Ships Nostalgia banner
Magdalene Vinnen

Magdalene Vinnen

The Magdalene Vinnen sailed, among other things, after 1931 in the Australian wheat voyage and until 1931 in the Chilean saltpetre voyage, whereby she cir***navigated Cape Horn several times and thus counts among the Cape Horners.

622 Posts
Four-masted steel barque built in 1921 by the Krupp Germania shipyard, Kiel. Dimensions: 100.27 x 14.68 x 8.22 m [329'0" x 48'2" x 26'8"].
Tonnage: 3476 GRT and 3017 NRT. Rigged with double topgallant sails and royals.
Launched at Krupp Germania Werft, Kiel, as construction number 372 for F.A. Vinnen & Co., Bremen.
Sold to Norddeutscher Lloyd, Bremen, and renamed Kommodore Johnsen Used as a combined cargo and training ship.
1945 May
Delivered to the Soviet Union as part of the war reparations and used as a training ship.
1976 October
Passive layover in Kronstadt.

1921 - 1936 In March 1921 the four-masted barque was launched and christened MAGDALENE VINNEN and handed over to the client, the Vinnen shipping company. At the beginning of the year 1919 the shipping company was faced with nothing. Due to the war and the Versailles peace treaty, all sailing ships without exception were lost.
Like all German shipping companies, she immediately began to rebuild her sailing fleet. The Vinnen shipping company was the only one to have new sailing ships built. On September 1, 1921, the MAGDALENE VINNEN set sail for her first voyage under the leadership of Captain Lorenz Peters. The route led from Bremen via Cardiff, where coal was loaded, to Buenos Aires. Despite bad weather conditions, the voyage from England to Argentina with a coal cargo took only 30 days.

The MAGDALENE VINNEN was used to transport everything that used to be transported by water: Besides the aforementioned coal from Wales, there was sawn timber from Finland, wheat from Australia, pyrites from Italy and general cargo from Belgium. The four-masted barque never had to carry ballast.
On her voyages the MAGDALENE VINNEN proved to be an extraordinarily fast sailor. But also the decision to provide this ship with an auxiliary engine proved to be the right one for the navigation and economy of the ship. With an average speed of 8 1/4 knots, the motor sailer was only slightly slower than the cargo steamships and saved fuel while at the same time increasing the cargo capacity, as the engine was not constantly needed. On the voyage to Buenos Aires it was only used on seven days.
For the Vinnen shipping company the four-masted barque also made two Cape Horn voyages to Chile and to Megillones. Until the last voyage under the Vinnen flag in 1936, the routes took the ship to Argentina, South Africa, Australia, Reunion and the Seychelles.
"Commodore Johnson"
under the NDL flag of
1936 to 1945

Due to the good experience that North German Lloyd had had for more than thirty years with the training of junior officers on its own training ships, the shipping company considered acquiring a large square-sailed ship again in the mid-thirties in order to put it into service as a training ship.
So when the four-masted barque MAGDALENE VINNEN returned home from one of her La Plata voyages in spring 1936 and it became known that the Vinnen shipping company had decided to sell the ship, North German Lloyd was immediately interested in this sailor. A detailed inspection of the four-master showed that the ship was a ship whose structural qualities and seaworthiness directly challenged the sail training ship, as everything about her was still of such quality and stability that it was possible to go on a long voyage around Cape Horn.
Norddeutscher Lloyd Bremen therefore bought the MAGDALENE VINNEN on 9th August 1936 and converted her into a cargo-training ship at the shipyard owned by the shredder. In the main, additional accommodation had to be provided, because the training ship was to take 50 to 60 officer candidates on each voyage in addition to its regular crew. Thus the new training ship of North German Lloyd was able to enter service in Bremen as early as 12th August 1936, and was given the name KOMMODORE JOHNSON. The patron saint of the name was a man who, through hard work, loyalty and perseverance, had worked his way up from a small ship's boy to the leader of the fastest and largest steamers of North German Lloyd EUROPA and BREMEN, and to the commodore of the Lloyd fleet. In maritime circles, the shipping company's intention to send the training ship on voyages with cargo was particularly acknowledged. The curriculum primarily provided for the thorough learning of practical seamanship and cargo service. On the training ship KOMMODORE JOHNSON, the young prospective seafarers and captains were to be familiarised with the full weight of this profession, but also with its beautiful aspects.

On 8th October 1936 the KOMMODORE JOHNSON left Bremerhaven for the first time as a training ship. The ship loaded with hard coal reached its port of destination Montevideo on 6 December 1936 in only 58 days. It covered 6,820 nautical miles. On January 8, 1937, the barque left Buenos Aires with a cargo of wheat for home. On this route, the ship ran into probably the most critical situation in her entire career. At the height of the Azores, the KOMMODORE JOHNSON was caught in a severe storm on 1 March 1937, which developed into a hurricane. However, the situation, which was not unusual in itself, became threatening when the ship tilted to port with a list of 20 degrees. The ship had to work hard in the violent gale. As the sailor was luffed up by the north wind, heavy breakers came over the deck from port side, so that the foredeck with the hatches and the aft ditch were under water.
Around 2 o'clock the KOMMODORE JOHNSON heeled strongly to port in high waves from the northwest and a gust of wind with terrible force. From this inclined position the ship did not straighten up completely, but kept a list of 20 degrees to port, which then increased hourly. When the cargo was inspected, it was found that it had turned to port, as the central longitudinal bulkhead under hatch III had broken. The entire crew tried to retrim the cargo. Despite all efforts, the list list increased to 50 degrees. Crew and cadet quarters were under water and on the port deck there was 200 tons of water at times. So on the morning of 3 March 1937 an SOS call for help was sent out. Until two of the tankers that had picked up the distress call reached the KOMMODORE JOHNSON in the evening, the crew fought for survival in their desperate situation. The Dutch steamship SLIEDRECHT and the German tanker WINKLER made a successful attempt to rescue the shipwrecked vessel. In the evening of 3rd March 1937, after the tankers on the weather side had given oil overboard to calm the waves and the wind had died down a little, the desperate work in the holds of the sailor was successful. After almost 24 hours the trimming work was stopped and the two tankers were discharged with thanks. One had got away once again! 15 days later the KOMMODORE JOHNSON arrived in Hamburg.
On 1 April 1937 Gottfried Clausen was given command on the KOMMODORE JOHNSON. He had already served as 1st officer under Captain Lehmberg and had been prepared for his new position. On three world voyages Captain Clausen was in command. The KOMMODORE JOHNSON returned from her last voyage as a training ship for North German Lloyd on 11th August 1939, a few weeks before the outbreak of war. In 1945, the sailor was moored in the Flensburg Fjord, together with the PADUA. On 20 December 1945 the ship was handed over to the Soviet Union by the British as reparations. For the owner of the four-masted barque, the UDSSR, the red flag flew from January 1946. In total, the barque under Lloyd's flag had covered a distance of 97,469 nautical miles during the four voyages from 1936-1939. This corresponds to four and a half times the cir***ference of the earth.

During the war, only limited training trips were possible, although in the last year of training, 1944, the crew was expected to perform "847 different sailing manoeuvres in 125 days", which was more than was ever the case on conventional voyages.

Media information

Sailing Ships
Added by
jan botter
Date added
View count
Comment count
0.00 star(s) 0 ratings

Share this media