Anonymous yet personal, this Blog chronicles
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Chapel Hill, NC, United States

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Friday, July 10, 2009

The Kruzenshtern

This week Boston is hosting an event known as Sail Boston. It almost didn't happen this year because of budget concerns from the city, but funds were eventually found in the state coffers to fund the event.

Yesterday the sun showed itself after 40 days and 40 nights of rain, and I made an excursion down to the Boston waterfront with my family to see the tall ships.

One large sailing vessel in particular stood out. It was the Russian ship docked at the Seaport World Trade Center. It's called the Kruzenshtern, and I think it is the largest ship at Sail Boston this year.

We walked around it to view the ship from different vantage points before going on board to look around.

Once on board, we discovered a Russian Orthodox chapel housed in the top center of the deck.

There was something ceremonial about all of the Russian sailors with their black uniforms and huge white hats. I overheard a few blond Russian-Americans on board chatting with the sailors.

There was an on-deck gift shop with everything for sale - from ball-point pens, to T-shirts, to officer's hats.

I noticed that the Kruzenshtern was outfitted with a lot of modern ship technology. The deck had giant LCD screens for navigation, communication, and control. American radar systems from Sperry Marine/Northrop Grumman were everywhere.

The Kruzenshtern was originally a German ship built for cargo in 1926, but in 1946 the Germans gave it to the USSR for war reparations. There were some interesting historic photos display on the ship, and from these I could see that the Kruzenshtern stopped in Cuba in 1964 and that Fidel Castro came aboard for a visit and photo-op.

The iron ship is 376 feet long, stands 168 feet high, and weights 4,700 tons. It takes a crew of 257 sailors to run it.