German Training Ship
The ships data: Length = 89.40 m; Beam = 12.00 m; Draft = 5.20 m;
Displacement = 1.870.00 tons; Height of main mast = 45.50 m; Sail area =
2.037.00 m?; Length of main yard = 24.00 m!
Speed: under engine power = max. 12 knots; under sail = max 16 knots
Ships company: Officers = 12; Chief petty officers = 14; Petty officers = 27;
Ratings = 24; Trainees = max. 160
GORCH FOCK (Johann Kinau 1880 – 1916)
Johann Kinau, born in Hamburg Finkenwerder as the son of a deep-sea fisherman, was a poet with close links with the sea and coast. This led him to write remarkable short stories such as ‘Seefahrt tut not’ (Seafaring is a necessity) or the other famous one ‘Hein Godewind’.
After becoming popular in the writing fraternity he changed his original name into GORCH FOCK.
In 1914, after outbreak of the First World War, he volunteered to become a sailor on board of the German cruiser ‘Wiesbaden.
During the sea battle at Skagerrak, perhaps for the English speaking people better known as the Battle of Jutland in 1916 when the High-Sea-Fleet of the Queen of the seas – England and the Hochseeflotte of the German Emperor, the Kaiser met in destroying artillery duels, Gorch Foch, alias Johann Kinau, was killed on board of the ‘Wiesbaden’.
In order to show honor to Gorch Foch, it was arranged by the German Fleet Commando, as well as in respect of maintaining good seamanship to have in future Sail Training Ships. The ‘GORCH FOCK’ of which the original Model is standing in front of you is one of them.
The GORCH FOCK is a barque, a sailing vessel with three masts, square rigged on the fore and main and fore-and-aft rigged on the mizzen. The ships hull and masts are made of steel. More than 300 tons of ballast in the hull makes her extremely stable. Her 23 sails and ropes are made of synthetics. The ship has an auxiliary engine to help her in a calm or when navigating in confined waters.
The GORCH FOCK is the second ship to bear this name and the fifth of her class. Her four sister ships, built at the same shipyard before the second World War, are still in active service in various nations where they are used as training ships for naval cadets.
The GORCH FOCK was built in Hamburg at the Blohm & Vos shipyard in 1958. Her homeport is the city of Kiel, capital of Schleswig-Holstein.
The Mission: The GORCH FOCK is a training vessel of the German Federal Navy. Officers and NCO candidates are here given practical and theoretical training, which stands them in good stead later in the fleet.
On their numerous visits abroad the ship and her crew support the work of German representatives abroad and thus contribute towards establishing a favorable image of the German Federal Republic, which gave her the nickname THE BLUE AMBASSADOR.
Since 1960 the GORCH FOCK has regularly participated in large international sailing events and regattas and has always been well placed. The aim of such events is to give young people sporting experience at sea in the sailing races and the opportunity of establish ties with other nations in port.
The GORCH FOCK secured in her berth at the Blücherbrücke in Kiel is a favorite destination for Kiel’s inhabitants, also for groups of youth and visitors from other parts of the country, when they are out for a walk.
Points of interest: Up to 1996 when GORCH FOCK dropped anchor in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town – South Africa, she covered more than 6000 nautical miles.
The setting of her 23 sails is done in a record time of not more then 45 minutes.
Each one of her cadets on board has to enter at least once into the masts of the barque. For safety reasons they are wearing safety belts.
In 1993 the ship celebrated her 35 anniversary. Both ship and rigging are in good condition. The ship and the ships company have stood the test of all kinds of weather conditions. The name of the commanding Officer since January 1993 is Captain Thomas-Georg Hering.
Izak J H Hough
Member of The Nautical Research Guild