Severely damaged tall ship 'Pogoria' towed into Hanko Harbour

8th July 2009, 09:30
The ship looks in an awful state after being severely damaged in heavy seas off Finland yesterday.. 29.html

9th July 2009, 10:23
The weather must have been bad. Says a lot for timber masts and proper maintainance systems.

9th July 2009, 10:48
Id like to say I have suggested several times here that the traditional masting, with lowering yards and three stage strength does have a worthy function. Regards, Stein.

11th September 2009, 18:25
Gentlemen I think that you will find that Pogoria launched in Poland in 1980 has metal masts and spars.


12th September 2009, 07:06
Of course - I think that was Statement's point. But that is not of primary relevance here. Around 1885, a square rigger would have had a three piece mast, with the two lower in steel or iron and the upper in wood, and upper yards that were lowered on the mast pieces. The lowering of the yards gave a ship less windage high up, and the three piece system, with more easily breakable wood as the uppermost piece, gave a crash section that did not bring the whole rigging down with it. (And all ships carried timber with which to fashion new upper mast pieces.) There are hundreds of photos that show this.
My suggestion is that if the Sørlandet, with traditional masting, had been in the same blow, she would be, as traditional ships often were, sailable with a reduced rig and be (in possibility) repairable at sea. Here the ship has her one piece masts broken clean off, as there were no other way for them to break. And, as can be seen, the steel pieces could easily have penetrated her hull.
It was not so that the Polish way of masting was impossible for the old time shipbuilders, in fact that is something much cheaper and cruder.
As an apropos, it can be mentioned that after a severe storm in the Atlantic, Capt. Thorsen of the Christian Radich complained that the modern synthetic sails would not blow out, as would ones made of flax have done. (I have not seen this verified by tests.) On the Pogoria it looks like she had much sail set when it happened, and that little of it split. Regards, Stein.

12th September 2009, 09:27
High tensile steel pipe is extremely strong, however it's essential to keep it free of corrosion from the inside and all welds should be inspected for cracks on a regular basis. Personally I would go with wood, as they used to say in the Welsh coal mines, "You can hear a wooden pit prop, but a steel one just collapses without warning". I wonder if there are any British Shipwrights who could step and fit a topmast?

jay cresswell
19th September 2009, 21:30
The reason why earlier steel masting was in three sections had more to do with tradition than the capabilities of the material. Evolution has, of course, taken its course and one piece masts on large, new generation vessels are not uncommon.
Vessels such as the three steel Portuguese grnad bankers Argus, Creoula and Santa Maria Manuela show very well how durable steel masts are ... each worked under sail from the late 30s through to the early 70s (SMM much later as a motor ship) without the need for masting to to be replaced


20th September 2009, 12:12
The point is still not strength or the lack of it in either the old fashioned masts or the Polish ones, but a wished for staggered lack of it that the old ones had. The sails and the masts should go before the ship goes, but preferably in stages according to necessity. The picture above looks bad, and this without it looking like the wind was that strong. It looks like they had a bit of sorely needed luck, but there are hundreds of pictures showing old sailing ships with the top piece of their three piece masts gone, the ropes cleaned away, and the ship fully sailable.
This idea is to some degree comparable to the crash zones in a modern car: the shell around the passengers should be of great strength, but the part that first hits in a collision should give, and still not be pushed into the passenger compartment. Regards, Stein.

philippe vanthournout
30th September 2009, 20:17
It may to be to the attention to all , that even with steel or aluminium masts , they may be as strong looking , but its their construction who is of the most inportant . When we took out the fore lower mast and fore topmast out of the " Mercator ", last year , when vertical , no problem but while handling her to get it in horizontal position , the forelowermast broke in two.
Investigation learned us that the electrical welding of the 1933 rerigging was in fault , with to 35 % of corrosion in the welding .
If you look well at the foto's , you can clearly see the horizontal cut of the breaking point , so in mine opinion , it's a welding hidden corrosion problem which is the cause of the demasting .
Regards ,


30th September 2009, 21:39
The report states that the vessel was racing at the time of the accident and if you look closely the upper sails appear to be out still yet the lower ones appeared to have been stored but they may have stored those sails after the mast failure.

Probably too much sail up in strong winds.

I would suggest that they go find a carbon fiber tree and install new masts

1st October 2009, 06:52
Philippe Vanthournout. It is better that the masts breaks than that the ship goes under, and it is better that they break in an easily repairable way, and that they break so that the hull is not pierced. Nobody here doubts the strength of modern masts, or even that they can be made unbreakable by wind, but it is that strength in one piece masts that seems demonstrated as dangerous here.
That they did it differently in the days of commercial sail was because they had the experience to consider of the many that had had to cut the rigging so as to make the masts break - to survive. Consider this picture: and then tell me: would she have fared better with stronger masts? Regards, Stein,

1st October 2009, 07:11
Captain James Cook had an eye for mast timber when he saw New Zealand's Kauri trees that later proved to be an excellent timber for all parts of ship construction.
Then he made a blue when he mooted the tall tapered pines on soon to be named Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea as the answer to the British admiralty's future mast supply.
These trees now in abundance in Australia and NZ proved to be useless as spars as they were full of trunk weakening knots at evry branch connection.
In the earlier Yachting world, the one before fibreglass, stainless steel,alloy and synthetic sails, spruce was the desirable timber for a hollow tapered mast to carry the canvas with Oregon or Douglas fir a poor man's substitute.


Seawitch Artist
5th October 2009, 15:09
I'm definitely with Stein here...if something has to give let it be bearable!
Dismasting in the past was a problem to be lived with, a sail blown through was another.
Lost steerage from a broken rudder as experienced by the Cutty Sark could have really meant disaster if that was going to have her end up on the rocks.
You can do worse than lose a few poles!