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

 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
During her stay in New York

The Peking is a steel-hulled four-masted barque. A so-called Flying P-Liner of the German company F. Laeisz, it was one of the last generation of cargo-carrying windjammers used in the nitrate trade and wheat trade around 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.

Nitrate trade[edit]

Peking was launched in February 1911 and left Hamburg for her maiden voyage to Valparaiso in May of the same year. After the outbreak of World War I she was interned at Valparaiso and remained in Chile for the duration of the war. Awarded to Italy as war reparation she was sold back to her original owners Laeisz brothers in January 1923.

She remained 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.

Museum ship in New York[edit]

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 remained for the next four decades. 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]

Return to Germany[edit]

In November 2015 the 'Maritim Foundation' purchased the ship for US $100. Peking is intended to become part of the German Port Museum (Deutsches Hafenmuseum) at Schuppen 52 in Hamburg for which €120 million of federal funds will provided.[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.

Refurbishment in Germany[edit]

On August 2, 2017, she was transferred to Peters Werft located at Wewelsfleth for a 3 year refurbishment at estimated cost of €32 million:[4]

  • New rigging
  • New double floor steel plates
  • Dismounting of all masts, because these are too rotten
  • Docking in dry-dock and renewal of the steel structure
  • Removal of the cement that fills the lower three and a half metres of the Hull
  • The ship spent about a year in dry dock.
  • Peking was refloated on 07 September 2018 with Primer paint Hull.
  • She stayed on Peters Werft Pier for about 2 months and goes to dry dock again.
  • Teak will be reinstalled before she will be taken to Hamburg to the German Port Museum.

There might also be an 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