German Navy’s oldest sail training ship back in service after long sailing break

The German Navy’s sail training ship Gorch Fock will be returning to sea on 19 November despite a massive increase in repair costs and the fact that it has spent years in the docks and out of service.

German Navy

As informed, the ship will leave the Port of Kiel and will embark on the first foreign training trip after the long shipyard stay. With a total of 120 crew members, it will start its voyage towards the Canary Islands.

Apart from a stopover in Lisbon (Portugal), Gorch Fock will set a direct course for the Canary Island of Tenerife. This goal was chosen to train the regular crew and the sailing crew again under favorable weather conditions. The ship is scheduled to moor in the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in late December.

Around 220 officer candidates of the navy divided into two groups will gain their first experience onboard the vessel as part of their “Seafaring Basic Training”.

The first group of cadets will start its trip from Santa Cruz de Tenerife on 3 January 2022 and will first undergo pre-sailing training. In mid-January, Gorch Fock is scheduled to sail towards Malaga via the port of Valencia. There, the second group of cadets will start their training process onboard the ship, which is anticipated to start in mid-February.

After completing its 10,000 nautical-mile voyage, the German Navy’s oldest sail training ship is scheduled to return to its homeport in late March 2022.

The ship made headlines in the last couple of years due to the massive repair bills which started at 10 million euros and reached an estimated 135 million euros in 2018.

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Reparations that were to make sure Gorch Fock stays in service into the 2040s started in January 2016 and were expected to be completed in 17 weeks.

However, previously undetected damages caused delays in the schedule and increases in spending. Work stopped altogether in October 2016 with a total of 35 million euros of contracts handed out for reparations.

The cost overruns led to an investigation which resulted in the shipyard’s management being laid off. The management board and supervisory board were let go due to considerable “breaches of duty,” German media reports said.

In the course of the training trips, the ship has so far visited around 390 ports in almost 60 countries on five continents.