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CHRISTIAN RADICH

Fue un oficial de caballeria, director de un aserradero y armador en Kristiania (ahora Olso) y un entusiasta de los buques de  entrenamiento en vela. No tuvo descendientes y en 1884 decidio donar 90.000 NOK (coronas noruegas) para la construccion d eun nuevo buque escuela. la unica condicion era que debia llevar su nombre. Gracias a esta donacion se incrementaron los esfuerxos para encontrar un buque adecuado para Oslo. A la fundacion que se creo le fue ofrecido el Transatlantic, ex Mersey, un full rigger de 1847 tons por NOK 410.000.- El traspaso fue efectuado en Arhus, Dinamarca en el otoño de 1916. Debia ser rebautizado "Christian Radich", pero eld estini opino diferente. El plan era usarlo como un buque  de carga y buque escuela al mismo tiempo y la Fundacion solicito permiso para enviar una carga de cemento a Buenos Aires. Pero el pedido fue negado y se decidio llevar el buque a Kristiania. Durante la primera guerra mundial los precios de los buques subieron dramaticamente y en Abril de 1917 el "Transatlantic" fue vendido por NOK 800.000.

SE hicieron planes para un nuevo buque, pero fueron recomnenzados recien en 1935. El Comodoro y el Director del astillero d ela marina en Horten tuvieron la tarea de dibujar los planos del nuqvo buque escuela. Se pidieron precios a 11 astilleros por el contrato, que fue finalmente a "Framnæs Mek. Verksted" en Sandefjord y el trabajo comenzo en Agosto de 1936.

 Esta cnstruccion se convirtio en un proyecto de prestigio para el astillero. La industria pasaba por malos momentos y pocos contratos, por loq ue este trabajo fue un gran empuje para el astillero. No se habian construido veleros en los pasados 25 años, pero aun habia algunos veteranos que sabian como hacerlo. Mientra se hacia el casco, se hizo obvio que seria uno veloz.

On June 15th, the shipyard was paid NOK 609.293,04 – the total of what it had cost to build the ship. The ship was given a trial and was handed over two days later with several prominent guests present. A cantata had even been written especially for the occasion. The verdict of the press was unanimous: a more beautiful ship had hardly ever been made. Christian Blom was praised for having constructed a particularly beautiful and well-proportioned ship. 

The ship’s first trip went to Fredrikshald, Kirkwall and Leith. She sailed her first full season the year after with 99 cadets onboard. A representation cruise in the Baltic Sea with visits made in Stockholm, Helsingfors and Karlskrona.

In 1939 "Christian Radich" sailed to New York for the first time in connection with the World Expedition. The cruise was given a lot of attention and there was an amazing amount of interest from the press. Captain Alf Bryde chose the Northern Route on the way over. On May 14th "Christian Radich" passed N. Ronaldsday and Sule Skerry. She sailed close to 40 NM during her best watches on the North Atlantic, and on the 14th of June she took aboard a pilot by Ambrose Lighthouse outside New York. She had made the crossing in a month. She sailed into New York Harbor on the 20th of June after people from the press and filmmakers had been taken aboard at the quarantine station. All sails were set. The ship was even photographed from the air according to the ship’s logbook. Then Crown Prince of Norway, Olav, and Crown Princess Märtha were onboard. On the way back, the ship set a new record of 41 NM in four hours.

"Christian Radich" was less than three years old when World War 2 broke out. The Navy requisitioned the ship and she was sailed to Horten where she was to be used as lodgings. Shortly after the invasion on April 9th 1940, the Germans took the ship, and during the war she suffered, along with "Sørlandet" and "Statsraad Lehmkuhl" an unhappy fate. She served mainly as depot ship for crew on German submarines. In 1944 she was brought to Germany to be used as training ship for the Navy. She was docked in Flensburg in January 1945 and was in dock during an air raid. The dock was hit and the ship keeled over. The hull and deck suffered great injuries and she sank, only part of the rig sticking out of the water.

In August 1945, the board of the Foundation decided to bring "Christian Radich" back to Norway. She was raised and the wreck was towed home and into dock at Nyland in December 1945. A long discussion on whether to wreck her or restore her started. Ironically, restoring her turned out to be the cheapest alternative.
"Framnæs" accepted the job, but their order books were full - several ships were already waiting and there was a shortage of building material. "Christian Radich" wasn’t ready to set sail again until the summer of 1947.

