The Götheborg of Sweden, the largest ocean-going wooden sailing ship in the world, will be calling into Malta during its two-year voyage to China, 15 years after the ship first made the journey, and 277 years since the first Götheborg ran aground on less than a kilometre outside its home harbour.
The project to build the massive replica to the same scale of the original ship, and using the same traditional techniques, started in 1995, and had ran up costs of around €33 million (€45 million in 2022 due to inflation) by the time of its completion in 2005.
Financed in large part through private sponsors led by auto maker Volvo, ball bearing and seal manufacturing company SKF, ferry operator Stena Line, and the publicly-owned Port of Gothenburg – all of which are among the largest enterprises in their respective sectors, and founded or headquartered in the city – the rebuilding needed a shipyard capable of handling a mid-18th century ship.
This proved a tough call, so a whole new shipyard was built to service it.
Although the exterior is true to the original, the interior is entirely modern, including an electrical system and propellers powered by diesel engines, as well as modern satellite navigation, a kitchen, washing machines, lavatories – with the idea being to celebrate history, not regress to a time when the ship left harbour with an oversized crew to make up for the deaths along the way.
Since 2019, Greencarrier Group has been the principal sponsor of the ship, and is now taking it on another trip to China, to recall the trading routes of old when the ship was operated by the Swedish East India Company.
It will be docking in Malta between 15th and 17th Octboer, and will be open to visitors from 2pm to 5:30pm on all three days. It will take around an hour to experience all that the vessel has to offer.
Tickets cost €15 for adults and €7.50 for children under 16. Babies and toddlers aged four or under can go on for free. Tickets can be bought online or on-site.
This is not the first eyecatching ship to call into Maltese harbours in recent times. Last year, the “greatest sailing machine ever built”, the aptly named Maltese Falcon, visited Malta, while just last May, a sail-powered steel ship of the Indian Navy, used for training, was also open for viewing at the Grand Harbour.
Götheburg of Sweden / Facebook.
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