Since ancient times, humans have treated their ships as living beings. And, flipping through the pages of the biography of long-lived boats, sometimes unwittingly catch yourself thinking that their life is indeed sometimes no less exciting than the lives of people. One example of this is the fate of the 109.5-meter long Sea Cloud barque, which found a place for love, jealousy and divorce, diplomatic mission in the USSR, war, revolution, which began with a conspiracy against the leader of the country, and the pursuit of pirates. Perhaps enough for an adventure novel!
A wolf boat from Wall Street.
The sailboat was built in 1931 in Kiel at the Germania-Werft shipyard (where ten years earlier the barque Magdalene Vinnen II, later renamed Sedov, had been launched)«belonging»to the Krupp Family Shipyard. It was launched under the name Hussar. The economic crisis that began in 1929 was in full swing, but it seems that these problems did not affect one of the richest brokers from Wall Street - Edward Francis Hutton. It was on his private order that a sailboat was created.
When speaking about Hussar in Russian, it would probably be correct to compare it rather with the Padua barque, which was launched for freight traffic in 1926 in Germany, and which we know «»today as Kruzenstern. One of Russia's main sailing boats is only five meters larger than Hussar and its masts are only one and a half meters higher. The American sailboat is one meter wider than the Russian one. The already mentioned barque Magdalene Vinnen II (Sedov«) is comparable»with Hussar in width, but much longer - 117 meters.
Hutton's wife Marjorie Merriweather Post was actively involved in the design of the sailboat in New York's famous Gibbs and Cox design bureau.
In particular, her idea was to paint the hull completely black, and it was on her whims that the boat got four masts instead of three.
It took Marjorie at least two years to think through all the details, and she even rented a warehouse in Brooklyn where she calculated a 1:1 deck layout on the floor and completely modeled the «interiors of» eight cabins.
When Hussar was ready, they were exactly transported aboard. Bark became the largest, most expensive and most beautiful of the 22 luxury vessels built by Germania-Werft since 1923.
Hussar was built with one goal in mind - to transport the couple Edward and Marjorie, without taking them out of their usual luxury environment, to where they wanted to be, regardless of the reasons. They could be business meetings or just traveling for fun and adventure. Every year Hussar spent at least nine months at sea, going to the Galapagos, Hawaii and the Mediterranean.
The residence of the American Ambassador to the Soviet Union
The carefree life didn't last long. The couple had a crisis, and in August 1935 the couple got divorced. Hussar left Marjorie. Now his ex-husband, knowing that she loved the sailboat with all his heart, wrote it off to her the day after the breakup.
Registered the yacht under the name Sea Cloud. That nothing reminded about divorce, Marjorie has thoroughly re-equipped cabins.
Marjorie remarried in December 1935. This time she was married to her longtime friend, Joseph Edward Davies, President Wilson's economic adviser, during World War I negotiations in Versailles.
In 1937, Davis was appointed U.S. Ambassador to the USSR, and the Sea Cloud became the ambassador's floating (and virtually free from surveillance) residence in Leningrad.
However, even in this role, the sailboat was delayed only for a couple of years. The political situation was again heated up, to go out to sea from Leningrad because of the growing number of warships and submarines became simply dangerous. In June 1938 Sea Cloud said goodbye to the USSR and went to Istanbul.
In the service of the state.
Marjorie and her husband tried to sell the boat before the US entered World War II, but failed. There was no demand for such luxury goods at that time. Like many other boats, the Sea Cloud went to the front as reinforcements.
President Roosevelt, who knew Davis well, initially refused to «recruit» a sailboat because he thought it was too beautiful for the service.
But by 1942 this argument could no longer save the ship from draft.
The Coast Guard rented the Sea Cloud from the owners for a symbolic $1. The hull was repainted grey, the mast and bowsprit were removed. Two 76mm guns, eight 40mm Beauforts«,»sixteen 20mm Erlikons«, as»well as bombers and bombs, including Moostrap «jets, were installed on board. Very quickly, a once luxurious yacht has almost nothing left. Under the name IX-99 a former sailboat sailed around the Azores and south of Greenland. In addition, playing the role of a floating weather station, the boat sent data to Virginia every four hours.
When the war was over, the Sea Cloud returned to its owners intact.
On July 4th, 1946, the Davis couple and their seven friends headed for Florida. The masts had not yet been set back, but the hull shone white and the golden eagle adorned the nose again. In the following years, the sailboat sailed mostly along the east coast of the USA.