In 1955 the Foundation got a request from Louis de Rochemont who wanted to rent the ship for a film – and in December 1956, "Christian Radich" set sail for the USA with 41 cadets, actors and a film crew of 19 in addition to the regular crew. A whole generation was affected by "Windjammer."

Back in Norway after ended films cruise, schooling of future sailors again commenced. But it had become harder to recruit cadets and run the ship. Critics claimed that you couldn’t educate future sailors aboard a tall ship.
Some suggested that she should be chopped up - others that she could be turned into a museum. Selling her abroad was a third option presented. "Friends of Christian Radich" was established in 1974 with the actor Lasse Kolstad as their first chairman and then Crown Prince Harald as President. Harald Tusberg, a television man, was also a leading figure. This led to a change in the popular opinion. The goal was to keep the ship operative and based in Norway. In 1975, the Ministry of Commerce took the initiative to a meeting on the future of "Christian Radich." In 1976, the Parliament decided that one wanted to keep the "Christian Radich" as a training ship under sail, supported by public funding. Since then, "Christian Radich" has mainly been a sailing ambassador and a sail training ship with various forms of training programmes.

In 1976, the USA’s 200th anniversary and the 150th anniversary of the emigration to the USA were to be celebrated. And in April, "Christian Radich" sailed from Stavanger. King Olav was present wishing ship and crew good winds. The trip to the USA in 1976 was organised in co-operation with Norway’s information service in New York, the Norwegian National Export Council, Op Sail, STA and the 200th Anniversary Committee. A new group of cadets embarked on April 1st and their first journey was the regatta across the Atlantic from Plymouth to Newport via Tenerife and Bermuda. The regatta was characterised by little wind and races called off. In the end, "Christian Radich" came second. On the 4th of July on the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, a fleet of ships met in New York Harbor. The "Christian Radich" also known as "The Windjammer" was undoubtedly one of the ships that got most attention partly because she was sailed by her usual crew of 16-year-old boys. After the celebration, "Christian Radich" sailed a five-week cruise to the Great Lakes. The ship visited several ports and went as far as Duluth by Lake Superior, 183 meters above sea level.

"Christian Radich" lost eight sails and suffered extensive damage to her fore-and mainmast.

"Christian Radich" didn’t set sail for Norway until fall. On the night between the 22nd and 23rd of September, the ship sailed into a storm 48N, 16W approximately 400NM off Lands End and west of Biscay. The wind increased from west to a full-blown hurricane with a relative wind speed of well over 60 knots. The wind got hold of the fastened sails on the fore- and mainmasts and the sails tore lose. It was impossible to enter the rig as ropes; wire and widow makers were whipped against the rig, masts and yards. Sparks flew as iron hit iron. The masts swayed like reeds in the wind and there was no chance the rig would hold if the pressure continued. After a while sails started blowing out and the pressure decreased. The far too solid Dacron sails had almost been "Christian Radich’s" bane. In the old times, canvas sails were the rig’s safety valve as they quickly blew out in a storm if the wind got hold of them, this way easing the pressure on the rig. "Christian Radich" lost eight sails. The fore- and mainmasts were badly damaged. The foremast had almost broken and the rig had suffered vibration and tension damage and had to be replaced. While the storm lasted everyone onboard was on the alert and during the worst part they all had to gather in the aft of the ship, as it was hazardous to be in the fore. The weather didn’t stabilize until well into the day. A French frigate came to the aid of "Christian Radich" and stayed close, other vessels that had heard of her plight also arrived. The next day, a few staysails were set; the ship got on course and was steered towards the canal. "Christian Radich" had ridden the storm off.

