Russian ship of the line Lefort
|Launched:||9 August 1835|
|Fate:||Capsized and sunk 22 September 1857|
|Class and type:||Imperatritsa Aleksandra|
|Tonnage:||3,500 tonnes (7,700,000 lb)|
|Length:||58.3 m (191 ft)|
|Beam:||15.6 m (51 ft)|
|Draft:||6.6 m (22 ft)|
|Crew:||743 sailors, 13 officers|
Lefort was a ship of the line of the Imperatritsa Aleksandra (Empress Alexandra) class, rated at 84 guns but actually armed with 94 guns. Her keel was laid in 1833 at Saint Petersburg and she was launched 9 August [O.S. 28 July] 1835 in the presence of Nicholas I. She was named after Admiral Franz Lefort, chief of the Russian Navy from 1695-1696.
On the morning of 22 September [O.S. 10 September] 1857, the Lefort was in the Gulf of Finland en route from Reval (present day Tallinn, Estonia) to Kronstadt along with the ships Imperatritsa Aleksandra, Vladimir, and Pamiat Asova, under the command of Rear-Admiral I. Nordman. The ship had on board 756 crew and officers, 53 women, and 17 children (families of the crew). The squadron was caught in a sudden squall and the Lefort heeled over once, righted herself, then heeled over again and sank between the islands of Gogland and Bolshoy Tyuters, five and a half nautical miles north-northeast of Bolshoy Tyuters, with the loss of all 826 people on board. The foreign press however reported that one sailor had been saved by holding on to a beam and floating to Gogland. In all the storm on the night wrecked about 30 ships on the Russian Baltic coast.
A board of inquiry investigating the disaster recognized as the most probable cause of the accident the weakening of the ship ties caused by the fact that in 1856 the ship twice been used as transport for the carriage of heavy loads on the gun decks. It also alleged that the ship's hull had not been caulked adequately and the cargo load was too small, and incorrectly arranged. In addition, it was speculated that the gun ports had been left open to provide fresh air for the passengers; this may have contributed to the sinking of the ship as water could have poured in through the open ports when the ship first heeled over.
- Russian 2nd Rates at 3decks.com Naval Warfare Sailing History website accessed September 24, 2009
- On the Wreck of the Warship Le Fort by GA Reinfeldt website accessed September 24, 2009
- I. Nordman (October 7, 1857). "Linieskeppet Lefort's undergång". Helsingfors Tidningar (in Swedish) (78): 1–2.
- Lefort at Wreck.FR[permanent dead link] website accessed September 24, 2009
- "Wenäjältä". Suomen Julkisia Sanomia (in Finnish) (76): 3. October 8, 1857.
- "Utrikes". Helsingfors Tidningar (in Swedish) (85): 1. October 31, 1857.
- "Stormen". Helsingfors Tidningar (in Swedish) (77): 1. October 3, 1857.
- "Meriwahinkoja". Suomen Julkisia Sanomia (in Finnish) (75): 2. October 5, 1857.
- Leonid Amirkhanov. "Музей на дне Финского Залива". Retrieved 2010-09-14.
- Экспедицией ЗВО обнаружен парусник «Лефорт», затонувший в 1857 году (in Russian)
- На дне Балтийского моря найден российский парусник "Лефорт" середины XIX века 07.05.13 17:58 Interfax, Russia (in Russian)