Peking (ship)

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Coordinates: 53°50′24″N 9°24′5″E / 53.84000°N 9.40139°E / 53.84000; 9.40139

Peking docked in Wewelsfleth Yard
The Peking was docked at the Wewelsfleth Yard
 German Empire
Name: Peking
Owner: F. Laeisz
Route: EuropeChile
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Steinwerder, Hamburg
Yard number: 205[1]
Launched: 25 February 1911[1]
Completed: May 1911[1]
Out of service: 1920
Notes: Interned at Valparaiso 1914-1920,[1] then to Italy as war reparations
 Kingdom of Italy
In service: 1920
Out of service: 1923
 Weimar Republic
Name: Peking
Operator: F. Laeisz
Route: EuropeChile
Acquired: 1923
Out of service: 1932
 United Kingdom
Name: Arethusa
Owner: Shaftesbury Homes
In service: 1932-1940, 1945-1975
Out of service: 1975
Homeport: Upnor, Medway
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Pekin
Operator: Royal Navy
In service: 1940-1945
 United States
Name: Peking
Owner: South Street Seaport Museum
Acquired: 1975
Out of service: 2017
Homeport: New York City
Status: Museum ship
Name: Peking
Owner: Museum Maritim Hamburg
Acquired: 2017
Homeport: Hamburg
Status: Museum ship, under restoration
General characteristics
Class and type: Flying P-Liner
Displacement: 3,100 long tons (3,150 t)
  • 377 ft 6 in (115.06 m) sparred length
  • 320 ft (98 m) length on deck
Beam: 45 ft 7 in (13.89 m)
Height: 170 ft 6 in (51.97 m)
Draft: 16 ft (4.9 m)
Sail plan: 44,132 sq ft (4,100.0 m2) sail area

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.


Peking was made famous by the sail training pioneer Irving Johnson; 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.[2] It made this trip around the cape to Chile 34 times.

She was in Valparaiso at the outbreak of World War I, and was awarded to Italy as war reparations. She was sold back to the original owners, the Laeisz brothers in 1923, and continued 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.

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 was still moored in 2016. 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. [3]

In November 2015 the 'Maritim Foundation' purchased the ship for US $100, to be a feature at the new planned, German Port Museum at the Schuppen 52 Pier, in Hamburg, for which €120 million was sponsored by Federal German Government in Berlin.[4][3][5] She was taken to Caddell Dry Dock, Staten Island, on September 7, 2016, to spend the winter.[6] On July 17, 2017, she was docked, and two days later, she was transported, at a cost of some €1 million, in the hold of the semi-submersible heavy-lift ship Combi Dock III across the Atlantic, arriving on July 30, 2017 at Brunsbüttel. On August 2, 2017, she was transferred to Peters werft at Wewelsfleth for 3 years restoration at a cost of €26 million. [4]

Reconstruction in Germany[edit]

  • New rigging
  • New double floor steel plates
  • All the masts were dismounted, because they are simply too rotten.
  • The ship was docked in dry-dock and the steel structure is to be renewed.
  • The lower three and a half meters of the Hull is free of the cement.

This is about a year and a half in dry dock. Afterwards the ship comes out again from the dock, then the Teak comes on it and it goes to Hamburg to a planned German Port Museum.
There might also be opportunity to make her sail again.[7]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d Haworth, R B. "Peking". Wellington NZ: Miramar. Retrieved 1 August 2017. 
  2. ^ "The Peking Battles Cape Horn". Youtube. Retrieved 24 October 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Maritim Museum". Stiftung Hamburg Maritim. Retrieved 2 August 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Sailing Ship veteran's three-year restoration
  5. ^ "The Peking Battles Cape Horn". Youtube. Retrieved 24 October 2016. 
  6. ^ How this departing South Street Seaport Gem survived the Storm of the Century (New York Post, 5 September 2016).
  7. ^ "Peking" im Dock: Arbeit fängt jetzt richtig an


External links[edit]

Media related to Peking (ship) at Wikimedia Commons