The "Großherzogin Elisabeth" (Grand Duchess Elisabeth) started her life as the "San Antonio". The gaff-rigged schooner was launched on the 19th of August 1909 in Ablasserdam (Netherlands) and was worldwide the first cargo sailing ship which was equipped with a diesel motor. In 1982, the ship, known as "Ariadne" at the time, was purchased by the School Ship Society Grand Duchess Elisabeth, her current owner. She is warmly referred to as the “Lissi”. Moreover, she reminds us of the fully-rigged ship of the same name, a vessel built in 1901 and which served in a training capacity for a long period of time. The latter vessel is the "Duchesse Anne", now located in the French harbor of Dunkirk.
The „Lissi“ is 63.70 m long, has a beam of 8.23 m and a sail area of 1010 m². Apart from the summer season, the vessel serves the Faculty of Navigation at the Jade College of Applied Sciences as a training ship. Additionally, it is open to the public for guest cruises and may be viewed along the pier of Elsfleth.
Duchesse Anne and San Antonio
In 1901, in the shipyard Werft Joh. C. Tecklenborg in Geestemünde, a fully-rigged, steel-hulled ship was built for the German Scholl Ship Association, and she was christened as the “Großherzogin Elisabeth“. She was thereby named after the Grand Duchess Elisabeth of Oldenburg (1869-1955). Also known as “Lisbeth”, the ship is now a museum vessel named “Duchesse Anne” in Dunkirk, France. The “Lisbeth” received her current name in 1946, she came to France as a spoil of war, a sort floating reparations payment following the Second World War.
The “Lissi”, on the other hand, namely the pet name of the current “Großherzogin Elisabeth“ in Elsfleth, has a totally different story. She was initially built as the “San Antonio” for the Dutch ship owner Andreas Hammerstein in 1907. The “San Antonio” a three-masted schooner, sank in 1908 following a collision with a light cruiser of the German Imperial Navy. The crew, with the exception of the cook, was rescued. Given that the cruiser had caused the accident, the Imperial Navy was ordered to pay for the new construction.
The new San AntonioHammerstein commissioned the shipyard Jan Smit in Ablasserdam with the new construction of the „San Antonio“. Merely four months later, the cargo sailing ship, now equipped with a diesel motor and folding masts, was launched in August of 1909.
The three-masted schooner sailed as the “San Antonio“ across the seas of the world up until the summer of 1936. Subsequently, it was rebuilt as a coastal motor ship with auxiliary sail rigging, and it was sold to a Swedish purchaser in 1947. In Sweden, it passed through several owenrs and carried many different names during its service in the coastal shipping industry.
In 1973, Hartmut Paschburg, a captain from Hamburg, purchased the coastal motor ship and commissioned its modification to a three-masted schooner in the shipyards Wischhafener Werft Kroosz, Stader Schiffswerft and Hamburger Werft Scheel und Goenk. Up until the autumn of 1981, the “Ariadne” was used for cruises in the Mediterranean and in the Caribbean. Horts Werner Jannsen, captain and ship owner from Elsfleth, discovered the vessel in the harbor of Piraeus and ultimately brought it back to Elsfleth.
The School Ship Association
In 1982, the School Ship Association “Großherzogin Elisabeth e.V.“ was founded by Duke Anton Günther von Oldenburg who passed away in 2014. Duchess Ameli von Oldenburg christened the “Ariadne” on the 12th of June 1982 as the “Großherzogin Elisabeth“. In 1983, the District of Wesermarsch purchased the schooner.
Since 1993, the “Lissi” is completely owned by the School Ship Association. In the same year, she was repaired following a fire in the Elsfleth Shipyard. Since that time, she serves as a training ship for the Jade University of Applied Sciences and as a platform for sea tours by private citizens.
Experiences in the museum
"Visit" the sailing school ships "Großherzog Friedrich August" and "Prinzess Eitel Friedrich" in the school shipping section of the museum. The original shipyard models of both ships are on display at "Haus Borgstede & Becker". Together with a collection of historic photos and films they bring the exciting education on a tall ship to live. Small and big “cabin boys” can test their knowledge of sails and rigging at a media station.
At "Haus Elsfleth" you’ll find more information on Horst Werner Janssen and the nautical college Elsfleth.
More information on the nautical college can be found at the station with the same name.
Maritime Museum - "Haus Borgstede & Becker", Breite Straße 9, 26919 Brake - 1st floor
Maritime Museum - Haus Elsfleth, Weserstraße 14, 26931 Elsfleth - Ground floor
Maritime School, Weserstraße 4/52, 26931 Elsfleth
Is "Lissi" in the harbor right now (provided the signal is turned on)?