Albatross (1920 schooner)

The Albatross, originally Albatros, meanwhile called Alk, was a sailing ship that was built in 1920 by the state-owned shipyard in Amsterdam (Netherlands). 1960-1961, a private school for U.S. teenagers was conducted on the ship that sailed the ship in addition to the lessons in the Caribbean. Among them four of the young people - - died on the return trip from the Caribbean, the Albatross, where six people fell. As a downfall cause the owner and captain adopted a white squall, but later studies also placed too low final stability ( ability of a slanting ship capsize ) near.

The Last Voyage of the Albatross was based on Ridley Scott's highly fiktionalisiertem movie White Squall - Snapping flow from the year 1996.


The vessel was rigged as a schooner zweimastiger and designed for a crew of 19 people. The Albatros, later Alk, sailed nearly two decades, the North Sea, before it was bought in 1937 by the then German government. Twelve years later, after the end of World War II, the Albatros was bought in 1949 by the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd, to be used as a training ship for officer training. Its compact size made ​​them ideal for this task, because the twelve cadets in this way by the trainers and the professional seamanship ( a total of six sailors ) could be taught specifically. During the Dutch ownership albatross sailed primarily the North Sea and rarely took more trips to Spain and Portugal.

The American aviator, sailor and writer Ernest K. Gann (* 1910, † 1999) finally bought the Albatross in 1956 and takelte them to return to Brigantine. As such, they sailed for nearly three years the Pacific. 1959 acquired the Ocean Academy Ltd.. by Dr. Christopher B. Sheldon and his wife, Dr. Alice Strahan Sheldon, based in Darien, Connecticut, the ship to get it to re-use as a training ship. In the following years, Sheldon planned a training program in the form of a private school on board. Up to 14 students integrated as sailors in the board everyday and also taught on board in regular school subjects, while they were sailing from Bermuda to the Caribbean and the eastern Pacific ( Galapagos Islands). From the ports of call from in addition usually one-day trips to take place (see below for similar projects).

In the fall of 1960, the Albatross ran out to the first training ride. On May 2, 1961 the ship about 125 nautical miles west of the islands of the Dry Tortugas - during the crossing from Progreso, Mexico, to Nassau in the Bahamas - hit by a squall and sank almost instantly. In the disaster drowned Alice Sheldon ( teacher ), George Ptacnik ( Smut ) and the students Rick Marsellus, Robin Wetherall, John Goodlett and Chris Coristine. Christopher Sheldon, who was with the arrival of the squall on deck, held for the particular time controversial weather phenomenon of a white squall, so a sudden, strong gust. Critics of this view point to possible stability problems of the Albatross, which means that the ship possessed by the design, rigging and sail area as well as its relative thereto low Ballast in highly inclined state no sufficient ability to get up again (instead of capsizing ); it would therefore possibly was not subject to extreme and exceptional gust to capsize the Albatross (eg, Parrott, 2000).


Change in the law, Albatross narratives and similar accidents

Although the Albatross was not sailed under U.S. flag, caused their loss, the U.S. Coast Guard to revise the requirements for the design and stability of sail training ships. The new rules were summarized in the " Sailing School Vessels Act" of 1982.

The Last Voyage of the Albatross by Ridley Scott in 1996 under the title White Squall - filmed Snapping flow (English for "White Squall "). Unlike the fictional in much of Hollywood version of the testimonials of survivors The Last Voyage of the Albatross (Charles "Chuck" Gieg, students) and White Squall drawing: The Last Voyage of the Albatross (English: White Squall - The Last Journey the Albatross, by Richard E. Langford, English teacher) a more realistic picture of the last trip.

Similar shipwrecks met Marques 1984 and 1986, the Pride of Baltimore, a replica of historical Baltimoreklipper. Both capsized with young crews due to gusts on the high seas. After a review of documents on the ships had Parrott (2000), in both cases for possible stability problems - in particular because of their large sail areas - out.

Similar school and university projects on sailing ships

Similar to the Ocean Academy on the Albatross several other projects education have since offered with accommodation on sailing ships.

The Florida from operating, libertaristisch aligned Flint School (1969-1981) was by the teachers George and Betty Stoll for 12 - to 18 -year-old pupil founded. How Albatross students sailed her own sailing ship, headed for international ports and took from there, and domestic tours, including 1977 in Germany. As Sailboats different routes traversed schooner was a later two first used. A director of the Flint School was the Jim Stoll, the son of the founder, who had sailed as Christopher Sheldon with Irving Johnson. Like the Albatross were the ships of the Flint School flagged out ( Panama flag ).

As part of the "High School High Seas" project, students sail the 11th grade (15-18 years) of the reform- oriented educational Hermann Lietz - Schule Spiekeroog from Germany for several months in the Caribbean. This includes since 1993 with few interruptions annually conducted program, such as the Ocean Academy and the Flint School, next to the school and the Segelei also shore excursions. Performed it is on European - mostly German - traditional sailing ships, including two Topsegelschonern and a brig. From 2002 to 2007 also a four-week English and sailing summer course at sea and in British ports ( "Summer High Seas High School " ) was offered for seventh - and eighth-grade school.

Comparable semester long deals for university students before the offer Bachelor founded by Jim Stoll, operating from Florida Sea | mester and from Massachusetts (USA) operating Sea semester. Living with both programs and sail the students on traditionally rigged sailing ships and visit on board seminars and lectures primarily in the fields of oceanography and environmental sciences. Sea | mester operates (as of 2010 ), two schooners ( including the 2006 -built staysail schooner Argo ). Sea semester were at times up to four sailing vessels, currently ( 2010) two brigantines are still operated.

In addition, there are several - especially to Americans looking - Offers to spend university semester on cruise ships. In this case, however, no sailing ships are used, and the students are not involved in the ship's officers ( see, eg, Semester at Sea ).

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