5 Facts About The Ship That Inspired Royal Clipper

17th May 2019

Many of you may be aware that our flagship, Royal Clipper, is designed in the image of a historic tall ship called Preussen. Built in Germany and given a name to honour the kingdom of Prussia, this legendary vessel was the only full-rigged five-masted ship ever to be built. That is, of course, until she inspired our very own queen of the seas.

Here are some interesting facts about this unique vessel that paved the way for Star Clippers to become what it is today.

Maiden Voyage


Built by the F. Laeisz shipping company in 1902, Preussen made her maiden voyage from the port of Geestemünde, Bremerhaven. She also started many of her 14 voyages from the nearby city of Hamburg. In a nod to this, Royal Clipper embarked from Bremerhaven on her first ever sailing – a transatlantic voyage.

Built For Speed


Thanks to many first-hand accounts, we know that Preussen was considered to be the fasted ship in the post-clipper era. She reached speeds of up to 20 knots in favourable conditions and clocked up an average of 13.7 knots in force eight winds. However, whilst she was celebrated for setting exciting speed records, her ability to fly through the waves would play a key part in her downfall.

Lost Off The Coast Of Dover

Wreck of Preussen

In 1910, during just her 14th journey, Preussen was sunk by a cross channel steamer by the name of Brighton. The collision took place near Newhaven when the smaller ship, oblivious to the Preussen’s high speed, attempted to cut across windjammer’s bow, crashing into her side.

If it had not been for a terrible storm, the ship may have been saved, but disastrous conditions led to the rescue tugs being unable to reach her and the chains of her two anchors breaking as they were being lowered. Preussen finally sank off the coast of Dover some hours later and remains there to this day. If you visit CrabBay at low tide, you can often see parts of her hull sticking out of the water.

Trade Boon


One thing that Preussen’s speed did help with was advancements in trade, particularly between Europe and South America. She carried large amounts of potassium nitrate from Chile, something no other ship could do in the same time frame.

More Of The Same

Passat in Travemunde

Preussen was part of an entire fleet of similar ships built by the F. Laeisz shipping company. They all had names beginning with ‘P’ (Potosi, Pamir and Priwall to name a few) and were nicknamed ‘The Flying P-Liners’. They all shared similar trade routes with Preussen, as well as travelling to Australia to trade grain. Only four of these still remain; some are being used as museum ships (Pommern, Peking and Passat), whilst Padua is still active under a new name and being used as a training ship in Russia.

If you would like to sail on board the ship that Preussen inspired, Royal Clipper, call our team on 0845 200 6145. You can also speak to us directly using our online chat.

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