Tall ship sailing specialist Star Clippers has announced that it has started building a fourth ship to add to its fleet of graceful square-riggers; its first new-build since the launch of Royal Clipper in July 2000. The new vessel, yet to be named, will be the biggest and most ambitious to date and will be launched in the second half of 2017, carrying 300 passengers, measuring 8,770 tons and powered by more than 6,350 sq m of sails.

Star Clippers to build the world’s biggest square / Photo © Star Clippers

Star Clippers to build the world’s biggest square / Photo © Star Clippers

The new ship will technically be a five-masted, square-rigged barque. While the company’s flagship Royal Clipper is modelled on the legendary German sailing ship Preussen, the new member of the fleet will be a near-replica of the even more dramatic France II, commissioned in 1911 and the largest square rigger ever built. Just as the original France II eclipsed Preussen more than a century ago as the world’s largest square rigger, the Star Clippers newbuild will replace its sister, Royal Clipper, as the largest ship of its kind afloat today.

Mikael Krafft, founder and owner of Star Clippers, says: “We have already built the five-masted full ship Royal Clipper, which is very much influenced by the Preussen. This time, we intend to build a ship inspired by France II, an ambition I have had for a long time. The ship’s rig will be identical to France II and dimensions will be very similar, although we have added various features that will make this the most magnificent passenger sailing ship afloat.”

As well as the generous deck space only found on a sailing ship, the new vessel will have three pools, one that funnels sunlight through the ship’s atrium into the elegantly appointed dining room. There will be a watersports platform in the stern for use when the ship is at anchor and a variety of cabin grades, including 34 suites with balconies and four luxurious owner’s suites. A restaurant in the light-filled atrium will accommodate all passengers for open-seating dining. Regular guests will be delighted to discover their favourite hallmarks of all Star Clippers ships, such as the cosy library, the bowsprit net and the popular, al fresco Tropical Bar, where evening entertainment takes place. While the ship will have ecologically sound, high-tech engines, it will, like its sisters, rely on wind power and its sails wherever possible.

The new ship will be delivered in the second half of 2017 and will initially sail the company’s most popular itineraries in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Sales are expected to open in 2016.

Fast facts:
Shipyard: Brodosplit shipyard, Split, Croatia
Tonnage: 8,770 grt
Hull: Steel
Passengers: 300 in 150 cabins
Crew: 140
Sail: area 6,350 m2
Rig: Five-mast barque
Facilities: Three pools; massage and beauty treatments; watersports platform with equipment; library; function room; piano bar; Tropical Bar; deck bar; sports bar; open seating dining
Cabins: 150 cabins including 34 suites with balconies plus four owner’s cabins.

Star Clippers announces a return to southeast Asia for winter 2016/17
Tall ship sailing specialist Star Clippers is delighted to announce that it will operate a winter season in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore from December 2016 to April 2017. This marks the line’s return to the region for the first time since March 2010.

The 170-passenger Star Clipper will end its summer season in the Mediterranean and sail via the Suez Canal and Sri Lanka to its winter home port of Phuket, where it will operate seven-night round trip cruises on two different routes from 2nd December 2016, as well as some voyages to Singapore.

There are two itineraries, northbound and southbound, as well as seven departures that either begin or end in Singapore. Star Clipper will explore the many islands scattered off the coast of Phuket, accessible only by water, with some of the most beautiful beaches and dazzling marine life in the world. There will be numerous opportunities for sunbathing, snorkelling, other watersports, exploring on foot and taking photo safaris in the ship’s Zodiacs. Ports of call include:

Northbound from Phuket

Ko Surin National Marine Park, a cluster of five forested islands with exquisite beaches and spectacular underwater life
The Similan Islands, an archipelago of coral and granite with crystal-clear water and diverse wildlife
Ko Rok Nok, an uninhabited island with incredible reefs
Langkawi in Malaysia, with beautiful beaches and temples
Ko Kradan, a laid-back beach resort
Phang Nga Bay, offering spectacular scenery of forested limestone towers and hidden coves

Southbound from Phuket:

Ko Butang, with gorgeous beaches and world-class snorkelling
Penang, with diverse colonial heritage
Ko Adang, a tiny, unspoiled island in the Tarutao National Marine Park
Ko Rok Nok, an uninhabited island with incredible reefs
Phang Nga Bay, offering spectacular scenery of forested limestone towers and hidden coves
The Similan Islands, an archipelago of coral and granite with crystal-clear water and diverse wildlife

Mikael Krafft, Owner and President of Star Clippers says: “We have been waiting a long time to resume these popular itineraries and are now returning to Southeast Asia to explore beaches, islands and anchorages not visited by any other cruise ship. We know from 15 years of past experience, when we based a ship in this region every winter, how popular these voyages are with nature-lovers and those who enjoy the sensation of sailing on a graceful tall ship in the tropics.”
Meanwhile, Star Flyer will continue to operate in-depth Cuba voyages from Havana and Cienfuegos for the winter of 2016/17, interspersed with longer cruises taking in St Maarten and the Panama Canal. Royal Clipper will sail from Barbados all season, exploring the Grenadines and the British Virgin Islands, with two extended 14-night voyages to the ‘ABC Islands’ (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) and extended voyages to accommodate Christmas and New Year.
Star Clippers’ winter 2016/17 programme goes on sale in June 2015.

Information source: Star Clippers

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