Tall ship stands tall after 75 years

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She’s been a movie star in the role of the Windjammer, sailed in nearly all the Tall Ships Races and won many of them. Arguably the tallest of Norway’s Tall Ships, Christian Radich is celebrating her 75th anniversary this weekend, and all year long.

The tall ship "Christian Radich" is celebrating her 75th anniversary this year with, among other things, a jubilee cruise along the Norwegian coast. PHOTO: Views and News

Even Crown Prince Haakon was taking part in the main celebration Friday evening at the Oslo City Hall, after a cruise on board the vessel with prominent guests Friday afternoon. On Saturday and Sunday, Christian Radich would set out on the Oslo Fjord once again, this time with paying guests on board, and the Norwegian Seaman’s Choir.

On June 27, the sailing ship will begin a voyage along the Norwegian coast from Oslo all the way north to Hammerfest and the North Cape. The route is divided up into various stage, so passengers can go on board and disembark along the way and back south again. The cruises are open to the public and no sailing experience is required, only a willingness to sleep in hammocks slung up below deck. Arrival in Hammerfest is scheduled for July 11 with return to Oslo August 17.

The vessel was built in Sandefjord, about a two-hour drive south of Oslo, and set off on her maiden voyage in 1937, on June 17, to be exact. The vessel was built as a training ship for seafarers, funded through the will of businessman and schooner enthusiast Christian Radich, and still serves as a training vessel for naval officers in the winter months, generally off Spain. Newspaper Aftenposten reported this week that Christian Radich has had around 17,000 seafaring students on board and her current captain was himself among them 18 years ago.

In the summer, Christian Radich is based at her home port in Oslo (external link), offering summer excursions to the public and taking part in the occasional regatta.

The vessel gained a certain amount of world fame when she starred in the 1958 film Windjammer, which will return to some cinemas around Norway this fall. It made film history at the time with its use of three parallel cameras through a technique promoted as “Cinemiracle,” which required three synchronized cameras for viewing as well. The goal was to make the film as realistic as possible, so that the audience would feel like they were sailing on the ship themselves.

The film was so successful that some people watching it reportedly got seasick. It ran at the famed Graumann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood for nine full months.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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