Alexander von Humboldt (ship)

Alexander von Humboldt (ship)

The Lightvessel Alexander von Humboldt was built in 1906 by the German shipyard Werft AG Weser in Bremen and was initially named "Reserve Sonderburg". Originally she was operated throughout the North and Baltic Seas until being retired in 1986. She was then converted into a three masted Barque by German shipyard Motorwerke Bremerhaven and was re-launched in 1988 as the flagship of the German Sailtraining Foundation.


Planned and ordered in 1906 as a Reserve-Lightvessel (to be used to replace other Lightvessels while they were being maintained), the ship was launched on September 10th 1906 at the German shipyard Werft AG Weser as Building-number 155 and was the first in a class of sisters. Her hull was based on a sailing ship, as was common in this class of ship.

It is not completely clear whether she was christened "Reserve Fehmarnbelt" (after her first Station), or "Reserve Sonderburg" as both can be found. Following the Ship's Bell, she was named "Reserve" and a home port of Sonderburg (today Danish Sønderborg) is most likely.

From 1920 to 1945, her home port was Kiel-Holtenau, and she served in many positions, mainly in the Baltic Sea.

In 1945 she was installed as a permanent replacement of the Lightvessel "Kiel", which had been damaged by British planes. In the spring of 1957 she was rammed by a Swedish Freightship and sank. She was retrieved and after a two-year overhaul and modernization, was put back in service in 1959.

In the middle of 1967 her location was replaced by a lighthouse, at which point she returned to serving as a Reserve-Lightvessel mainly in the North Sea under the name "Kiel", and afterwards as a permanent replacement for the retired "Amrumbank". Being replaced there by a fully automated lightvessel and following another collision and another overhaul in Wilhelmshaven, she was sailed to Bremerhaven and named "Confidentia".

Then a newly founded foundation, the "Deutsche Stiftung Sail Training" (DSST) bought the vessel to transform her into a Tall ship based on her sailing ship hull.

As a reference to the sailing ships of Bremer shipping company Rickmers, her hull was painted green, and green sails were used as a marketing tool by the ship's sponsor, the German brewer Beck's. On May 30th 1988 she was christened "Alexander von Humboldt" after the legendary German explorer.

"Alex", as she is called by her crew, serves as a Sail training ship and is the flagship of the German Sailtraining Foundation, "Deutsche Stiftung Sail Training" (DSST). She gained international popularity as the main location of German Brewery Beck's advertising campaign.

Since then, "Alex" has traveled over convert|200000|nmi|km|-4 in 15 years (equal to 8 1/2 times around the equator). High points every year are Tall Ship Races and winter cruises around the Canary Islands. In summer, she stays in the North and Baltic Seas most of the time.

Her longest cruise to date was a cruise in memorial of Alexander von Humboldt's South America expedition to South America and the Caribbeans.

In 19 January 2006, "Alex" rounded Cape Horn under sail, following the route of the legendary Tall Ships of the 19th and early 20th century to celebrate her centenary year.


* Name, TS-Nr., Int. Callsign: Alexander von Humboldt, TS-G 404, DFAW
* Type: Barque
* Nation: Germany
* Owner: "Deutsche Stiftung Sail Training, Bremerhaven" (German Sail Training Foundation, Bremerhaven)
* Homeport: Bremerhaven
* Length: 62.55 m
* Width: 8.02 m
* Sail area: 1035,6 m²
* Displacement (BRZ): 396
* Crew: 60 (25 + 35 Trainees)

ee also

*Alexander von Humboldt
*List of large sailing vessels

External links

* [ Deutsche Stiftung Sail Training]
* [ Feuerschiff "Reserve Sonderburg"]

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