Published on Jun 19, 2018Made by the sail training pioneer Irving Johnson.
From Wikipedia - Irving McClure Johnson (July 4, 1905 – January 2, 1991) was an American sail training pioneer, adventurer, lecturer, and author.
Johnson was born in Hadley, Massachusetts. Early home movies show him training for a life at sea, climbing a telephone pole in his backyard, and wrestling & Jiu Jitsu to prepare for the inevitable fights he believed would occur due to his reading the novels of Jack London and Joseph Conrad.
Johnson became a professional sailor (joining the Merchant Marine in 1926) working summers as crew and captain of various yachts including the "Charmian" for Newcomb Carlton (President of Western Union.), which led to the opportunity to sail on the Peking. He was an amateur filmmaker and his footage on the barque Peking in 1929 would become the now famous film Around Cape Horn.
While serving as mate on board the Wanderbird, Johnson met (Harriet) Electa "Exy" Search whom he married in 1932. The Johnsons circumnavigated the world seven times on two vessels, both named Yankee, each trip with a new crew and each taking approximately 18 months. The first Yankee, bought in 1933, was a Dutch North Sea pilot schooner. (Before becoming an actor, Sterling Hayden served as mate aboard the first Yankee.) The second Yankee, bought in 1947, was a retired German North Sea pilot schooner which the Johnsons rerigged as a brigantine. They then retired from circumnavigation and, in 1958-9, had the last Yankee built at Westhaven in Zaandam, the Netherlands. She was a steel ketch for sailing the inland waterways of Europe, designed by Irving Johnson and Olin Stephens of Sparkman & Stephens.
Many of the Johnsons' voyages have been documented in their own books and many articles and videos produced by the National Geographic Society and others throughout their sailing career. With an amateur crew, they traveled hundreds of thousands of miles to the islands of the South Pacific, ports of call in Southeast Asia, around the Cape of Good Hope and home to Gloucester without incident 18 months later seven times.
His footage filmed on board during a passage around Cape Horn in 1929 shocked experienced Cape Horn veterans and landsmen alike at the extreme conditions Peking experienced.
The Peking is a steel-hulled four-masted sailing only barque freighter. A so-called Flying P-Liner of the German company F. Laeisz, it was one of the last generation of windjammers used in the nitrate trade and wheat trade around the often treacherous Cape Horn.
It made this trip around the cape to Chile 34 times.
Peking was launched in February 1911 and left Hamburg for her maiden voyage to Valparaiso in May of the same year. After the outbreak of World War I she was interned at Valparaiso and remained in Chile for the duration of the war. Awarded to Italy as war reparation she was sold back to her original owners Laeisz brothers in January 1923.
She remained in the nitrate trade until traffic through the Panama Canal proved quicker and more economical.
In 1932, she was sold for £6,250 to Shaftesbury Homes. She was first towed to Greenhithe, renamed Arethusa II and moored alongside the existing Arethusa I. In July 1933, she was moved to a new permanent mooring off Upnor on the River Medway, where she served as a children's home and training school. She was officially "opened" by HRH Prince George on 25 July 1933. During World War II she served in the Royal Navy as HMS Pekin.
The ship is featured in many exterior shots of the 1964 Miss Marple film, Murder Ahoy! standing in as the Battledore, a charity-run training vessel for wayward boys.
Museum ship in New York
Arethusa II was retired in 1974 and sold to Jack Aron as Peking, for the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City, where she remained for the next four decades. However, the Seaport NYC did not see the Peking as part of its long-term operational plans, and was planning to send the Peking to the scrap yard. A 2012 offer to return the ship to Hamburg, where she was originally built, as a gift from the city of New York, was contingent upon raising an endowment in Germany to ensure the preservation of the vessel.
Return to Germany
In November 2015 the 'Maritim Foundation' purchased the ship for US $100. Peking is intended to become part of the German Port Museum (Deutsches Hafenmuseum) at Schuppen 52 in Hamburg for which €120 million of federal funds will provided.
Refurbishment in Germany
On August 2, 2017, she was transferred to Peters Werft located at Wewelsfleth for a 3 year refurbishment at estimated cost of €26 million:
The ship will spend about a year and a half in dry dock. Afterwards the Peking will be refloated and the Teak will be reinstalled before she will be taken to Hamburg to the German Port Museum.
There might also be an opportunity to make her sail again.
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