The new sails could be obtained only in 1949 - at the end of the war they were not easy to get even for millionaires. In total the reconstruction of Sea Cloud took almost four years. Bark was proud to have been named America's largest and most beautiful yacht. One of the most frequent guests on board was Joe Davis' friend Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, leader of the Dominican Republic.
The floating crypt of the Latin dictator...
By the early '50s, the clouds began to thicken again over the Sea Cloud. The cost of maintaining a crew of 72 people grew from year to year, and the Davis marriage was marked by considerable disagreement. 78-year-old Marjorie realized that she could no longer afford barque and was forced to decide to sell her favourite boat.
The search for a buyer lasted four months. Marjorie hoped to sell the barque to Rafael Trujillo, and her dream came true. In 1955, the Sea Cloud took over the head of the Dominican Republic and got a new name - Angelita. The dictator used it as his permanent residence.
Once again in the headlines of the barque in 1961, when the conspirators killed Trujillo on May 31. The country was mired in revolution and Angelita went to Cannes at that time.
On board was the body of Trujillo, his seven members and an impressive amount of money.
The ship made it to the Canary Islands when it received a radio message: the new government demanded that the crew return to the Dominican Republic.
The sailing heritage of Trujillo was renamed again (this time Patria) and put up for sale. Five years later, the sailboat returned to America. Buyer is Operation Sea Cruises Corporation based in Panama.
Stolen by noble criminals
Barku's name was changed again (to Antarna), after which the company president John Blue sent him to Naples for a complete overhaul. When the ship was just about to return, the company had problems with financial reporting to the authorities and the ship was temporarily left on the dock.
It might have been the most boring page in the history of the barque, but 26-year-old Stephanie Gallagher and her husband Charles have arrived on the way.
Obsessed with the idea of creating «ocean schools»where students could combine the classical curriculum with marine practice on a large sailboat, the couple actually stole Antarna.
They paid the necessary amount to let the barque out of the harbour, and just left on it.
The formal owner of the sailboat was, of course, John Blue, and he was far from agreeing that his ship would be used by other people. Wherever Antarna stayed, Blue was there to try to get his ship back.
Finally, he was able to board, accompanied by police and lawyers, in Panama. The ship was searched for drugs, cut off from the water supply from the shore and not left alone until the Gallaghers gave up and left the barque.
For the next eight years, due to legal proceedings designed to establish who should still own Antarna, a sailboat with no movement was worn out by the heat and tropical humidity in Colon Harbor, Panama. Despite the fact that the ship was originally in good condition, these years have not passed without a trace.
Eventually, German shipowner and economist Hartmut Paschburg, together with a group of Hamburg businessmen, bought the barque, returned the name Sea Cloud to him and decided to bring the sailboat back to life.
First of all, the ship had to be transported to Europe. The preparation for transatlantic sailing began in mid-July 1978. 38 enthusiastic men and two women flew to Column. Together with their local assistants, they worked on the Sea Cloud until mid-October. On November 15, under the eyes of thousands of people, the barque entered Hamburg Harbour.
It soon became clear that rebuilding a sailboat would require much more investment than originally thought.
In February 1979, Sea Cloud returned to her native Kiel at the shipyard Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG (successor to Germania-Werft).
It was there that the truly large-scale repair and reconstruction work began, which lasted eight months.
Since then, the Motorenwerke Bremerhaven (MWB) shipyard has only carried out another major work on board from November 2010 to April 2011. The Sea Cloud was then brought into compliance with SOLAS regulations (Safety of Life at Sea). Everything was done just in time for the Hamburg Sailing Festival, which took place in the harbour in the first half of May.
Today, the Sea Cloud sails under the flag of Malta as a cruise ship. To go on it, it is enough to pay for a place in a cabin.
Depending on the length of the trip, its route and class of cabins at an early booking trip will cost €2-18 thousand.
Winter sailing in the Caribbean, and from late April to early November explore the Mediterranean Sea.
However, to stay on board with only the closest people and feel like Marjorie Post or Rafael Trujillo is still possible.
Sailboat owners mention full private rent as a standard service.
It is possible to hold a wedding ceremony, anniversary or birthday on board. If during a standard cruise on Sea Cloud there are no more than 64 passengers (32 cabins allow this number), then during the holiday the number of guests can reach 94 people.
The crew of the sailboat is 60 people. Today «the Sea Cloud team is headed by Vladimir Pushkaryov, a graduate of»« Kruzenshtern»and participant of the round-the-world voyage in 1995-1996.
According to the official website of SEA CLOUD CRUISES.