In 1979-80, the Foundation tried something new. In co-operation with the Norwegian National Export Council and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), "Christian Radich" sailed from Norway in August with 88 new cadets onboard. These were trained during the crossing, in the Caribbean and off the West Coast of the USA. During this five month long trip, the ship visited London, Tenerife, Bridgetown (Barbados), La Guaira (Venezuela), went through the Panama canal, visited Acapulco and had long stays in Los Angeles/San Pedro and San Francisco. The very last stop for these cadets was in San Diego. The cadets got their papers, disembarked and were flown home by the SAS from Los Angeles. "Christian Radich" was laid up for a short while at the old Navy base in San Diego and in January 1980, 88 new cadets arrived from Norway. These sailed the ship back through the Panama Canal, visited ports in the Gulf of Mexico and on the West Indian Islands before sailing up the East Coast of the USA. Ports visited were Acapulco, Cartagnea, Port Antonio, Houston, Galveston, New Orleans, Miami, Norfolk, Washington, and finally New York City. Last two stops in the US were New Bedford and Boston, capital in the English Crown Colony long before the USA was founded. The city celebrated its 350th anniversary four years after the nation had celebrated its 200th anniversary. On the 29th of May there was a Tall Ship Parade and "Christian Radich" was there. Boston has all along been one of the continent’s most important ports. The sailing ships and the harbour was the foundation of the city’s boom. Naturally, shipping was at the centre of the celebration. The anniversary looked back to the old times under the motto "The Tall Ships Are Back." Lead by the city’s old frigate "USS Constitution" from 1797, the tall ships came back in a magnificent sail parade. There was an enormous amount of visitors while the tall ships lay in harbour. The fact that the old nations sent so many of their remaining sailing ships the long way across the Atlantic to the anniversary must have warmed the hearts of, and made the Americans extra proud.

The cadets signed off and the ship was sent to a shipyard. A general restoration with new masts and a new rig was scheduled for the first time since 1947. In the autumn of 1980 she was back at "Framnæs" where a depressing amount of rust damage was discovered while working on the ship. As a result, the restoration became even more extensive than planned and the budget was greatly exceeded. The bill came to a total of more than NOK 10 million. 1981 and 1982 came and went before the entire bill had been paid after several rounds in the ring with the authorities. The ship had gotten a make over, the hull and the interior had been renewed. Parts of the masts, the bowsprit and standing rig had been changed. The dormitories below deck had been equipped with bunks.

In 1983 the ship was again ready to welcome cadets to a year of basic nautical training and this time girls were welcomed as well. The year after, "Christian Radich" represented Norway in Quebec City at the anniversary celebration of Jacques Cartiers’ discovery of this part of the North American continent in 1534. The ship sailed to Quebec via Tenerife and Bermuda. After returning to Norway, the restorations continued which led to there only being time for a short cruise in the autumn of 1985 in the Baltic Sea with visits to ports in Sweden, Åland, Finland and Poland.

 

In 1986 "Christian Radich" was again on her way to an anniversary in the USA, this time to celebrate the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor on the 4th of July. "Christian Radich" was guest of honour in the magnificent parade of tall ships. The ship stayed in New York for two eventful weeks, officers, crew and cadets all participating. The trip home went via Halifax and Larvik to Oslo and finally Horten for more restoration. 

A pattern where the ship had cadets onboard for 10-month courses, 60 cadets on deck and 18 in the galley had been established. She now mainly sailed in European waters, but in 1992 she sailed to Cadiz to participate in a regatta to commemorate Columbus, with destination Puerto Rico. And the cadets on "Christian Radich" did it again – sailed from all their competitors and won both their class and over al

 

Sail training in Norway was again undergoing great changes, and basic nautical training disappeared with the school reform of `94. Trying to create a new space for "Christian Radich" in the school system, the ship tried sailing with first year cadets to maritime college during a four-year trial. But again, the times were against her and the last cadets signed off on the 23rd of June in 1998. During this period, co-operation with "Sørlandet" and "Statsraad Lehmkuhl" had bettered. All three realised there was no point in the three ships fighting over the same public funding, and that they would be better off standing side by side. As "Christian Radich" now no longer ran a school onboard, the board of the Foundation decided she would have to go into the same "trade" as her two Norwegian sisters. 

From 1999 and on, the ship has been on the charter market as well as sailing with paying trainees to foreign ports on summer trips, participating in the Cutty Sark Tall Ships Races and large sail events in various European ports. At the same time, the board is also trying to find a new school form acceptable to the authorities, in which "Christian Radich" can play a part.

Since 1999, "Christian Radich" has also gone through the probably largest restoration in her history. The entire aft was redone during the winter of 1999-2000 at "Drammen Skipsreparasjon" and further restorations continued during the winter of 2000-2001, partly alongside her quay in Oslo. The total cost of the entire project had a price tag of a bit more than NOK 40 million. The city of Oslo contributed NOK 8 million and the national authorities with 3,6 million. Shipping and trade and industry in the Oslo area raised the rest of the money needed.
The ship is now in better condition than she has been in a long time and again -the white swan she is supposed to be.