The German Navy’s sail training ship returned home from its 7th foreign training trip to the Kiel naval base earlier this month.

The voyage took the ship and crew from Germany to the Azores and Madeira to take advantage of favorable sailing conditions in the eastern North Atlantic. At half-time, Gorch Fock stopped in Spain and on the way back in Ireland. The tall ship was on the road for a good four months and covered around 7,000 nautical miles.

“Even if it is not directly related to the respective ports – the most intensive experiences were the sailing preparatory training in Ponta Delgada in the Azores and in Cadiz in Spain with a newly embarked course,” reports the commander, Captain Andreas Peter Graf von Kielmansegg. “Always being at the beginning and familiarizing newly embarked cadets with the ship, the rigging and their tasks is always a challenge that gives them pleasure.”

However, the detailed training plan for the officer students ensured that the sailing training ship could not be home for Kiel Week or for the Navy birthday. The latter was a special one this year: the 175th anniversary of the founding of an all-German navy. The crew of the Gorch Fock celebrated the quasi double anniversary of the naval birthday and the number of training cruises so far at sea off Ireland.

On the way to the 36th circumnavigation of the earth

Around 250 officer cadets from the 2022 crew received their basic nautical training and thus their first experience with the maritime dimension. Among them were cadets from the partner countries France, Colombia, Togo, Cameroon and Senegal. After a holiday, the German officer trainees go to the universities of the Bundeswehr in Hamburg and Munich for the academic part of their training.

Since the commissioning of Gorch Fock in December 1958, about 15,000 officer and non-commissioned officer candidates have been trained on it. In the course of her training cruises, she has visited around 390 ports in almost 60 countries on five continents. It covered more than 750,000 nautical miles, which corresponds to the equivalent of 35 circumnavigations of the earth.