Tall ship sailing specialist Star Clippers has announced that it has started building a fourth ship to add to its fleet of graceful square-riggers; its first new-build since the launch of Royal Clipper in July 2000.
The new vessel, yet to be named, will be the biggest and most ambitious to date and will be launched in the second half of 2017, carrying 300 passengers, measuring 8,770 tons and powered by more than 6,350 sq m of sails.
The new ship will technically be a five-masted, square-rigged barque.
While the company’s flagship Royal Clipper is modelled on the legendary German sailing ship Preussen, the new member of the fleet will be a near-replica of the even more dramatic France II, commissioned in 1911 and the largest square rigger ever built.
Just as the original France II eclipsed Preussen more than a century ago as the world’s largest square rigger, the Star Clippers new build will replace its sister, Royal Clipper, as the largest ship of its kind afloat today.
Mikael Krafft, founder and owner of Star Clippers, said: “We have already built the five-masted full ship Royal Clipper, which is very much influenced by the Preussen.
“This time, we intend to build a ship inspired by France II, an ambition I have had for a long time. The ship’s rig will be identical to France II and dimensions will be very similar, although we have added various features that will make this the most magnificent passenger sailing ship afloat.”
As well as the generous deck space only found on a sailing ship, the new vessel will have three pools, one that funnels sunlight through the ship’s atrium into the elegantly appointed dining room.
There will be a watersports platform in the stern for use when the ship is at anchor and a variety of cabin grades, including 34 suites with balconies and four luxurious owner’s suites.
A restaurant in the light-filled atrium will accommodate all passengers for open-seating dining. Regular guests will be delighted to discover their favourite hallmarks of all Star Clippers ships, such as the cosy library, the bowsprit net and the popular, al fresco Tropical Bar, where evening entertainment takes place.
While the ship will have ecologically sound, high-tech engines, it will, like its sisters, rely on wind power and its sails wherever possible.
The new ship will be delivered in the second half of 2017 and will initially sail the company’s most popular itineraries in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.
Sales are expected to open in 2016.