The Gorch Fock I (ex Tovarishch, ex Gorch Fock) is a German three-mast barque. Originally built as a school ship for the German Reichsmarine in 1933, she was taken as war reparation by the USSR after World War II. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the ship sailed under the Ukrainian flag from 1992 to 1993. In 1995, she was transferred to Newcastle-upon-Tyne for repairs, which however, somehow never even began. In 1999, she was moved to Wilhelmshaven and finally acquired by private sponsors and transferred to her original home port Stralsund, Germany, where she was re-baptized Gorch Fock on November 29, 2003. She is a museum ship today, and although efforts are being made to reactivate her, it is doubtful whether she will sail ever again.

The Gorch Fock served as a training vessel for the German Reichsmarine. During the second World War, she was a stationary office ship in Stralsund, until she was officially reactivated on April 19, 1944. On May 1, 1945, the crew scuttled her in shallow waters off RĂ¼gen in an attempt to avoid capture by the Russian troops.

However, the Russians raised and salvaged her in 1947 and restored her from 1948 to 1950. The ship was newly named the Tovarishch ("Comrade" in Russian) in 1951 and put into service as a training vessel again. Her new home port was Odessa. Under the name Tovarishch she participated in many Tall Ships' Races and cruised far and wide on the seven seas. She made a voyage around the world in 1957 and won the Operation Sail race twice, in 1974 and 1976.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Tovarishch sailed under the Ukrainian flag (home port was then Cherson) until 1993, when she was deactivated due to a lack of funds. In 1995, she sailed for the last time from Cherson to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where private sponsors wanted to have her repaired. This enterprise failed due to the high costs, and in 1999, the ship was transported to Wilhelmshaven in Germany, where she stayed in dock for four years until she finally was transferred to Stralsund, Germany in 2003. On November 29, 2003 the ship was re-baptized Gorch Fock. Currently, she serves as a museum ship.
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By: kjfitz


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