World’s most beautiful ship arrives in US
The Statsraad Lehmkuhl docks in Miami, NYC, and Newport, R.I.
LORI ANN REINHALL
The Norwegian American
Called by many “the most beautiful ship in the world,” the 278-foot tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl has once again landed on the shores of North America.
With its home port in Bergen, Norway, the 107-year-old ship was named in honor of Kristofer Lehmkuhl, a prominent Bergen politician who served in the Norwegian parliament from 1903 to 1906.
The majestic sailing vessel has been outfitted as a floating research station as part of a global mission to raise awareness about environmental issues as part of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Calling the project the One Ocean Initiative, the “floating university” will circumnavigate the globe during the course of 20 months.
One of the ship’s major partners is the Norwegian Marine Institute, and professors, lecturers, and students from around the world have joined the research tour.
The One Ocean Expedition set sail from Arendal, Norway, on Aug. 8, 2021, with 30 ports of call on its itinerary,
A warm reception in Miami
On Dec. 7, the Statsraad Lehmkuhl arrived in Miami, its first port of call in the United States. Once docked at the Maurice A Ferré boat slip, the ship was met by a delegation that included Norwegian Consul General Hilde Skorpen from Houston, together with a select group of distinguished guests, including Ragnar Meyer-Knutsen, publisher emeritus of The Norwegian American.
Skorpen remarked, “We are very pleased that it is making Miami tis first port of call in the United States, particularly because [in] Norway and Miami, we are living of and by the ocean, and a cleaner ocean is vital to our future.”
While the general public was not invited on board the ship in Miami, on shore, it attracted a large number of visitors, who came to admire the sheer beauty of the historic three-masted barque.
Welcome back to New York
The ship remained in Miami for four days, before continuing on to New York City. It was to be the fifth time the Statsraad Lehmkuhl would visit New York, beginning with two visits in the 1950s. Notably, the Statsraad Lehmkuhl was the first ship to come into New York Harbor after 9/11.
On Dec.18, the tall ship sailed into the ONE°15 Brooklyn Marina at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Two tugboats were required for its approach, and eight line handles were on hand to catch and tie the lines. The team at the 800-foot dock was equipped to bring the boat into the deep-water marina, which can accommodate nearly any vessel in the world.
Once docked in Brooklyn, the captain of the Statsraad Lehmkuhl, Jens Joachim Hiorth, spoke to the local newspaper, The Brooklyn Reporter.
Hiorth underlined the importance of the global voyage, which is meant “to draw attention to the challenges we are facing as a whole with climate change and to bring awareness to the ocean’s crucial role. The ocean is both part of the problem, with pollution, acidification, microplastics, and rising temperatures, and also most likely a very important part of the solution, if we handle it right.”
A COVID-19 Christmas
But the ship’s stay in New York was not to be without problems. On Dec. 19, it was reported than one of the crew had tested positive for COVID-19 at sea between Miami and New York. By Christmas Day, another seven people on board had been infected, the number increasing to 10 the following day. The ship was divided up, so that those infected could be put in quarantine. Public events on the ship, which were fully booked out within hours of the release of tickets, were canceled for the rest of the ship’s stay in New York. Fortunately, on Jan. 31, everyone on board tested negative for the coronavirus, so the quarantine could be lifted on the ship for the rest of its stay in New York
Historic Newport and beyond
On Jan. 4, the Statsraad Lehmkuhl continued on to Newport, R.I., where it was docked for four days. Newport is home to the Naval Station Newport, which houses the United States Naval War College, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and an important Navy training center. Rich in sailing history, Newport was the location of every challenge to the America’s Cup between 1930 and 1983.
On Jan. 8, the ocean journey continues on to Horta in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores.
If you are interested in sailing on the Statsraad Lehmkuhl, there are still five legs open on the global tour, but more voyages may open up in the future. To learn more, visit the One Ocean Expedition website at oneoceanexpedition.com.
This article originally appeared in the Jan. 7, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American.