A REPLICA of Tsar Peter the Great’s 18th century frigate Shtandart set sail from Swanage Pier on Friday lunchtime.
The full-sized version of Russia’s first ever naval warship docked at the Victorian seaside town this week, enabling visitors to sample what life at sea would have been like in the 1700s.
As the 100-foot sailing ship left for Cowes, where she’ll remain for the duration of this weekend’s Windsor Cup regatta, Swanage residents were even treated to a gun salute from the ship’s seven working cannon.
Captain Vladimir Martus told the Daily Echo: “The special thing about this ship is that it was built by volunteers, and the process of building the ship was the process of training young people in the craftsmanship needed.
“We wanted to preserve maritime skills and preserve maritime heritage.”
Shtandart is central to a project launched to help young Russian’s learn to work in a team and become professional craftsmen.
This project started in St Petersburg, Russia, in 1994, with the ship launched in 1999. One of the project patron’s is Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.
Yesterday happened to be the 16th birthday of the Shtandart’s launch.
“The ship is a full-sized replica of the first warship built by Russian Tsar Peter the Great, to defend Russian trade routes,” explained her captain. “There were some cargo ships before but she was the first proper battleship.”
The ship is 100-feet long, with a displacement of 220-tonnes, has three rigged masts and 620 square metres of sails.
Project Shtandart leaders are also working on a second scheme for young people, to build a working replica of the historic clipper ship Cutty Sark.
“Following the success of the Shtandart we wanted to continue in the same direction, maybe even bringing back the age of the sailing ships,” explained Captain Martus.
“I believe our generation is losing a lot of traditional skills and we want to preserve this knowledge for mankind.
The captain also believes sailing ships have huge potential commercially.
“The Cutty Sark was one of the best-known sailing ships in the world,” he explained. “She was sailing up to 16/17 knots, faster than many of the steam ships of the same period.
“Actually, if you look at the modern container ships, they are usually run at the economical speed of 10-12 knots, so she’s potentially comparable with modern sea transportation.
“We have just taken the first steps and are working on design and approval.”
The Shtandart is due to return to Poole Harbour before setting sail for Cherbourg on Tuesday.