Fock is a tall ship of the German Navy (Deutsche Marine). She is
the second ship of that name and a sister ship of the Gorch Fock
built in 1933. Both ships are named in honour of the German
writer Johann Kinau who wrote under the pseudonym "Gorch Fock"
and died in the battle of Jutland/Skagerrak in 1916. The
modern-day Gorch Fock was built in 1958. She is sometimes
referred to (unofficially) as the Gorch Fock II to distinguish
her from her older sister ship. The Gorch Fock is under the
command of the Naval Academy in Flensburg-Mürwik.
Germany had lost all its school ships as war reparations after
World War II to the Allies so, the German Bundesmarine decided
in 1957 to have a new training vessel built following the plans
for the original Gorch Fock of 1933 which by that time was owned
by the Soviets, and renamed to Tovarishch. The new ship was a
modernized rebuild of the Albert Leo Schlageter, a slightly
modified sister ship of the previous Gorch Fock.
The 1933 Gorch Fock had already been designed to be a very safe
ship: she had a righting moment large enough to bring her back
into the upright position even when heeling over to nearly 90°.
Nevertheless some late-minute changes to the design were made in
response to the Pamir disaster in 1957, especially concerning
the strength of the body and the bulkheads as well as the
lifesaving equipment, including the lifeboats.
The new ship was built by Blohm & Voss in Hamburg, launched on
23 August 1958, and commissioned on 17 December of that year.
Her home port is Kiel. The Gorch Fock is a three-masted barque
with a steel hull 81.2 m (266 ft) long (without the bowsprit)
and 12 m (40 ft) wide. She has a draught of some 5.2 m (17 ft)
and a displacement at full load of 1760 tons. Originally, she
carried 1952 m² of canvas sails; later, she received slightly
larger sails made of synthetic materials. The tops of her fore
and main masts can be lowered so that she can navigate the Kiel
Canal, otherwise she would be too tall for some of the bridges
spanning the canal.
Over the years, various modernizations have been applied to the
ship. She was fitted with air conditioning, the asbestos used
originally was removed and replaced by less dangerous materials
in 1991, and in that year she also received a new auxiliary
engine, a six cylinder diesel engine producing 1,220 kW (1660
hp), good for a top speed of 13.7 knots. The interior has also
been modified multiple times; technological advances made it
possible to reduce the size of the galley and enlarge the crew
Officially Gorch Fock is a Type 441 class naval ship with the
NATO pennant number A60. Her international radio call sign is
The Gorch Fock participates in sailing parades and Tall Ships'
Races, where she is in amicable rivalry with the Italian vessel
The adventures of the figurehead
The Gorch Fock has lost her Figurehead several times:
The first albatross from 1958 was lost after a few years.
Its replacement was made of wood, like the first one.
In 1969, it was removed and replaced by a figurehead made of
polyester to save weight.
This albatross broke off when the Gorch Fock was being
overhauled in 2000. It was replaced by a new one made of wood.
On December 11, 2002, the Gorch Fock lost her figurehead in a
storm. The replacement was also made of wood.
Again, the figurehead broke off in a storm on December 5, 2003.
On February 24, 2004, the ship got a new albatross, this time
made of carbon fiber reinforced polyester.