing ships to round Cape Horn carrying cargo. Peking made voyages from Europe to the west coast of South America with general cargo and returned filled with nitrates for use in the making of fertilizer and explosives. The windjammer was made famous by the Irving Johnson film Around Cape Horn which documented her 1929 passage around the southern tip of South America in hurricane conditions.  After 1933, the Peking served as the school ship, Arethusa II, mooring on the River Medway in Great Britain.  She was purchased as museum ship by the South Street Seaport Museum in 1975.

Remarkably, including Peking, four of the original Flying-P Liners survive today. The Pommernis a museum ship in Mariehamn, Finland. The Passat is a museum ship in Lübeck’s sea resort Travemünde, Germany and the Padua, renamed Kruzenshtern, is still sailing as a school ship under the Russian flag.

South Street Seaport will not be without a windjammer for long. Wavertree, an 1885 full-rigged iron sailing ship will return to the seaport on September 24th, following a $10 million restoration.

A short video I shot and edited of the Peking’s departure.

Windjammer Peking Leaves the South Street Seaport for the Last Time

This entry was posted in Current, Lore of the Sea, Ships and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Saying Goodbye to Peking — Windjammer Leaves South Street for the Last Time

  1. Jan Christensen says:

    Thanks for posting this, Rick. I was there in spirit.

  2. Pingback: Peking Leaves South Street Seaport After 40 Years | Working Harbor Committee

  3. Robert Angle says:

    What a loss for North America. I’m 69 years old and have always had a love for the old ships. Visiting harbors in the East Coast, Gulf, West Coast, Japan and Hong Kong. And have read many sea faring books with several in my library. I do want to add some sea sail art to my walls to accompany my Western art (Stage Coaches). Thanks Old Salt for a fine site.

  4. Erik Abranson says:

    Thanks for the video, Rick. As an old friend of the SSSM, I feel the loss of this great four-poster from the South Street scene, but then she will be better off in Hamburg and I live much close to Hamburg than to NYC.
    Looking at the video, I hope this grand old P-liner has had the move explained to her; otherwise she might be P-ing in her bilge, thinking she’s being at long last towed to the breakers’ yard…

  5. Paul Snowden says:

    A sad loss for any shoreline community. A great vessel and my 3 years aboard as a boy brings back amazing memories. Nice to see she will continue to be looked after to bring pleasure to many more!!!!

  6. Mike Barnes says:

    IT was great to see the old girl being moved and made ready for her trip home, i was on her as a cadet when she was a training ship, and look forward to seeing her in Hamberg.

  7. Pingback: Maritime Monday for September 12th, 2016 – gCaptain

  8. Robert says:

    Thank you, Rick. Broke my heart not to be there to say goodbye.

  9. Leo Araullo says:

    Built in Hamburg or built in the U.S. – two birthplaces in one report ?

  10. Rick Spilman says:

    Definitely built in hamburg. Where did we say that it was built in the US?

  11. Michael Brzoza says:

    I get goose bumps as I saw her moving. I had been on board in 2010 last time when I visited NYC. I myself had served on a tall ship and I am fascinated by tall ships. I can´t wait to see the Peking first time back here in Hamburg.
    Mike (germany)

  12. Chris Dolan says:

    Please, if anyone has any further info of the ships return, my father was on this ship and would like to take him to Hamburg for when it comes back, many thanks in advance.

  13. Wendy Train says:

    The Peking was named “Arethusa” for a period of time and was moored in Upnor, Rochester, UK, where she served as a training ship for boys for both the Royal & Merchant Navy. The trust that owned her “The Shaftesbury Homes”, due to falling numbers, sold her to South Street Seaport Museum. At aged 15, in 1980, I went on the replacement vessel, which was a 72ft ocean going yacht. That boat, now renamed again “Faramir” and owned by the Cirdan Trust, still exists and still takes deserving youngsters to sea. So the legacy of the training ship Arethusa or Peking lives on…..

  14. Les Elphick says:

    Was aboard the Peking as the Arethusa mid 60’s as was my brother 2 yrs. prior we have fond memories of her, really pleased that the old girl lives on . ( Hamburg is closer to the uk great)

  15. petra ward says:

    I was thrilled to find this film ! \I lived on board the TS Arethusa for 19 years as my dad was the Captain/headmaster so I have many happy memories. I have never visited the Peking in New York but look forward very much to seeing her again in Hamburg with my family. Petra

  16. Catherine Davies says:

    Further to Mike Barnes’ post of 9 September, Mike was a schoolboy on the Arethusa in 1968 and he often talked about his experiences. He died from prostate cancer on 12 October, but I will be making the trip to Hamburg with his daughters Chloe and Grace, when the Peking is finally exhibited. I am sure Mike will be there in spirit.
    Catherine, Mike’s fiancée.